Poetry style: 30 snags to avoid

Poetry editor and publisher, Helena Nelson at Happenstance Press regularly reads poems with a view to publication or feedback – in a blog post, she has listed 30 problems in poems which distract her from the poem; like a snag, they trip up the eye and break the fourth wall.

Of course, personal annoyances are subjective, each poetry editor will have their own likes and dislikes, but for a great starting point, this is free advice from a very experienced editor worth checking out.

Much of the advice is to do with layout – how your poem can immediately annoy and antagonise the professional editor/reader, right from the beginning.  (Really? Yes!) Many others can easily be found by running a wordsearch through your documents – have you committed these annoying stumbling blocks?  Then it’s up to you to decide on the best ‘fix’.  How can this situation be improved, in a way still real to your writing style?

10 minutes spent sorting through Helena’s notes could very well be time well spent in editing your poems and wouldbe pamphlets.



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