8 Simple Steps on Writing Your Own Poems
Poetry is a form of writing that is not only artistic but has the ability to touch the emotions of other human beings. It is an image-based writing technique where the poet tries to paint a picture for his reader in the form of a poem. While some are writers and have an innate skill of writing poetry, it is a skill that can be learned by any. There are two major types of poetry narrative and lyrical poetry. Narrative poetry paints a story for its reader with a plot, characters, and events. On the other hand, lyrical poetry is like songwriting. The aim here is to make the poem rhyme and the content is more focused on emotions, state of mind, a particular scene, etc.Here are some quick and easy steps that you can take to become a poem writer
1. Understand the structure
Poems are all about structure and the beauty of poems is that there is no one structure but multiple structures available to form your poem. Understanding the type of structure you want to write in is key to writing a good poem. Some popular structures include sonnet, free verse, couplet, limerick, epic, haiku, and acrostic. A sonnet is a rhyming poem of not more than 14 lines, a couplet can be as short as two lines or a short poem, a free verse gives the author the freedom to write whichever way he chooses, spic is a narrative poem and is usually lengthy, a limerick is a witty and rhyming 5 line poem, haiku is a 3 line poem with 7 syllables in the middle line and 5 syllables in the starting and ending lines, and lastly the first letters of each line in acrostic poems expose a deeper meaning.
All good writing requires good grammar and punctuation and poetry is no exception. Knowing how to punctuate a stanza or a line is essential to poetry writing. It sets the beat and the tome for the poem. The pauses, the breaks and the flow of the poem determine the effect that the poem will have on a reader and that is why knowing poetry punctuation is essential.
As mentioned before, poetry is imagery-based writing and therefore mastering imagery is fundamental to good poetry writing. Imagery is all about the description that can appeal to one of the five senses. It about describing a scene or an object using more than just a description but also your senses. For example, the pungent fumes surrounded the room around her. Here the sense of smell is used to describe a particular scene.
The way your poem sounds to the ear is as essential as the imagery. Without the right sound, your poem will be nothing more than a bland piece of writing. Therefore, it is essential that your poem has rhythm. However, be careful not to rhyme excessively as that can make your poem sound like a sound. It is all about balancing and achieving an appealing auditory effect in your poem.
Poetry is all about human emotions and feelings and therefore the words you use in your poetry must be carefully chosen to convey the deeper meaning. If your poem is not making the reader feel what you feel or experience what you have experienced then that means that it lacks meaning and depth and has to be worked on further. A good poem is memorable and sticks to the mind of the reader like glue. So make sure that you are well prepared before you start expressing yourself in the poem.
Before you start writing your poem to be very clear as to why you are writing and know the purpose of your poem. Are you trying to express your feelings to someone? Are you writing about your current emotional state? Are you describing a beautiful memory? Whatever your purpose might be, it has to be clear to you before you start penning it down.
7. Avoid clichés
Most amateur writers are taking inspiration from their favorite poets and can often end up subconsciously copying the said writers’ style as well as his lines. The essential thing here is to stay original and to avoid cliché phrases that will make your poem sound redundant and lackluster. Try to use concise and crisp language and do not use also many synonyms. Try to cut outlines that may sound copied or repeated.
8. Keep it simple
Lastly, make sure that your poem is simple. Some of the best poets have the simplest styles of writing which makes them memorable. Remember, in a poem, every word is loaded with emotion and meaning and if your poem has words that are neither emotional nor meaningful then you need to cut those out and replace them with meaningful ones. No need to use big words that feel out of place, instead use simple words that convey a point. Make sure that once you are done writing you do a final revision of the poem where you weigh every word, every phrase and every line and only keep those that are meaningful.
Practice with a short poem
Practice exercises can be a great way to start writing poems. Here are some practice exercises that you can try at home to become an expert poet:
1. Sensory observations
In this exercise, the aim is to make observations as to what your five senses feel when you are in a particular setting. For example, go outside into the garden and describe what you see, what you smell, what you can hear etc.
2. Descriptive exercise
Another great exercise to practice your poetry skills is to describe a scene or a picture. For starters make observations on each and every tiny detail that you observe even the unessential ones. Take your description exercise one step further by engaging your sensory observations in the process as well.
3. Make your own metaphors
Get in the habit of making your own metaphors. Keep a diary at all times and be on the hunt to observe different scenarios and finding the right metaphors for that particular scene. Use adjectives, concrete and abstract nouns to make a metaphor. Soon you will see you will have a list of metaphors to use.
4. Consult different poetry books
Go through various poetry books and journals and write down your favorite lines, metaphors, and similes. Through this exercise not only will you learn the various styles of writing but will also get accustomed to the language and grammar used in poetry.
Here are some reference poems if you are writing for a long-distance relationship, for a partner in jail or for a special occasion:
For long-distance relationship
There’s a moon over Madrid tonight,
A bright, inquisitive moon
That’s about as full as it gets.
For me, it’s something familiar
In an unfamiliar city,
A reference point on these Spanish streets.
It keeps me company, sometimes slipping
Out of sight, dodging behind buildings
Then reappearing, while I’m thinking
How the moon holds a thread
That ties us together.
‘Look up at the moon,’ I tell you.
‘Look at the moon and imagine that thread
As a line linking you
To the mountains of the moon
And then down to the streets of Madrid.
That same moon touching your life,
Now touches mine also.’
– Moon over Madrid by Brian Moses
For your partner who is in jail
I see you in my thoughts and dreams.When I awake, how real it seems.You aren’t here to comfort me,But soon I hope you will be.
No one truly knows or understands;You have my heart in your hands.My love is what you truly own.Come soon and make our house a home.
Inside those walls you are doing your time,Not being here with me is your only true crime.Others in your life will come and go,But my love is true, and I’m sure you know.
I may not be rich or the prettiest one,But I love you so much; you are my sun.You light up my life every time you call.When the time is up, I begin to fall.
You are my stars, you are my moon,Being with you will come very soon.So when you sleep, take this to heart,No one or nothing will keep us apart.
-My dearest Love by Sherri Brown
For special occasions
Doubt thou the stars are fire;Doubt that the sun doth move;Doubt truth to be a liar;But never doubt I love.
From Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Poetry writing is an understated art that needs to be encouraged and revived. It is a form of writing that can be easily learned if the writer is committed to the cause. Poetry is a great way to express your emotions and a powerful way to convey your message. By following the 8 simple steps above not only can you become an expert poet but can woo the readers with your artistic allure. Poetry is one of the purest ways to convey your love to someone and is a great gift to give to your partner on a special occasion. So if you are looking for the ultimate grand romantic gesture then pick up your pen and delve into the art of poetry writing today.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé