How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step

Sean Glatch  |  March 31, 2024  |  27 Comments

how to write poetry step by step

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:

elements of poetry: sound

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!

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Sean Glatch


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super useful! love these articles 💕

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Indeed, very helpful, consize. I could not say more than thank you.

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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.

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Thank you very much, Hamna! I’m so glad this guide was helpful for you.

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Thank you super tips very helpful.

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I have never gone through the steps of writing poetry like this, I will take a closer look at your post.

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Beautiful! Thank you! I’m really excited to try journaling as a starter step x

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Thank you so much for sharing your awesome tips for beginner writers!

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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

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Last updated on Nov 23, 2022

How to Write a Poem: Get Tips from a Published Poet

Ever wondered how to write a poem? For writers who want to dig deep, composing verse lets you sift the sand of your experience for new glimmers of insight. And if you’re in it for less lofty reasons, shaping a stanza from start to finish can teach you to have fun with language in totally new ways.

To help demystify the subtle art of writing verse, we chatted with Reedsy editor (and published poet) Lauren Stroh . In 8 simple steps, here's how to write a poem:

1. Brainstorm your starting point

2. free-write in prose first, 3. choose your poem’s form and style, 4. read for inspiration, 5. write for an audience of one — you, 6. read your poem out loud, 7. take a break to refresh your mind, 8. have fun revising your poem.

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If you’re struggling to write your poem in order from the first line to the last, a good trick is opening with whichever starting point your brain can latch onto as it learns to think in verse.

Your starting point can be a line or a phrase you want to work into your poem, though it doesn’t have to take the form of language at all. It might be a picture in your head, as particular as the curl of hair over your daughter’s ear as she sleeps, or as capacious as the sea. It can even be a complicated feeling you want to render with precision — or maybe it's a memory you return to again and again. Think of this starting point as the "why" behind your poem, your impetus for writing it in the first place.

If you’re worried your starting point isn’t grand enough to merit an entire poem, stop right there. After all, literary giants have wrung verse out of every topic under the sun, from the disappointments of a post- Odyssey Odysseus to illicitly eaten refrigerated plums .

How to Write a Poem | Tennyson's "Ulysses" revisits a character from Greek epic, but that's only one of the topics you can address in your poetry

As Lauren Stroh sees it, your experience is more than worthy of being immortalized in verse.

"I think the most successful poems articulate something true about the human experience and help us look at the everyday world in new and exciting ways."

It may seem counterintuitive but if you struggle to write down lines that resonate, perhaps start with some prose writing first. Take this time to delve into the image, feeling, or theme at the heart of your poem, and learn to pin it down with language. Give yourself a chance to mull things over before actually writing the poem. 

Take 10 minutes and jot down anything that comes to mind when you think of your starting point. You can write in paragraphs, dash off bullet points, or even sketch out a mind map . The purpose of this exercise isn’t to produce an outline: it’s to generate a trove of raw material, a repertoire of loosely connected fragments to draw upon as you draft your poem in earnest.

Silence your inner critic for now

And since this is raw material, the last thing you should do is censor yourself. Catch yourself scoffing at a turn of phrase, overthinking a rhetorical device , or mentally grousing, “This metaphor will never make it into the final draft”? Tell that inner critic to hush for now and jot it down anyway. You just might be able to refine that slapdash, off-the-cuff idea into a sharp and poignant line.

Whether you’ve free-written your way to a beginning or you’ve got a couple of lines jotted down, before you complete a whole first draft of your poem, take some time to think about form and style. 

The form of a poem often carries a lot of meaning beyond the structural "rules" that it offers the writer. The rhyme patterns of sonnets — and the Shakespearean influence over the form — usually lend themselves to passionate pronouncements of love, whether merry or bleak. On the other hand, acrostic poems are often more cheeky because of the secret meaning that it hides in plain sight. 

Even if your material begs for a poem without formal restrictions, you’ll still have to decide on the texture and tone of your language. Free verse, after all, is as diverse a form as the novel, ranging from the breathless maximalism of Walt Whitman to the cool austerity of H.D . Where, on this spectrum, will your poem fall?

How to Write a Poem | H.D.'s poetry shows off a linguistically sparse, imagistically concrete style

Choosing a form and tone for your poem early on can help you work with some kind of structure to imbue more meanings to your lines. And if you’ve used free-writing to generate some raw material for yourself, a structure can give you the guidance you need to organize your notes into a poem. 

A poem isn’t a nonfiction book or a historical novel: you don’t have to accumulate reams of research to write a good one. That said, a little bit of outside reading can stave off writer’s block and keep you inspired throughout the writing process.

Build a short, personalized syllabus around your poem’s form and subject. Say you’re writing a sensorily rich, linguistically spare bit of free verse about a relationship of mutual jealousy between mother and daughter. In that case, you’ll want to read some key Imagist poems , alongside some poems that sketch out complicated visions of parenthood in unsentimental terms.

How to Write a Poem | Ezra Pound's two-line poem is a masterclass in using everyday language in verse

And if you don’t want to limit yourself to poems similar in form and style to your own, Lauren has you covered with an all-purpose reading list:

  • The Dream of a Common Languag e by Adrienne Rich
  • Anything you can get your hands on by Mary Oliver
  • The poems “ Failures in Infinitives ” and “ Fish & Chips ” by Bernadette Mayer.
  • I often gift Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara to friends who write.
  • Everyone should read the interviews from the Paris Review’s archives . It’s just nice to observe how people familiar with language talk when they’re not performing, working, or warming up to write.

Even with preparation, the pressure of actually producing verse can still awaken your inner metrophobe (or poetry-fearer). What if people don’t understand — or even misinterpret — what you’re trying to say? What if they don’t feel drawn to your work? To keep the anxiety at bay, Lauren suggests writing for yourself, not for an external audience.

"I absolutely believe that poets can determine the validity of their own success if they are changed by the work they are producing themselves; if they are challenged by it; or if it calls into question their ethics, their habits, or their relationship to the living world. And personally, my life has certainly been changed by certain lines I’ve had the bravery to think and then write — and those moments are when I’ve felt most like I’ve made it."

You might eventually polish your work if you decide to publish your poetry down the line. (If you do, definitely check out the rest of this guide for tips and a list of magazines to submit to.) But as your first draft comes together, treat it like it’s meant for your eyes only.

A good poem doesn’t have to be pretty: maybe an easy, melodic loveliness isn’t your aim. It should, however, come alive on the page with a consciously crafted rhythm, whether hymn-like or discordant. To achieve that, read your poem out loud — at first, line by line, and then all together, as a complete text.

How to Write a Poem | Emily Dickinson's poetry shows off her extraordinary musicality

Trying out every line against your ear can help you weigh out a choice between synonyms — getting you to notice, say, the watery sound of “glacial”, the brittleness of “icy,” the solidity of “cold”.

Reading out loud can also help you troubleshoot line breaks that just don't feel right. Is the line unnaturally long, forcing you to rush through it or pause in the middle for a hurried inhale? If so, do you like that destabilizing effect, or do you want to literally give the reader some room to breathe? Testing these variations aloud is perhaps the only way to answer questions like these. 

While it’s incredibly exciting to complete a draft of your poem, and you might be itching to dive back in and edit it, it’s always advisable to take a break first. You don’t have to turn completely away from writing if you don’t want to. Take a week to chip away at your novel or even muse idly on your next poetic project — so long as you distance yourself from this poem a little while. 

This is because, by this point, you’ve probably read out every line so many times the meaning has leached out of the syllables. With the time away, you let your mind refresh so that you can approach the piece with sharper attention and more ideas to refine it. 

At the end of the day, even if you write in a well-established form, poetry is about experimenting with language, both written and spoken. Lauren emphasizes that revising a poem is thus an open-ended process that requires patience — and a sense of play. 

"Have fun. Play. Be patient. Don’t take it seriously, or do. Though poems may look shorter than what you’re used to writing, they often take years to be what they really are. They change and evolve. The most important thing is to find a quiet place where you can be with yourself and really listen."

Is it time to get other people involved?

Want another pair of eyes on your poem during this process? You have options. You can swap pieces with a beta reader , workshop it with a critique group , or even engage a professional poetry editor like Lauren to refine your work — a strong option if you plan to submit it to a journal or turn it into the foundation for a chapbook .

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The working poet's checklist

If you decide to fly solo, here’s a checklist to work through as you revise:

✅ Hunt for clichés. Did you find yourself reaching for ready-made idioms at any point? Go back to the sentiment you were grappling with and try to capture it in stronger, more vivid terms.

✅ See if your poem begins where it should. Did you take a few lines of throat-clearing to get to the actual point? Try starting your poem further down.

✅ Make sure every line belongs. As you read each line, ask yourself: how does this contribute to the poem as a whole? Does it advance the theme, clarify the imagery, set or subvert the reader’s expectations? If you answer with something like, “It makes the poem sound nice,” consider cutting it.

Once you’ve worked your way through this checklist, feel free to brew yourself a cup of tea and sit quietly for a while, reflecting on your literary triumphs. 

Whether these poetry writing tips have awakened your inner Wordsworth, or sent you happily gamboling back to prose, we hope you enjoyed playing with poetry —  and that you learned something new about your approach to language.

And if you are looking to share your poetry with the world, the next post in this guide can show the ropes regarding how to publish your poems! 

Anna Clarke says:

29/03/2020 – 04:37

I entered a short story competition and though I did not medal, one of the judges told me that some of my prose is very poetic. The following year I entered a poetry competition and won a bronze medal. That was my first attempt at writing poetry. I am more aware of figurative language in writing prose now. I am learning to marry the two. I don't have any poems online.

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5 Tips for Poetry Writing: How to Get Started Writing Poems

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Hannah Yang

A beginner's guide to poetry

Poetry is a daunting art form to break into.

There are technically no rules for how to write a poem , but despite that—or perhaps because of it—learning how to write a successful poem might feel more difficult than learning how to write a successful essay or story.

There are many reasons to try your hand at poetry, even if you’re primarily a prose writer. Here are just a few:

  • Practice writing stronger descriptions and imagery
  • Unlock a new side of your creative writing practice
  • Learn how to wield language in a more nuanced way

Learning how to write poetry may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we’ll cover five of our favorite tips to get started writing poetry.

How Do You Start Writing Poetry?

How do you write a poem from a new perspective, how do you write a meaningful poem, how do you write a poem about a theme, what are some different types of poetry, tip 1: focus on concrete imagery.

One of the best ways to start writing poetry is to use concrete images that appeal to the five senses.

The idea of starting with the specific might feel counterintuitive, because many people think of poetry as a way to describe abstract ideas, such as death, joy, or sorrow.

Examples of abstract words

It certainly can be. But each of these concepts has been written about extensively before. Try sitting down and writing an original poem about joy—it’s hard to find something new to say about it.

If you write about a specific experience you’ve had that made you feel joy, that will almost certainly be unique, because nobody has lived the same experiences you have.

That’s what makes concrete imagery so powerful in poetry.

A concrete image is a detail that has a basis in something real or tangible. It could be the texture of your daughter’s hair as you braid it in the morning, or the smell of a food that reminds you of home.

The more specific the image is, the more vivid and effective the poem will become.

Examples of concrete thoughts from abstract words

Concrete imagery: Example

Harlem by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Notice how Langston Hughes doesn’t directly write about dreams, except for the very first line. After the first line, he uses concrete images that are very specific and appeal to the five senses: “dry up like a raisin in the sun,” “stink like rotten meat,” “sags like a heavy load.”

He conveys a deeper message about an abstract concept—dreams—using these specific, tangible images.

Concrete Imagery: Exercise

Examine your surroundings. Describe what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.

Through these concrete images, try to evoke a specific feeling (e.g., nostalgia, boredom, happiness) without ever naming that feeling in the poem.

Once you've finished writing, you can use ProWritingAid’s Sensory Check to see which of the five senses you've used the most in your imagery. Most writers favor one or two senses, like in the example below, which can resonate with some readers but alienate others.

ProWritingAid's Sensory Check using I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to try the Sensory Check.

Bonus Tip: Start with a free verse poem, which is a poem with no set format or rhyme scheme. You can punctuate it the same way you would punctuate normal prose. Free verse is a great option for beginners, because it lets you write freely without limitations.

Tip 2: Play with Perspective

A persona poem is a poem told in the first-person POV (point of view) from the perspective of anything or anyone. This could include a famous person, a figure from mythology, or even an inanimate object.

The word persona comes from the Latin word for mask . When you write a persona poem, it’s like you’re putting on a mask to see the world through a new lens.

What is a persona poem

If you’re a new poet and you haven’t found your own voice yet, a persona poem is a great way to experiment with a unique style.

Some persona poems are narrative poems, which tell a story from a specific point of view. Others are lyric poems, which focus more on the style and sound of the poem instead of telling a story.

