How to Write a Poem: A Step-by-Step Guide
Poetry is . . . song lyrics without the music? Writing that rhymes? A bunch of comparisons and abstract imagery that feels like a code for the reader to decipher?
The answer to all of the above is yes, but poetry encompasses much more. Poetry is a broad literary category that covers everything from bawdy limericks to unforgettable song lyrics to the sentimental couplets inside greeting cards. Poetry’s lack of rules can make it feel hard to define but is also what makes poetry enjoyable for so many to write.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write a poem, read on. Writing poetry doesn’t have to be daunting—we’re going to demystify the process and walk you through it, one step at a time.
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What is a poem?
A poem is a singular piece of poetry.
Poems don’t have to rhyme; they don’t have to fit any specific format; and they don’t have to use any specific vocabulary or be about any specific topic. But here’s what they do have to do: use words artistically by employing figurative language . With a poem, the form is as important as the function—perhaps even more so.
In contrast, prose is writing that follows the standard sentence and paragraph structure. Prose, while it takes many different forms and tones, largely mimics human speech patterns.
The purpose of a poem
Poetry expresses emotions and conveys ideas, but that’s not all it can do. Poets tell stories, teach lessons, and even communicate hidden messages through poetry. When you listen to music with lyrics, you’re listening to poetry.
When you’re writing poetry, keep your goal in mind. Are you writing to evoke emotion? To perform your poem at an open mic night? To get a good grade on your assignment? Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules for writing poetry, there are some fundamental guidelines to keep in mind:
- Show, don’t tell. The goal is to provoke an emotion in the reader.
- Less can be more. While it’s perfectly acceptable to write long, flowery verse, using simple, concise language is also powerful. Word choice and poem length are up to you.
- It’s OK to break grammatical rules when doing so helps you express yourself.
Elements of poetry
The key elements that distinguish poetry from other kinds of literature include sound, rhythm, rhyme, and format. The first three of these are apparent when you hear poetry read aloud. The last is most obvious when you read poetry.
One thing poetry has in common with other kinds of literature is its use of literary devices. Poems, like other kinds of creative writing , often make use of allegories and other kinds of figurative language to communicate themes.
In many cases, poetry is most impactful when it’s listened to rather than read. With this in mind, poets often create sound, whether to be pleasing, jarring, or simply highlight key phrases or images through words. Read this short poem “The Cold Wind Blows” by Kelly Roper aloud and listen to the sounds the letters and words make:
Who knows why the cold wind blows
Or where it goes, or what it knows.
It only flows in passionate throes
Until it finally slows and settles in repose.
Do you hear the repeated “ose” sound and how it mimics the sound of wind gusts? Poets create sound in a variety of ways, like alliteration , assonance, and consonance.
Poetry has rhythm. That’s what often makes it so attractive to set to music.
A poem’s rhythmic structure is known as its meter . Meter refers to:
- The number of syllables in each line
- The stressed and unstressed syllables in each line
These syllables are grouped together to form feet , units that make up a line of poetry. A foot is generally two or three syllables, and each combination of two or three stressed and unstressed syllables has a unique name.
You probably recognize the term iambic pentameter from English class. It comes up a lot in high school English classes because Shakespeare wrote in it frequently, and Shakespeare is frequently read in high school English classes. An iamb is a two-syllable foot where the second syllable is stressed: duh-DUH. Pentameter means that each line in the poem has five feet or ten total syllables.
Iambic pentameter is just one of the many kinds of rhythm a poem can have . Other types of feet include the trochee , two syllables where the first syllable is stressed (DUH-duh), and dactyl , three syllables where only the first is stressed (DUH-duh-duh). When a poem only has one foot per line, it’s in monometer; when there are two feet per line, it’s in dimeter; and so on.
Stressed and unstressed syllables aren’t the only way you can create rhythm in your poetry. Another technique poets frequently embrace is repetition. Repetition underscores the words being repeated, which could be a phrase or a single word. In her poem “Still I Rise”, Maya Angelou repeats the phrase “I rise” with increasing frequency as the poem progresses, changing it from “I’ll rise” in the first stanzas to a repeated “I rise” toward the ending, to emphasize her unbreakable spirit:
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
With poetry, rhythm and rhyme go hand in hand. Both create musicality in the poem, making it pleasurable to recite and listen to.
Rhymes can appear anywhere in a poem, not just at the ends of alternating lines. Take a look at all the places Lewis Carrol uses rhymes in this excerpt from “Jabberwocky”:
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
When you’re reading poetry, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is its formatting. Simply put, poems just aren’t formatted the same way as prose. Sentences end in weird places, there are blank lines between the different sections, one word might have a line all to itself, or the words might be arranged in a shape that makes a picture on the page.
One of poetry’s defining characteristics is that it doesn’t adhere to the same formatting that prose does. You (most likely) won’t find sentences and paragraphs in poetry. Instead, you’ll find stanzas, lines, and line breaks.
A stanza is the poetic equivalent of a paragraph. It’s a group of lines that (usually) adheres to a specific rhyme or rhythm pattern. For example, a quatrain is a four-line stanza in which the second and fourth lines rhyme. An isometric stanza is a stanza of any length where each line has the same meter.
Literary devices aren’t limited to prose—many, perhaps even most, poems incorporate one or more literary devices. Literary devices commonly found in poetry include:
- Figurative language
Often, poets use literary devices in conjunction with other poetic elements. One famous example of a poem that layers multiple literary devices is Margaret Atwood’s “[you fit into me]”:
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
In the first stanza, Atwood uses a simile, a type of figurative language , to create an initially pleasant image: a hook and eye closure, a small metal hook that neatly fits into an appropriately sized metal loop to fasten clothing. Then the second stanza juxtaposes this with a jarring image: a fish hook plunged into an eyeball. These images together, formatted as two stark sections separated by a break, express the poem’s uncomfortable, visceral theme.
Types of poetic forms
There are many different types of poems. Some have very strict style rules, while others are classified according to the topics they cover rather than their structure. When you’re writing poetry, keep the form you’re writing in mind as you brainstorm—with forms that involve rhyming or require a specific number of syllables, you’ll probably want to jot down a list of go-to words that fit into your chosen format before you start writing.
A haiku is a three-line poem that always fits this format: The first and third lines contain five syllables and the second line contains seven syllables.
A limerick is a five-line poem that follows a strict AABBA rhyme scheme. Though they often discuss humorous subjects, this isn’t a requirement—the only requirement is that it fits this precise rhyme pattern.
A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem that was often used by Shakespeare and Petrarch. Although a sonnet’s exact rhyme scheme varies from poem to poem, each sonnet has some kind of consistent rhyme pattern.
Here’s a tip: Grammarly’s Citation Generator ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism. Try it for citing sonnets in Chicago , MLA , and APA styles.
Blank verse poetry is written in a specific meter that, as a rule, does not rhyme. Although this specific meter is often iambic pentameter, that isn’t a requirement for blank verse poetry—the only requirements are that it does not stray from its meter (whichever meter the poet chose) and that it doesn’t rhyme.
With free verse, anything goes. When you read a poem that doesn’t appear to fit any specific format, you’re reading free verse poetry.
An ode is a poem that celebrates a person, an event, or even an object. An ode uses vivid language to describe its subject.
Elegies are poems that, like odes, pay tribute to specific subjects. However, rather than being purely celebratory, an elegy is generally a reflection on its subject’s death and includes themes of mourning and loss.
How to write a poem
Writing a poem isn’t the same as writing a short story , an essay, an email, or any other type of writing. While each of these other kinds of writing requires a unique approach, they all have one thing in common: they’re prose.
Poetry isn’t prose, as we explained above. And that’s what makes it feel like the wildcard of creative writing.
With poetry, going through the standard writing process can feel like a creativity killer. That doesn’t mean you should just sit down, scrawl out a poem, and call it a day. On the contrary, when you’re writing poetry, you might find that skipping one or more stages in the traditional writing process will help you be more creative.
Of course, you might also find that following the writing process helps you explore and organize your thoughts before you start to write. The usefulness of starting with brainstorming, then moving onto outlining, then starting to write only once you’ve got an outline varies from poet to poet and even poem to poem. Sometimes, inspiration strikes and the words just start flowing out of your mind and onto the page.
Here are a few tips to help you get started and write your next poem:
1 Decide what you want to write about
Unless you’ve been assigned to write a poem about a specific topic, the first step in writing a poem is determining a topic to write about. Look for inspiration around you, perhaps in nature, your community, current events, or the people in your life. Take notes on how different things make you feel and what they drive you to think about.
Freewriting can be a helpful exercise when you’re searching for the perfect topic to write a poem about. You can use a writing prompt as a jumping-off point for your freewriting or just jot down a word (or a few) and see where your mind guides your pen, stream-of-consciousness style.
Once you have a topic and a theme in mind, the next step is to determine which kind of poem is the best way to express it.
2 Determine the best format for your topic
Your poem doesn’t have to adhere to any specific format, but choosing a format and sticking to it might be the way to go. By opting to write in a particular format, like a sonnet or a limerick, for example, you constrain your writing and force yourself to find a way to creatively express your theme while fitting that format’s constraints.
3 Explore words, rhymes, and rhythm
If you’ve decided to write your poem in a specific format, read other poems in that format to give yourself a template to follow. A specific rhythm or rhyme scheme can highlight themes and clever wordplay in your poem. For example, you might determine that a limerick is the most effective way to make your readers laugh at your satirical poem because the format feels like it has a built-in punchline.
4 Write the poem
Now it’s time to write! Whether you opt for using a pen and paper, typing on a laptop, or tapping on your phone, give yourself some uninterrupted time to focus on writing the poem.
Don’t expect to write something perfect on the first try. Instead, focus on getting your words out. Even if your lines don’t rhyme perfectly or you’ve got too many or too few syllables to fit the format you chose, write what’s on your mind. The theme your words are expressing is more important than the specific words themselves, and you can always revise your poem later.
5 Edit what you’ve written
Once you have a draft, the next step is to edit your poem. You don’t have to jump right from writing to editing—in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Give yourself a break. Then in a day or two, come back to your poem with a critical eye. By that, we mean read it again, taking note of any spots where you can replace a word with a stronger one, tighten your rhythm, make your imagery more vivid, or even remove words or stanzas that aren’t adding anything to the poem. When you do this, you might realize that the poem would work better in another form or that your poem would be stronger if it rhymed . . . or if it didn’t.
Reading your poem aloud can help you edit it more effectively because when you listen to it, you’ll hear the poem’s rhythm and quickly notice any spots where the rhythm doesn’t quite work. This can help you move words around or even completely restructure the poem.
If you’re comfortable sharing your poetry with others, have somebody else read your poem and give you feedback on ways you can improve it. You might even want to join a writing group, online or off, where you can workshop your poetry with other writers. Often, other people can spot strengths and weaknesses in your work that you might not have noticed because your perspective is too close to the poem. A more distanced perspective, as well as perspectives from readers and writers of different backgrounds, can offer up ways to make your writing stronger that you hadn’t considered before.
Give your writing extra spark
When you’re writing poetry, you’re allowed to break the rules. In fact, you’re encouraged to break the rules. Breaking the rules artistically is one of the key differences between writing poetry and writing prose.
But making mistakes isn’t the same as breaking the rules. Mistakes in your poetry, like misspelled words and incorrect punctuation, can distract readers from what you’re communicating through your words. That’s where Grammarly comes in. Grammarly catches any mistakes or tone inconsistencies in your work and suggests ways you can make your writing stronger. The outcome: writing with confidence and getting better at breaking the rules on purpose.
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How to Write Good Poetry: 7 Tips for Aspiring Poets
by little infinite ( @LittleInfinite )
Did you know writing poetry can improve your overall writing skills? Even if you don’t consider yourself a poet, writing poetry challenges your diction; ability to be concise, use of imagery, rhythm and storytelling skills.
If the idea of writing poetry seems a little intimidating, you’re not alone. Poetry has exploded in the last few years, especially since Instagram poets started to win over new poetry fans by filling timelines with relatable pieces of verse. In the ever-evolving world of poetry, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. Don’t worry, little infinite has you covered with something for everyone.
We believe that everyone can express themselves through poetry. All you have to do is take the first step. Here, we’ve outlined our top seven steps to writing good (or better) poetry.
How to Start Writing Good (or Better!) Poetry
- Read Poetry
- Read about Writing Poetry
- Use Poetry Journals and Prompts
- Experiment with Writing
- Find Your Writing Style
- Learn to Edit
1. Read Poetry
This step tends to be underestimated but it’s foundational. How can you know what to write if you don’t read what is out there first?
Reading poetry, especially by poets that resonate with you, shows you how to use meter, imagery, and tone to connect with your readers. Revisit old favorites like Pierre Alex Jeanty and Nikita Gill , and try out debut poetry by up-and-coming authors.
It's important to diversify what types of poetry you read and the poets you consume it from. See how other poets structure their poems and books. Explore and sample genres out of your comfort zone.
Pro tip: try writing down what speaks to you and why, then see if there are any patterns in your preferences.
2. Read about Writing Poetry
You are already doing your research, and we’re impressed! Now, meet little infinite’s must-do step: utilize the resources that industry insiders have shared. Most popularly, in the form of books.
Do you know what figurative language is? Do you know what a simile is? These books will help refresh your knowledge.
Reading about how to write poetry can be just as inspiring as reading poetry itself. Luckily, there are various resources out there to help you nail the basics. Indulge in few of little infinite’s favorite informational reads, 5 Books that Will Help you Hone your Poetry Writing .
3. Use Poetry Journals and Prompts
There are few better ways to break through writer’s block than indulging in unique poetry prompts. If you’re craving to create beyond poetry, opt for a guided writing journal. By the way, these types of journals vary widely . Some journals schedule you to write daily, some provide to-do calendars, while others are there for when you need them. Either way, writing prompts are a reliable way to get you thinking outside the box.
We love a good poetry prompt! You never know what angle each prompt will take.
Here are a few helpful (and free!) guided poetry writing resources:
- Poetry Prompts: A Week of Prompts to Refresh your Poetry Muse : For the sake of creation, try these seven days of wildly different prompts.
- 365 Days of Poetry Prompts : A convenient downloadable, so you can start it right now if you want.
- 4 Poetry Rules Every Poet Should Break Immediately : Learn how to avoid these common mistakes that hold writer’s back.
View this post on Instagram Get your free 365 Poetry Prompt Journal today!💥 Perfect for #NaPoWriMo, full of creative and trendy prompts for EVERY DAY of the year. ➡️ Link in bio! Don't forget to use our Poetry Prompt hashtag: #poetryeverydamnday to enter to be featured on @littleinfinitepoetry's Instagram. 💓 We will be choosing three poems to feature per week this month. 📝 . . . #poetryeverydamnday #littleinfinite #littleinfinitepoetry #poetryforlife #poets #writersofinstagram #nationalpoetrymonth #poetryprompts #freepoetryprompts #journalprompts #writerscommunity #poetryfoundation #poem #poetryislife #poetrycommunity #poetrylover #poetsofinstagram #poetry #poetryofinstagram #spokenword #poems #poetrybooks #modernpoetry #instamood#bookstagram #poetryinmotion #poetrygram #lovepoem A post shared by Little Infinite (@littleinfinitepoetry) on Apr 23, 2020 at 10:01am PDT
Full of unique and fun prompts, these are sure to get your creative ideas flowing.
4. Just Write
Write some really bad poems. Write some really embarrassing poems. Write micro-poems. Just write. Remember that notebook you said would never see the light of day again? Well, it is time to start another one.
You've got to write a whole bunch of really, really—like, really —bad poems. Writing a bunch of bad poems is the best way to get to the good stuff, especially when exploring your poetic potential.
Sometimes getting to the good stuff won't take long, other times it could take hours. There might even be days where you don't write anything you love at the moment. We’re here to confirm the rumors are true: it’s just part of the writing process. The fun part is, you’ll end up crafting poems that even surprise yourself!
5. Experiment with Writing
This should probably be considered Step 4.5. A huge part of experimenting with different types of poetry means you just have to try it. Experiment with things like spoken word poetry, structure, and length. Try a haiku or a free verse poem. Fill up that notebook of poetry! Experimenting with poetry will help pave the path to a more concise personal writing style.
6. Find Your Writing Style
You have learned the basics of poetry. You’ve written some poems you’re obsessed with and some, well, you plan on re-visiting. You experimented with different forms and styles. Now, you can start to define your own poetic style.
Right now, micropoetry is trending. This style is known to be short, simple, and to the point. Are you having a hard time being blunt and to the point? Try using figurative language, metaphor, and imagery in your verse. Do your poems not fit in one style? Welcome to the club. Good news, there aren’t strict rules in poetry! Use it as a way to express yourself creatively and make it your own.
Pro tip: try out our Self-Discovery Workbook for free! Packed with guided journals, prompts, affirmations, and more.
View this post on Instagram What would happen if you discovered your deeper self? 🦋 Get @littleinfinitepoetry's free Self-Discovery Guide today via the link in our bio! 🙌 Full of guided journals, poetry prompts, and our favorite resources for self-discovery! ⬇️ 🔮 What is your favorite tool in the guide?! . . . #littleinfinite #littleinfinitepoetry #poetryforlife #poets #writersofinstagram #selfdiscovery #selflovequotes #writerscommunity #poetryfoundation #poem #poetryislife #poetrycommunity #poetrylover #poetsofinstagram #poetry #poetryofinstagram #spokenword #selfdiscoveryquotes #poems #igwriters #poetrybooks #bookworm #modernpoetry #writer #instapoet #bookstagram #poetryinmotion #poetrygram #lovepoem A post shared by Little Infinite (@littleinfinitepoetry) on May 9, 2020 at 4:55pm PDT
7. Learn to Edit
Time to put on your editor’s blazer, this is where things come together. Whether you are editing one poem or a collection of 35 poems, editing is a magically crucial step.
Think of editing as polishing your poetry so it can shine brighter. The key to editing is time . How much time? It could be an hour or a day, this is personal to each occasion. Take a step away from your work, think on it, and re-visit with fresh eyes. When in doubt, phone a friend.
When you re-visit your work, consider questions like:
- Could your diction be more concise to convey the message the way you intend?
- Is the order of your poems (or lines) best organized to tell the story you want to tell?
- Should this line end here?
Wan t to learn more about poetry?
Sign up for little infinite poetry’s VIP weekly newsletter, here. Each week you’ll get the latest in poetry, writing trends, book recommendations, free guides, and more straight to your inbox. When you're ready to share your poetry with the world, learn how IngramSpark's free guide: How to Self-Publish a Book .
little infinite is your go-to poetry lifestyle site that celebrates the intersection between classic prose and modern explorations of life through verse. Keeping you up-to-date with the evolving world of poetry and your favorite creators. little infinite's commitment to their readers is that their contributions to the community will be informed, well-crafted, and aesthetically-minded. To learn more about little infinite and what they offer, visit www.littleinfinite.com , or join them on social with a community of 45,000+ and growing!
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To learn how to write a poem step-by-step, let’s start where all poets start: the basics.
This article is an in-depth introduction to how to write a poem. We first answer the question, “What is poetry?” We then discuss the literary elements of poetry, and showcase some different approaches to the writing process—including our own seven-step process on how to write a poem step by step.
So, how do you write a poem? Let’s start with what poetry is.
What Poetry Is
It’s important to know what poetry is—and isn’t—before we discuss how to write a poem. The following quote defines poetry nicely:
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” —Former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove
Poetry Conveys Feeling
People sometimes imagine poetry as stuffy, abstract, and difficult to understand. Some poetry may be this way, but in reality poetry isn’t about being obscure or confusing. Poetry is a lyrical, emotive method of self-expression, using the elements of poetry to highlight feelings and ideas.
A poem should make the reader feel something.
In other words, a poem should make the reader feel something—not by telling them what to feel, but by evoking feeling directly.
Here’s a contemporary poem that, despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of its simplicity), conveys heartfelt emotion.
Poetry is Language at its Richest and Most Condensed
Unlike longer prose writing (such as a short story, memoir, or novel), poetry needs to impact the reader in the richest and most condensed way possible. Here’s a famous quote that enforces that distinction:
“Prose: words in their best order; poetry: the best words in the best order.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge
So poetry isn’t the place to be filling in long backstories or doing leisurely scene-setting. In poetry, every single word carries maximum impact.
Poetry Uses Unique Elements
Poetry is not like other kinds of writing: it has its own unique forms, tools, and principles. Together, these elements of poetry help it to powerfully impact the reader in only a few words.
The elements of poetry help it to powerfully impact the reader in only a few words.
Most poetry is written in verse , rather than prose . This means that it uses line breaks, alongside rhythm or meter, to convey something to the reader. Rather than letting the text break at the end of the page (as prose does), verse emphasizes language through line breaks.
Poetry further accentuates its use of language through rhyme and meter. Poetry has a heightened emphasis on the musicality of language itself: its sounds and rhythms, and the feelings they carry.
These devices—rhyme, meter, and line breaks—are just a few of the essential elements of poetry, which we’ll explore in more depth now.
Understanding the Elements of Poetry
As we explore how to write a poem step by step, these three major literary elements of poetry should sit in the back of your mind:
- Rhythm (Sound, Rhyme, and Meter)
- Literary Devices
1. Elements of Poetry: Rhythm
“Rhythm” refers to the lyrical, sonic qualities of the poem. How does the poem move and breathe; how does it feel on the tongue?
Traditionally, poets relied on rhyme and meter to accomplish a rhythmically sound poem. Free verse poems—which are poems that don’t require a specific length, rhyme scheme, or meter—only became popular in the West in the 20th century, so while rhyme and meter aren’t requirements of modern poetry, they are required of certain poetry forms.
Poetry is capable of evoking certain emotions based solely on the sounds it uses. Words can sound sinister, percussive, fluid, cheerful, dour, or any other noise/emotion in the complex tapestry of human feeling.
Take, for example, this excerpt from the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” by Walt Whitman:
Red — “b” sounds
Blue — “th” sounds
Green — “w” and “ew” sounds
Purple — “s” sounds
Orange — “d” and “t” sounds
This poem has a lot of percussive, disruptive sounds that reinforce the beating of the drums. The “b,” “d,” “w,” and “t” sounds resemble these drum beats, while the “th” and “s” sounds are sneakier, penetrating a deeper part of the ear. The cacophony of this excerpt might not sound “lyrical,” but it does manage to command your attention, much like drums beating through a city might sound.
To learn more about consonance and assonance, euphony and cacophony, and the other uses of sound, take a look at our article “12 Literary Devices in Poetry.”
It would be a crime if you weren’t primed on the ins and outs of rhymes. “Rhyme” refers to words that have similar pronunciations, like this set of words: sound, hound, browned, pound, found, around.
Many poets assume that their poetry has to rhyme, and it’s true that some poems require a complex rhyme scheme. However, rhyme isn’t nearly as important to poetry as it used to be. Most traditional poetry forms—sonnets, villanelles , rimes royal, etc.—rely on rhyme, but contemporary poetry has largely strayed from the strict rhyme schemes of yesterday.
There are three types of rhymes:
- Homophony: Homophones are words that are spelled differently but sound the same, like “tail” and “tale.” Homophones often lead to commonly misspelled words .
- Perfect Rhyme: Perfect rhymes are word pairs that are identical in sound except for one minor difference. Examples include “slant and pant,” “great and fate,” and “shower and power.”
- Slant Rhyme: Slant rhymes are word pairs that use the same sounds, but their final vowels have different pronunciations. For example, “abut” and “about” are nearly-identical in sound, but are pronounced differently enough that they don’t completely rhyme. This is also known as an oblique rhyme or imperfect rhyme.
Meter refers to the stress patterns of words. Certain poetry forms require that the words in the poem follow a certain stress pattern, meaning some syllables are stressed and others are unstressed.
What is “stressed” and “unstressed”? A stressed syllable is the sound that you emphasize in a word. The bolded syllables in the following words are stressed, and the unbolded syllables are unstressed:
- Un• stressed
- Plat• i• tud• i•nous
- De •act•i• vate
- Con• sti •tu• tion•al
The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables is important to traditional poetry forms. This chart, copied from our article on form in poetry , summarizes the different stress patterns of poetry.
2. Elements of Poetry: Form
“Form” refers to the structure of the poem. Is the poem a sonnet, a villanelle, a free verse piece, a slam poem, a contrapuntal, a ghazal, a blackout poem , or something new and experimental?
Form also refers to the line breaks and stanza breaks in a poem. Unlike prose, where the end of the page decides the line breaks, poets have control over when one line ends and a new one begins. The words that begin and end each line will emphasize the sounds, images, and ideas that are important to the poet.
To learn more about rhyme, meter, and poetry forms, read our full article on the topic:
3. Elements of Poetry: Literary Devices
“Poetry: the best words in the best order.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge
How does poetry express complex ideas in concise, lyrical language? Literary devices—like metaphor, symbolism, juxtaposition, irony, and hyperbole—help make poetry possible. Learn how to write and master these devices here:
How to Write a Poem, in 7 Steps
To condense the elements of poetry into an actual poem, we’re going to follow a seven-step approach. However, it’s important to know that every poet’s process is different. While the steps presented here are a logical path to get from idea to finished poem, they’re not the only tried-and-true method of poetry writing. Poets can—and should!—modify these steps and generate their own writing process.
Nonetheless, if you’re new to writing poetry or want to explore a different writing process, try your hand at our approach. Here’s how to write a poem step by step!
1. Devise a Topic
The easiest way to start writing a poem is to begin with a topic.
However, devising a topic is often the hardest part. What should your poem be about? And where can you find ideas?
Here are a few places to search for inspiration:
- Other Works of Literature: Poetry doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it’s part of a larger literary tapestry, and can absolutely be influenced by other works. For example, read “The Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes , a poem that was inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool.”
- Real-World Events: Poetry, especially contemporary poetry, has the power to convey new and transformative ideas about the world. Take the poem “A Cigarette” by Ilya Kaminsky , which finds community in a warzone like the eye of a hurricane.
- Your Life: What would poetry be if not a form of memoir? Many contemporary poets have documented their lives in verse. Take Sylvia Plath’s poem “Full Fathom Five” —a daring poem for its time, as few writers so boldly criticized their family as Plath did.
- The Everyday and Mundane: Poetry isn’t just about big, earth-shattering events: much can be said about mundane events, too. Take “Ode to Shea Butter” by Angel Nafis , a poem that celebrates the beautiful “everydayness” of moisturizing.
- Nature: The Earth has always been a source of inspiration for poets, both today and in antiquity. Take “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver , which finds meaning in nature’s quiet rituals.
- Writing Exercises: Prompts and exercises can help spark your creativity, even if the poem you write has nothing to do with the prompt! Here’s 24 writing exercises to get you started.
At this point, you’ve got a topic for your poem. Maybe it’s a topic you’re passionate about, and the words pour from your pen and align themselves into a perfect sonnet! It’s not impossible—most poets have a couple of poems that seemed to write themselves.
However, it’s far more likely you’re searching for the words to talk about this topic. This is where journaling comes in.
Sit in front of a blank piece of paper, with nothing but the topic written on the top. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and put down all of your thoughts related to the topic. Don’t stop and think for too long, and try not to obsess over finding the right words: what matters here is emotion, the way your subconscious grapples with the topic.
At the end of this journaling session, go back through everything you wrote, and highlight whatever seems important to you: well-written phrases, poignant moments of emotion, even specific words that you want to use in your poem.
Journaling is a low-risk way of exploring your topic without feeling pressured to make it sound poetic. “Sounding poetic” will only leave you with empty language: your journal allows you to speak from the heart. Everything you need for your poem is already inside of you, the journaling process just helps bring it out!
3. Think About Form
As one of the elements of poetry, form plays a crucial role in how the poem is both written and read. Have you ever wanted to write a sestina ? How about a contrapuntal, or a double cinquain, or a series of tanka? Your poem can take a multitude of forms, including the beautifully unstructured free verse form; while form can be decided in the editing process, it doesn’t hurt to think about it now.
4. Write the First Line
After a productive journaling session, you’ll be much more acquainted with the state of your heart. You might have a line in your journal that you really want to begin with, or you might want to start fresh and refer back to your journal when you need to! Either way, it’s time to begin.
What should the first line of your poem be? There’s no strict rule here—you don’t have to start your poem with a certain image or literary device. However, here’s a few ways that poets often begin their work:
- Set the Scene: Poetry can tell stories just like prose does. Anne Carson does just this in her poem “Lines,” situating the scene in a conversation with the speaker’s mother.
- Start at the Conflict: Right away, tell the reader where it hurts most. Margaret Atwood does this in “Ghost Cat,” a poem about aging.
- Start With a Contradiction: Juxtaposition and contrast are two powerful tools in the poet’s toolkit. Joan Larkin’s poem “Want” begins and ends with these devices. Carlos Gimenez Smith also begins his poem “Entanglement” with a juxtaposition.
- Start With Your Title: Some poets will use the title as their first line, like Ron Padgett’s poem “Ladies and Gentlemen in Outer Space.”
There are many other ways to begin poems, so play around with different literary devices, and when you’re stuck, turn to other poetry for inspiration.
5. Develop Ideas and Devices
You might not know where your poem is going until you finish writing it. In the meantime, stick to your literary devices. Avoid using too many abstract nouns, develop striking images, use metaphors and similes to strike interesting comparisons, and above all, speak from the heart.
6. Write the Closing Line
Some poems end “full circle,” meaning that the images the poet used in the beginning are reintroduced at the end. Gwendolyn Brooks does this in her poem “my dreams, my work, must wait till after hell.”
Yet, many poets don’t realize what their poems are about until they write the ending line . Poetry is a search for truth, especially the hard truths that aren’t easily explained in casual speech. Your poem, too, might not be finished until it comes across a necessary truth, so write until you strike the heart of what you feel, and the poem will come to its own conclusion.
7. Edit, Edit, Edit!
Do you have a working first draft of your poem? Congratulations! Getting your feelings onto the page is a feat in itself.
Yet, no guide on how to write a poem is complete without a note on editing. If you plan on sharing or publishing your work, or if you simply want to edit your poem to near-perfection, keep these tips in mind.
- Adjectives and Adverbs: Use these parts of speech sparingly. Most imagery shouldn’t rely on adjectives and adverbs, because the image should be striking and vivid on its own, without too much help from excess language.
- Concrete Line Breaks: Line breaks help emphasize important words, making certain images and ideas clearer to the reader. As a general rule, most of your lines should start and end with concrete words—nouns and verbs especially.
- Stanza Breaks: Stanzas are like paragraphs to poetry. A stanza can develop a new idea, contrast an existing idea, or signal a transition in the poem’s tone. Make sure each stanza clearly stands for something as a unit of the poem.
- Mixed Metaphors: A mixed metaphor is when two metaphors occupy the same idea, making the poem unnecessarily difficult to understand. Here’s an example of a mixed metaphor: “a watched clock never boils.” The meaning can be discerned, but the image remains unclear. Be wary of mixed metaphors—though some poets (like Shakespeare) make them work, they’re tricky and often disruptive.
- Abstractions: Above all, avoid using excessively abstract language. It’s fine to use the word “love” 2 or 3 times in a poem, but don’t use it twice in every stanza. Let the imagery in your poem express your feelings and ideas, and only use abstractions as brief connective tissue in otherwise-concrete writing.
Lastly, don’t feel pressured to “do something” with your poem. Not all poems need to be shared and edited. Poetry doesn’t have to be “good,” either—it can simply be a statement of emotions by the poet, for the poet. Publishing is an admirable goal, but also, give yourself permission to write bad poems, unedited poems, abstract poems, and poems with an audience of one. Write for yourself—editing is for the other readers.
How to Write a Poem: Different Approaches and Philosophies
Poetry is the oldest literary form, pre-dating prose, theater, and the written word itself. As such, there are many different schools of thought when it comes to writing poetry. You might be wondering how to write a poem through different methods and approaches: here’s four philosophies to get you started.
How to Write a Poem: Poetry as Emotion
If you asked a Romantic Poet “what is poetry?”, they would tell you that poetry is the spontaneous emotion of the soul.
The Romantic Era viewed poetry as an extension of human emotion—a way of perceiving the world through unbridled creativity, centered around the human soul. While many Romantic poets used traditional forms in their poetry, the Romantics weren’t afraid to break from tradition, either.
To write like a Romantic, feel—and feel intensely. The words will follow the emotions, as long as a blank page sits in front of you.
How to Write a Poem: Poetry as Stream of Consciousness
If you asked a Modernist poet, “What is poetry?” they would tell you that poetry is the search for complex truths.
Modernist Poets were keen on the use of poetry as a window into the mind. A common technique of the time was “Stream of Consciousness,” which is unfiltered writing that flows directly from the poet’s inner dialogue. By tapping into one’s subconscious, the poet might uncover deeper truths and emotions they were initially unaware of.
Depending on who you are as a writer, Stream of Consciousness can be tricky to master, but this guide covers the basics of how to write using this technique.
How to Write a Poem: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice of documenting the mind, rather than trying to control or edit what it produces. This practice was popularized by the Beat Poets , who in turn were inspired by Eastern philosophies and Buddhist teachings. If you asked a Beat Poet “what is poetry?”, they would tell you that poetry is the human consciousness, unadulterated.
To learn more about the art of leaving your mind alone , take a look at our guide on Mindfulness, from instructor Marc Olmsted.
How to Write a Poem: Poem as Camera Lens
Many contemporary poets use poetry as a camera lens, documenting global events and commenting on both politics and injustice. If you find yourself itching to write poetry about the modern day, press your thumb against the pulse of the world and write what you feel.
Additionally, check out these two essays by Electric Literature on the politics of poetry:
- What Can Poetry Do That Politics Can’t?
- Why All Poems Are Political (TL;DR: Poetry is an urgent expression of freedom).
Okay, I Know How to Write a Good Poem. What Next?
Poetry, like all art forms, takes practice and dedication. You might write a poem you enjoy now, and think it’s awfully written 3 years from now; you might also write some of your best work after reading this guide. Poetry is fickle, but the pen lasts forever, so write poems as long as you can!
Once you understand how to write a poem, and after you’ve drafted some pieces that you’re proud of and ready to share, here are some next steps you can take.
Publish in Literary Journals
Want to see your name in print? These literary journals house some of the best poetry being published today.
Assemble and Publish a Manuscript
A poem can tell a story. So can a collection of poems. If you’re interested in publishing a poetry book, learn how to compose and format one here:
Join a Writing Community
writers.com is an online community of writers, and we’d love it if you shared your poetry with us! Join us on Facebook and check out our upcoming poetry courses .
Poetry doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it exists to educate and uplift society. The world is waiting for your voice, so find a group and share your work!
super useful! love these articles 💕
Indeed, very helpful, consize. I could not say more than thank you.
I’ve never read a better guide on how to write poetry step by step. Not only does it give great tips, but it also provides helpful links! Thank you so much.
Thank you very much, Hamna! I’m so glad this guide was helpful for you.
Very inspirational and marvelous tips
Thank you super tips very helpful.
I have never gone through the steps of writing poetry like this, I will take a closer look at your post.
Beautiful! Thank you! I’m really excited to try journaling as a starter step x
[…] How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step […]
This is really helpful, thanks so much
Extremely thorough! Nice job.
Thank you so much for sharing your awesome tips for beginner writers!
People must reboot this and bookmark it. Your writing and explanation is detailed to the core. Thanks for helping me understand different poetic elements. While reading, actually, I start thinking about how my husband construct his songs and why other artists lack that organization (or desire to be better). Anyway, this gave me clarity.
I’m starting to use poetry as an outlet for my blogs, but I also have to keep in mind I’m transitioning from a blogger to a poetic sweet kitty potato (ha). It’s a unique transition, but I’m so used to writing a lot, it’s strange to see an open blog post with a lot of lines and few paragraphs.
Anyway, thanks again!
I’m happy this article was so helpful, Eternity! Thanks for commenting, and best of luck with your poetry blog.
Yours in verse, Sean
One of the best articles I read on how to write poems. And it is totally step by step process which is easy to read and understand.
Thanks for the step step explanation in how to write poems it’s a very helpful to me and also for everyone one. THANKYOU
Totally detailed and in a simple language told the best way how to write poems. It is a guide that one should read and follow. It gives the detailed guidance about how to write poems. One of the best articles written on how to write poems.
what a guidance thank you so much now i can write a poem thank you again again and again
The most inspirational and informative article I have ever read in the 21st century.It gives the most relevent,practical, comprehensive and effective insights and guides to aspiring writers.
Thank you so much. This is so useful to me a poetry
[…] Write a short story/poem (Here are some tips) […]
It was very helpful and am willing to try it out for my writing Thanks ❤️
Thank you so much. This is so helpful to me, and am willing to try it out for my writing .
Absolutely constructive, direct, and so useful as I’m striving to develop a recent piece. Thank you!
thank you for your explanation……,love it
Really great. Nothing less.
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Jerz's Literacy Weblog (est. 1999)
Poetry writing tips: 10 helpful hacks for how to write a poem.
Jerz > Writing > General Creative Writing Tips [ Poetry | Fiction ]
If you are writing a poem because you want to capture a feeling that you experienced , then you don’t need these tips. Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so only you will know whether your poem succeeds.
If, however, your goal is to communicate with a reader — drawing on the established conventions of a literary genre (conventions that will be familiar to the experienced reader) to generate an emotional response in your reader — then simply writing what feels right to you won’t be enough. (See also “ Poetry is for the Ear ” and “ When Backwards Newbie Poets Write .”)
These tips will help you make an important transition:
- away from writing poetry to celebrate, commemorate, or capture your own feelings (in which case you, the poet, are the center of the poem’s universe)
- towards writing poetry in order to generate feelings in your reader (in which case the poem exists entirely to serve the reader).
- Avoid Clichés
- Avoid Sentimentality
- Use Metaphor and Simile
- Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words
- Communicate Theme
- Subvert the Ordinary
- Rhyme with Extreme Caution
- Revise, Revise, Revise
Tip #1 Know Your Goal.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?
You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you begin any project. Writing a poem is no exception.
Before you begin, ask yourself what you want your poem to “do.” Do you want your poem to explore a personal experience, protest a social injustice, describe the beauty of nature, or play with language in a certain way? Once your know the goal of your poem, you can conform your writing to that goal. Take each main element in your poem and make it serve the main purpose of the poem.
Tip #2 Avoid Clichés
Stephen Minot defines a cliché as: “A metaphor or simile that has become so familiar from overuse that the vehicle … no longer contributes any meaning whatever to the tenor. It provides neither the vividness of a fresh metaphor nor the strength of a single unmodified word….The word is also used to describe overused but nonmetaphorical expressions such as ‘tried and true’ and ‘each and every'” ( Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction and Drama , 405).
Cliché also describes other overused literary elements. “Familiar plot patterns and stock characters are clichés on a big scale” (Minot 148). Clichés can be overused themes, character types, or plots. For example, the “Lone Ranger” cowboy is a cliché because it has been used so many times that people no longer find it original.
A work full of clichés is like a plate of old food: unappetizing.
More creative writing tips.
Clichés work against original communication. People value creative talent. They want to see work that rises above the norm. When they see a work without clichés, they know the writer has worked his or her tail off, doing whatever it takes to be original. When they see a work full to the brim with clichés, they feel that the writer is not showing them anything above the ordinary. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this paragraph is chock full of clichés… I’ll bet you were bored to tears.)
Clichés dull meaning. Because clichéd writing sounds so familiar, people can finish whole lines without even reading them. If they don’t bother to read your poem, they certainly won’t stop to think about it. If they do not stop to think about your poem, they will never encounter the deeper meanings that mark the work of an accomplished poet.
Examples of Clichés:
How to improve a cliché.
I will take the cliché “as busy as a bee” and show how you can express the same idea without cliché.
- Determine what the clichéd phrase is trying to say. In this case, I can see that “busy as a bee” is a way to describe the state of being busy.
- Think of an original way to describe what the cliché is trying to describe. For this cliché, I started by thinking about busyness. I asked myself the question, “What things are associated with being busy?” I came up with: college, my friend Jessica, corporation bosses, old ladies making quilts and canning goods, and a computer, fiddlers fiddling. From this list, I selected a thing that is not as often used in association with busyness: violins.
- Create a phrase using the non-clichéd way of description. I took my object associated with busyness and turned it into a phrase: “I feel like a bow fiddling an Irish reel.” This phrase communicates the idea of “busyness” much better than the worn-out, familiar cliché. The reader’s mind can picture the insane fury of the bow on the violin, and know that the poet is talking about a very frenzied sort of busyness. In fact, those readers who know what an Irish reel sounds like may even get a laugh out of this fresh way to describe “busyness.”
Try it! Take a cliché and use these steps to improve it. You may even end up with a line you feel is good enough to put in a poem!
Tip #3 Avoid Sentimentality.
Sentimentality is “dominated by a blunt appeal to the emotions of pity and love …. Popular subjects are puppies, grandparents, and young lovers” (Minot 416). “When readers have the feeling that emotions like rage or indignation have been pushed artificially for their own sake, they will not take the poem seriously” (132).
Minot says that the problem with sentimentality is that it detracts from the literary quality of your work (416). If your poetry is mushy or teary-eyed, your readers may openly rebel against your effort to invoke emotional response in them. If that happens, they will stop thinking about the issues you want to raise, and will instead spend their energy trying to control their own gag reflex.
Tip #4 Use Images.
“BE A PAINTER IN WORDS,” says UWEC English professor emerita, poet, and songwriter Peg Lauber. She says poetry should stimulate six senses:
- kinesiology (motion)
- “Sunlight varnishes magnolia branches crimson” (sight)
- “Vacuum cleaner’s whir and hum startles my ferret” (hearing)
- “Penguins lumber to their nests” (kinesiology)
Lauber advises her students to produce fresh, striking images (“imaginative”). Be a camera. Make the reader be there with the poet/speaker/narrator. (See also: “ Show, Don’t (Just) Tell “)
Tip #5 Use Metaphor and Simile.
Use metaphor and simile to bring imagery and concrete words into your writing.
A metaphor is a statement that pretends one thing is really something else: Example: “The lead singer is an elusive salamander.” This phrase does not mean that the lead singer is literally a salamander. Rather, it takes an abstract characteristic of a salamander (elusiveness) and projects it onto the person. By using metaphor to describe the lead singer, the poet creates a much more vivid picture of him/her than if the poet had simply said “The lead singer’s voice is hard to pick out.”
A simile is a statement where you say one object is similar to another object. Similes use the words “like” or “as.” Example: “He was curious as a caterpillar” or “He was curious, like a caterpillar” This phrase takes one quality of a caterpillar and projects it onto a person. It is an easy way to attach concrete images to feelings and character traits that might usually be described with abstract words.
Note: A simile is not automatically any more or less “poetic” than a metaphor. You don’t suddenly produce better poems if you replace all your similes with metaphors, or vice versa. The point to remember is that comparison, inference, and suggestion are all important tools of poetry; similes and metaphors are tools that will help in those areas.
Tip #6 Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words.
Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses.
A person can see orange, feel warm, or hear a cat.
A poet’s concrete words help the reader get a “picture” of what the poem is talking about. When the reader has a “picture” of what the poem is talking about, he/she can better understand what the poet is talking about.
Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings.
“Liberty” is a concept, “happy” is a feeling, and no one can agree on whether “love” is a feeling, a concept or an action.
A person can’t see, touch, or taste any of these things. As a result, when used in poetry, these words might simply fly over the reader’s head, without triggering any sensory response. Further, “liberty,” “happy,” and “love” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, if the poet uses such a word, the reader may take a different meaning from it than the poet intended.
Change Abstract Words Into Concrete Words
To avoid problems caused by using abstract words, use concrete words.
Example: “She felt happy.”
This line uses the abstract word “happy.” To improve this line, change the abstract word to a concrete image. One way to achieve this is to think of an object or a scene that evokes feelings of happiness to represent the happy feeling.
Improvement: “Her smile spread like red tint on ripening tomatoes.”
This line uses two concrete images: a smile and a ripening tomato. Describing the smile shows the reader something about happiness, rather than simply coming right out and naming the emotion. Also, the symbolism of the tomato further reinforces the happy feelings. Red is frequently associated with love; ripening is a positive natrual process; food is further associated with being satisfied.
Tip #7 Communicate Theme.
Poetry always has a theme. Theme is not just a topic, but an idea with an opinion.
Theme = Idea + Opinion
Topic: “The Vietnam War”
This is not a theme. It is only a subject. It is just an event. There are no ideas, opinions, or statements about life or of wisdom contained in this sentence
Theme: “History shows that despite our claims to be peace-loving, unfortunately each person secretly dreams of gaining glory through conflict.”
This is a theme. It is not just an event, but a statement about an event. It shows what the poet thinks about the event. The poet strives to show the reader his/her theme during the entire poem, making use of literary techniques.
Tip #8 Subvert the Ordinary.
Poets’ strength is the ability to see what other people see everyday in a new way . You don’t have to be special or a literary genius to write good poems–all you have to do is take an ordinary object, place, person, or idea, and come up with a new perception of it.
Example: People ride the bus everyday.
Poets’ Interpretation: A poet looks at the people on the bus and imagines scenes from their lives. A poet sees a sixty-year old woman and imagines a grandmother who runs marathons. A poet sees a two-year old boy and imagines him painting with ruby nail polish on the toilet seat, and his mother struggling to not respond in anger.
Take the ordinary and turn it on its head. (The word “subvert” literally means “turn upside down”.)
Tip #9 Rhyme with Extreme Caution.
Rhyme and meter (the pattern of stressed and unstressed words) can be dangerous if used the wrong way. Remember sing-song nursery rhymes? If you choose a rhyme scheme that makes your poem sound sing-song, it will detract from the quality of your poem.
I recommend that beginning poets stick to free verse . It is hard enough to compose a poem without dealing with the intricacies of rhyme and meter. (Note: see Jerz’s response to this point, in “ Poetry Is For the Ear .”)
If you feel ready to create a rhymed poem, refer to chapters 6-10 of Stephen Minot’s book Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama . 6 th ed., for more help.
Tip #10 Revise, Revise, Revise.
The first completed draft of your poem is only the beginning. Poets often go through several drafts of a poem before considering the work “done.”
- Put your poem away for a few days, and then come back to it. When you re-read it, does anything seem confusing? Hard to follow? Do you see anything that needs improvement that you overlooked the first time? Often, when you are in the act of writing, you may leave out important details because you are so familiar with the topic. Re-reading a poem helps you to see it from the “outsider’s perspective” of a reader.
- Show your poem to others and ask for criticism. Don’t be content with a response like, “That’s a nice poem.” You won’t learn anything from that kind of response. Instead, find people who will tell you specific things you need to improve in your poem.
26 May 2000 — originally submitted by Kara Ziehl, as an assignment for Prof. Jerz’s technical writing class 01 Aug 2000 — modified and posted by Jerz 30 Nov 2001 — minor edits by Jerz 21 July 2011 — minor refresh 22 May 2013 — added intro before the tips. 24 Dec 2017 — minor formatting tweaks 09 Apr 2019 — corrected a 1000-year error caused by a typo in the above line
Handouts > Creative Writing > Poetry Tips
Poetry is for the Ear — Whatever poetry you write or read, learn to listen with the ears of your audience. Pay attention to the sounds the words make, even if you write in free verse.
Short Poems: Little Exquisite Vessels of Thought –A few good lines of verse can pack as much emotional content as a whole paragraph of ordinary prose. Just because a poem is short does not mean writing it is easy.
Getting College Credit for your High School Poems –Poems that perfectly record how you felt about events in your life probably won’t work as submissions for college writing classes. Most professors will expect you to revise in-progress poems.
305 thoughts on “ Poetry Writing Tips: 10 Helpful Hacks for How to Write a Poem ”
It’s an interesting one
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I jumped from the introduction to the cliché section and kept reading until the end of the rhyming advice. This is powerful to post for someone to use as a subtle guideline during the writing process. Going through one of my poems on my blog, I rewrote it several times, making sure it hits the spot. Now, I feel once I post all 30 of my blogs, I’m going to go through each one and continue making modifications until it is perfect and sounds correct.
I am much impressed by the site,,it has motivated me as a poetry beginner In 1 year time I believe I shall be a great poet,thank you.
Poetry is a genre of literature, a genre of art, and a genre of life. It is a form of literary artwork due to its matchless beauty and magnitude of emotion.
I love poems
the above mentioned tips are amazing. i have got an outline on how this work of writing poems is done. soon i’m going to come up with my writings..thanks
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Hey sir, I want you to offer me some suggestions regarding my writing, I’m just a newbie. I don’t know where am I heading. Here is my piece of work down below. Have a look, please. Thank you.
