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How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem: Steps to Writing Poetry. Writing a poem begins with observing the world around you. A poem can be about anything, from love to the rusty gate at the old farm. As long as you are enjoying it or finding a release of tension through it, you're on the right track. Here's how to get started.

Steps to Writing Poetry

  1. Be a reader of poetry and read poems aloud. Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Use your mouths, ears, and bodies, as well as brains, to process the words of a poem. Using your senses can make poetry more meaningful. Also, jot down any words or phrases from poems you read which are appealing, puzzling, unique, or powerful.
  2. Use fresh imagery. Show the reader something in such a way, as he or she has not considered before. To say, "my heart withered like a dying rose," offers nothing new.
  3. Write for others, not just yourself.
  4. Use nouns and verbs more than adjectives. Which is stronger: "She was as beautiful as a flower..." or "Roses wilted in shame as she passed by..."? "He looked at the depressing clouds..." or "He watched as dark clouds moved in, covering his sky..."?
  5. Ensure the EVERY word in your poem has a purpose. No word should loiter.
  6. Don't tell the reader how to feel. Let the words elicit the emotions directly, without explaining. "The tragedy touched them all," is more touching to the reader as "Men and women, doctor and workman... thirteen people looked upon the scene... with tears in their eyes."
  7. Use dramatic and emotional words. Not all words are equal in their ability to "grab" a reader or elicit emotion. "Fell," "take," and "love," will probably be weaker than "plunged," "siezed," and "worship."

Also see What is Good Poetry, Teaching Students to Write and Read poetry.pdf


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