Grammar and spelling are used much differently in poetry than in other genres. Poets consciously manipulate grammar and words to enhance meaning. When you're writing poetry, shut off all auto-correct functions on your computer. Otherwise the computer will make annoying corrections that you don't want, like capitalizing the first letter of every line. When you have completed your poem (or a draft of it), run a spell check or have a friend or teacher look your poem over for grammar and spelling as a last step.

Tools for Grammar and Spelling

Although the rules are more fluid, you need to know when you're breaking them. Just like an abstract painter first learns to draw with classic precision, you need to be well versed in grammar and spelling to know how to manipulate them for effect.

1. Online Dictionaries, like Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster's website, are excellent reference resources. Not only do their search bars help you find the words you're looking for, but the sites also link to thesauruses and other language resources.

2. Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is a handbook on basic principles of composition, grammar, word usage and misusage, and writing style.

3. Dr. Marvin Terban isn't called Professor Grammar for nothing! His enthusiasm for language makes his books and guides easily accessible for students.

4. Maggie's Earth Adventures are short online games that help students practice their grammar while saving the planet!