You can write from the perspective of a pop star, a politician, or a figure from fable or myth. You can try to imagine what it feels like to be a pair of jeans or a lawn mower or a fountain pen. There are no limits except your own creativity.

Types of persona poems

Play with Perspective: Example

Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy

Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed … (from Shakespeare’s will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme to his, now echo, assonance; his touch a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on, dribbling their prose. My living laughing love— I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head as he held me upon that next best bed.

In this poem, Carol Ann Duffy writes from the perspective of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare.

She imagines what the wife of this famous literary figure might think and feel, with lines like “Some nights I dreamed he’d written me.”

The poem isn’t written in Shakespearean English, but it uses diction and vocabulary that’s more old-fashioned than the English we speak today, to evoke the feeling of Shakespeare’s time period.

Play with Perspective: Exercise

Write a persona poem from the perspective of a fictional character out of a book or movie. You can tell an important story from their life, or simply try to capture the feeling of being in their head for a moment.

If this character lives in a different time period or speaks in a specific dialect, try to capture that in the poem’s voice.

Tip 3: Write from Life

The best poems are the ones that feel authentic and come from a place of truth.

Brainstorm your own personal experiences. Are there any stories from your life that evoke strong feelings for you? How can you tell that story through a poem?

Examples of personal experiences

Try to avoid clichés here. If you want to write about a universal experience or feeling, try to find an entry point into that feeling that’s unique to your life.

Maybe your first hobby was associated with a specific pair of shoes. Maybe your first encounter with shame came from breaking a specific promise to your grandfather. Any of these details could be the launching point for a poem.

Write from Life: Example

Discord in Childhood By D.H. Lawrence

Outside the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips, And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship’s Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.

Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound Of a thick lash booming and bruising, until it drowned The other voice in a silence of blood, ’neath the noise of the ash.

Here, D.H. Lawrence writes about the suffering he endured as a child listening to his parents arguing. He channels his own memories and experiences to create a profoundly relatable piece.

Write from Life: Exercise

Go to your phone’s camera roll, or a physical photo album, and find a photo from your life that speaks to you. Write a poem inspired by that photo.

What does that part of your life mean to you? What were your thoughts and feelings at that point in your life?

Tip 4: Save the Theme for the End

In a poem, the last line is often the most important. These are the words that echo in your reader’s head after they’re done reading.

Many poems will tell a story or depict a series of images, allowing you to draw your own conclusions about what it’s trying to say, and then conclude with the takeaway at the very end. Think of it like a fable you might tell a child—often, the moral of the story comes at the end.

Tip for writing the last line of a poem

In sonnets it’s a common trend for the final couplet to summarize the theme of the whole poem.

Save the Theme: Example

Resumé by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

Here, Dorothy Parker doesn’t make the poem’s meaning clear until the very last line: “You might as well live.” The poem feels fun, almost like a song, and its true meaning doesn’t become obvious until after you’ve finished reading the poem.

Save the Theme: Exercise

Pick your favorite proverb or adage, such as “Actions speak louder than words.” Write a poem that uses that proverb or adage as the closing line.

Common adages

Until the closing line, don’t comment on the deeper meaning in the rest of the poem—instead, tell a story that builds up to that theme.

Tip 5: Try a Poetic Form

Up until now, we’ve been writing in blank verse because it’s the most freeing. Sometimes, though, adding limitations can spark creativity too.

You can use a traditional poetic form to create the structure and shape of your poem.

If you have a limited number of lines to use, you’ll concentrate more on being concise and focused. Great poetry is minimalistic—no word is unnecessary. Using a form is a way to practice paring back to the words you absolutely need, and to start thinking about sound and rhyme.

The basic elements of a poem

The rules of a poetic form are never set in stone. It’s okay to experiment, and to pick and choose which rules you want to follow. If you want to use a form’s rhyme scheme but ignore its syllable count, for example, that’s perfectly fine.

Let’s look at some examples of poetic forms you can try, and the benefits of each one.

The haiku is a form of Japanese poetry made of three short, unrhymed lines. Traditionally, the first line contains 5 syllables, the second line contains 7 syllables, and the last contains 5 syllables.

Because each haiku must be incredibly concise, this form is a great way to practice economy of language and to learn how to convey a lot with a little. Even more so than with most other poetic forms, you have to think about each word and whether or not it pulls its weight in the poem as a whole.

The Old Pond by Matsuo Bashō

An old silent pond A frog jumps into the pond— Splash! Silence again.

What is a haiku?

The limerick is a 5-line poem with a sing-songy rhyme scheme and syllable count.

Limericks tend to be humorous and witty, so if you’re usually a comedic writer, they can be a great form for learning how to write poetry. You can treat the poem as a joke that builds up to a punchline.

Untitled Limerick by Edward Lear

There was an Old Man with a beard Who said, "It is just as I feared! Two Owls and a Hen, Four Larks and a Wren, Have all built their nests in my beard!"

how to write a limerick template

The sonnet is a 14-line poetic form, invented in Italy in the 13th century.

There are multiple types of sonnet. One of the most well-known forms is the Shakespearean sonnet, which is divided into three quatrains (4-line stanzas) and one couplet (2-line stanza).

Almost every professional poet has tried a sonnet at some point, from classical poets such as William Shakespeare , John Milton , and John Donne , as well as contemporary poets such as Kim Addonizio , R.S. Gwynn , and Cathy Park Hong .

Sonnets are great for practicing more advanced poetry. Their form forces you to think about rhyme and meter.

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no, it is an ever fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand’ring barque, Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken. Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

what is a shakespearean sonnet?

The villanelle is a 19-line poem with two lines that recur over and over throughout the poem.

The word “villanelle” comes from the Italian villanella , meaning rustic song or dance, because the two lines that are repeated resemble the chorus of a folk song. Using this form helps you to think about the sound and musicality of your writing.

Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my lids and all is born again. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, And arbitrary blackness gallops in: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade: Exit seraphim and Satan’s men: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said, But I grow old and I forget your name. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead; At least when spring comes they roar back again. I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

Try a Poetic Form: Exercise

Pick your favorite poetic form (sonnet, limerick, haiku, or villanelle) and try writing a poem in that structure.

Remember that you don’t have to follow all the rules—pick the ones that spark your imagination, and ignore the ones that don’t.

These are our five favorite tips to get started writing poems. Feel free to try each of them, or to mix and match them to create something entirely new.

Have you tried any of these poetry methods before? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

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Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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How to Write a Poem: Everything You’ll Need to Know

How to Write a Poem: Everything You’ll Need to Know

Poetry is a thought-provoking art form to get started in. Although there aren't any formal guidelines for writing poetry, learning how to do so may seem more challenging than learning how to produce a good essay or short story.

Poetry is an excellent literary genre you should explore. It's not only a fantastic way to develop your writing skills, but it's also a fantastic field in which to develop a career. But you should understand a few basics about poetry before you even consider starting. Before you even think of taking up poetry though, you should know a few things about how to write poetry.

What is a poem?

It is a written piece that is arranged according to its beauty, rhyme, and sound. They are meant to express a specific idea, emotion, or experience.

It is one of the oldest writing forms in human history. Various cultures have their own types of poetry, and poems are still relevant to this day. Some of the oldest forms of poetry are the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is around 4,000 years old.

What is the purpose of a poem?

There is really no set purpose for writing a poem. Some people write a poem to tell a story, while others do so to express a feeling. Overall, the main purpose of writing poetry is all about artistry, and conveying one’s own perceptions on life.

What are the different types of poem?

Throughout the centuries, poetry has evolved a great deal. Poems have been around in various forms for thousands of years, and they have evolved according to the culture and the times. Here are some of the types of poetry that you should try.

This type of poetry is considered one of the oldest in the world. One of the oldest poems in history, The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic. It is a very lengthy poem, and is written in a more formal style. It usually features a hero or heroine, and recounts feats of strength and bravery. Here is an excerpt from an epic.

This dog won’t hunt. This horse won’t jump. You get the general drift. However, he keeps on trying, but the fire won’t burn, the kindling is wet, and the faint glow of the ember is weak and dying. He has no other choice then but to let It go and take a nap on the ground there, lying Next to her—for whom Dame Fortune has more Woes and tribulations yet in store.

- Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto

This kind of poetry is of Grecian origin, and is considered one of the oldest in the world. Ode is derived from the Grecian word ‘aiedein’ which means ‘chant or sing’. This was usually in praise of someone, event or even an object. The poetry is accompanied by musical instruments.

Happy the man, whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound Content to breathe his native air In his own ground.

- Ode on Solitude by Alexander Pope

The free verse format of poetry is relatively new and is by far the freest of all the poetry forms. Thus the name. Its main characteristic is that the verses don’t have to rhyme, and there is no limit to how many lines or stanzas that you could write.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass…

- Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

This poetic style is centered on only one topic, which is death. It is written for a person who has passed away and often has melancholic themes. However, you could also give it an optimistic twist if you want.

Black milk of dawn we drink you at night we drink you mornings and noontime we drink you evenings we drink and we drink A man lives in the house he plays with the snakes he writes he writes when it turns dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margarete Your ashen hair Shulamit we dig a grave in the air there one lies at ease

- Fugue of Death by Paul Celan

Rhymed Poetry

As the name implies, this type of poetry is meant to rhyme. The poem should contain rhyming vowel sounds at specific moments. This rhyme scheme is a constant in most poems, and has been in use for centuries.

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

- Invictus by William Ernest Henley

A very old poetry form, haiku, originated in Japan in the 1600’s. It has gained a great deal of popularity over the years and is unique due to its short but potent format. It is limited to three lines. The first and third lines must have five syllables, and the second one has seven. They don’t have to rhyme, but must convey a specific emotion.

A world of dew, And within every dewdrop A world of struggle.

- A World of Dew by Kobayashi Issa

What are the elements of poetry?

Before you start the poetry writing process, it is important that you know what makes up a poem. Here are the five elements of poetry to get you started.

The meter is the basic rhythmic structure of the lines within your poem. The meter is usually made up two components. These are the exact number of syllables, and the overall pattern being emphasized on those syllables.

The rhyme within a poem occurs when the final or even more syllables match. These must occur within separate words. The rhyme in a poem usually occurs when the last two words in a verse rhyme with one another.

The term verse is often described as a single metrical line in a poem. While it could represent a single line, it could also represent the entire poem itself.

This is often described as the rhyming pattern contained within a poem. The composition of the scheme may contain words that rhyme within the stanza, or in alternating lines, or even in couplets.

The stanza is often described as a group of lines within the poem, and they could follow a regular rhyme and metrical scheme. They are mostly separated by blank spaces or indentations.  Stanzas are meant to organize and give shape to a poem.

What are the rules of creating good poetry?

As an aspiring poet, there is really no set rule on how you should do your writing sessions. However, it is important that you should at least have a strategy on how to approach the poetry writing session, and how to get the right inspiration for your poetry writing. Here are some easy to follow rules to follow as a newbie poet.

• Read poetry

Before you start writing poetry, it is important that you are as well-read as possible. No matter how good you are at writing, if you have never really read or heard a poem before, then there is no way you’ll gain proficiency from it.

Take the time to check on the greats such as Pablo Neruda, Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath and so many other poets. The more content you read, the better you will be as a poet.

• Start slow

If you just started out as a poet, you should start slow. You could try your hand at poetry writing, but you should not really rush yourself to create great poetry right away. Remember that every writer has to start somewhere. So take your time, and just keep practicing.

• Choose different concepts

When it comes to writing poetry, it is a good idea to write about different concepts. The more concepts you write about, the more multi-faceted your poetry will be. Don’t limit yourself to just a few concepts. You will only limit your growth as a poet.

• Try out different poetry styles

There are many poetry styles, and you should try your hand in all of them. This does not mean that you should build your entire poetry career on them. However, you should at least try them out at least once. You will not only learn more as a poet, you may even expand your repertoire as a poet as well.

• Read out your work

As you write your poems, you should make sure to read them aloud as well. Remember that your poem has to rhyme and sound pleasant to the ear. The poem may sound good on paper, but it sounds awkward when read out. As a rule, you should read out your work during your writing sessions, and make the necessary modifications.

• Make storytelling a key goal

When you write a poem, storytelling must be a key goal. Remember that there should be a sense of cohesion in your writing. As a rule, you should try to tell a story whenever you write a poem. This will make your poems more immersive.

• Reach out to other poets

A great way to further improve your poetry is to reach out to other poets. As a new poet, you may not know the finer points of poetry. Even if you know the basics of poetry writing, you still have a lot to learn. By reaching out to other poets, you will be able to hone your poetry skills more effectively.

• Stay away from clichés

Clichés had become common in the poetry writing scene at the time. Clichés are concepts that have been overused to the extent that readers have grown tired of them. If you want to make your work as original as possible, it is important that you identify these common poetic clichés and never use them.

• Use the five senses

As you write your poem, it is important that you engage all your reader’s senses. This will make your work feel more immersive. When you write your poetry, try to engage all five senses, which are sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell.