My love has bruised my naive heart. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
She ran off, after approaching, where did she go? Her gestures had driven me crazy from the start. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
I had started out pursuing her path carelessly. waiting for her, turned me into ashes under the pot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
I wish you to pass by my needy door someday. My faded eyes are being waited for you on spot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
If you please remove this veil, my remiss love? As I’m burning in your remembrance, Oh my mascot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
I have rubbed ashes on my body, don’t you go far. Would you keep pride to my pleas or not. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
Your vows have kept me alive to this day. Thereby, I offer my chest to every coming arrow shot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.
Ehmad there is nothing to pick on except don’t repeat the last line every time
You have poem for school childrens
Very informative article on how to write poetry thanks For sharing.
The tips for writing poem are really amazing! I really love to write poems. All the best to poem lovers!
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This will be an additional knowledge to me when I create my 2nd poetry book. Great tips!
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I can’t simply go without leaving a comment. This post is a great read.
I hope you can take the time to read my post as well: A Guide to Writing Exceptional Poetry
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Please what type of image can I give to Covid 19 as a poet
My first attempt As I gazed at the sky,I saw the beauty of Earth which is to be compared with yours It seems am an ant scavenging for crumbs of bread to behold the sight of a sheen, I could feel the warm,calm breeze touching my skin,just as I see the sun scorching like your eyes Your aura is like the sweet aroma of a banana, Your smile spread like the wings of a dove gliding over the deep blue ocean The sound of your voice could be linked to that of a mermaid….
My first attempt Please I’d like criticism
I see an engaging list of sensory details. What I’m looking for is some evidence of a revelation, an insight that changes the way the speaker (the “I” in the poem) thinks about the “you” who is the subject of the poem. Not all poems need to have that kind of a twist or revelation, but I’m looking for some kind of resolution. What new insight does the speaker gain, after gazing at the sky and doing all the comparisons listed in the poem? “Her big brown eyes were like pools that I could fall into and swim away from all my troubles.” That’s kind of silly (I claim no special talent as a poet) but it’s an example that goes beyond listing how X is like Y.
I’m not really an expert on these poem thing. But this is really a nice try of yours! Sounds very magical to me. But i kinda don’t understand some part of what you are trying to tell..it’s okay maybe because of some typos. Love it btw!
i love your first line
Ive been writing poems for a while now. My fathers death brought out feelings I could best express through poems. I’m curious if they are pretty good or need work.
Here’s one of my poems.
Baby blue eyes
When I saw you last, I looked in your eyes. You couldn’t speak, or even cry. You looked so lost and full of fear. All I could do, was wipe my tears.
I knew it was over, you felt so alone. I did what I could for your journey home. I stayed by your side, all through the night. Never leaving you, holding you tight.
My memories of you, are close to my heart. You’ll always be with me, we’ll never part. I’ll never forget how much I cried, I’ll never forget those baby blue eyes.
Dan, I would say that poems people write in order to express their feelings and to honor and commemorate a specific event in their life fall into the category of doing whatever feels right to you.
If you are interested in technical hints on becoming a better poet, I suggest you start with a poem that you feel is not “finished” — something you are still working on.
I have noticed that students who brought their “finished” high school poems into a college writing workshop are often so emotionally attached to their work that it was hard for them to cut out lines or whole stanzas or change whole organizational principles that weren’t working. This handout is focused specifically on high school poetry, but the general idea addresses using very personal poems in a writing workshop.
If what you’d like to do is polish this poem, then I’d say the line breaks in this submission are confusing (I’d expect line breaks after “eyes.” and “cry,” and “fear.”) Having said that, point 9 on this page cautions against rhyming for beginning poets, though I also wrote this handout that emphasizes the power of sounds in poems: https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-is-for-the-ear/
The lines “You looked so lost and full of fear” and “I’ll never forget how much I cried” TELL me what you felt, but poetry works best when, instead of listing the emotions the poet felt, the poem instead generates feelings in the reader.
I didn’t know your father, so when I read about you looking into his eyes, I don’t have the memory of decades of looking at your father’s smirk when he gets in a zinger during a dinnertime debate about politics, or seeing the scar on his right brow from the car accident you caused when he was teaching you to drive, etc. (Of course I made up those details, and so they don’t accurately reflect who your father is. What details WOULD accurately convey your father’s personality?)
Rather than TELLING me that your memories are close to your heart, can you instead spend time bringing me along with you as you relive just one really significant event? Think of how a movie really comes to life when the camera zooms in on a person talking about a memory, and then suddenly we see a younger version of that character living through the events they remembered. Sometimes movies might have the older version of the character right there in the scene, commenting, like Scrooge does during the flashbacks the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him. That’s what movies do — they dramatize for the camera. Poems do something different — they use very specific sensory details in order to conjure up emotions in the reader. But listing the emotions you felt is not the same thing as giving your reader a reason to feel something.
This handout on Showing vs. Telling focuses on short stories, but it’s the same principle. TELLING me what you feel is different from SHOWING me something and generating a feeling in me.
The professional writing advice “murder your darlings” emphasizes that even though we might be excited by and attached to what we wrote in a burst of inspired creative emotions, the process of editing and revision only works if we are objective and willing to trade off the emotional integrity of the experience we had WRITING a draft, with the technical requirements of what experienced readers will expect when READING a poem, and what they will find that’s original and effective, and what will seem predictable and overdone. https://medium.com/mindset-matters/who-said-murder-your-darlings-6a769e3f205e
This site has a collection of poems about grief.
If you were a student in my class, and you said you wanted to write a poem about grief, I’d ask you to read a dozen or so classic and modern poems about loss, and I’d ask you to explore how those poets use sensory experiences, memory, juxtaposition, contrast and other literary techniques in order to accomplish something that moved you; and then I’d ask you to try using some of those same strategies in your own work.
How many modern works use rhyming couplets? Was your baby-blue-eyed father a 300-pound professional wrestler? Were his eyes important to his profession, or to do something he loved to do, or something he did selflessly and reliably for the family?
When I was a kid, I found where my dad kept his “to do” list, and I decided I’d spend about 30 minutes a week doing something on that list, without being asked, and without telling him. Vacuuming the stairs, watering the lawn, that sort of thing. Sometimes when he saw me doing the task, or when he went to do it and found it had been done, he would be in such a good mood that he’d invite me out for ice cream.
If I wanted to put that detail into a poem, I wouldn’t say “here’s a thing that used to happen all the time. I would do a thing on my father’s to-do list, and he’d be so happy he’d invite me out for ice cream.”
Instead, I’d introduce my father as a barrel-chested former weight-lifter, who was not a hugger, who commuted for decades to an office job that he hated, and but hummed happily when he was sanding boards and chopping wood. On one day he was grumpy after doing his taxes, and I saw him making a cup of coffee and putting on his work clothes, so I turned off my video game and dashed out the back door, so that he’d see me uncoiling the garden hose and setting up the lawn sprinkler. Instead of just TELLING you that I noticed the tension leave his body; I’d SHOW that as he took in what he saw, his hands slowly unclenched, and he went back inside. When I came in a little later, he was humming to himself while flipping through the sports page, and he asked if I wanted to go out for ice cream.
I wouldn’t add a line about how “I’ll never forget how it felt when he reached across the back of the car seat to give my neck an affectionate squeeze”. Instead, I’d come up with a simile to describe the weight of his hand on my neck, and then I’d flash back to my very first memory, which is of my father holding me above his head, telling me to straighten out like a board and pressing my nose against the ceiling; and then I’d flash forward to a few months ago when I visited him, now well into his 80s; he had some trouble getting out of a chair, and without interrupting his story about a play the Bears made, he just casually reached out his hand so I could help him stand.
My poem would be full of references to hands and touching, but I probably wouldn’t title it “The Touch of My Father’s Hand” and I wouldn’t insult the reader by announcing the poem’s theme. I would just pick these specific memories of physical contact with my father, and I would try to make each one of them meaningful sensory experiences to the reader. I wouldn’t insert commentary listing my own feelings, and I wouldn’t try to tell the reader how they were supposed to react.
What are some other ways that your father’s eyes have been meaningful to you? Let your reader get to know your father’s eyes in happier times, so that we can feel the contrast for ourselves.
Thank you for your input Dennis. This is why I put it out there. I wanted to know how and what I can improve on. I’ll look at all you examples and hopefully learn from them. Again, thank you!
Sir may I ask permission if I can cite your tips in the module that I am writing for the Senior High School? I just found your tips practical for the high school students.
Yes, you may cite these tips.
your comment is longer then the article
What an eloquently phrased and well-supported response. So persuasive, too!
That is good but I think you should work on organizing it to specific lines
I really like this poem. My own father passed recently and I totally could relate. Thank you for sharing it. I just came across it today. Sorry for your loss.
you are freaking amazing.
I am learning
I happened to write few poems without knowing how to write.. Thank you for all d informations .. I shall follow the instructions and see how my poetry writing skill changes over the months🙏Ranbir laishram
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One may secure 9/9 band in IELTS but writing poetry in English is it self a new subject. It is very well written article and if followed the correct steps as described above. It can help improve the poetry writing skills a lot. One should pay attention to the following questions.
“What should I write poems about?” “How should I decide the right form for my poem?” “What are common mistakes that new poets make, and how can I avoid them?” “How do I write free verse/blank verse/sonnets/haikus etc.?”
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I think a good poet is very good at observing their surroundings. They are able to push these elements of life into creative writing, which can be in the form of poetry. I liked the poem by Sean Francisco in the comments. Poem Spark – Beautiful title.
Wow,wonderful explanations and recommendations of poetry.I am a poet too.You can find my poetry blog here https://shreyaspoetry.blogspot.com It is a must visit for poetry lovers.
I really enjoyed your explanation, thanks a million and God bless you with more wisdom.
In the 3rd book in my Butterflies series, I am writing a 3rd section on poem structure. Now I have my own idea about how a poem is written and I just had to run a Google search for comparison.
I just wrote this poem in maybe 30 minutes, good or bad, you all call it. I like it pretty good, I think. I’m definitely adding it to my next book.
No offense, This is my Poem Spark.
An ancient Jeraboam, would want you to know, there is but one poem, it’s of our soul.
Its wine warmed in the heart, God given to man. There is just one start, with all the world at your hand.
Don’t be afraid! Yes, sing us your song. It’s your history made. You can do no wrong.
After your gold, gleams light on the dark please always be so bold, you make a Poem Spark.
thanks for the great job Dan
THANKS FOR THIS ADVICE I REALKY DASIRE THEM
My father wrote this poem; I don’t know if you can consider this as a poem coz i don’t know what figure of speech or style he employed here. Would appreciate your expertise here c: Thank you in advance!
A PEOPLE BETRAYED
My People My poor people My suffering people My forsaken people Fooled and deceived Dazzled and misled Silenced and blinded Lulled and deluded Swindled and cheated Plundered and looted Burdened and tormented Trapped and exploited Captured and manipulated Trampled and invaded Swamped and dominated Starved and enslaved Denied and deserted Blamed and derided Ignored and dismayed Shamed and prostituted Mortgaged and conveyed Condemned and uprooted Terrorized and bullied Paralyzed and BETRAYED
By ruthless self-proclaimed leaders And by scheming alien invaders Who in reality are deceivers Who in truth are exploiters Who in fact are slavers Who in short are BETRAYERS Of my poor and endangered people A PEOPLE BETRAYED
A people full of sorrows A people full of sufferings A people full of burden A people full of pain A people full of despair A people full of confusion A people full of shame A people full of difficulties A people full of tragedies A people full of nightmares
Fooled and deceived Dazzled and misled Silenced and blinded Lulled and deluded Swindled and cheated Plundered and looted Burdened and tormented Trapped and exploited Captured and manipulated Trampled and invaded Swamped and dominated Starved and enslaved Denied and deserted Blamed and derided Ignored and dismayed Shamed and prostituted Mortgaged and conveyed Condemned and uprooted Terrorized and bullied Paralyzed and BETRAYED
A nation full of fools A nation full of slaves A nation full of beggars A nation full of captives
A nation full of cowards A nation full of idiots A nation full of sycophants A nation full of robots
A nation full of liars A nation full of hypocrites A nation full of clowns A nation full of puppets
A nation full of rascals A nation full of maniacs A nation full of crooks A nation full of monkeys
A nation full of deserters A nation full of bystanders A nation full of profiteers A nation full of racketeers
A nation full of pretenders A nation full of blusterers A nation full of squanderers A nation full of blunderers
A nation full of deceivers A nation full of invaders A nation full of conspirators A nation full of saboteurs
A nation full of slanderers A nation full of distorters A nation full of captors A nation full of tormentors
A nation full of exploiters A nation full of plunderers A nation full of oppressors A nation full of traitors
My people My poor people My suffering people My forsaken people My starving people My condemned people A people deceived A people misled A people exploited A people dominated A people enslaved A PEOPLE BETRAYED!
that’s not a poem, just a list of words. it literally does the opposite of all the tips given above, i.e. not a single concrete image to help the reader see in their own head. “my poor people” gives the reader zero visually, emotionally. who are the people? if concrete details were described — their unique clothes, or land, or actions — the reader would see them. right now, they are invisible.
a tip not given above: Compress! make the poem as short as possible to convey the idea. who wants to read or hear the phrase “a nation” 36 times, or “people” 30 times?.
