By Melissa Cobb

Here are eight poetry writing tips for your personal enrichment, followed by a random truth also for your personal enrichment.

Cary Grant: Classic Hollywood actor. Arsenic and Old Lace. Eyes that gaze deep into your soul. And the subject of this week’s random truth!

Tip 1: To get started, pick a specific moment and write about how it felt, or write about an object that is special to you, like a piece of jewelry or a card. Whatever you pick, just be sure its something that gives you a lot to say.

Tip 2: Use deliberate lineation- How short or long a poem is creates a certain atmosphere, and the length of each line affects this as well. Use shorter lines if you want to focus on specific words, and longer lines to explain the particular moment or object you’re talking about.

Tip 3: If you are writing a form poem, such as a sonnet, makes sure the subject matter fits the form of the poem so it doesn’t feel forced. For instance, to use the sonnet example, use that form to describe a specific moment or person that changed you in some way, whether its how you thought about something or your view of the world. This makes sense for a sonnet because the first part describes the situation, then the second part has a twist, and the third part tells what happened or changed as a result of the twist.

Tip 4: After you write your poem, read over it to make sure everything in it is there for a reason. Poems have limited space, so economy of language is important. You may want to do this a day or two after you write the poem so you can see it with fresh eyes.

Tip 5: Write as much poetry as you can, and save it. You have heard it a million times, but its worth repeating: The more you write, the better you will get, and the more you will understand how to convey what you’re saying. Also, saving your poetry will help you see the progress you have made.

Tip 6: Read lots of poetry. Doing this can give you ideas for future poems as well as show you how to effectively use figurative language and symbolism.

Tip 7: Show people you trust your poetry. The best way to tell if a poem works is to read it out loud to someone you trust, like a teacher, family member, or friend. He or she can tell you what works and what doesn’t, though for the best advice, go to someone you know who writes or teaches poetry.

Tip 8: Have fun! Experiment with different forms and subjects and enjoy what you learn from that.

Happy Writing!

Random Truth of the Week: Actor Cary Grant’s real name is Archie Leach.