Source: Canva

This week, while fine-tuning a couple manuscripts, I distracted myself by consolidating my various editing checklists into one comprehensive mega-list.

After a few hours of that, I was ready to rip my hair out, and of course, when hair is ripping, a poem is ripening.



My poem
contains, really and truly, just very, very few crutch words, 
EXPLODES with active verbs!!!!
does not overuse exclamation points
carefully, meticulously, and precisely minimizes adverbs
maintains a catchy refrain,

uses it’s apostrophes correctly when its time,
let’s you here the creek of the creak,
shows the second hand ticking (rather than telling time),
is hysterical,
is knot full of linking verbs,
is cursedly age appropriate,
does not add filler just to rhyme –
      this, I’ll tell you every time,
throws in a dash of emdash –
or two –
resists reiteration, repetition, and redundancy,
maintains a catchy refrain,

is devoid of typoes,
is POW! SWOOSH! CRACKING with onomatopoeia,
actively alliterates, undulates with assonance, and spills its consonance,
takes a hero on a journey to save the cat,
incorporates some
maintains a catchy refrain,

employs lusciously lyrical language,
makes appropriate uses of ellipses, etc. …
has more layers than lasagna,
uses similes like an English teacher,
avoids cliches like the plague,
avoids mixing metaphors by getting its ducks on the same page,
maintains a catchy refrain,

has a Twist ending –

© Tracey Kiff-Judson, Draft 2024

For some well-edited poetry, visit this week’s Poetry Friday host, the amazingly artistic Michelle Kogan at MoreArt4All with this week's roundup and May birthday wishes.


  • Hahaha! Tracey, this is so funny. I love that in writing this funny poem, you also created a wonderful poetry element checklist. That last stanza had me laughing. I can't even choose my favorite lines--
    employs lusciously lyrical language,sparce,
    has more layers than lasagna,
    or I could go on of similes and cliches and...
    So fun! 
  • Wow, my editorial head is spinning. What a fun poem! It's a miracle anyone ever gets any writing done at all with that pesky self editor looming over one's shoulder. I'm off to maintain a catchy refrain . . . POW!
  • Ha, ha, your work, sorry about the hair, is made to be on stage, Tracey! It's all hysterical, in a good way! And, I couldn't stop reading "more layers than lasagna". Sorry, but I think I'll go with your list, and refrain from trying this on my own! Have a great weekend!
  • BRILLIANT - and hysterical, especially to all of us!  Thank you for this dose of fun this week, Tracey, which I'm sure has extended our lifespans by a few lines. :0)
  • Cryinglaughing, Tracey! I was pulling hair out with you as the poem built to the crescendo. I think you've covered just about every revision workshop takeaway in hundreds of notebooks piled on my floor - and found a perfect ending! Brava!
  • Ha! This is fabulous. I really struggle with many of my gaffs show up here.  Thanks for the chuckle. And that refrain? chef's kiss. The best.
  • Well, this certainly brought a smile to my face this morning. So clever, and yet a checklist in itself. Thank you!
  • Ah, you’ve perfectly maintained that “catchy refrain,”  and marvelously entertained us—wonderful! Hopefully without shedding too much hair… ☺️ Thanks!

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