I can certainly imagine an in-person recitation of this composition being very personal, very passionate, and very meaningful. Spoken-word performances are very different creatures from the kind of literary poetry that this page covers. This text states that a certain list of adjectives apply “in reality,” “in truth” and “in fact” to a certain group, but as “J z” mentioned a list of words doesn’t work on the reader’s emotions in the way that literary poetry does. We’d need to depend up seeing your father’s face, hearing his voice, and knowing about your relationship to your father, in order for these words to have the kind of effect on us that they may have on you.
What do these words mean to your father? What does he mean to you? How can you make us, the reader, feel those relationships?
No the above tips are useful only bro 😉😉😉
Just a list of words, where the author tries too hard to make it relevant that they know an average amount of vocabulary. There is no story, no continuity, no rhythm.
Do you have any constructive criticism to offer? It’s okay if this poem doesn’t use the techniques you prefer.
I don’t know exactly it is a poem or not. I can feel it because now in my country, Myanmar (formerly Burma), our People are suffering the same the author writes about.
YES! This is a poem.. Superb
My first attempt:
Her red lipstick covered lips raised like the oceans blue waves.
Her happiness is like the silver stared night sky.
The night sky is like a calm breeze brushing against her skin on a warm summer night.
The breeze is like her inner breath. Breathing comes to her like a diligent and vibrant brush stroke.
Her happiness is like the sweet aroma of the calming ocean saltwater.
Her happiness relies on others like stain colored glass relies on the very sand beneath her fingertips.
What do you guys think!! I need constructive criticism!
Very well, thought out
This is totally the best I’ve seen. It’s also an inspiration.
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36 Poetry Writing Tips
by Melissa Donovan | Aug 10, 2023 | Poetry Writing | 72 comments
Poetry writing tips.
Poetry is the most artistic and liberating form of creative writing. You can write in the abstract or the concrete. Images can be vague or subtle, brilliant or dull. Write in form, using patterns, or write freely, letting your conscience (or subconscious) be your guide.
You can do just about anything in a poem. That’s why poetry writing is so wild and free; there are no rules. Poets have complete liberty to build something out of nothing simply by stringing words together.
All of this makes poetry writing alluring to writers who are burning with creativity. A poet’s process is magical and mesmerizing. But all that freedom and creativity can be a little overwhelming. If you can travel in any direction, which way should you go? Where are the guideposts?
Today’s writing tips include various tools and techniques that a poet can use. But these tips aren’t just for poets. All writers benefit from dabbling in poetry. Read a little poetry, write a few poems, study some basic concepts in poetry, and your other writing (fiction, creative nonfiction, even blogging) will soar.
Below, you’ll find thirty-six writing tips that take you on a little journey through the craft of poetry writing. See which ones appeal to you, give them a whirl, and they will lead you on a fantastic adventure.
- Read lots of poetry. In fact, read a lot of anything if you want to produce better writing.
- Write poetry as often as you can.
- Designate a special notebook (or space in your notebook) for poetry writing.
- Try writing in form (sonnets, haiku, etc.).
- Use imagery.
- Embrace metaphors, but stay away from clichés.
- Sign up for a poetry writing workshop.
- Expand your vocabulary.
- Read poems over and over (and aloud). Consider and analyze them.
- Join a poetry forum or poetry writing group online.
- Study musicality in writing (rhythm and meter).
- Use poetry prompts when you’re stuck.
- Be funny. Make a funny poem.
- Notice what makes others’ poetry memorable. Capture it, mix it up, and make it your own.
- Try poetry writing exercises when you’ve got writer’s block.
- Study biographies of famous (or not-so-famous) poets.
- Memorize a poem (or two, or three, or more).
- Revise and rewrite your poems to make them stronger and more compelling.
- Have fun with puns.
- Don’t be afraid to write a bad poem. You can write a better one later.
- Find unusual subject matter — a teapot, a shelf, a wall.
- Use language that people can understand.
- Meditate or listen to inspirational music before writing poetry to clear your mind and gain focus.
- Keep a notebook with you at all times so you can write whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes.
- Submit your poetry to literary magazines and journals.
- When you submit work, accept rejection and try again and again. You can do it and you will.
- Get a website or blog and publish your own poetry.
- Connect with other poets to share and discuss the craft that is poetry writing.
- Attend a poetry reading or slam poetry event.
- Subscribe to a poetry podcast and listen to poetry.
- Support poets and poetry by buying books and magazines that feature poetry.
- Write with honesty. Don’t back away from your thoughts or feelings. Express them!
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Mix art and music with your poetry. Perform it and publish it.
- Eliminate all unnecessary words, phrases, and lines. Make every word count.
- Write a poem every single day.
- Read a poem every single day.
Have You Written a Poem Lately?
I believe that poetry is the most exquisite form of writing. And anyone can write a poem if they want to. In today’s world of fast-moving images, poetry has lost much of its appeal to the masses. But there are those of us who thrive on language and who still appreciate a poem and its power to move us emotionally. It’s our job to keep great poetry writing alive. And it’s our job to keep writing poetry.
What are some of your favorite writing tips from today’s list? How can you apply poetry writing techniques to other forms of writing? Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment!
Interesting article! 🙂 Thank you for writing this, Melissa!
Thank you for reading it, Maria!
I find this very helpful in my search to write poetry with some help. I am finding lots of things on the internet. This is my favorite so far.
Thanks for your kind words, Sandy. I’m glad you found this article helpful!
Nice article~ I started writing poetry on a regular basis back in November. Gave myself permission to write really bad stuff without hitting the delete key 🙂
I’d like to see recommendations for poetry blogs ands sites if you don’t mind sharing.
Hi Connie. In my experience, creative freedom (permission to write bad stuff) is essential in poetry writing. Most of the poetry sites I visit are online literary magazines, but I actually get most of my poetry from books. There are some excellent podcasts too — IndieFeed: Performance Poetry and Poem of the Day come to mind as two favorites.
Poem: Our Promise Kiribaku
You promised You promised me the world You promised You promised me your last name You promised You promised me heaven You promised You promised me Money You promised me freedom But now I am shackled by the pain of our broken promise
I have not written a poem lately. I don’t know why, but I only feel compelled to write poetry when I’m overflowing with emotion of some kind. Anger, passion, remorse, grief, love … the things that are so hard to contain in prose and need the stretchier boundaries of poetry to give them the room they need. Otherwise, I’m a down-to-earth, prose girl, and since, as a rule, I’m pretty even-keeled as emotions go … I don’t do the poetry thing very often. I think about it, though. Does that count?
Do you read a lot of poetry? I too tend to get the urge to write poetry when I’m overflowing with emotion, so I know what you mean. And it’s easy to drift away from poetry writing, especially when you’re blogging and writing copy! I don’t know if thinking about it counts, but I guess if your thoughts eventually lead to a poem, then it does count! Ha!
I really don’t read that much poetry, I like to think of myself as a creative person, but I’m still a prose girl at heart. Also, I have an aversion to things that rhyme (other than song lyrics) because sappy Hallmark cards pretty much ruined that for me when I was in my teens (grin).
Hallmark hasn’t exactly been a positive PR machine for poetry in general, has it? But what about Dr. Seuss-ish rhymes? Nursery rhymes? Rhymes in song lyrics? Can you tell I love rhyming? I know what you mean about sappy rhymes and greeting-card poems. When I’m writing (or reading) I always look for clever and unexpected rhymes. That sort of levels out the cheesiness factor.
Thanks for posting this list!
My illustrious poetry career was cut short around the age of 13, when I became more obsessed with journaling about boys than writing witty epic poems commemorating family members’ birthdays.
I’ve decided that this will be the year that I finally open up to poetry again! I’ll probably start up with writing in my signature “grade 6” style of poetry which is likely to include rhymes like “bee” and “pee” and classic highbrow toilet humour. Hopefully I can grow from there. I’m currently trawling through your previous posts and comments for poetry tips, terms and reading suggestions – the one on meter and musicality looks especially good.
You asked for topic requests in a previous post, so here are a few post suggestions that I’d be interested in reading about:
1. A list of your favourite poets or pieces? (I’m currently asking all my friends for suggested readings as a starting point!) 2. More poetic devices or techniques that you may know about?
Hi zz. I’ll have to think about compiling a list of my favorite poems and poets. Some of my favorites are ee cummings, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Emily Dickinson, and so many more…
Like you, I started writing poetry when I was 13 years old. Since then, I’ve been in and out of poetry writing over the years. It’s comforting to know that I can always return to it. Good luck this year with your poetry!
All the tips are most useful for anyone who wants to become a poet. But it is not easy to follow each and every step. Concentration and hard work is essential to reach the goal.
True, although it depends on the goal. I’ve known a lot of writers who write poetry solely for personal expression. Their poems are private, much like a journal. You’re right in that it’s not easy to follow every step, and becoming a (published) poet takes concentration and hard work.
I think I never write poems because I don’t know when a poem is a poem and when it’s not. I never figured out any simple criteria for something to be a poem.
Do you ever read poetry? I think that learning through example is the best way to figure out what is a poem, although I have come across a few poems that I would consider prose or fiction — these are often referred to as “prose poems.” If you wanted to try your hand at poetry writing, you could always go the traditional route and compose sonnets or haiku. Those are definitely poems.
Thanks for sharing your insights on poetry.It is a nice article.Surely to improve poetry,one has to keep writing and editing.
That’s true. Improvement comes from practice, so keep on writing.
I made a New Year’s resolution to write a poem a day…so far I have strayed from my resolution hehe…nice post
Aw, but you still shouldn’t give up. You can also double up to catch up. Good luck!
Thank you Melissa, I will catch up by doubling up. The hardest thing to do is to employ various poetical techniques in a hip-hop form and present them to an audience that may be too dense to grab or understand dedication to the craft. I have learned that there is a market for everything though.
Don’t underestimate your audience! One of the reasons I fell in love with hip hop was because of its poetry (Jay-Z in particular). Of course, then there was the dance element!
Hi Melissa! Thanks for this site.It feels nice being with people who loves to write and your tips are really very useful. I am a lover of poems and I have tried writing poems myself. I’ve tried to write poems everyday as suggested and I realized that it is good practice…although most of them are not really even worth sharing, but it gives me time to critic my own work and at the same time improve on them. Oftentimes I dream that someday my poems will entertain others the way some poems entertain me, but many I find my poems very shallow. And much as I would like to say that poetry is just a way of expressing myself and sometimes venting myself of some negative feelings so I have to keep them to myself, most of the time, I have the urge to share it to somebody. Sometimes, the beauty of the poem for me is when you are able to share what it is you want to express and somebody else understands it the way you wanted it to be understood. It may be vain, but I think it is also a great feeling when someone says he/she liked my poem. Is it normal for a writer?
Hi Mary. Yes, I think what you’re experiencing is completely normal for a writer. Often, what seems obvious or ordinary to you is fascinating to someone else. If we, as writers, write what we know, then it’s not necessarily new or exciting, but for someone who hasn’t walked in our shoes or lived inside our heads, our words are fresh and compelling.
Of course it’s a wonderful feeling when someone likes your poem! The trick is to also experience a wonderful feeling when someone likes it enough to offer suggestions for improvements: “I like this poem a lot, but it would be even better if…” That’s a sign that someone believes in your work enough to want to help you grow.
My suggestion is to read tons and tons of poetry. There is plenty of great work online, but be sure to explore the classics and literary journals too. Good luck to you!
i have written a lot of poems. where can one send these for publishing….
Hi Charlan. Your question is really beyond the scope of what I can answer in a blog comment. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of publications that accept submissions. But before you submit to any of them, you should read them. I recommend searching for literary magazines, poetry magazines, literary journals, and poetry journals. That should be a good start.
