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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Make or To Write Poetry?

I suddenly am running across what could be an affectation. Most recently I've seen it in The New Yorker, a magazine known for its care with English, though some have argued that it takes care to preserve (create?) affectations.

I admit I've given this way too much attention.  I've wondered if we borrowed it from the Brits

Or it could be an improvement in saying what we mean.

And I'm not sure if I like it or hate it--desperately.

The "it" I refer to is using the verb "make" instead of "write." It always seems to rear its little four-lettered self when referring to poetry, as in "he encoucraged Eliot to make more poems." I've never seen "make a story," mind you. Or "make a novel." 

Here's advice from your frugal, smart, and tuned-in editor. Use "make poetry" judiciously. Better still, use it not at all unless you intend some intense undercurrent of destiny or deep, abiding talent to be implicit in the phrase. 

Mmmm. Better not to use it at all.

What's your advice? What do you think? Shall we strike it or let it be?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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