• Utilize various writing tools

As you write a poem, you should be as ready as possible. Remember that you will be fully engaged during your writing sessions, so you should make sure that you have the right writing tools on hand.

If you prefer a handwritten approach, you could use a pen and notebook. This does have a more elegant and traditional feel. However, there is nothing wrong with using a tablet or laptop during your writing sessions.

You should also have a dictionary and thesaurus at the ready. You could even download writing software on your phone, tablet, or computer. These apps usually have spell-checks and even a built-in dictionary. This will make the poetry writing process so much easier.

• Have your work looked through

While having your poetry looked through may seem daunting, it is important that you have fellow poets look through it.

Remember that your ultimate goal is to have the public read your work, so it is best if fellow poets go through it. They will be able to point out your poems’s good and bad points and allow you to make the necessary changes.

• Write as much poetry as possible

If you want to be a true poet, it is important that you make poetry a part of your life. You won’t be able to become skilled at poetry overnight. As a rule, you should make poetry writing a habit. Don’t go into poetry in a half-hearted manner. Embrace the poet’s life with a passion, and write poetry every chance you get.

How to write a poem in 7 easy steps

Now that you have a strategy on how to approach the poetry writing process, it is now time to write a poem of your very own. Here are some quick and easy steps that you could follow.

1. Choose a fitting concept

Before you start writing a poem, it is important that you choose a concept. This could be practically anything under the sun. However, your concept should be something that you are passionate about. The more passionate you are about the concept, the more emotion and care you will be able to invest in the poem.

2. Have a free-writing session

Once you have chosen your concept, now is the time to do some free-writing. The free-writing session is like a feeling-out process. You don’t have to come up with a fully realized poem. This is a chance for you to get your bearings and write about the concept without any pressure.

3. Choose the style and form of your poem

After the free-writing session, it is now time to choose the style and form for your poem. There are many forms of poetry that you could write. Just make sure that you know how to write in your chosen style of poetry. Remember that each style has its set characteristics, and you should follow them to the letter.

4. Experiment with your verses

Once you have chosen the style and form of your poem, it is now time to work on your poem. Take your time with the process. Find a good place to write, and experiment with the right tone and words that you use. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Utilize your entire vocabulary of words, and enjoy the process.

5. Read it out loud to an audience

After you have finished writing your first draft of your poem, you should read it aloud to an audience. The audience could be family and friends, or better yet fellow poets. For a first-time poet, this may be a bit scary, but this is a fear that you will have to overcome.

6. Get feedback

Your audience will give you feedback on your poem. As a rule, you should not expect applause. Remember that you are just starting out. So your work won’t really be polished, and your audience will give you both positive and negative feedback. Don’t be offended if you do get negative feedback. Remember, this is for your own progress as a writer.

7. Revise your poem

When you get feedback from your audience, make sure to revise your poem as soon as possible. Revising your poem may seem tedious at first, but you should not think of it as correcting a mistake. Instead, you should think of the revision as a way to enhance your poetry writing skills.

Final thoughts

If you want to try your hand at poetry, it is important that you know the key elements of the writing form. With this article, you will know what constitutes a poem, what kinds of poems there are, and how to write them.

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How to Write a Poem — A Step-by-Step Guide

In the complex world of human communication, poetry is one of the most impactful elements. It combines our ideas, feelings, and life experiences in a beautifully arranged sequence of words. It’s an art form that, when well-executed, can be a method for emotional release, a way for intellectual engagement, and a means to see life from different viewpoints.

Yet, the desire to write poetry often finds itself at odds with the daunting task of putting abstract feelings into concrete verse. This article will illuminate the path toward learning how to write a poem.

How to Write a Poem

First, let’s define poetry.

Now that we've established the importance and power of poetry, let's delve deeper into its core elements and understand what truly makes a poem by looking at the poetry definition.


What is poetry.

Poetry is a literary art form that uses rhythm, rhyme, meter, and figurative language to express human experiences with emotional depth and artistic elegance. Poems are crafted compositions of words, arranged to convey specific themes or emotions, often with a rhythmic pattern distinct from prose. They can vary in structure from tightly defined forms like sonnets to more flexible free verse, all aiming to evoke emotion and provoke thought. Using metaphors, similes, personification, and imagery, poetry communicates thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in a personal yet universal way, offering unique insights and challenging readers to see the world differently.

Characteristics of poetry:

  • Figurative Language

Learning How to Write a Poem

Elements of a poem.

Poetry is a craft that employs various elements to create a unique and captivating work of art. These elements interact with each other to convey the poet's message and evoke the desired emotional response from the reader. Let's delve into these elements one by one.

Understanding Verses and Stanzas

Verses and stanzas are the basic building blocks of a poem. A verse is a single line in a poem, while a stanza is a group of verses arranged together to form a distinct segment within the poem, much like a paragraph in prose . 

The arrangement of stanzas and verses can influence the flow and rhythm of the poem, as well as its visual presentation on the page.

Stanzas and Verses  •  Tips for Writing Poetry

The role of rhythm and rhyme.

Rhythm and rhyme are musical elements of poetry. Rhythm refers to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line, which gives the poem its beat. Rhyme, on the other hand, is the repetition of similar sounds in words, usually at the end of lines.

These elements add a melodic quality to the poem and can enhance its emotional impact.

Significance of Imagery and Metaphor

Imagery and metaphor are powerful tools for conveying meaning in poetry. Metaphor is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unrelated things, providing deeper insight or highlighting their shared qualities in a unique way.

What is a Metaphor  •   Subscribe on YouTube

Imagery involves the use of vivid and descriptive language to create mental pictures or sensations, enabling readers to experience the poem more fully. 

The Power of Alliteration, Assonance, and Consonance

Alliteration , assonance , and consonance are stylistic devices that contribute to the sound and rhythm of a poem. Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds, assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds, and consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in the word. These devices can lend a lyrical quality to the poem and enhance its aesthetic appeal.

Importance of Tone and Mood

Tone and mood play a crucial role in shaping the reader's emotional response to a poem. Tone refers to the poet's attitude towards the subject, which can be discerned through their choice of words and stylistic devices. 

Mood, on the other hand, is the atmosphere or emotional setting created by the poem, which influences how the reader feels while reading. By carefully manipulating tone and mood, poets can guide their readers' emotional journey through the poem.

Related Posts

  • What is a Sonnet? →
  • What is Iambic Pentameter? →
  • Different Types of Poems and Poem Structures →

How to Start a Poem Based on Form

Types of poetry.

The beauty of poetry lies in its diversity. There are numerous types of poetry , each with its own unique structure, style, and thematic focus. Here are some of the most popular forms:

A sonnet is a 14-line poem that originated in Italy and was later popularized by Shakespeare. It traditionally explores themes of love and beauty and is known for its precise structure, which typically includes a specific rhyme scheme and meter. An iconic example of this is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. 

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

 So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

Free verse poems do not conform to any specific rules regarding rhyme or meter, giving the poet full creative freedom. This form allows for greater flexibility and experimentation in terms of structure and content.

A limerick is a humorous five-line poem with a distinct rhythm and rhyme scheme (AABBA). The first, second, and fifth lines are longer, while the third and fourth lines are shorter.

Ballads are narrative poems that tell a story, often set to music. They are usually composed of four-line stanzas (quatrains) with a regular rhythm and rhyme scheme.

Originating in Japan, a haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count. Haikus often focus on nature and the changing seasons, capturing a single moment or observation in a concise and impactful way.

How To Write A Poem  •  Haiku (Step-By-Step Tutorial)

An elegy is a mournful or reflective poem typically written in response to the death of a person or an expression of sorrow over a personal loss. It often employs a formal tone and structure.

Each type of poetry offers a unique way to express thoughts, feelings, and stories, providing endless possibilities for creativity and exploration.

Whether you're drawn to the brevity of the haiku or the storytelling potential of the ballad, there's a poetic form out there to suit your personal style and voice.

How to Write a Poem Step by Step

Steps to writing a poem.

Writing a poem can be a deeply personal and rewarding process. Here are the key steps to guide you on your poetic journey:

1. Finding Inspiration: Drawing from Personal Experiences and Observations

Inspiration is the first spark that ignites the process of writing a poem. It can come from anywhere — personal experiences, observations, feelings, or even a single word or phrase that resonates with you. Keep an open mind and let the world around you inspire your creativity.

Ocean Vuong  •  Tips for Writing Poetry

2. choosing a theme or subject: what do you want to express.

Once you've found inspiration, it's time to decide what you want to express through your poem. This could be a specific emotion, a personal story, a philosophical idea, or a commentary on societal issues.

Your theme or subject will guide the direction of your poem and provide a focus for your creative efforts.

3. Deciding on a Type: Which Form Suits Your Message?

Next, consider which type of poetry best suits your message. Are you telling a story? A ballad might be appropriate. Sharing a brief, poignant moment? Consider a haiku. Want to break free from traditional structures? Try writing in free verse. The form you choose can enhance your theme and make your poem more impactful.

4. Crafting the First Draft: Letting Your Creativity Flow

Now it's time to start writing. Don't worry about making your first draft perfect — just let your creativity flow. Write down whatever comes to mind, focusing on expressing your thoughts and feelings as authentically as possible.

5. Editing and Refining: Honing Your Poem to Perfection

After you've written your first draft, it's time to refine your poem. Look for ways to improve its rhythm, imagery, and language. Remove unnecessary words, experiment with different poetic devices, and ensure that every line contributes to the overall theme.

6. Review and Revise: The Importance of Multiple Drafts

Don't be afraid to write multiple drafts of your poem. Each revision is an opportunity to improve your work and bring it closer to your vision. Be patient with yourself and take the time to craft your poem to perfection. Remember, writing is re-writing!

Sharing Your Work: Taking the Leap and Putting Your Work Out There

Finally, consider sharing your poem with others. This can be a scary step, but it's also incredibly rewarding. Whether you share your work with a trusted friend, submit it to a literary magazine, or post it on a poetry blog, putting your work out there is a brave act of self-expression and a crucial part of the process.

Now that we've grasped the fundamental steps to crafting a poem, let's explore the different approaches to poetry that can shape your unique writing journey.

Understanding How to Write a Poem

Different approaches to writing poetry.

Learning how to write a poem takes an open mind to creative approach. Poetry, like any other form of art, does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. It's a personal journey that varies from poet to poet. Here are some ways you can approach your poetic endeavors:

The Observational Approach

Some poets find their muse in the world around them. Observing nature, people, or everyday situations can inspire profound thoughts and imagery. This approach encourages you to experience life with an open mind and heart, transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary poetry.

The Stream-of-Consciousness Approach

For poets who thrive on spontaneity, the stream-of-consciousness approach is ideal. This technique involves writing thoughts as they come, without concern for structure. It's like a dialogue with your inner self, leading to unexpected connections and authentic poetry. It allows you to tap into your subconscious and reveal hidden ideas, offering new paths to creativity.

What is the Stream of Consciousness?  •  How to Start a Poem

The emotional approach.

Poetry often serves as an outlet for expressing emotions. Whether it's love, sorrow, joy, or anger, channeling your feelings into words can create powerful and relatable poems. This approach requires introspection and honesty with oneself.

The Philosophical Approach

If you're inclined towards pondering life's big questions, the philosophical approach might suit you. This style involves exploring concepts like existence, morality, or the human condition in your poetry. It challenges both the poet and the reader to think deeply and critically.

The Experimental Approach

For those who like to push boundaries and defy conventions, the experimental approach is ideal. This could involve playing with form, structure, or language to create unique and innovative poems. It's all about breaking rules and creating something truly original.

Remember, these are not rigid categories but flexible strategies that you can mix and match according to your preference. The beauty of poetry lies in its flexibility and the freedom it offers the poet. 

In conclusion, poetry writing is more than an art form; it's a journey of self-discovery and profound expression. The joy and fulfillment it offers are unique. If you're a budding poet, remember every masterpiece starts with a single word. Embrace the learning process and know that each word penned brings you closer to your poetic voice.

Types of Poems and Poem Structures 

As we mentioned above, one of the key steps to writing a poem is having a solid understanding of poem structure and form. To learn more about poem structure and types of poems check out our next article. 

Up Next: Types of Poetry →

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How to Write a Poem: Poetry Writing Guide for Beginners

Unlock your creative potential with our step-by-step poetry writing guide for beginners. Learn how to write a poem and express yourself through words.

Farzana Zannat Mou

Last updated on Feb 17th, 2024

How to Write a Poem

When you click on affiliate links on QuillMuse.com and make a purchase, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission—this helps us keep up with publishing valuable content on QuillMuse.  Read More .

Table of Contents

Do you think about how to write a poem? Some writers think that it is possible to write a poem without literature students. I think, of course, it is possible to write a poem without literature students. You just need proper guidelines.

Some content writers asked me how to write a poem. In case you do not consider yourself a writer, writing poetry challenges your phrasing, capacity to be concise, use of symbolism, rhythm, and narrating abilities.

On the off chance that the thought of writing poetry appears a little intimidating, you’re not alone. Poetry has exploded in the final few years, particularly since social media artists began to win over new poetry fans by filling timelines with relatable pieces of poetry. Within the ever-evolving world of poetry, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. Do not stress; the small interminable has you secured with something for everybody.

How To Write Poetry for Beginners

Follow these comprehensive steps on how to write a poem and become an expert poetry writer.

1. Study poetry

When you are curious about how to write a poem, be conscious that you must read so many poems that will make you write a poem easily.

Whereas this sounds self-evident, you’d be astounded to memorize that few writers Read a part of poetry. If you want to become a famous poet, you need to read about the writers who have come before you.

Reading poetry can also help you identify which styles of poetry you’re fascinated by. Additionally, it’s an awesome way to get motivated when a writer’s piece unavoidably creeps out of its head.

Read more: How to Write Your Life Story

2. Do not overcomplicate it

We get that this may be simpler said at that point done; however, beginning little may be an awesome way to begin doing anything modern.

For example, do not attempt to begin writing poetry by writing a 1,000-line epic lyric. Instead, begin with something shorter, like a 3-line poem.

Starting small will help you grow your abilities and inevitably help you develop your confidence to undertake harder shapes of verse.

3. Attend poetry groups

When learning how to write a poem, creative spaces offer assistance to develop and sharpen your wonderful fashion. We highly suggest you get included in your nearby inventive scene. 

This implies going to poetry readings, joining nearby writers or readers gatherings, and perhaps indeed sharing and altering your work in a workshop.

In case you’re incapable of dealing with neighborhood poets, there are various spaces online to do so. 

From prompts to assets and support, you’ll discover individual poets online who can offer assistance and keep you centered and driven in your interest in being a poet.

This practice benefits poets in two ways. To begin with, it energizes you to type in due to the responsibility figure. Second, it makes writing a more community-driven poem possible, like being in a room and slamming your head in the work area since you’re not feeling propelled.

4. Use poetry journals and prompts

This is another way to write a poem. There are few better ways to break through a writer’s square than by reveling in special poetry prompts. If you’re longing to form past poetry, take a guided writing journal. 

By the way, these sorts of journals change broadly. A few journals plan for you how to write a poem every day; some journals and prompts provide to-do calendars, whereas others are there for you once you require them. Either way, writing prompts are a reliable way to induce you to think outside the box.

5. Discover your writing style

You have learned the essentials of how to write a poem. You’ve written a few poems you’re fixated on, and a few, well, you arrange on re-visiting. You experimented with different forms and styles. 

Now, you’ll begin to characterize your poetic style. Right now, micropoetry is trending. This style is known to be short, basic, and to the point. Are you having a difficult time being limited and to the point? 

Attempt to use metaphorical language, representation, and symbolism in your poem. Do your poems not fit in one style? There isn’t a strict policy on poetry writing. Use it as a way to precise yourself inventively and make it your possession.

6. Edit your poem

Editing is the most momentous thing about how to write a poem. Regardless of the poem you write, the more times you edit it, the more likely it is to be unprecedented, which will increase your enthusiasm for writing poetry. While you edit your poem, you can talk with experienced poets.

7. Choosing the topic

Knowing how to write a poem, try to choose a topic in which you are really interested.

Whether you’re assigned to write about any topic or you are choosing your own topic, it is vital that you simply choose your title. Anything can ignite your thoughts, so look around for motivation in case you do not know beyond any doubt what to write about. 

Reading distinctive poems can, moreover, be an awesome offer of assistance. Topics can be current events, people in your life, nature, battles of individuals in society, etc. Make a note of all the things that you just took note of that drove you to select this point. 

The exceptional way to begin is to begin with freewriting. You’ll be able to note down the focuses, and after that, let them coalesce in your intellect into a common shape and structure that suits a poem.

Read more: How to Write a Novel For Beginners

8. Capture your emotion

To analyze how to write a poem, you must write the poem through your emotions and inner feelings. Choose topics that are connected to your emotions. It will be beneficial for your poem writing. You can smoothly complete your poem.

Example of an emotional poem:

9. choose words carefully.

When you write poetry, you must be careful with your word choice. Because if you can’t choose the right words, then the audience will not be interested in reading your poem. So choose the words for the poem in such a way that they touch the heart of the audience.

10. Specific techniques

Though writers want to know how to write a poem, they can apply various techniques, such as freewriting, exploring new surroundings, or drawing inspiration from diverse sources, that can help break through creative barriers when writing poetry.

[Video] How to Write Poetry for Beginners

In conclusion, making a compelling poem requires a delicate balance of feeling, symbolism, and etymological creativity. By imbuing veritable feelings, making distinctive symbolism, playing with sound, choosing words mindfully, testing with structure, and grasping the modification process, you’ll open the poetic potential within you. Each poem may be an interesting expression, and through these tips, you’ll set out on a journey of self-discovery and imaginative exploration within the domain of poetry.

FAQs on How To Write a Poem

What is the exact format for writing a poem.

There is no specific format for writing a poem. Because it’s like free writing on your own.

How emotion is crucial to writing a compelling poem?

Writing your poem with veritable emotions can essentially improve its impact, making it a more important and relatable experience for readers.

How can I edit my poem to enhance its overall quality?

Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. Take time to edit your poem, focusing on clarity, rhythm, and coherence. Seeking feedback from others can provide valuable insights for improvement.

Can anyone learn to write poetry, or is it a skill naturally?

Writing poetry is a skill that can be gained with practice and a genuine passion for self-expression. While some may have natural sources, anyone can learn and improve their poetic abilities over time.

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We keep our articles up-to-date regularly to ensure accuracy and relevance as new information becomes available.

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How to Write a Poem

How To Write A Poem: Comprehensive Guide For Beginners

writing poems

by r. A. bentinck

Tips on How To Write A Poem

How To Write A Poem

Ever wondered  how to write a poem  but felt overwhelmed by where to start?

Crafting a compelling poem often begins with  identifying a poignant moment  or  stirring emotion  that resonates.

This guide will walk you through the basics, from choosing your subject to refining your verses, ensuring that  poetry doesn’t have to be perplexing  for beginners.

Dive in –  poetic expression  awaits!

Key Takeaways

  • Start by picking a topic that touches your heart, then play with words and sounds to express it.
  • Use literary devices like similes and metaphors to add depth to your poem.
  • Try different forms like sonnets or free verse to find what best suits your message.
  • Edit your work by reading aloud and changing words for the strongest impact.
  • Join a writing community , seek mentorship from published poets , and keep practicing .

Table of Contents

Understanding the elements of poetry.

What Are Line Breaks In Poetry

Before diving into the creative current of poetry, it’s essential to grasp its foundational elements — these are the building blocks that give your verses structure and depth.

From the subtle dance of assonance to the precise architecture of stanzas, each aspect works in harmony to transform a mere string of words into an evocative literary masterpiece.

Sound in poetry

They use sounds to support their themes and messages.

Rhymes give poems a catchy beat  and can make them fun to say out loud.  Learning about syllables  helps you see patterns in stress and rhythm.

Mastering rhyme boosts your creativity everywhere – not just in writing poems! 

Sound devices  are your secret tools for  making each poem unique and powerful .

Use them wisely to create  special effects  that stick with the reader long after they’ve finished reading.

Moving beyond sound, we find that  rhythm truly breathes life  into a poem. It creates a beat, much like the heartbeat of your piece.

Picture rhythm as the drum you tap to while reading your poem out loud—it shapes how fast or slow, smooth or choppy the words flow from one line to another.

Think of  stressed and unstressed syllables  as the building blocks of rhythm; they help you decide where emphasis falls in each line.

Rhythm can stir emotions and reinforce your message. Use it skillfully to make readers feel the excitement, calmness, or tension with every verse they read.

Consider how sometimes  repeating certain sounds at regular intervals  can add power to an idea or emotion you want to express.

Mastering this  musical element  will set your poetry apart,  turning simple words into an experience  that  resonates deeply with those who hear them .

Rhythm sets the beat, but  rhyme brings harmony  to your poem. A good rhyme can make your lines sing.

Think of it as a pattern where sounds match at the end of each line or in the middle.

These matching sounds are part of what’s called a “ rhyme scheme .” Poets craft these schemes to give their work structure and flow.

You don’t need every line to rhyme, but when they do, it creates melody and rhythm that stick with readers long after they’ve read your poem.

Explore different types of rhymes, like  slant rhymes or eye rhymes , to add variety.

Use rhyme scheme wisely – it guides listeners through your poetry, making each verse memorable.  Sound matters  in poetry; let’s use it well!

Literary devices

Literary devices are like secret tools poets use to make their writing stand out. Think of them as spices in cooking—they add flavor and depth.

Poets sprinkle these devices throughout their work to stir up emotions and thoughts in the reader’s mind.

For example,  similes compare  two things using “like” or “as,” making images more vivid.

Metaphors do a similar job but without the comparison words, creating solid connections directly.

Analogies extend  those comparisons even further, often across several lines or an entire poem, building complex relationships between ideas. 

Sound devices like alliteration  repeat consonant sounds at the beginning of words close together—it can make a line hum! 

Personification gives  human traits to non-human things; it makes everything feel alive and relatable.

Using these literary tools well takes practice. Begin by playing with them in your writing exercises—see how they change your poem’s sound when read out loud or alter its meaning line by line.

Let’s dive into how you can start your journey step-by-step by choosing a topic for your poem next!

Just as literary devices add depth to your words, form gives shape to your poem.

Many types of poetry have  specific structures , like a sonnet with its 14 lines and strict rhyme scheme.

Choose a  free verse  that flows without set rules. Each form comes with its rhythm and flow.

Trying out different  poetic forms  can be an exciting way to find the one that resonates with you.

Explore  traditional forms  such as haikus or limericks if you’re looking for clear rules to guide you.

For more freedom, consider a free verse where line breaks and stanza divisions are up to you.

The important thing is how the structure reflects what you want to say—whether it’s controlling pace through quatrains or building intensity with couplets.

Whatever form catches your eye, give it a shot! Experimenting is part of discovering your  unique voice in poetry .

How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step

Creating powerful poetic lines

Diving into the world of poetry can be exhilarating yet intimidating, but with a solid step-by-step approach, crafting your verses becomes an attainable adventure.

This section is where creativity meets methodology; it’s about transforming that spark of inspiration into lines that resonate and stir emotions — let’s get those words flowing!

Choosing a topic

Picking a subject for your poem is like choosing the heart of your message. Look for ideas that stir your emotions, things you feel deeply about.

This  connection makes your words more powerful  and can touch others, too. Use images and experiences from life to bring richness to the theme.

Brainstorming helps you explore different angles of the topic before starting your poem. Jot down single words, phrases, or even feelings related to the idea.

These notes will be valuable in crafting lines that resonate with readers later on.

Think about what kind of poem celebrates or reflects upon these thoughts—this  sets the tone for writing  something significant.

Consideration of form

Poems come in shapes and sizes. Some are long; others are just a few words.

There’s  free verse , which doesn’t follow rules, and then there’s  sonnets  with 14 lines that often tell about love.

Haikus from Japan have three lines with a pattern of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

Think about the form before you start writing your poem. Want to share a story? Try a  ballad ! They’re like songs telling tales.

Or pick  cinquains  if you want something short but mighty – they’ve got five lines that paint a vivid picture.

Make sure your choice suits the mood and message of your poem – it helps bring your words to life!

Word exploration

Pick each word carefully, like choosing a color for a painting. Think about how they sound and feel. Some words can make your poem soft or loud, fast or slow.

Play with language  to find the  perfect match  for your ideas.

Look at different words until you find ones that fit just right. Try  synonyms  to see if they add something new to your lines.

Use  strong verbs  to give power to what you write and paint  clear pictures  in the reader’s mind.

Word choice is critical  – it can turn a simple message into something beautiful and full of life!

Writing process

Let your ideas flow onto the page without worrying about perfection. Start with  brainstorming and free-writing  in prose to get your thoughts out.

This technique helps  tap into emotions  and can spark creativity for your poem. Try to include feelings and consider using nature as an inspiration source.

Once you’ve got a bunch of ideas,  shape them into a first draft  of your poem. Don’t fret over misspelled words or misplaced commas; write something down!

Exploring different words, rhythms, and rhymes will refine your vision. As you write, pause often to  feel the beat of each line —this is where rhythm comes alive.

After finishing this step, you’ll be ready to  edit your poem —a crucial part that polishes rough edges and tightens up language.

Now, let’s move on to  reshaping with editing .

Once your poem is on paper, it’s time to  fine-tune  it. Dive into the  editing process  with fresh eyes and a sharp mind.

Look for lines that could be clearer or stronger. Swap out any weak words for ones that pack more punch.

Listen to how each line sounds; cut out extra words that drag down your rhythm.

Editing is about  polishing your work  until it shines. Read your poem aloud—does anything sound off? Fix those spots!

Changes might include cutting lines, adding imagery, or playing with the order of words.

Even  minor tweaks  can make a big difference in how your poem flows and feels to readers.

Keep shaping and refining because every edit gets you closer to a poem you’ll be proud to share!

Different Approaches and Philosophies for Writing Poetry

Exploring the vast landscape of poetry can be as diverse as the poets who pen it—each with a unique approach to uncovering the heart’s musings.

Whether you’re capturing fleeting emotions or painting with words in a stream-of-consciousness style, your philosophy shapes every stanza; it’s about finding that resonance within and letting it ripple through your verses.


Poems can make hearts race or bring tears to the eyes. They reach deep into feelings, sometimes in ways that stories and songs cannot touch.

The secret? Poets  pour their own emotions  onto the page.

When you try your hand at  writing poetry with emotion , let your heart lead. Think about what stirs you up inside—joy, anger, sadness—and write it down.

Use words like a painter uses colors; mix and match till they feel just right. You don’t need fancy tricks or rigid rules to  convey raw emotions .

If a line of your poem makes you laugh or cry when you read it back, chances are it will move someone else, too.

Poetry isn’t just about form and technique—it’s also  writing from the soul  for an  audience of one or many .

Let each word take its reader on a journey through sensations,  guiding them to taste, smell, see, and feel  everything you pour into your lines.

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness lets you capture every twist and turn of your thoughts.

This style can feel like a  wild river of ideas , jumping from one to another without strict rules. Think of it as a direct line from your brain to the page.

Your readers get to ride the rapids of emotions and images just as they come. This powerful technique is not just for stories or novels; poets use it, too.

It can add depth to your poetry by showing how feelings and thoughts connect in real time. Don’t worry about making perfect sense at first.

Let your mind wander and spill those  raw, unedited thoughts  onto paper. Use specific words that pop into your head—no matter how strange or disconnected they may seem.

Feel free to mix memories, hopes, fears, and dreams all in one poem. Permit yourself to  break traditional poetic structures  with this method!


Mindfulness brings a special touch to poetry writing . As you focus on the  present moment , each word flows with purpose and intention.

It’s like using poetry to capture snapshots of life’s experiences.

Whether observing the rustle of leaves or the rush of emotions,  mindfulness in writing  helps explore  personal insights  deeply.

Writing mindfully also offers  peace and clarity  for both the poet and the reader.

A poem becomes more than just words; it transforms into a  journey through sights, sounds, and sensations .

Embracing this practice  enriches your craft  as every line reflects a clear, tranquil state of being.

Use mindfulness to write poetry that  speaks from the soul —simple yet profound.

Poem as a camera lens

Shifting our focus from mindfulness, let’s explore how a poem can act like a camera lens.

Just as a  lens captures fleeting moments , poetry seizes emotions and ideas in words. A poet’s job is to  observe closely and snap verbal pictures  of life.

They might zoom in on a single emotion or pan out to catch the sweep of an experience.

Like photographers choose their frame and focus, poets pick every word with care.

They  play with light and shadow  through poetic devices to bring depth to their work—every stanza crafted for impact, just as photographers compose each shot for maximum effect.

Poets use literary devices skillfully, making sure  imagery jumps off the page ; it’s all about creating that vivid picture readers will carry with them long after they’ve finished reading your poem.

Tips for Furthering Your Poetry Writing Journey

As you embark on the path to poetic prowess, delving deeper into your craft through a range of enriching strategies can transform the way you think about and create poetry—discover more, write with passion, and see where your words can take you.

Publishing in literary journals

Getting your poetry published in  literary journals  is a big step for any poet. Start by exploring different magazines and websites to find the right fit for your work.

Look at what they publish and read their  submission guidelines  carefully. Please pay attention to whether they want poems about specific topics or themes.

Send your best work to these places after you revise, revise, revise! Please make sure each word in your poem matters before you share it with editors.

They see a lot of submissions, so give them something unique that stands out from the rest.

Remember,  rejection is part of the process . Keep trying even if you get no’s at first.

Every poet starts somewhere, and many famous writers faced rejection too before their poems saw print.

Keep writing, keep revising, and stay persistent in sending out your poetry – publication could be just around the corner!

Assembling and publishing a manuscript

Pulling together a  poetry manuscript  takes time and attention. You’ll want your poems to fit well together, like telling a story or taking readers on a journey through your thoughts and emotions.

Once you’ve selected the poems,  arrange them in an order  that flows smoothly. Think about how each poem interacts with the next.

Publishing your collection is the next exciting step. Start by researching publishers who are interested in the type of poetry you write.

Make sure to follow their  submission guidelines  carefully—this can make or break your chance of getting published.

Self-publishing is also an option if you want more control over the process. It lets you design, market, and sell your book on your terms.

Use  social media platforms  like Instagram to share snippets of your work and  grow an audience  for it.

Joining a writing community

Now that you’ve put together your manuscript consider taking the next step by  joining a writing community .

This move will connect you with other poets who are eager to share their experiences and writing pieces.

Together, you can  give and receive feedback , making each poem stronger and more vibrant.

Becoming part of a poetry group offers more than just critiques; it’s a chance to  find your tribe .

You’ll be  inspired by different styles and techniques  that can broaden your poetic horizon.

A community  provides support  as you voice your work aloud, helping to build confidence in your craft.

Plus,  learning from seasoned poets  can propel your journey forward as they share insights only gained through practice and dedication.

Seeking guidance from published poets

Talking to  published poets  opens doors you didn’t know existed. They’ve walked the path and can share shortcuts and pitfalls.

Picture a  mentor shedding light  on the mysteries of poetry—this could be that poet for you. Their experience is like a  treasure map to better writing .

Join a  workshop or reach out online , but get their insights! Learn how they  craft words into emotion and thought .

Listen closely as they talk about  rhythm, sound, and the dance of verses  on paper.

Their advice might make your following poem something people want to read again and again.

Continuously practicing and refining your craft.

Keep writing and revising your poem to get better. This will  sharpen your skills  and help you grow as a poet.

Use every chance to  play with words, rhythms, and forms . Try out new styles and tones in your poems.

Share your work with others, too. You’ll learn from their feedback. Join a group where poets talk about writing together.

This is a great way to improve. Always look for ways to write more muscular lines and express ideas more clearly.

Don’t just write;  read lots of poetry ! Seeing how different poets use language can open up new ways for you to write a good poem, too.

Learning doesn’t stop, so keep exploring the vast world of poetry with an open mind and heart.

Concluding Thoughts on How To Write A Poem

Now, you’ve got the basics to start your poem! Remember, poems come from your heart. 

Share your story , feelings, or ideas in a way that’s  true to you .  Writing poetry  is a journey — one where each word can paint a picture or sing a song.

Write, share, and, most of all, enjoy the magic of  creating something only you can make .  Your voice matters ; let it shine through your poetry!

FAQs About How To Write A Poem

1. how do i start writing a poem if i’ve never written one before.

To start your poem, let your emotions and ideas lead the way. Read a lot of poetry to find inspiration—listen to music, think about people in your life, or try capturing abstract imagery in words. Just grab a pen and express yourself!

2. What should I do after I write my first draft?

After you write your poem, take a break then read it again. Revise your poem by looking for parts you can improve—maybe make lines rhyme or change the rhythm. Keep tweaking it until it feels just right.

3. Do all poems have to rhyme?

Nope, poetry doesn’t always require rhyming! Poems often use rhythmic patterns or poetic elements without sticking to rules like rhymes—it’s more important that you convey feelings or images as you see fit.

4. Can anyone learn how to write poetry?

Absolutely! Anyone can learn how to write poems with some practice and guidance. Know that writing tips are just starting points—you’re creating art that reflects who you are, so trust your unique voice!

5. How can I get better at writing poems?

To improve at writing poetry—and enjoy poetry even more—join a writing group where you can share and discuss poetry together; also write regularly and don’t be afraid of rewriting parts until they shine!

6. Should I try publishing my poem once it’s done?

Yes—if sharing is what you want! when ready, research places that publish poems like magazines or online platforms; send them out there for others to appreciate the beauty of what you’ve created.


  • https://www.matrix.edu.au/beginners-guide-poetry/ultimate-list-of-poetic-techniques
  • https://poemanalysis.com/poetry-explained/elements-of-poetry
  • https://blog.shurley.com/blog/2018/11/14/poetry-exploring-sound-devices-with-couplets
  • https://literacyideas.com/elements-of-poetry
  • https://writers.com/how-to-write-a-poem-step-by-step
  • https://study.com/academy/lesson/elements-of-poetry-rhymes-sounds.html
  • https://blog.daisie.com/understanding-rhyme-a-comprehensive-guide

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How to Write Poetry: Writing Poetry for Beginners

Too often, new writers associate poetry with some of the most complicated and foreign poetic movements. No longer is poetry just Whitman, Blake, or Keats. Poetry has evolved in many ways, making it more accessible than ever to beginners.

As a small literary magazine who publishes new writers often, we are committed to sharing just how easy it is to start writing poetry. This is writing poetry for beginners.

Common Types of Poetry

There are various types of poetry, but that doesn’t mean you have to only write one or that you must follow all of the “rules.” Here are a few different types of poetry that you should become familiar with, especially when you’re a beginner.

Prose Poetry

Prose poetry has steadily been rising in popularity, and is perhaps one of the most accessible forms for beginner poets. This type of poetry is written in prose sentences, but can adopt many of the common attributes of poetry. For example, prose poems might focus on sound, tone, symbolism, metaphor, or a specific theme.

List of Famous Hats , by James Tate is an excellent example of a prose poem.

Napoleon’s hat is an obvious choice I guess to list as a famous hat, but that’s not the hat I have in mind. That was his hat for show. I am thinking of his private bathing cap, which in all honesty wasn’t much different than the one any jerk might buy at a corner drugstore now, except for two minor eccentricities. The first one isn’t even funny: Simply it was a white rubber bathing cap, but too small. Napoleon led such a hectic life ever since his childhood, even farther back than that, that he never had a chance to buy a new bathing cap and still as a grown-up–well, he didn’t really grow that much, but his head did: He was a pinhead at birth, and he used, until his death really, the same little tiny bathing cap that he was born in, and this meant that later it was very painful to him and gave him many headaches, as if he needed more. So, he had to vaseline his skull like crazy to even get the thing on. The second eccentricity was that it was a tricorn bathing cap. Scholars like to make a lot out of this, and it would be easy to do. My theory is simple-minded to be sure: that beneath his public head there was another head and it was a pyramid or something.

Narrative Poetry

If you read poetry, you’ve definitely read narrative poetry. This type of poetry, generally has an arch, a strong narrative voice, and a plot regardless of the length.

These poems can range in form and length. While they may “sound” like more complicated forms of poetry, they tend to be easier to follow.

Ever heard of William Shakespeare? Well, he’s the King of Sonnets. This type of poetry follows a specific form. Made up of 14 lines, iambic meter, and a ending rhyme scheme, sonnets are a more traditional type of poetry.

Enjoy Sonnet XXII , by Shakespeare

My glass shall not persuade me I am old, So long as youth and thou are of one date; But when in thee time’s furrows I behold, Then look I death my days should expiate. For all that beauty that doth cover thee Is but the seemly raiment of my heart, Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me: How can I then be elder than thou art? O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary As I, not for myself, but for thee will; Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary As tender nurse her babe from faring ill. Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain; Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.

Epic Poetry

The hero’s journey is encapsulated in epic poetry . Epic poems are longer, and follow the trials and tribulations of a heroine. Many epics are rooted in mythology – this is why you may be familiar with some of them.

Homer’s The Odyssey is an example of an epic poem.

Free Verse Poetry

Ready to throw rules out the window? Free verse poetry follows no particular format, rhyme scheme, tone, or pattern. As a beginner, free verse is a fun way to start writing poetry because it does not place any limitations on the writer.

How to Write Poetry

Being a poet requires more than writing (yes, it’s true). By adopting some of these rules into your routine, you can ensure that your poetry grows and develops.

1. Read Poetry

While this sounds obvious, you’d be surprised to learn that few poets READ a lot of poetry. If you want to become a famous poet, you need to read the poets who can come before you.

Reading poetry can also help you identify which styles of poetry you’re interested in writing. Plus, it’s a great way to get inspired when writer’s block inevitably creeps out its head.

If you’re having trouble finding a great poetry book, or don’t want to commit to a collection of only one author, we highly recommend exploring poetry anthologies (our editor’s favorite is the The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poets).

2. Don’t Overcomplicate It

We understand that this may be easier said then done, however, starting small is a great way to start doing anything new.

For example, don’t try to start writing poetry by writing a 1,000 line epic poem . Instead, start with something shorter, like a 3 line haiku or minimalist poem .