.35 read a poem every day.
Well, there are lots of great tips here, but I thought I’d share a source of poetry that allows me to read a sacred poem everyday. It’s great–stuff all the way from Rumi to Levertov. And it draws on all spiritual traditions. Here’s the link! http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/
Thanks for sharing that link, Rose. I’ll have to check it out. Great poetry is a bit hard to find online, so I appreciate your suggestion.
I love poetry. I recently got the word tattooed on my right arm. 🙂 Now that I’ve read this, I’m inspired to write a sonnet! Thank you!
Thank you, Lauren. Good luck with your sonnet.
Though I write youth fiction now, I can’t get away from poetry and end up scribbling poetic lines down in my journal every now and then. I guess that stems from my teen music writing days, where I had notebooks full of songs, poetry, whatever. Poetry is such a free form of writing, kind of like dancing 🙂
I couldn’t agree more, Alex. My focus these days is more on fiction and creative nonfiction, but the poems still show up at will. When they do, I write them in my journal. It’s definitely like dancing (a magical kind of dancing).
Melissa Donovan, I could disagree with everything you said, but that would make me a fool. And I am no fool no sir re, although I act a bit like one from time to time. Yes Notebooks galore are stored in my little pad.
I don’t read a lot as I am creating a lot and posting and maintaining my Blogs and websites along with all their supporting Bookmakers and Indexers. Forums are great and workshops are better. But the thing I find most supportive is pretending to be your own Publisher your own Boss.
This is what I am doing day in and day out or whenever the spirits move me. I talk about mostly creating as I am not educated enough in the forms of other poetry just free verse and prose. I guess I should try others forms and I may at a latter date.
But right not I am trying to make my poetry work for me, as I am Home bound and disabled to a great extent. Well I enjoyed this write it states much truth for Poets and Poetesses a like, God Bless and may you Keep on Keeping On!
Donnie/ Sinbad the Sailor Man
I believe that reading is essential to good writing. Many writers have reasons for not reading, but I think the reasons to read are far more convincing. In fact, I think spending an hour a day reading and twenty minutes writing will improve your writing faster and more thoroughly than spending an hour and twenty minutes a day writing. Keep at it, Donnie.
hi melissa, i am 14 and i wrote my firt poem a month ago. since then my school had registered my name for a competition. i am not really experienced and i am worried since i have to write a poem on a topic given by thejudges, in an hour. any tips?
My first tip would be this: don’t take the competition too seriously. It’s an honor that you were selected. Most poets aren’t constrained by a one-hour time limit, but this is definitely an opportunity to have a little fun with your creativity and challenge yourself. I say, just go with it. If you can, give yourself about ten minutes to jot down words and images once you’ve been given your subject. Then spend about thirty minutes working that material into a poem. Use the remaining twenty minutes to edit and revise. Good luck to you, Ash!
These are really good advise. I love point 23 especially, to meditate before penning down. I’ve always find poetry writing a way to connect with my own spirituality. I have always been smitten by poems of others with their powerful rhyming and rhythm, which I always have difficulty pulling it off. It always seem to me that they have not one word wasted. What would you suggest to make an improvement on ths aspect?
The best suggestion I can offer you is to edit your poems slowly and thoughtfully. Poems can happen very quickly and many beginning poets are inclined to go over the poem once or twice, sweeping it rather than giving it a deep cleaning. Spend time with the poem. Look for alternative words in a thesaurus. If you’re having trouble with rhyme, use a rhyming dictionary. If the rhythm is off, use a metronome or play music (without lyrics) while you write, or study music on the side to get a sense of rhythm and meter.
Wow!!!! Found it just awesome.. Yeah I have written some poems, but haven’t published anywhere, so, how can I do it to publish on this site.. This made me, to devote myself more and more for my dream Thaanxx for the article
Hi Nibedit. This is not a publishing platform for poetry, but you can do a search for “poetry journals” and “literary magazines” to find a host of sites that accept work for publication. I wish you the best of luck with your writing!
Well-written tips Melissa! Reading a lot definitely helps you to produce better poetry. I always have a small book in my bag, so that I could write whenever I feel to 🙂
Thanks, Summer! I carry a tiny notebook too, plus my phone, which I can use if I’ve forgotten my notebook for some reason.
Hey, Melissa! I’ve read through your article, but I’m still stuck on how I’m supposed to write a poem with deeper meaning. It seems like every other poem I’ve ever written have the same words on it and I’m running out of ideas of how to start. I would’ve considered myself to be fairly good as a learning poet but now i think I’m doubting myself because i used to know more vocabularies and now i can’t seem to think of any witty writings. I would appreciate any suggestions you may offer.
My best suggestion is to read some poetry and read some books on the craft of poetry. I always found those to the best ways to break through a plateau. You can check my Writing Resources page, where I have listed some of my favorite poetry resources.
I’m 13 and I’m trying to put together a poetry book. It’s about being gay and losing friends because of it, people not liking me back, etc. So far the poems I have written are very good (in my opinion), although depressing. I sent one in to a literary agent asking if it was professional material and he said he would gladly help me publish it.
So, what I wanted to say is that I barely ever read poetry and I can still write well. My ideas, rhythm patterns, rhyme schemes, etc. are original, and I like that about them. I’m not going for perfect or a masterpiece. I just want to get my messages and emotions across, so I don’t read the poetry of others. I can see why other poets would, but I just don’t. I just let myself write, and then I edit and revise whatever I come up with. Just stop when it sounds good.
Also, I want to add that you shouldn’t be afraid to write dark or depressing poetry. Just write with the emotions that you feel inside. Almost all of my poems are depressing, but it doesn’t mean that I cut myself or anything. So don’t be afraid to do that. (Writing depressing poetry, not cutting yourself. Lol)
Good luck to all of you aspiring poets out there!
Thomas, I think it’s wonderful that you’re writing poetry at age thirteen (coincidentally, that’s the age I started writing it, too) and that you’re using poetry to express yourself and address important social issues. I applaud you!
However, I cannot get on board with the notion that one can write great poetry without reading it. You say you write good poems, but how could you possibly know whether your poems are good if you don’t read any other poetry? What, exactly, are you comparing your poems to? You may very well be a born talent, but I can assure you that if you study your craft, your poems will be a thousand times better.
You say “I just want to get my messages and emotions across, so I don’t read the poetry of others.” It sounds to me like you want the world to listen to you but you don’t want to listen to anyone else, which is too bad. I hope that in time, you’ll change your mind and decide to embrace poetry in full, which means reading it as well as writing it.
I do enjoy reading a poem everyday. I subscribed to Academy of American Poets Poem A Day. That way I’m sure to read a different poem each day delivered to my email. The last time I wrote a poem was a week ago. I need to get back into a better routine with writing poetry. I enjoy it very much and I do try to find different journals and contests to submit my poetry to at least a few times a year. Thanks for the motivation with this article.
I’ve always viewed poetry as the most artistic (and sometimes magical!) form of writing. I just wish more people would embrace it.
hi. i’ve been so empty lately. the thought of making poems is that it interests me, at my good times and bad times. i dont know if it is talent or something. they dont even know, my friends and my family. im a little shy and ashame about it. they would say poetry sucks, its not for you, they would never understand the feeling. this is what i really love to do . i want to play with words. they found me. help me understand it. thanks.bye
If you want to make poems, then make poems. Other people don’t get to decide how you spend your free time. Why on earth would you be ashamed about wanting to write poetry? There are always people who want to shame and bully people because they are different. Don’t let them control you. Can you imagine shaming someone because they like soccer or knitting?
Ms Melissa, Also “steal” techniques and then perfect them to your purpose.
Thank you so much for this article Melissa! I wanted to write a book on my life for so many years but decided it would hurt too many people, even though they never thought about their actions. I woke up one morning and wrote poems(literally) based on the way i felt which I felt was less hurtful but more direct and expressive! My poems are free form and I’ve been reading up on writing good poetry. Although I find it difficult to fit to the guidelines. This article really helps! Cheers!
Hi Gayle! I’m so glad you liked this article. I once had an idea for a book based on real life, but like you, it wasn’t worth it to risk upsetting people, and I had plenty of other things that I wanted to write. Actually, it was a good way to eliminate an idea at a time when I had too many of them! And I agree that poetry is the most expressive and cathartic form of writing. Thank you for your comment.
Thank you so much for this fantastic article Melissa. I have just published my first book and working on my next one. I’m always on the outlook for crafted information to help me as a writer. I have developed my own style when writing poetry but it’s always nice to dapple using different ideas and constraints. Thanks…
You’re welcome, David. Congratulations on finishing your first book. May there be many more to follow!
This is encouraging. I’ve written a couple of poems but didn’t think they were good enough. Now I know there are really no limits. Thanks!
I’m glad you found this encouraging, Grace. As long as you stick with it, there are no limits. Keep writing.
Thanks beloved friend & Poetess I appreciate all your tips Everyone is On point, Phenomenal brilliant Food for a, poetry writer & speaker To use.
Lovely! Thanks, Jeffrey.
I’ve been writing poetry for years and have a collection of books on Amazon. When it comes to critique from your audience, it may surprise you! You might find teachers, other poets, writers and artists love your work. However, you will get feedback from people who hate your words. They will be harsh and leave you with a terrible review. This doesn’t mean you should stop and feel terrible, it just means you didn’t resonate with that person. Every type of creative work is open to good and bad feedback. It’s all part of the process. Just keep doing what you love.
This is so true. All art is subjective. I’ve had some interesting debates with people who don’t care for the poetry of ee cummings. Personally, I love his work. Unfortunately, reviewers often lack objectivity. For example, a trained and experienced reviewer can probably acknowledge the merit of a work while expressing their dislike (“it’s good work but not to my taste”). Some say you haven’t really “made it” until you get your first negative review. Writers can use feedback to grow and improve, but we should not let negative reviews impede our progress or determination. Thanks for your comment!
I lost my muse trying to find it again. So I wrote this
Yellow is the sun Blue is the sky Hot is the desert Blank is the heart
Filled is the store Hungry do we wake
Many are they None is there
Alive we are Dead are we walking
Happy is the face Sad is the heart
Many are friends Lonely is he
Beauty is the body Ugly is the being
Island do we dwell Thirst are we
Kings are we born Shackles around neck
Love do they preach Hate do we see
Blessed are we born Cursed are we
Perfect is the earth made Chaos do we see
Mercy sowth the creator Vengeance ignited the creation
Noises do we hear Yet deaf are we.
Thank you for sharing your poem with us. Lovely.
This list is awesome. The one item on the list that renosontes with me would be supporting your favorite poets, your local poets, and read their marietial. I recently had a poem accepted by Spillwords called “Running with Scissors.” I’d like to attend a poetry slam in the future.
Thanks, Donetta! I too would love to attend a poetry slam. They look so fun!
You have some wonderful tips here. 🤍🌺 I’ve learned so much!
Thanks, Kymber! I love how you use the Sims to illustrate your stories! That’s awesome.
Thanks for this wonderful post. In December last year I committed myself to write one poem a day for a year. So far, I’m on track, but am running out of inspiration. Some of my poems are traditional rhyming poetry, one or two are free verse. I’ve written some Haiku, a few limericks, one or two narrative poems and some on things I feel deeply about, like what we are doing to our lovely planet. I hope to publish in two volumes–January to June and July to December. People will then be able to read one poem each day for a year.
What a fun challenge. I always mean to write a poem a day in April for National Poetry Month, but I keep forgetting! That seems to be a busy time of year for me.
I write a lot of poetry and have published a couple of collections. But with no rules, I wonder if there are more things I should know. I do/have done most of your list, but there are some good additions here. Thanks
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How to Write a Poem
Last Updated: September 15, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 7,023,261 times.
Writing a poem is about observing the world within or around you. A poem can be about anything, from love to loss to the rusty gate at the old farm. Writing poetry can seem daunting, especially if you do not feel you are naturally or bursting with poetic ideas. With the right inspiration and approach, you can write a poem that you can be proud to share with others in the class or with your friends.
Starting the Poem
Brainstorming for Ideas Try a free write. Grab a notebook or your computer and just start writing—about your day, your feelings, or how you don’t know what to write about. Let your mind wander for 5-10 minutes and see what you can come up with. Write to a prompt. Look up poem prompts online or come up with your own, like “what water feels like” or “how it feels to get bad news.” Write down whatever comes to mind and see where it takes you. Make a list or mind map of images. Think about a situation that’s full of emotion for you and write down a list of images or ideas that you associate with it. You could also write about something you see right in front of you, or take a walk and note down things you see.
