How To Write Poetry

Haiku, limerick, sonnet, acrostic, free verse and song.
The list of poem types is oh so long.

Not all of them rhyme or contain a set number of beats.
But they do all have passion and create an emotional heat.

Okay enough of the rhyming and onto the how to…

Poetry is the art of writing thoughts and ideas into an imaginative language, which usually contains, rhyme, verse, meter and repetition. There are many different types of poems.  Some follow strict rules while others allow you to write freely allowing the words to flow.  

Poetry expresses and conjures up personal thoughts, feelings and emotions.  No matter what style of poem you chose to write, they all require some of the same general elements.   

DECIDE ON YOUR POETRY STYLE.  Understanding the different types of poems will help you decide on what type of poem you should write.  Not sure?  Try reading all the different types of poems.  If something jumps out at you as intriguing, learn about it and give it a try.  But don’t worry too much about this-- the best form for your poem will manifest itself while you are writing.

FIND YOUR MUSE.  Birth of a child, death of a loved one, love lost, love found, turning points; inspiration is all around us.  Open your eyes and dig deep.  Don’t be afraid to show emotion and share your experiences with the reader.  

CREATE YOUR FRAMEWORK. Even if you chose to write a free verse poem it still has an underlying structure, even if it appears not to.  Poems depend on rhythm, rhyme, tension and release.  Words get power from their arrangement.  Your poem should have an invisible pulse.

DECIDE YOUR MOOD.  Once your inspired, your muse has been summoned and you’re your framework mounted it is now time to conjure up the mood and tone of your poem.  You do not need to stick to stereotypical moods, a poem about death can be light and positive; you are free to interpret your subject in anyway you see fit.  Without a defined tone your poem will drift across the emotional spectrum leaving the reader confused. Use a thesaurus in your quest for the perfect words to evoke a desired tone.  Don’t be afraid to change the tone if it isn’t working.

CREATE METAPHORS. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a phrase is applied to something that it is not literally applicable to, in order to suggest resemblance.  Using metaphors will evoke deeper and more imaginary stanzas.

USE POETIC DEVICES. Poetic devices enhance your poem's beauty and meaning. Poetic devices include rhyme, meter, metaphor, assonance, alliteration, and repetition. Poetic devices can make a poem.  However, you must use poetic devices wisely because if they bring too much attention to themselves, they can have the reverse effect.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDS.  A poem is “the best words in the best order”.  Therefore you need the best words.  There aren’t as many words in a poem as there are in other sorts of writing.  Choose carefully.  Play with words and their sounds.  Explore imagery and vivid descriptions; don’t be afraid to be creative while penning a strong structure of words.

SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST.  Imagine the last line of your poem is the punch line to a joke.  You want this line to evoke emotions and resonate with the reader.  A powerful last line will leave your reader pondering your words and message far after their eyes leave the page.

GET FEEDBACK.  Listen to your poem.  Read it out loud and then have someone else read it to you.  How does it sound?  The words should trickle off the tongue.  Ask others how it sounds and how it reads.  Remember, although it may sting, constructive criticism only makes it better.

JMariah   JMariah wrote
on 9/21/2009 8:16:50 PM
This is a very good article. You have shown that even though expressing oneself in the poetic form may seem quite natural, it does take work. The more we know about poetic styles and devices the easier it will become to use them.

Iviedoe   Iviedoe wrote
on 4/7/2009 11:41:29 PM
"Poetry is the inside's lyrics to the outside's melody of life's collective heartbeat." The article was awesome, thank you. iviedoe

childinred   childinred wrote
on 12/6/2008 9:09:21 PM
poetry comes from deep inside...i liked the connatation "invisible pulse" has a rhythm yet does not rhyme..what i notice first about a great poem is how it moves me...disturbs me and uplifts me

jlew1973   jlew1973 wrote
on 11/10/2008 5:31:13 PM
Great read! As a fledgling writer, but avid reader, I've discovered that sometimes thoughts and ideas can only be expressed in poetry. So, I try it. Work at it. Experiment with different styles, rhythms, and subject matter. I think this is the best way to find one's true voice.

tomasocarthaigh   tomasocarthaigh wrote
on 10/4/2008 7:31:57 PM
I think this article sums it up quite well, though with the exception of Haiku, I think all poetry should rhyme...

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Tips on writing poetry.