This week, we hear from Lynley Edmeades, who is our judge for the Open Verse category. Thinking of entering the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition 2021? If so, head over to our announcement page.

Meanwhile, let’s find out from Lynley her tips for writing a poem.

“I like to read something that somehow turns language to meet perception, and where language is working as hard as it can. In writing your poems, try to think: does this word need to be here? Is there a better word or combination of words for what I’m trying to say? Can I make this line work even harder? Think: distill, distill, distill.

Once you’ve written something, give it few weeks, and when you come back to it, give it a good haircut — shave away all those superfluities and clichés; give it a few more weeks in the drawer, and then see how it works. For me, good poems work with the ear and the mind; they have some music. Read all poems out loud, several times over, even if you look like a crazy person.”

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