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Writing Poetry: Tip from Poet and Professor Thanhha Lai

Posted by inkpopbecki on March 9, 2011

Poetry is a popular topic on inkpop. Whether it’s how to become a published poet or is alright to alter meter and rhyme to enhance a poem? Today we have poetry professor and published author Thanhha Lai live on inkpop to discuss the art of poetry. Join us in the inkpop Forum Events at 5 p.m. EST to speak directly with Thanhha Lai. In the mean time, check out some of Thanhha Lai’s quick tips on how to write poetry.

Writing Poetry: Writing Tips from Thanhha Lai

1.  Use as few words as possible.  First, write down your line.  Then cut one word at a time while asking yourself, has the meaning changed?

If not, keep cutting.  You want the syrup without any sap.

2.  Conjure up fresh, concise images.  Surprise the readers whenever possible.  For example, instead of: “He killed the chicken.”  Write:  “A red line appeared across the hen’s neck.”

3.  Say it, without actually saying it.  When conveying emotions, instead of outright saying, “She’s sad (or happy),” employ an image or detail that reveals the character.  Instead of: “She’s sad he cut down her biggest papaya.”  Try:  “Black seeds spill/ like clusters of eyes,/ wet and crying.”

Thanhha Lai’s new book, Inside out and Back Again is a  historical novel told in verse, based on the author’s childhood move from Vietnam to Alabama. 

Want to discover more about writing poetry? Join us in the inkpop Forum Events for a live chat with poetry professor and author Thanhha Lai at 5 p.m. EST

2 Responses to “Writing Poetry: Tip from Poet and Professor Thanhha Lai”

  1. Lithiawood said

    Great tip, and that book sounds really interesting! ^_^ I’d always hoped to see more books written in the vein of Ellen Hopkins.

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