Finding a Topic Go for a walk. Head to your favorite park or spot in the city, or just take a walk through your neighborhood. Use the people you see and nature and buildings you pass as inspiration for a poem. Write about someone you care about. Think about someone who’s really important to you, like a parent or your best friend. Recall a special moment you shared with them and use it to form a poem that shows that you care about them. Pick a memory you have strong feelings about. Close your eyes, clear your head, and see what memories come to the forefront of your mind. Pay attention to what emotions they bring up for you—positive or negative—and probe into those. Strong emotional moments make for beautiful, interesting poems.
- For example, you may decide to write a poem around the theme of “love and friendship.” You may then think about specific moments in your life where you experienced love and friendship as well as how you would characterize love and friendship based on your relationships with others.
- Try to be specific when you choose a theme or idea, as this can help your poem feel less vague or unclear. For example, rather than choosing the general theme of “loss,” you may choose the more specific theme, such as “loss of a child” or “loss of a best friend.”
- You may decide to try a poetic form that is short, such as the haiku , the cinquain , or the shape poem. You could then play around with the poetic form and have fun with the challenges of a particular form. Try rearranging words to make your poem sound interesting.
- You may opt for a form that is more funny and playful, such as the limerick form, if you are trying to write a funny poem. Or you may go for a more lyrical form like the sonnet , the ballad , or the rhyming couplet for a poem that is more dramatic and romantic.
- “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge  X Research source
- “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman  X Research source
- “I measure every Grief I meet” by Emily Dickinson  X Research source
- “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare  X Research source
- “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop  X Research source
- “Night Funeral in Harlem” by Langston Hughes  X Research source
- “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams  X Research source
Writing the Poem
- For example, rather than try to describe a feeling or image with abstract words, use concrete words instead. Rather than write, “I felt happy,” you may use concrete words to create a concrete image, such as, “My smile lit up the room like wildfire.”
Try a New Literary Device Metaphor: This device compares one thing to another in a surprising way. A metaphor is a great way to add unique imagery and create an interesting tone. Example: “I was a bird on a wire, trying not to look down.” Simile: Similes compare two things using “like” or “as.” They might seem interchangeable with metaphors, but both create a different flow and rhythm you can play with. Example: “She was as alone as a crow in a field,” or “My heart is like an empty stage.” Personification: If you personify an object or idea, you’re describing it by using human qualities or attributes. This can clear up abstract ideas or images that are hard to visualize. Example: “The wind breathed in the night.” Alliteration: Alliteration occurs when you use words in quick succession that begin with the same letter. This is a great tool if you want to play with the way your poem sounds. Example: “Lucy let her luck linger.”
- For example, you may notice how the word “glow” sounds compared to the word “glitter.” “Glow” has an “ow” sound, which conjures an image of warmth and softness to the listener. The word “glitter” is two syllables and has a more pronounced “tt” sound. This word creates a sharper, more rhythmic sound for the listener.
- For example, you may notice you have used the cliche, “she was as busy as a bee” to describe a person in your poem. You may replace this cliche with a more unique phrase, such as “her hands were always occupied” or “she moved through the kitchen at a frantic pace.”
Polishing the Poem
- You may also read the poem out loud to others, such as friends, family, or a partner. Have them respond to the poem on the initial listen and notice if they seem confused or unclear about certain phrases or lines.
- You may go over the poem with a fine-tooth comb and remove any cliches or familiar phrases. You should also make sure spelling and grammar in the poem are correct.
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- Brainstorm big things in your life and how they have impacted you. For example, if you write about how someone you know died, the tone of the poem could be the great sadness and loss you feel deep down and how it feels like a piece of you is missing. Thanks Helpful 14 Not Helpful 1
- Think about what really matters in your life. It can give you ideas when you think about the people and places you love. You can write a poem in the form of the struggles in your life or the dangers you have had to face. You can also write a poem about happiness someone or something has brought to your life. Remember, what you write about should set the mood of your poem. Thanks Helpful 16 Not Helpful 4
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- ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/article/every-student-can-be-poet/
- ↑ https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-h
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201604/the-secret-writing-transformative-poetry
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/readingpoetry/
- ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45477/song-of-myself-1892-version
- ↑ https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-measure-every-grief-i-meet-561
- ↑ https://poets.org/poem/shall-i-compare-thee-summers-day-sonnet-18
- ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47536/one-art
- ↑ https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/night-funeral-harlem
- ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45502/the-red-wheelbarrow
- ↑ https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-how-to-write-a-poem/
- ↑ https://www.literacymn.org/sites/default/files/learning_center_docs/metaphors_and_similes.pdf
- ↑ https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1266002.pdf
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/poetry-explications/
- ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709796/
- ↑ https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/naming-the-unnameable/chapter/chapter-eight-revision/
About This Article
Writing a poem can seem intimidating at first, but with a little patience and inspiration, you can produce a beautiful work of written art. If you’re not sure what to write about, spend a few minutes jotting down whatever thoughts come into your head. Think about your feelings, your experiences and memories, people in your life, or things that you sense in your environment and see if any of those things inspire you. You can also try working from writing prompts. Once you’ve done some free writing, look for themes and ideas in what you’ve written, and choose one that feels inspiring to you. Common themes include things like love, loss, family, or nature. After you choose a theme, think about how you’d like to structure the poem. For example, you might stick to a traditional format, such as a limerick, haiku, or quatrain. If you’d rather not feel constrained by rhymes or meter, consider writing a free verse poem and simply let the words flow in whatever way feels right. You can also read poems by other authors to get ideas and inspiration. When you’re writing the poem, look for ways to express your thoughts using powerful, sensory language. For example, instead of saying something like “I felt happy,” try using a colorful simile, like “My heart soared like a bird set free.” As you’re writing, also think about how the poem will sound when read out loud. Try reading it to yourself or a friend to see if it’s pleasing to the ear. If a word or phrase doesn’t flow the way you like, replace it with something else that has a similar meaning. You might not be satisfied with the first draft of your poem, and that’s totally okay. Read it to yourself, get feedback from friends, teachers, or other people you trust, and keep revising until you feel like you’ve created a poem that really captures the feelings you’re trying to convey. For help choosing a structure for your poem, like a haiku, limerick, or sonnet, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How To Write Poetry for Beginners
Getting started writing poetry can seem daunting. We have heard that there are so many "rules" over the years when it comes to good poetry, and while there are certainly rules that make good writing in fact good, poetry is one of those forms of writing that can be much more subjective and "looser" in terms of the rules. However, there are certainly things anyone can do to improve their poetry writing, and this is a worthwhile place to start for beginners who want to take on poetry so they have guidance when they might not know how to approach a poem.
For beginners, and anyone who needs a refresher about poetry writing (or even general writing guidelines) the below points will go a long way in leveling up those poems or give you a place to start if you're ready to get those ideas on paper.
1. Read poetry
Many of the points about writing good poetry for beginners on this list will speak to the art of writing as a whole. Stephen King once said , If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or tools) to write. Reading and paying attention to the writing of others that you admire is a great way to get you thinking about the poetry you'd want to create yourself. Even when you read casually without dissecting the work, it is having an impact on you and being absorbed, even if subconsciously. You can also of course read poetry in a less casual way to truly study the craft, pick up on what other poets are doing with their sentence structure and language, their descriptions, their unique choices with words, etc. This might get you thinking about the types of poems you want to write whether it be in terms of subject matter, sensory details, literary devices, rhyme scheme and structure, and so on. Reading is always the most important thing any writer can do to improve and be inspired. Often when a writer is stuck or experiencing writer's block, the best advice is to read. Inspiration will come soon enough.
2. Ask what the story of your poem is
All writing should have a story. This may be your starting point, or it may unfold after you begin with a detail, image, or literary device . If you don't start with building the story, then be sure to ask yourself what story you are telling once you have the poem drafted. This will inform where to take it next. While reading beautiful words and conjuring images is appealing, the story is where the emotion lies and where the reader will find connection.
3. Start small
For beginners, starting small can be much less daunting. A short poem of a few lines or even less is a good way to get the creativity flowing and become familiar with the poetry form. Try writing a haiku or even a brief reflective idea that may either stand on its own or become incorporated into a longer poem later. Some of the most impactful writing can be short and simple but contain a lot of depth. Simply getting started can be more than half the battle, so don't think you have to write a long narrative to make meaningful poetry. Quality outweighs quantity every time.
4. Write first, edit later
Nothing kills creativity like editing as you are writing. The first draft can (and often should) be full of liberties and mistakes and writing that doesn't even make sense because getting the creative ideas out is what first drafts are all about. Editing is a much more technical part of the writing development, and it can impede the creative process. Don't think about how the poem isn't perfect or you can't find the right word or description just yet. Just write first, the refining and perfecting will come later.
5. Read your poems out loud
Reading out loud helps you pick up on the way the words sound and flow together in ways that you may miss or not realize while reading silently. This can allow you to see if your word choice is working well, if your sensory details are hitting the way you intended, and if your story and point is coming across in the way you envisioned. Reading aloud is important for any type of writing and should always be part of the editing process. This allows you to hear your poems from a reader's point of view.
6. Utilize literary devices
Using tools like metaphor, simile, personification, allegory, and so on goes a long way in writing, but especially with poetry. Poems are often known for being deep or even interpretative. These devices lend to that and invite the reader to think deeply and draw their own conclusions or link their own experiences to what they feel through the use of these devices.
7. Use sensory descriptions
Sensory descriptions are one of the most important aspects of good writing. They are about showing versus telling. This comes down to emotion, thoughts, feelings, and even expressing ideas in simpler ways without outright telling the reader in stiff language. Every few lines ask yourself if these are verses the reader can see, smell, hear, feel, and taste firsthand. If the answer is no more often than not, then you will want to infuse your lines with more sensory descriptions. Always look to appeal to the senses, and this can also go hand in hand with utilizing literary devices. When the two work together truly powerful writing can emerge.
8. Express emotion
As noted, poetry is often known for being deep, philosophical, and interpretative. Even the simplest poems when done well will hold great emotion. If you are using sensory descriptions and "painting" with your words, as well as using appropriate literary devices, and telling a story then the emotion should automatically be felt. This step of good poetry writing results from a culmination of other executed steps that will take the poem to the next level and give it the needed depth.
9. Try writing structured poems that follow a set of rules and patterns
While free verse poetry has risen in popularity in the modern era , there are so many different types of poetry out there that serve as a great starting point for beginners. Some writers tend to do better when they have parameters they must stay within, plus it's a great challenge to get the creative juices flowing. Look up the different forms of poems like haiku, villanelle, quatrain, and so on , all with their own set of rules (number of lines, rhyme scheme, meter, etc.) to familiarize yourself with poetry in all its possible forms. Being able to incorporate versatility into your writing is always valuable, even if you do end up gravitating toward free verse poetry. Free verse has no set of rules in terms of rhyming, meter, and so on, but sticking to the other pointers of what makes good poetry is still important to create words — emotions and story — that will resonate with your reader.
10. Write what you know
Writing what you know doesn't necessarily mean only sticking to topics you know about, though many writers find that's most suitable to them while some want to research and explore new worlds. Writing what you know means there should be an emotional truth that you have experienced and has been part of your life. Even fictional poems, or any work of art, will have pieces of the artist within the creation. So not only should you appeal to emotions with the story you create, but it should contain truths that are part of your experience in one way or another.
Poetry is one of the forms of writing where you can take the most liberties, and many will agree that lots of different types of works can be considered poetry, whereas that isn't necessarily the case with other writing like a novel. Although poetry tends to allow the writer to be freer, there are rules that should always be followed to execute good writing. Along with reading other poets, you should look to connect with poets as well and have a few critique partners available. It's one thing to share writing with people that are part of our everyday lives, but if they aren't writers themselves then their feedback may not be the biggest help to aid your growth as a poet. So, after you get started following these steps, developing your poems, and familiarizing yourself with your voice and form, join a community that will take you to the next level! Now you have the tools you need to begin, and remember not to agonize over the daunting feel that starting can bring. Simply write and worry about refining and infusing emotion, sensory details, literary devices, and editing later on. The hardest part is always getting started, but once you do you'll be on your way to surpassing beginner status in no time.
Header photo by Thought Catalog .
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