1. Jessica Schneider (Jessica Schneider)
2. very nice, very nice (Anthony Zanetti)
3. Dragoncave (Art Durkee)
4. From the Shores of Introspect and Retrospect (Wanderlust Scarlett)
5. Oscar's Blog (Oscar)
I figured I'd give Oscar some credit; he certainly writes better than any other cat I know. And now, three (of many) things that make for good writing (though some points will apply to poetry in particular):
Lack of cliches: Exact same beginning as Jess, because it's worth mentioning. Art recently posted a detailed entry on the avoidance of cliches, a concept many writers preach as common knowledge but never explain in detail, therefore leaving fledgling writers a bit befuddled. The familiarity of cliches is comforting to readers; however, cliches are wholly incapable of moving readers beyond a slight flicker of emotion. The most difficult part of avoiding cliches is recognizing them. Once a writer is aware of the presence of trite passages, a conscious effort can be made to freshen phrasing.
Competent Enjambment and Punctuation: Line breaking, one of the most purely technical aspects of poetry, is often used mindlessly by bad poets, as if breaks serve little to no purpose. Single words will often be isolated on a line of their own for no significant reason, and lines will end purposelessly with words like "the" and "of". Competent employment of enjambment makes sense rhythmically and adds layering to the poem; by making creative breaks, a phrase or line can take on multiple meanings depending on whether it is isolated or brought into a greater context.
Even more elementary is the use of punctuation to give shape to writing; however, this practice is notably absent from the poetry and prose of many modern writers. Occasionally, limited use of punctuation and capitalization can be put to good use, but mindlessly cutting these basic instruments of writing from one's pieces only creates ambiguity and inconcision. Punctuation in particular is capable of so much; the pause from a comma is notably different from that of a period, and the feel of a dash is certainly not the same as that of a semicolon. Dictating the rhythmic flow of phrases is crucial, and punctuation plays an enormous part in doing so.
Energy and Feeling (or "Avoiding Being Boring"): Most writing is boring. A reason for this? Some writers take themselves way too seriously. Making a focused effort to make all of your language sound academically profound or "deep" will usually make you boring. Spontaniety, joy, and feeling have their place in writing; granted, just these things will get you nowhere, for technical skill is necessary to mold the more human aspects of writing into something beautiful. However, a lack in the emotional part of writing is even more disdainful than a lack of technical skill (though some may not agree). I would rather read something poorly wrought, but heartfelt and/or unique than something technically sound, but utterly banal and dull.
And I'm off to bed, then school, again- take care, folks~