Starting small will help you to grow your skills, and eventually help you grow your confidence to try harder forms of poetry.

3. Attend or Watch Local Poetry Slams / Groups

Creative spaces help to cultivate and hone your poetic style. We highly recommend you get involved in your local creative scene. This means attending poetry readings, joining a local writers or readers group, and maybe even sharing and editing your work in a workshop.

If you’re unable to connect with local poets, there are numerous spaces online to do so. Instagram, Twitter, and Medium are welcoming spaces for new poets and writers. From prompts, to resources and encouragement, you can find fellow poets online that can help keep you focused and driven in your pursuit to be a poet. You can follow us on Twitter or Instagram as well!

Pro Tip: There are some Instagram accounts that do awesome live poetry readings! Also, learn more about growing your poetry account on Instagram here.

This practice benefits poets in two ways. First, it encourages you to write due to the accountability factor. Second, it makes writing more community-driven versus you, being in a room, banging your head on the desk because you’re not feeling inspired.

How to Start A Poem

Many people want to write poetry, but they don’t know where to start. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to start a poem.

Do you write in other genres ? If so, what themes and topics do you usually explore?

For example, if you tend to write fantasy, use fantastical elements, like hidden forests, magic spells, and an evil-doer to inspire your poetry.

Start writing poetry using what you already know. Using this technique makes it much easier to start a poem. Additionally, examine and be present in your surroundings. Describe what you see, feel, smell. Use your senses to brainstorm possible poetry topics and to add poetic imagery to your writing.

If you need further inspiration, check out our Glossary of Poetic Terms . It may help nudge if you get stuck.

5 Poetry Writing Exercises

Still scratching your head when it comes to writing poetry? Try one or all of these poetry writing exercises. Writing exercises are a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

1.) Look at an old photo. Write about everything not in the picture. Feel free to move to and from reality.

2.) Describe a place you’ve never been to. Be as realistic as possible. The catch? It has to be a single word list.

3.) What’s the last dream you remember? Use colors and smells to describe it.

4.) Finish the sentence and continue the story… “When my head hits the pillow…”

5.) In 13 words, describe your oasis.

These poetry writing exercises can be recycled. Get creative, and exploratory. Write what comes to mind. These prompts are meant to help you begin your poetry writing journey. There are no right or wrong ways to approach them. And remember, revision always comes later on.

What Makes a Good Poem?

This is an age-old question, and one that writers now and into the future will keep asking.

But, honestly, what makes a good poem?

If someone reads your poem, and feels something – anything – then you’ve written a good poem. There are many people that will argue with this, but at the end of the day, it’s about how the writing makes you feel, not anyone else.

Yes, some of the common types of poetry follow a set of “rules,” but you’re the writer, and when you’re the writer, you get to write whatever kind of poetry you want.

No matter which forms you find yourself writing, all poetry elicits a response in readers. As a beginner, if you can stick to that rule of thumb, chances are you’re moving in the right poetic direction.

Want more tips? Read our 10 tips to improve your poetry .

How to Write Poetry FAQs

How can I teach myself poetry?

To teach yourself poetry, we recommend reading poetry and writing it. Reading more poetry will help you learn the various styles of poems. Once you learn about the varying types of poetry, consider trying to write a few lines about a topic that resonates with you.

What is the easiest poem to make?

Free verse poems are the easiest poems to make because they don’t have any rules. This allows you to be creative!

What is the best type of poetry?

The best type of poetry is a poem that leaves readers feeling inspired. This is very subjective; a poem you love might not be another person’s top choice – this is what makes poetry so amazing because it can cater to many audiences with different preferences.

Ready to Start Writing Poetry?

Poetry isn’t an inaccessible form of writing, but it can come across that way when you’re a beginner. Instead, writing poetry for beginners is pretty simple. Hopefully, this brief guide has made poetry feel more approachable. Now, it’s time to write poetry!

Be sure to check out our submissions page – we’d love to read what you’ve been working on!

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How to Write a Poem: A Simple Guide for Beginners

How to write a Poem! To write a poem is to express oneself through the art of words. It is a beautiful form of creative writing that allows you to convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas in a unique and artistic way. Whether you are a seasoned poet or a beginner, learning how to write a poem can be a rewarding experience that allows you to explore your creativity and imagination.

In this article, you will learn the basics of how to write a poem. You will discover the different types of poetry, including sonnets, haikus, and free verse, and learn how to choose the type that best fits your message. You will also learn about the elements of poetry, such as rhyme, rhythm, and meter, and how to use them to create a powerful and memorable poem.

How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem: A Simple Guide for Beginners

Understanding Poetry

When it comes to understanding poetry, there are a few key elements you should be aware of. Forms of poetry, themes in poetry, and rhythm and rhyme are all important aspects to consider.

Forms of Poetry

Poetry comes in many different forms, each with its own unique structure and rules. Some of the most common forms of poetry include sonnets, haikus, and free verse. Understanding the structure and rules of each form can help you to better craft your own poetry.

For example, a sonnet typically consists of 14 lines, with a specific rhyme scheme and meter. Haikus, on the other hand, are three-line poems with a specific syllable count for each line. Free verse, as the name suggests, is poetry without any specific structure or rules.

Themes in Poetry

Themes in poetry can range from love and nature to politics and social issues. Understanding the themes that are common in poetry can help you to better appreciate and analyze the works of others, as well as inspire your own writing.

Some common themes in poetry include:

  • Love and relationships
  • Nature and the environment
  • Death and mortality
  • Politics and social issues
  • Identity and self-discovery

Rhythm and Rhyme

Rhythm and rhyme are important elements in poetry that can help to create a sense of musicality and flow. Understanding the different types of rhyme and meter can help you to craft poems that are both pleasing to the ear and meaningful.

Some common types of rhyme include:

  • End rhyme: when the last words of two or more lines rhyme
  • Internal rhyme: when words within a line rhyme with each other
  • Slant rhyme: when words have similar but not identical sounds
  • Eye rhyme: when words look like they should rhyme, but do not

Meter refers to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem. Common meters include iambic pentameter and trochaic tetrameter.

Getting Started

Writing poetry can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it. But with a little guidance, you can unleash your creativity and start writing beautiful, meaningful poems. Here are some tips on how to get started.

Choosing a Theme

Before you start writing your poem, it’s important to choose a theme. A theme is the main idea or message that you want to convey through your poem. It can be anything from love, loss, nature, or even a specific event or memory. Choosing a theme will help you focus your thoughts and give your poem direction.

To choose a theme, think about what inspires you or what you’re passionate about. You can also draw inspiration from your own experiences or observations of the world around you. Once you have a theme in mind, jot down some ideas or phrases that relate to it. This will help you develop your poem further.

Finding Inspiration

Now that you have a theme, it’s time to find inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere – a beautiful sunset, a meaningful conversation, or even a random thought. The key is to be open to it and to pay attention to the world around you.

To find inspiration, try some of the following:

  • Take a walk in nature and observe your surroundings
  • Listen to music or read poetry for inspiration
  • Keep a journal and jot down your thoughts and observations
  • Attend a poetry reading or open mic night for inspiration and community

Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere, so be open to new experiences and ideas.

Writing the Poem

Creating the first draft.

The first draft of a poem is often the most difficult to write. It’s important to remember that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s often better to write freely without worrying too much about structure or rhyme.

When you’re writing the first draft, try to focus on the emotion or message you want to convey. You can worry about structure and rhyme later on. It’s also helpful to read your work out loud as you go along. This can help you identify areas that need improvement.

Using Metaphors and Similes

Metaphors and similes are great tools for adding depth and meaning to your poetry. A metaphor is a comparison between two things that are not alike but share something in common. For example, “life is a journey” is a metaphor that compares life to a journey.

A simile is similar to a metaphor but uses “like” or “as” to make the comparison. For example, “her eyes were like the ocean” is a simile that compares someone’s eyes to the ocean.

When using metaphors and similes in your poetry, try to choose ones that are original and unexpected. This will help your poetry stand out and make a lasting impression on your readers.

Creating Imagery

Imagery is another important element of poetry. It helps create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and can make your poetry more engaging and powerful.

When creating imagery in your poetry, try to use all five senses. This will help your readers feel like they are experiencing the scene or emotion you are describing. For example, if you’re writing about a sunset, you might describe the colors of the sky, the warmth of the sun on your skin, and the sound of birds chirping in the distance.

Revising the Poem

As a poet, you know that writing the first draft of a poem can be a liberating and purposeful feeling. However, the real work begins when you start revising your poem. Revising your poem is an art and can be more creative than writing the first draft. In this section, we will discuss the two essential sub-sections of revising your poem: reviewing and editing, and getting feedback.

Reviewing and Editing

Reviewing and editing your poem is an essential part of the revision process. It involves reading your poem carefully and making changes to improve its overall quality. Here are some tips to help you review and edit your poem:

  • Read your poem aloud: Reading your poem aloud helps you hear the rhythm and flow of your words. It also helps you identify awkward phrasing, repetition, and other issues that might not be apparent when you read silently.
  • Check for grammar and punctuation errors: Make sure your poem is free of grammar and punctuation errors. Use a grammar checker or proofreading tool to help you identify any mistakes.
  • Simplify your language: Use simple and clear language to convey your message. Avoid using jargon or complex words that might confuse your readers.
  • Cut unnecessary words: Remove any unnecessary words or phrases that do not add value to your poem. This will help you keep your poem concise and to the point.

Getting Feedback

Getting feedback is an essential part of the revision process. It helps you identify areas that need improvement and provides you with fresh perspectives on your work. Here are some tips to help you get feedback on your poem:

  • Share your poem with trusted readers: Share your poem with friends, family, or fellow poets who can provide you with honest and constructive feedback.
  • Join a writing group: Joining a writing group can help you get feedback from a diverse group of writers. It also provides you with an opportunity to learn from others and improve your writing skills.
  • Attend poetry workshops: Attending poetry workshops can help you get feedback from professional poets and learn new techniques to improve your writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips for starting a poem?

Starting a poem can be challenging, but there are several ways to get started. You can begin by brainstorming ideas or topics that inspire you. You can also start by writing down a single word or phrase that captures your attention and build from there. Another technique is to use a prompt or writing exercise to jumpstart your creativity.

How do you structure a poem?

The structure of a poem can vary depending on the type of poem you are writing. Some common structures include sonnets, haikus, and free verse. When structuring your poem, consider the length, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. You can also experiment with line breaks, stanzas, and other poetic devices to create a unique structure.

Are there any rules to follow when writing poetry?

While there are no strict rules for writing poetry, there are some guidelines to keep in mind. For example, poems are typically written in stanzas and use poetic devices such as rhyme, alliteration, and imagery. It’s also important to pay attention to the rhythm and flow of your poem. However, these guidelines are not set in stone and can be broken for creative effect.

What are some examples of good poetry?

There are many examples of great poetry, ranging from classic works by Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson to contemporary poets like Maya Angelou and Billy Collins. Reading widely and studying different styles and forms can help you develop your own voice and style.

How do you write a poem for children?

When writing poetry for children, it’s important to use simple language and vivid imagery. Consider using repetition, rhyme, and other poetic devices to engage young readers. You can also incorporate themes and topics that are relevant to children, such as animals, nature, and friendship.

What are some creative writing techniques for poetry?

There are many creative writing techniques that can be used in poetry, such as metaphor, simile, personification, and onomatopoeia. You can also experiment with different forms and structures, such as found poetry or blackout poetry. It’s important to stay open to new ideas and approaches and to keep practicing and refining your craft.

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

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  • Writing Poetry

How to Write Poetry for Beginners

Last Updated: January 12, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . 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 13 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 238,614 times.

Writing poetry is a way to convey emotions, memories, and nostalgia without directly stating what you are describing. Writing poetry for the first time can be challenging, since there are so many ways to start and finish a poem. If you are a beginner and want to write poetry for the first time, use a journal to keep track of your inspiration and expand your language by using metaphors and similes to create beautiful and relatable poetry.

Finding Time and Inspiration for Poetry

Step 1 Read famous poems as examples to follow.

  • Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Sylvia Plath are also famous poets that have varying styles.
  • You can also see some examples of different styles and tones in poetry by comparing and contrasting authors.

Step 2 Get in tune with your emotions.

  • Understanding your own emotions can be difficult. Try to dissect how you feel on a daily basis, and what situations disrupt your mood often.
  • Emotions are a great tool to use in poetry because people feel them universally.

Step 3 Set aside time to write every day.

  • If you think you will forget to write, try setting an alarm on your phone or using a post-it note to remind you.

Step 4 Keep a poetry journal with you to write when inspiration strikes.

Tip: Use a journal that is small enough to keep in your bag, or even your pocket.

Step 5 Use writing prompts to give you inspiration.

