Poetic verbs…

Some verbs should rarely – possibly never – be used when discussing a poem. “The poet tells us” or “the poet says” are problematic because poetic language is always carefully crafted, with every word and punctuation mark deliberately chosen to capture the exact feeling and idea the poet wishes to communicate.

The verbs “tells” and “says” imply that the poet is telling us things rather than hinting, showing, evoking, then allowing us to figure it out for ourselves. If he/she uses colloquial language, yes it will feel as if the poet is simply speaking, but again, this is a conscious decision, not an accident.

You need verbs which are more accurate in analysing what the poet is doing. Here are a few suggestions:

– explores

– describes

– evokes

– celebrates

– reveals

– laments

– confesses

– exposes

– challenges

– creates

– captures


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