Sarah Barr

Writer, poet and teacher

What I Look For in a Poem

Over Christmas and New Year I’ve been selecting poems for a forthcoming issue of a poetry magazine. I’ve been doing this with my co-selector and friend, Gill Horitz.

We’ve had a wonderful time reading and re-reading hundreds of poems. It has got us talking about what makes a successful poem, and what we look for in a poem.

During our afternoon meetings, we drank tea, ate mince pies and biscuits to keep up our energy levels. We may have got a little drunk – but on language not mulled wine!

There are so many things to consider!

For me, a poem has to have something to say. Also, I want the poem to say it freshly, with originality.

Gill and I read some wonderful descriptions but we agreed that we wanted the poem also to take us to a deeper level.

Different poets may look for different things but these are my thoughts which I will continue with soon.

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