1. Rhyming. Everyone thinks they have to rhyme when writing a poem, but the best poets of the last century broke from that form ages ago.
2. Using archaic language. Forget the thee’s and thou’s and couldest’s, etc. Again, another era.
3. Thinking too hard. New poets tend to want to shove the poem into a certain form – usually the sonnet. Poems should not be forced; they should flow from the poet in an unconcious splendor. Time enough later for editing.
4. Forgetting to use your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel (both physically and emotionally). I have several wonderful exercises for this one.
5. Writing about lost love. For some reason, everyone who first approaches poetry wants to pour out their hearts about love gone wrong. A HUGE no-no for the new poet.