  • For example, answer a prompt like, “Write about your first birthday party,” or, “Convey an emotion using only colors.”
  • You can often find poetry writing prompts on sites that accept poetry submissions.

Beginning Your Poem

Step 1 Choose the type of poem you want it to be.

  • A poem doesn't have to make sense grammatically. What matters is that your audience gets the message you want to communicate using your own formation of the words.

Alicia Cook

For example: Do you like the sunflower? Does it invoke any emotions in you? Does the sunflower represent or remind you of something?

Step 3 Use descriptive language to convey emotions.

  • How does the sea look? Use descriptive terms relating to colors, motion, depth, temperature, and other standard features. The sea might be foaming, producing whirlpools, looking glassy, or turning grey at the advent or a storm; describe whatever comes to mind for you.
  • What are some of its aspects that are noticeable in your sea? The froth of the waves, the fish under the surface, the height of waves during a storm, the lull when the wind dies down, the mounting garbage greys, a school of dolphins passing through, sea level rise along coastlines, the mournful cries of the Pacific gulls––these are all things you might notice in relation to the sea of your poem.

Writing the Rest

Step 1 Use rhyming words if you’d like your poem to have a rhythm.

  • Try to think of these words yourself rather than looking them up in a dictionary or online so that your poem flows better.
  • Stressed and unstressed syllables also create rhythm in a poem. In the sentence “He’d like some pumpkin pie,” “like,” “pump-,” and “pie” are all emphasized based on how you say them.
  • Remember that not all poems rhyme! It's okay if you don't want your poem to rhyme.

Step 2 Write your poem using metaphors and similes.

For example, you could say, “The sea was a night sky, expanding like an inkblot in the water.”

Step 3 Don’t feel like your poem has to be a certain length.

  • Your first poem can be short. You can work your way up to longer poetry over time.

Step 4 Revise your first draft of your poem.

  • Remember that you are the poet, expressing your feelings through your poems so intuition, above anything else, is key.

Step 5 Create a final draft of your poem.

  • If you will be submitting your poem anywhere, it is very important to make sure your final copy looks exactly how you want it to.

Poetry for Beginners Worksheet

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  • ↑ https://earlybirdbooks.com/most-famous-poems
  • ↑ https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/402
  • ↑ https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/article-write-poetry-every-day
  • ↑ https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/007.html
  • ↑ https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/national-poetry-competition/resources/poetry-writing-prompts/
  • ↑ https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/other/
  • ↑ Alicia Cook. Professional Poet. Expert Interview. 11 December 2020.
  • ↑ https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-how-to-write-a-poem/comment-page-4/
  • ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/70212/learning-image-and-description
  • ↑ https://literaryterms.net/rhyme/
  • ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69588/the-start-writing-your-own-poem
  • ↑ https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-writing-tips-how-to-write-a-poem/#10
  • ↑ https://abegailmorley.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/drafting-a-poem/

About This Article

Alicia Cook

If you’re a beginner trying to write poetry, start by deciding what your poem will be about, like love or a meaningful experience. Then, choose a structure that you're comfortable with, like rhyming or free-form. Next, come up with an interesting or mysterious first line that entices your reader to keep reading. Once you have a good opening line, use as many strong, descriptive words as you can in the rest of the poem to express your thoughts and feelings to the reader. To learn how reciting your poem out loud as you write can make your poem even better, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Interesting Literature

Five of the Best Poems about Writing Poetry

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Writing poetry can be intensely rewarding, but unfortunately, the words don’t always come. And at some point or another, most poets have found themselves in the grip of writer’s block (something we’ve termed colygraphia , because let’s face it, it’s never going to be taken seriously until it has a Greek name). The following five poems are all about the struggle to write a poem; they are among the best poems about the actual act of writing poetry.

1. Sir Philip Sidney, ‘ Loving in Truth ’.

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,— Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,— I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe; Studying inventions fine her wits to entertain, Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn’d brain …

This poem, which opens Sidney’s 1580s sonnet sequence Astrophil and Stella – the first substantial sonnet sequence written in English – sets up the cycle of poems which follows. We find Sidney seated at his desk, chewing his quill, trying to find the right words to convey the pain of unrequited love he is feeling (the love which the sequence as a whole wonderfully chronicles).

Sidney says that he made the mistake of studying other writers’ words and trying to emulate them in order ‘to paint the blackest face of woe’. Sidney then creates a somewhat unusual ‘family’ whereby Invention (i.e. the poet’s creativity) is the child of Nature (Mother Nature, of course), but Invention is being governed here not by his natural mother, Nature, but by his stepmother or ‘step-dame’, Study.

The conclusion he comes to is breathtakingly simple and has resonated with writers throughout the ages.

2. Ted Hughes, ‘ The Thought-Fox ’.

One of the most celebrated poetic accounts of the act of writing poetry, or rather, more accurately, waiting for the arrival of poetic inspiration, ‘The Thought-Fox’ is one of Ted Hughes’s best- loved poems .

Curiously, the poem had its origins in one of the most significant events of Hughes’s young life. While he was studying English at the University of Cambridge, Hughes found that studying poetry was having a deleterious effect on his own poetry: he was writing virtually no new poetry, because he felt suffocated by the ‘terrible, suffocating, maternal octopus’ of literary tradition.

But it was another animal, the fox, that made up Hughes’s mind for him. While trying to work on a literary-critical essay for his degree, Hughes retired to bed at 2am, having been unable to write the essay. That night, he had a dream that a large fox walked into his room, its eyes filled with pain. It came up to his desk, laid a bleeding hand on the blank page where Hughes had tried and failed to write his essay, and said: ‘Stop this – you are destroying us.’

Hughes, who had a lifelong interest in portents, took this as a sign. In his third year, he transferred from English to anthropology and archaeology – and his poetry-writing took off again. This story probably provided Hughes with the genesis for ‘The Thought-Fox’ – a poem in which Hughes struggles, not to write an analysis of a poem, but the poem itself.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere , the poem’s opening line may be a subtle nod to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s ‘The Windhover’ .

3.  Carol Ann Duffy, ‘ The Love Poem ’.

This poem appeared in Duffy’s 2005 volume Rapture , and is a poem about the difficulty of writing a love poem. Duffy explores this difficulty – the notion that ‘everything has already been said by everybody else’ – by quoting snippets from famous love poems from ages past, such as those by John Donne , William Shakespeare , and Elizabeth Barrett Browning .

‘The Love Poem’ shows that Duffy is aware of the rich tradition of love-poem sequences in English literature: it is a poem that feels the weight of these former masters – Shakespeare, Sidney, Donne, Shelley, Barrett Browning – and finds it difficult to write a love poem that won’t sound like a bad pastiche or copy of these literary greats. ‘I love you’, as Jacques Derrida was fond of pointing out, is always a quotation.

We have analysed this poem here .

4. Jane Kenyon, ‘ Not Writing ’.

Jane Kenyon (1947-95) was an American poet whose work evinces a spare, pared back style. This sparse style works particularly well in ‘Not Writing’, Kenyon’s short poem about writer’s block. We love the way ‘papery nest’ makes us want to read ‘eaves’ as ‘leaves’ in this delicate, finely worded poem.

5. Oliver Tearle, ‘ Underpass ’.

Metromania’s religion: here you set your epic’s opening, journeyman’s false start.

Now put the lines down, see just what you get: chthonic forms the dead will come to write, frustrated shadows of the never-yet.

This poem, from our founder-editor Dr Oliver Tearle, a poet and literary critic, acknowledges that all poetry-writing is about standing on the shoulders of giants.

The ‘chthonic forms’ of the dead helped Odysseus the ‘journeyman’ just as the ghosts of dead writers help the contemporary poet to express what he or she wishes to say. This densely layered and allusive poem carries notes with it (in the link provided above), acknowledging the difficulty of writing in the shadow of so many great poets.

That concludes our pick of five great poems about writing, or not writing – poems about writer’s block, struggling to sit down and write a poem. Are there any classics we’ve missed off our list?

writing poems

3 thoughts on “Five of the Best Poems about Writing Poetry”

(Shakespeare) Sonnet 77…

Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste; These vacant leaves thy mind’s imprint will bear, And of this book, this learning mayst thou taste. The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show Of mouthed graves will give thee memory; Thou by thy dial’s shady stealth mayst know Time’s thievish progress to eternity. Look what thy memory cannot contain, Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find Those children nursed, deliver’d from thy brain, To take a new acquaintance of thy mind. These offices, so oft as thou wilt look, Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.

Check out the Yeats poem I posted for February. Definitely a love poem for writers.

Gary Snyder’s “Axe Handles.”

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Poems About Writing

Table of contents.

  • To a Blank Sheet of Paper by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Recipe for a Good Letter by Anonymous
  • A Literary Miss by Oliver Marble
  • Letters by Amos Russel Wells
  • The World's Way by Anonymous
  • The Letters I Have Not Sent by Anonymous
  • The Pen by Anonymous
  • The Sealing Wax by Hannah Flagg Gould
  • Stenography by Amos Russel Wells
  • A Literary Crisis by Anonymous
  • A Pointed Discussion by Anonymous
  • The Letter by Emily Dickinson
  • The way I read a letter 's this by Emily Dickinson
  • I Used to Write by Margaret E. Sangster
  • At the Mermaid Cafeteria by Christopher Morley
  • Thoughts While Packing a Trunk by Christopher Morley
  • Old-Fashioned Letters by Edgar A. Guest
  • At a Window Sill by Christopher Morley
  • The Snare by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  • Seed Thoughts by Kate Louise Wheeler
  • Letters Are Small Angels by Annette Wynne
  • His Letter by Ruby Archer
  • Your Letter by Ruby Archer
  • Merchantmen by Ruby Archer
  • Pens Make Word Pictures by Annette Wynne

To a Blank Sheet of Paper

Wan-visaged thing! thy virgin leaf To me looks more than deadly pale, Unknowing what may stain thee yet,— A poem or a tale. Who can thy unborn meaning scan? Can Seer or Sibyl read thee now? No,— seek to trace the fate of man Writ on his infant brow. Love may light on thy snowy cheek, And shake his Eden-breathing plumes; Then shalt thou tell how Lelia smiles, Or Angelina blooms. Satire may lift his bearded lance, Forestalling Time's slow-moving scythe, And, scattered on thy little field, Disjointed bards may writhe. Perchance a vision of the night, Some grizzled spectre, gaunt and thin, Or sheeted corpse, may stalk along, Or skeleton may grin! If it should be in pensive hour Some sorrow-moving theme I try, Ah, maiden, how thy tears will fall, For all I doom to die! But if in merry mood I touch Thy leaves, then shall the sight of thee Sow smiles as thick on rosy lips As ripples on the sea. The Weekly press shall gladly stoop To bind thee up among its sheaves; The Daily steal thy shining ore, To gild its leaden leaves. Thou hast no tongue, yet thou canst speak, Till distant shores shall hear the sound; Thou hast no life, yet thou canst breathe Fresh life on all around. Thou art the arena of the wise, The noiseless battle-ground of fame; The sky where halos may be wreathed Around the humblest name. Take, then, this treasure to thy trust, To win some idle reader's smile, Then fade and moulder in the dust, Or swell some bonfire's pile.

Recipe for a Good Letter

To write a good letter, take a handful of grit, A plenty of time and a little of wit; Take patience to "set" it, and stir it all up With the ladle of energy. Then fill a cup With kind thoughts and helpful thoughts, merry thoughts too. With bright words, and wise words, and words strong and true. Mix all these together, and then add for spice Some good news, some funny news, all news that's nice. Then seal with a love kiss and stamp it with care; Direct to your friend's heart, and presto! 'tis there.

A Literary Miss

There once was a lit'rary miss; And all that she needed for bliss Was some ink and a pen, Reams of paper, and then Thirty days to describe half a kiss.
What is a letter? A bridge in the night From my soul to your soul; and over it go Envoys of darkness or envoys of light. Ladings of blessing or burdens of woe. What is a letter? A signal, a flash Darting directly from your soul to mine, Meaningless, meaningful, prudent or rash, Always a boding or jubilant sign. What is a letter? A flip of the pen Paper and mucilage? That and no more? Nay; 'tis the fatefulest action of men, Reaching eternity's ultimate shore! Burn the old letters? Alas, if you could! Burn up indifference, malice, or hate? Once they might burn, or be altered to good,— Ere they were written! but now is too late. Burn the old letters? the missives of cheer, Glowing with merriment, pulsing with love? Nay! though the paper disintegrates here, They are preserved in the mansions above!

The World's Way

He wrote his soul into a book. The world refused to turn and look. He made his faith into a rhyme, And still the world could spare no time. But on the day when, dumb and dazed, Despair-condemned, and blind and crazed, By means most weird his life he took, Behold, the world brought out his book!

