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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > COMPETITION SPECIAL - October 2016 > Poetry workshop: How long is a line?

Poetry workshop: How long is a line?

Alison Chisholm explores a subscriber’s poem to consider how much material you should put in or take out

Deciding on the quantity of material to include in a poem requires a delicate balance. If you say too much, you risk the complaint that the poem is tedious. Say too little, and you seem to be setting out to baffle or to short-change the reader. Writer and historical researcher Greg Howes from Carmarthenshire, Wales, considers this point in relation to his poem.

The poet comments that there are few creatures more mysterious and engaging than the humble (and not so humble) moth… they are somewhat akin to the ghostly ‘Grey Lady’ of British folk tradition, omnipresent, yet so little is known (or even enquired) about them. Despite their often muted hues and diminutive size few creatures conjure up quite so much of an instinctive (and largely undeserved) shudder as a moth can.

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