“Write is a verb.”
reg e gaines
Poet, playwright, Grand Slam Champ, author, and teacher extraordinaire — reg e gaines is a Renaissance man with a passion for rhythm, language, and image. Spending an evening with him at a Write Group poetry session is like watching a gifted conductor inspiring his orchestra to hit just the right note — by turns, he’s challenging, cajoling, encouraging.
Just listening to poetry trip off reg’s tongue is a gift — and the chance to get his feedback on a poem in my novel was all the spark I needed to blast myself out of my cozy armchair and into the frosty evening air. I’m so glad I did, because reg has a lot to share — and he does it with generosity and flair (couldn’t resist a little rhyme here!)
Not all of us write poetry or read it, but as wordsmiths, the tools of our trade are rhythm, language, and imagery — and these are the building blocks of poetry. With this in mind, here are pointers from reg we can all ponder and apply to make our writing more readable:
Titles are telling: Many titles are “preaching to the choir” — they fail to reach out and grab the reader. Titles should be visual. As reg put it, “If the title isn’t bursting with some kind of image, it could be incorrect.” Rethink it.
Aim for clarity: Anything that gets in the way of your poetic expression doesn’t work.
Poetry is efficiency: In a poem, the #1 rule is the efficiency of language,
Get rid of “ink fish:” “unnecessary words on the page” that get in the way of the essence of what you’re saying. “Every single word should be a gem.”
Revise = revisit: Edit, shape, and sculpt your work. “Fight with it” and craft it.
“Don’t let the rhyme run you:” Don’t get so carried away with your rhythm that it becomes lulling and overpowers your meaning.
Gems of advice worth polishing until they sparkle. Bravo, reg –write on!