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Heed Basil…

Budding poets asked Basil Bunting for advice so many times that he printed his key points on a postcard:

1. Compose aloud; poetry is a sound.
2. Vary rhythm enough to stir the emotion you want but not so as to lose impetus.
3. Use spoken words and syntax.
4. Fear adjectives; they bleed nouns. Hate the passive.
5. Jettison ornament gaily but keep shape.

Put your poem away till you forget it, then:
6. Cut out every word you dare.
7. Do it again a week later, and again.

Never explain – your reader is as smart as you.

Wise words that apply equally well to all forms of writing. To make every word sing true, read poetry. And heed Basil.