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Poetry corner: Read your poems

The One Show Team | 15:48 UK time, Friday, 12 September 2008

In September 2008 we asked for your original poems on the theme of 'my passion'. Literary types Gyles Brandreth and Roger McGough, have now selected their favourites - and the film has been shown on The One Show.

Click here to find out which poems Gyles and Roger chose to read out.

Our 'Poetry Corner' has now closed, but you can still read the submissions, below.

Thank you.


Here are Gyles' "beginners' top tips" for writing poetry:

Poetry packs a punch.  It gets to the heart of the matter.  A poem is like the postscript to a letter: it's the place where you find what the writer really wanted to say.  Before you begin to write your poem, decide on the essence of your message.  What exactly do you want to say?

Organise your thoughts.  When you've decided what you want your poem to do - tell a story, express an emotion, make the reader laugh or cry - work out a route map.  Where is your poem going?  What journey is it going to take?  Even the shortest poem needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

Easy does it.  Just because you are writing a poem, you don't need to go all "poetic".  Keep it simple.  Use language that's direct and honest and that you are comfortable with.  Avoid euphemism and euphuism and anything else you need to look up in the dictionary.

Truth is what counts.  Whether your poem is a love poem or a limerick, if it doesn't ring true it won't work.  If it's a love poem don't hide behind sentimentality and cliché: simply speak of your experience from the heart.  Good jokes work because they ring a bell.  The same goes for good poems.

Rhymes are fun.  Rules are good.  It's not essential to write a poem that rhymes - or scans - or obeys the traditional rules of poetry used by Shakespeare or Shelley or Rupert Brooke or John Betjeman - but it can help.  Read poems by great poets to discover how the discipline of writing to rule helped them make their poems memorable.

Your voice.  That's what we want to hear.   And if we do, your poem will be unique - because you are.

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