It’s difficult for a lot of people to judge whether or not poetry is good for several reasons. First of all, art can be subjective. One man’s ramblings can be a poet laureate’s Pulitzer winning entry. Also, the person reading the poem may not have enough exposure to poetry that they cannot decide on a verdict. According to comparative literature student John Eilermann, there are some basic rules when it comes to poetry writing which helps students gauge the integrity of a poem.
A basic indicator of a bad poem is its grammar. If there are lapses in grammar that are not warranted or deliberate, then it becomes less effective. For example, a piece that has inconsistent tenses can obscure the reader’s understanding of the poem.
Another common mistake that can make a poem read and sound awful is the use of hifalutin words in the wrong context. A lot of writers tend to use big words in order to sound literary. However, the effectiveness of the words comes to play. The words may sound big, but they could end up sounding terrible. The choice of words is crucial in poetry given its very limited form.
Punctuation is also important when it comes to poetry. While some poems do well without much punctuations, this could mean that the poet has mastered or has a good grasp of line cuts. If a novice writer creates a piece without proper punctuations, it would be difficult to read the poem as a reader wouldn’t know when a thought starts or ends.
Lastly, there’s the readability of a poem. One of poetry’s main features is clarity. According to John Eilermann, a poem that is vague all throughout the read or if it’s too obviously simple to a point that it doesn’t evoke a sense of thought can easily lose the interest of the reader.
John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri, is currently in college pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature. Growing up, he read books by Nick Hornby, Roald Dahl, C.S Lewis, and many others. To know more about John, visit this website.