The Letters I Have Not Sent

I have written them, keen, and sarcastic, and long, With righteously wrathful intent, Not a stroke undeserved nor a censure too strong; And some, alas! some of them went! I have written them, challenging, eager to fight, All hot with a merited ire; And some of them chanced to be kept overnight, And mailed, the next day—in the fire! Ah, blessed the letters that happily go On errands of kindliness bent; But much of my peace and my fortune I owe To the letters I never have sent.
Within my pen what words are pent, What mystery, what merriment! It hath a door, my pen, somewhere, And what a throng is waiting there! Bright thoughts are standing all about, And quivering to be let out. O could I find the golden key, Open the door and set them free!

The Sealing Wax

Bright guardian o' the thoughts o' men! Sin I maun fasten up, an' sen' To either een, the things my pen Has been about, I wish ye, just for surety's sake, To blaze an' rin, then stap an' take My seal, to bind ye na to break, An' let them out. For, be my whimsies great or sma', I wad na let them loose, to fa' Where a' the idle wins that blaw, To whirl the stoure, May toss them round from mou to mou, Wi' different nature, form an' hue, To come frae ilk they're hurried through, An' a' ground o'er. This warld's a curious ane enough; An', weel supplied wi' kindling-stuff, It winna quench, while it can puff The reekin flax. An' what could pass through smoke an' flame, An' like yoursel, come out the same, In beauty, virtue, hue an' name, My cannie wax? I wadna ca' the warld unfair, Or wrang it in a single hair; But, wha kens maist o't, kens the mair How oft it slips, For want o' rectitude or thought, Sae far upon the side o' faut, That truth is seldom pure or straught Between its lips. I winna judge the warld's intent; But then, its een are sae asklent, The fairest things leuk foul an' bent, The foulest, fair. I canna, therefore, now foresee What sort o' things my thoughts wad be, If robbed o' their identity By gettin' air. Gin folk wad kindly let alane A neighbor's wark, to tent their ain, Ye wad na hae to thus sustain A martyr's fate, By bein' burnt to prove how fast Ye'll haud your virtue to the last, Like precious gowd, until ye're past Your distant gate. But, sin I hope the world will men', We winna let it ever ken What I hae whispered as a frien', Tho' strictly true. Gang now, an' guard these secrets weel! May ane, who breaks ye, ca' ye "leal," For what, when broken, ye reveal! Adieu! Adieu!


Our fathers walked around the hill, And we pursue their journey still, Ah, toilfully we do it! Stenography, direct and fleet, Has used its hrain to save its feet, And made a tunnel through it. With inky lines complexly wrought We spin a spider-web for thought, And lazily invite it; Stenography, of fiercer mold, Leaps after thought, with spirit bold, As far as it can sight it. In clumsy coaches dull and slow The longhand writers plodding go,— Or break down, woe betide it! Stenography, a railroad train, Speeds on the track as Driver Brain Desires to urge and guide it. For thought is like a maiden gay Whom Shorthand takes in dashing way. And gladly she receives him; But Longhand is the drawling kind, Who tries to speak his sluggish mind, And while he tries, she—leaves him.

A Literary Crisis

There is nothing so hollow as pens, There is nothing so gloomy as ink, When a man is obliged to think of something, And doesn't know what to think. There is nothing so blank as paper, There is nothing so void as a brain, When a man has an hour to think up a thought And has thought for an hour in vain. I know how a ghost must feel As he tries with his fingers of air To convey a mouthful of good beefsteak To the mouth that isn't there.

A Pointed Discussion

The Punctuation Points one day, In the type case where they lay, Each an earnest pleading pressed To be ruler of the rest. Said the Period, "I'm the end Toward which every line is penned." Cried the Comma, "Nay, but me Printers use most frequently." Bragged the Hyphen, "Lo! I stand With a word in either hand." Screamed the Exclamation, "Fie! All the writers' force am I." Urged the Question Mark in glee, "Don't men always ask for me?" Cried the Colon, "Printers call Me to introduce you all." Semicolon: "Mine the art To hold differing thoughts apart." But the Dash triumphantly Drove the others to the wall. "I'm the only Point," said he, "That the Authors use at all!"
"Going to him! Happy letter! Tell him — Tell him the page I didn't write; Tell him I only said the syntax, And left the verb and the pronoun out. Tell him just how the fingers hurried, Then how they waded, slow, slow, slow; And then you wished you had eyes in your pages, So you could see what moved them so. "Tell him it wasn't a practised writer, You guessed, from the way the sentence toiled; You could hear the bodice tug, behind you, As if it held but the might of a child; You almost pitied it, you, it worked so. Tell him — No, you may quibble there, For it would split his heart to know it, And then you and I were silenter. "Tell him night finished before we finished, And the old clock kept neighing 'day!' And you got sleepy and begged to be ended — What could it hinder so, to say? Tell him just how she sealed you, cautious, But if he ask where you are hid Until to-morrow, — happy letter! Gesture, coquette, and shake your head!"

The way I read a letter 's this

The way I read a letter 's this: 'T is first I lock the door, And push it with my fingers next, For transport it be sure. And then I go the furthest off To counteract a knock; Then draw my little letter forth And softly pick its lock. Then, glancing narrow at the wall, And narrow at the floor, For firm conviction of a mouse Not exorcised before, Peruse how infinite I am To — no one that you know! And sigh for lack of heaven, — but not The heaven the creeds bestow.

I Used to Write

I used to write so many songs of love— I wrote them carefully, I did not know That love was more than moonlight from above, And pretty words set in an even row, I held my pencil calmly in my hand, And sang of arms and lips and tender eyes; I wrote of love—who did not understand— And hoped that folk would think me very wise! I used to write so many songs... To-day My hands are folded, and I cannot sing, I sit, instead, and watch the sunlight stray Across my desk. And I am wondering If God, who lights a million stars each night, Laughed at the groping words I tried to write!

At the Mermaid Cafeteria

Truth is enough for prose: Calmly it goes To tell just what it knows. For verse, skill will suffice— Delicate, nice Casting of verbal dice. Poetry, men attain By subtler pain More flagrant in the brain— An honesty unfeigned, A heart unchained, A madness well restrained.

Thoughts While Packing a Trunk

The sonnet is a trunk, and you must pack With care, to ship frail baggage far away; The octet is the trunk; sestet, the tray; Tight, but not overloaded, is the knack. First, at the bottom, heavy thoughts you stack, And in the chinks your adjectives you lay— Your phrases, folded neatly as you may, Stowing a syllable in every crack. Then, in the tray, your daintier stuff is hid: The tender quatrain where your moral sings— Be careful, though, lest as you close the lid You crush and crumple all these fragile things. Your couplet snaps the hasps and turns the key— Ship to The Editor, marked C. O. D.

Old-Fashioned Letters

Old-fashioned letters! How good they were! And nobody writes them now; Never at all comes in the scrawl On the written pages which told us all The news of town and the folks we knew, And what they had done or were going to do. It seems we've forgotten how To spend an hour with our pen in hand To write in the language we understand. Old-fashioned letters we used to get And ponder each fond line o'er; The glad words rolled like running gold, As smoothly their tales of joy they told, And our hearts beat fast with a keen delight As we read the news they were pleased to write And gathered the love they bore. But few of the letters that come to-day Are penned to us in the old-time way. Old-fashioned letters that told us all The tales of the far away; Where they'd been and the folks they'd seen; And better than any fine magazine Was the writing too, for it bore the style Of a simple heart and a sunny smile, And was pure as the breath of May. Some of them oft were damp with tears, But those were the letters that lived for years. Old-fashioned letters! How good they were! And, oh, how we watched the mails; But nobody writes of the quaint delights Of the sunny days and the merry nights Or tells us the things that we yearn to know— That art passed out with the long ago, And lost are the simple tales; Yet we all would happier be, I think, If we'd spend more time with our pen and ink.

At a Window Sill

To write a sonnet needs a quiet mind.... I paused and pondered, tried again. To write.... Raising the sash, I breathed the winter night: Papers and small hot room were left behind. Against the gusty purple, ribbed and spined With golden slots and vertebræ of light Men's cages loomed. Down sliding from a height An elevator winked as it declined. Coward! There is no quiet in the brain— If pity burns it not, then beauty will: Tinder it is for every blowing spark. Uncertain whether this is bliss or pain The unresting mind will gaze across the sill From high apartment windows, in the dark.
Many birds will fly away From the cages that I build, Yet if one shall sing and stay, I have all the joy I willed. Many songs are in the air, Flitting like evasive birds, Ah, if I but one may snare In the cage of words.

Seed Thoughts

The celebrated Author pens His thorough thoughts from depths of mind, And they are not in proper place Until the depths of our's they find. The wisest reader may perceive, In writings that shall ever live, A reflex of his own wise thoughts That to the world he did not give; But to the mind of him who learns, They are as seeds of knowledge brought That soon take root and rarefy Into a whole great field of thought.

Letters Are Small Angels

Letters are small angels flying in between All the houses of the town, red, and gray, and green; And the postman helps them, shows them just the way, As he walks along the street smiling all the day. Take the letters gladly—with their white, white wings, Blessèd little angels, telling happy things!
Down in the grass I found her, Above a letter bent; The autumn leaves around her Their soft mosaic blent. She read the letter slowly, As one that sips a joy. I felt intruder wholly, And certain to annoy. She gave me loving greeting, And drew me to her side, While up her cheek went fleeting A flow of rosy tide. "I am so happy, Dearie," I heard her softly say, "So happy, happy, Dearie,— His letter came to-day!" And all she told me of it I have in mind so well; She whispered me above it— "—"—I promised not to tell!

Your Letter

Let not the day go dully by With heavy tread and downward eye, With crownless head all sadly bent,— When you the dolour might prevent. Your letter gives the day a crown, Blithe feet, elate as thistle-down, Great heavenward eyes that rapture know, And heart an oratorio.


Come in my ships, my letters,— Kind the sky above,— On your full sails faring From the harbor—love. Ye bring me wine for cargo;— Bear it safe, I pray,— Words,—a common vintage, Finer with delay.

Pens Make Word Pictures

Pens make word pictures in a row, And in an envelope car they go; They ride out quickly from my hand And go across the sea and land, To bring a wish where friends may be, At work or play or taking tea.

Related Poems

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Seattle Civic Poet Shin Yu Pai launches poetry campaign

writing poems

  • Asian American poets
  • Bryan Wilson
  • Bryna Antonia Cortes
  • Cindy Luong
  • Kathya Alexander
  • Public Poetry campaign
  • Shin Yu Pai
  • Taiwanese American

Poetry installations have flooded the streets of Seattle as a part of the city’s Public Poetry campaign, which was created by Shin Yu Pai, Taiwanese American Seattle Civic Poet. 

As a part of her two-year commission with a multi-site public poetry installation, Seattle Magazine reported , Pai celebrates April as National Poetry Month by featuring five Seattle poets: Kathya Alexander, Bryna Antonia (Á Thanh) Cortes, Cindy Luong, Joe Nasta and Bryan Wilson.

The poetry installations will include postcards, posters, window clings, vinyl banners and other paper installations. The work will be displayed at the Seattle Public Library, Wa Na Wari, Friends of Little Saigon, Seattle Municipal Tower, Slide Gallery and Bureau of Fearless Ideas, Seattle Magazine reported .

For each day of National #Poetry Month, Seattle Civic Poet Shin Yu Pai is highlighting the work of a Seattle-based poet on KUOW’s Poetry in Bloom. #NationalPoetryMonth https://t.co/w3inYXWM0f — Carl Setzer (@CarlSetzer) April 11, 2023

The Public Poetry campaign was designed by graphic designer Jayme Yen and created with the help of the Academy of American Poets, with funding from the Mellon Foundation, the city’s Office of Arts & Culture reported. The program was also supported by The Windrose Fund.

“It’s important for me to highlight and work with Asian American artists and creatives,” said Pai to the Asian Weekly . “[Yen’s] work as a designer is really next level.”


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Pai, who was a child of Taiwanese immigrants, said she felt disconnected between her “two cultures and two languages.” Pai became interested in poetry and literature since it provided her a “beautiful, imaginative (and) liberatory space,” Seattle Magazine reported. 

As the city of Seattle’s 2023-2024 Civic Poet, Pai works to “[foster] community dialogue and engagement between the public and artists while celebrating the literary arts,” according to the Office of Arts & Culture .

Pai is also a Poets Laureate Fellow of Academy of American Poets, a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was one of the top contenders for a 2014 Stranger Genius in Literature. Some of her notable works include the new haiku comics collection Less Desolate from Blue Cactus Press and the poetry collection No Neutral, Office of Arts & Culture reported.

“I’m excited to bring poetry from fresh voices into the public eye through this series of partnerships with local poets and community partners,” said Pai to Seattle Magazine .

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc.  Follow us on  Facebook ,  X, Instagram ,  TikTok  and  YouTube . Please consider  making a tax-deductible donation  to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the  California State Library  in partnership with the  California Department of Social Services  and the  California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs  as part of the  Stop the Hate  program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to  CA vs Hate .

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