How to Revise a Poem

How to Revise a Poem

What's the next step?

After drafting comes revision! Sometimes revision can feel daunting or unexciting, but this mini-lesson will help you break it down and get to work. Ultimately, revision starts with understanding the effect you intend with your words, and creating that experience for your reader. Do you want your reader to laugh? To think deeply? To feel understood? Revise with your goal in mind. Grab some index cards and we’ll play around with our stories and poems in order to see them in a new light and revise them to be even better than before.

As you revise your poem, you may want to look at figurative language, as is shown in these excellent examples:

Spring is running down the hill.

I follow her to see

How she makes the flower buds

Bloom so beautifully.

Spring is dancing behind the bush.

I dance with her to see

How she turns the strawberries red

And make them taste yummy!

(2019, I Love Spring by Maryam Ali)

With your words like the thunder on the horizon

I feel every word

Every jab.

I have to stand by myself

I have to stand alone and suffer

I hope for freedom,

I hope for this to end,

For the raining skies to part

Then the eye of the storm passes over me,

I think I am free

But everywhere I go,

There you are.

You are my shadow,

My unwanted mirror,

The storm might return and then,

If I were to break like

My grandmother’s glass elephant,

Then all my cracks would show,

And the stable world I live in would be turned

Upside-down like a snow globe.

(2017, Storm by Toby Jacob)

Also, consider imagery, as in this poem:

If my life had to be described by

five items


a paper bag, it would


A peach, the




as clear and sweet as




the taste unable to leave my mouth





(2019, My Life in a Paper Bag by Caitlyn Zhu)

✍🏼 Ready to revise?

Use the interactive tool below or download the PDF 👉🏼 to complete the activity.

↓Here's that PDF:

Download this PDF by clicking the link below.