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Reviewing Your Work for Cliché
A cliché is an overused expression or idea — and it's common to find these in first drafts. Poets are inspired to write about powerful relationships, emotions, and ideas that affect us all: friendships, love, anger, prejudice, war, difficult situations, graduations, and other major events. The trick is to take these universal themes and ideas and describe them in a real, strong, unique, and powerful way.

Follow these tips to review your own poem for cliché:

1. Read your poem and articulate the main themes. Do you express these themes in your own way? Stop at any familiar phrases and try to think of a fresh way to express your idea.
2. Find all of your metaphors and similes and make sure that they're your own. Have you heard the metaphors before, or are they unique to your poem?
3. Find your images. Do you use your own experience and detail to create original imagery?

Here are some examples of clichés. If you're having trouble avoiding them, brainstorm as many of them as you can and make a list to remind you of what to avoid.

Common Clichés:

Two hearts beat as one, you are my sunshine, you are my better half, our love is like a rose, that four-letter-word, those three little words (I love you)

together forever, two peas in a pod, my guardian angel

moving on to better things, apple of her parents' eye, moving on

Difficult Situations and Relationships
get over this hurdle, better on the other side, talking to a brick wall

Can you think of clichés about these themes or other topics?

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