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Meet Move Monthly's Guest Judge, Zach J. Payne

Movers, allow us to introduce you to one of our favorite writers about all things poetic, Zach J. Payne!

He describes himself as a poet, essayist, and author of young adult fiction. We describe him as a master of poetic technique (He would humbly deny this, but in the most non-pretentious way possible). He presents information in a down-to-earth, conversational, but highly educational manner.

We selected him as our guest judge because we wanted to give all of you an opportunity to get your work seen by someone who is just as passionate about the power of poetry as we are, but whose knowledge of poetry goes beyond most.

Before we dive into Zach's accomplishments and highlight some of his work, we just wanted to remind you that our second cash prize contest is already accepting submissions, so be sure to get your poems in before the deadline of November 24th.

If you aren't familiar with our contest, you can find out the details by heading over to the Move Me Monthly section found under our Contests tab. Your entry fee of $5 gives you a chance at winning $100 and in return, you help two amazing charities, keep the love of poetry alive, and receive detailed feedback about your work.


Alright! Let's dive into some of Zach's work that we think you'll benefit from greatly. This first piece does a fantastic job of explaining punctuation in poetry.

How to Punctuate Poetry. A quick guide to sculpting language. | by Zach J. Payne | Medium

Here's an excerpt: "Once you get beyond the issue of clarity, however, poetry can play fast and loose with the technical rules of punctuation in order to regulate where pauses are taken while reading, and how long and complete they are.

Think of it in terms of driving speed.

A comma is a speed bump in the middle of a thought. It tells you to slow down, to give a little pause in your speech because you’re transitioning to a new clause. It’s not a completely new idea, but it’s a transition of sorts."

You'll have to read the rest on your own, but as you see, he lays things out in a way that's easy to understand and makes sense, which is half the battle when trying to apply technique to poetry.


The next piece we want to highlight is how to rhyme well. This is a must read in our eyes, as often we see poets compromise quality to make a line rhyme, which only hurts the poem's resonance. As Zach writes, "It’s easy to write objectively bad poetry that is made worse because of the rhymes." But he doesn't stop there. In this piece, he provides an example of his own poorly written poetry and details how to go back and improve it.

How to Rhyme Well. Rhyming is no crime, but doing it well… | by Zach J. Payne | The Ninja Writers Pub | Medium


These are just a drop in the bucket of amazing essays Zach has written about poetry. We encourage you to take a stroll through his account on Medium, which we have linked below, to check out his amazing work.

Finally, we want to share Zach's newest poetry book available, "In Search of Sunflowers."

He states, "At the end of 2018, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to write a sonnet every day in 2019. And while, I ultimately failed at that goal, this is the collection that came out of it. 124 sonnets sonnets, written during the course of a year, in the order they were written. Follow along from January through December, a year in a poet's mind.

You can purchase it here.

Twitter: zach j. payne (@ZachJPayne) / Twitter

Medium: Zach J. Payne – Medium

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