Jo Bell’s Rules for Poetry

Not blogged for a little while… busy trying to do better 🙂

The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

….are ruthless, prescriptive, proscriptive – and if they sound just a teeny bit dogmatic, that’s because these are the faults I come across all the time in others’ work – and too frequently in my own. Based on the workshops and exercises I’ve led, and on the competition entries I have sometimes judged, it addresses most of the likely errors of the beginner poet, and some of the more experienced ones too.

The points are necessarily compressed. In point 5, for instance, I don’t mean to suggest that a poem has to rhyme or have a regular metre – only that I think it must have some small pattern of shape, sound or structure (for instance, repetition or stanza breaks) to distinguish it from prose. This is only a checklist but my workshoppers and students have often found it useful. Click on it to see it better, or look at the end…

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About stevedsmart

Steve Smart is an information designer, poet and artist. View all posts by stevedsmart

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