L MILTON HANKINS

Hico Fayette Co West Virginia
L MILTON HANKINS
Hico Fayette Co West Virginia
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On Writing Poetry

I have been writing my thoughts in verse for over seventy years,
Poems appearing in various literary magazines.
I've been a member of poetry societies far and near,
I have won awards and traipsed among fine literary scenes.
I've taught creative writing to youngsters, in-betweens, and the old
I recognize from experience what is dregs and what is gold.

I've edited and published volumes of poetry which suffice.
Listing extensive credentials are so you'll clearly understand,
I have a strong background from which to offer excellent advice.
If you want to be a respected poet, try not to be bland,
Be creative in choosing your subject matter and persevere.
Using worn-out hackneyed phrases won't be appreciated here.

When you send your poems into the world for everyone to read,
You want to be considered first-rate, not merely mediocre,
Proofread, my friend, again I say proofread, 'cause glaring errors bleed.
If you do not carefully proofread, you will sound like a croaker.
Learn the fine important differences between their, they're, and there,
And never use the wrong its (or it's) in a poem anywhere!

Write your poems featuring many things you know about, perhaps,
Your parents, your grandparents, an uncle, a brother or sister,
Learn differences in rhythm and flow, and what makes a poem lapse
Unique style and attention to good form makes you an A-lister.
Basic grammar skills are always appreciated by readers
Sloppy work, lack of practice and skills, makes one a bottom feeder.

Subject-verb agreement is most essential; wrong sounds out-of-sync
And misspellings always land your work in the garbage, I suspect
Learn the differences between gerunds and participles, I think,
Use proper punctuation where necessary, out of respect.
It takes a lot of hard work to write good, readable poetry
Don't mean to sound arrogant or pedantic but take it from me!

I have discovered I can't get into many poems these days,
Moving along after a line of what some of you have written.
If I took the time to leave you a note, it means I liked your ways,
Regarding what I'm reading these days I can't say I am smitten.
I'll visit again to read your poems--I'm not a total jerk.
Please continue writing your poetry and proofread all your work!
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