Helena Nelson - Eight Tips for New Poets

1.  Read modern, current verse.

Byron, Blake, Burns in the bin.
Ancients out, Motion in.
 

2.  Subscribe to two or three good quality small press magazines.

What dreams may come?  But here’s the rub:
they will not print poems in exchange for your sub.
 

3.  Join a Writers’ Group.

Consult the Poetry Society to see if there is one in your area.
If there is none, it is scary.  If there is one, it is scarier.
 

4.  If you use traditional forms, do it in a new way.

For several hundred years the sonnet has stayed the same because nobody
                                          dared change it.
So?  Rearrange it.
 

5.  Create an audience for your work.

Practise reading poems aloud.
Invite friends round.  Dispense drink.  Read to the assembled crowd.
Retire upstairs to your study, unbowed
but bloody-minded.
 

6.  Win a National Competition.

If you’re hesitating whether to win or wait,
win.  Don’t hesitate.
 

7.  Write your name and address on every sheet submitted; but not

© Dave.
The former is professional and subtly revealing.
The latter suggests you are pompous & regard your poems as worth stealing.
 

8.  Do not submit poems with a eulogistic letter citing previous publications.

If your work has Merit, the rest is history.
(How so much garbage is printed every month while yours is returned
is a mystery).

 

(First published in Smiths Knoll)