Editing and Epigrams


I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. As a teacher I’ve used the A-Z idea for brainstorming new topics, for studying, and for writing. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry.

Journalists often say to one another, ‘Don’t get it right; get it written,’ and this is not such a bad rule in any kind of writing. You can always go back and change it later if you think it could be improved, but at least it’s done. – Maeve Binchy

When writing a long piece it is excellent advice. I find I am so very slow because I edit as I go. I try not to, but sometimes I can’t help it. It really is better to write while your creative juices are flowing and not to stifle them by correcting as you go. Often when I go back to proofread I actually improve my writing with better word choices. However you choose to edit – either during or afterward – just be sure to do it.

For the poetry focus, I will try an epigram. Epigrams are short satirical poems ending with either a humorous retort or a stinging punch line. Used mainly as expressions of social criticism or political satire, the most common forms are written as a couplet: a pair of rhymed lines in the same meter.

Here is an example by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Sir, I admit your general rule,

That every poet is a fool,

But you yourself may serve to show it,

That every fool is not a poet.

Here’s my try:

She typed away her little tweet

So-and-So swept me off my feet

A revealing selfie giddily sent

Oops! Not to the one for which it was meant!


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