Craft Elements of Poetry
Lines and Stanzas
• Do you have a clear rationale for breaking each of your lines where they currently end?
• Do your linebreaks generate suspense and surprise, making the reader want to find out what will happen in the next line?
• Are you employing a combination of end-stopped and enjambed lines?
• If you have more than one stanza, do your line groupings increase the impact of your poem’s style and subject matter?
Meter and Rhythm
• Does your poem have a discernible rhythm – either a scannable metrical pattern, or, if your poem is in free verse, a distinctive cadence that distinguishes it from prose?
The Music of Poetry
• If your poem rhymes, are the rhymes original, intelligent, and necessary?
• Have you fully considered alternatives to perfect end rhymes, such as slant, internal, and eye rhymes?
• Whether or not you are using rhyme, are you effectively employing assonance and consonance to add musicality to your poem?
Images, Symbols, and Figurate Language
• Does your poem make consistent and effective use of concrete, specific, and detailed imagery?
• Are your symbols, metaphors, and similes innovative and relevant to your poem’s tone and topic?
• If your poem employs irony, is it intentional, controlled, and pertinent to the poem’s overall goals?
Diction, Syntax, and the Language of Poetry
• Is your poetry at least as well written as prose, with accurate diction, appropriate syntax, and no clichés?
• If you are writing in a specific poetic form, are you maximizing the form’s potential?