Foodforthought

How to Write Poetry

Express Yourself Through Poetry

Whether humorous, romantic, or story of your life, poetry has no limits. What is poetry? It is a combination of your thoughts and emotions, which are presented in words as a final piece. Now, the terms are there and so is the question, how to write poetry? This quick guide is here to help all poets to be familiar with the basics of how to write poetry.

Creative content is what attracts people, and when they notice you and your work, it is all going to be worth the hard work, patience, time, and effort that you had or have put in the final work.

Know the theme of your poem

Always have the ideas and themes ready for the poem beforehand. It is also a good practice to do writing exercises or have a good habit of writing in general. It will keep you in a good state of mind to create new writing work and also trains you to be flexible when it comes to writing different topics.

What you can do to start getting in the habit of writing

Try participating in a daily writing prompt challenge. Every day there is a new topic to write on, and you can also share it on social media to get feedback.

Create a scene or a situation that is filled and is abundant with emotions. Write down any image (s) or idea (s) that you perceive in relation to the given scene or situation.

If you have a habit of keeping a journal, then it is even better; otherwise, you can buy a book that you can use to write down your inspirations. It can be about how the day went or just thoughts or feelings. Let your mind go free and wander for 10-15 minutes and then try writing down.

Brainstorming, go outside, sit under a tree, get some inspiration for the poem. If the poem is supposed to have multiple sequences, have the timeline of the poem written in advance. It prevents writer’s block and keeps you going with your content because you already know the idea and just have to fill it up with “hand-picked” words from your creativity and imagination.

Also, if you need to take a break from writing:

  • You can come back to it and remember the central theme of it.
  • Not move away from your idea that you initially thought of.

Which type of poem to write?

Every poet has to decide what type of poem will he or she will be writing. It can one of the following:

Acrostic – First letter of each line spells a word that matches with the idea and theme of the poem or expresses a deeper meaning.

Couplet – A part of a poem or two stand-alone lines that rhyme.

Sonnet – A short rhyming poem which consists of 14 lines.

Limerick – It is written in five lines which usually humorous or witty which has the first, second and fifth lines in rhyme.

Epic – It is a lengthy narrative poem, usually describing about heroic personality or great achievement of a well-known figure.

Haiku – The poem is just three lines where the first line is of 5 syllables, the second line is seven syllables, and the last line is again five syllables.

Free Verse – It is a poem which is more like freestyle, as in, there are no rules and is free written poetry by the poet.

Free verse is what poets, especially new poets and writers choose to write. Free verse is favored because they are more natural and less complicated to write and the poet is able to express their words to their audience better. The poets can decide to have their own rhyming scheme and can be in any pattern and theme.

Rules for using Abstract Words and Concrete Words

When having your poetry understood easily by others is required, that is where you use concrete words and actual words. The poet should be able to convey words linked with describing things that can be experienced by the reader through their senses. Concrete terms help the poet form a picture or better, improve the readers visualize what the poet is trying to say. 

Abstract words are associated mostly with feelings. However, a person cannot physically sense these things. Abstract words are used to describe notions, concepts, and things that can’t readily be observed by your five senses. They can perceive it through their feelings and emotions. For example, when you portray about how happy the students are when the teacher is absent or gives them a free class.

Thus, when the poet uses abstract words for his or her poem, the meaning that he or she wants to convey is subject to interpretation. By using abstract words, the audience will not be able to discern directly but rather guess and feel through their own experiences resulting in different interpretations for different people.

Example of a sentence written in abstract words

If the poem is written using abstract words, the poet can change the terms into concrete words.

Here is an example, on how you can change abstract words to actual words.

“He felt happy.” (Abstract word)

“His smile spread like the red tint on ripening tomatoes.”

Do not obsess over the introduction or the first line

The first line should grasp the attention of the readers and have them curious and craving for more. But it can do the exact opposite if it is misused. If you are unable to find the right mix of words and still have to finish the poem, the key is to keep on writing. You can always come back to it later to complete and balance out the poem.

Over-writing the introductory lines or giving too much importance than what is required will over present the main highlights of the poem out, which will turn away the interest and the attention of the readers as they will already get the hint of what the poem is about. If the first line happens to be extremely philosophical, it will confuse the average readers, and they will stop reading because it failed to maintain the intrigue and connection with the readers.

Let us suppose that the poem is supposed to be a part of a series, and you have to be even more cautious of what and how you are introducing or using the first lines for the poem. It is also unappealing to the reader if all the content has been shared upfront. The trick is to write something simple yet intriguing. The objective of the first line to lead the readers into the next line and the next.

Last but not least, reading is key to honing your craft

To write poetry, it is always better to start to read poetry. You can start by choosing your favorite poets and read their work, or even choose your favorite genre or topic and start to read about it. Writing down or making notes while reading and analyzing the poem also helps, as it allows you to introspect with the views of the poet.

Finding the meaning of a specific line that looks peculiar or interesting can serve as inspiration or example to be used in your poem. Analyzing a poem line by line will also help you to discover new poetic devices and vocabulary or even the style of the poet, which will help you to find your own style and hone your craft.

Summary

Things to be kept in mind are:

  • Writing style is different for everyone, find your own and hone it.
  • It is normal if your ideas do not match with that of others. Own your individuality and master it. 
  • Every poet’s work is not the same, and you should practice using different genres/styles to express your thoughts even when not good at it (yet).
  • It is perfectly normal for your first poem to be bad and have errors, learn from it and keep going!
  • You should not compare yourself with expert writers and poets, but rather glean inspiration and seek improvement.

It is imperative to play with words and start on the right foot. What cannot be emphasized enough is that you should not compare your work with others especially if you are a beginner. There will always be someone out there who appreciates your work and find meaning in the words you wrote. If you genuinely express how and what you feel, someone will be able to understand and resonate with your words.

Another critical yet straightforward key to success is to have patience, patience, and patience. Your craft will take time to improve and make a difference both in your life and that of others. People will take time to notice you and your work, so what you should keep the focus on are your content and your improvement. 

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