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The Importance of Creating a Poem Title

by Gail DeBole

Why is a title for a poem important?  A title draws the reader in by piquing the reader’s interest, while providing an element of suspense by not giving the theme or ending away. 

I started writing poetry when I was six years old, but did not understand the importance of titles until I joined  O.K., I am a slow learner in that respect, but no one had ever taught me the importance of a title for a poem.  I had poetry published in high school and college literary magazines.  Sometimes my published poems had titles, and sometimes they didn’t.  Because the expectation wasn’t there, there were many poems I wrote that did not have titles. 

I began to see the importance of a title after being forced to create a title for my first poem posted on  So here’s my so-called process in creating a title for your poem in case this sometimes presents a problem.  Of course, it is not a hard and fast process because creativity is not a process set in stone.  And if you don’t need any tips regarding how to create a title, do you have tips that you can share with others?

  1. When Reading Other Poems, Take Note of the Titles

    When reading other poet’s creations on or a poem you like anywhere else, take note of the titles that drew you in, and think about how that title engaged you.    
  2. If You Can’t Think of a Title Right Away – Don’t Panic! 

    As you write your poem, write your poem.
    If you haven’t yet thought of a title as you are writing your poem, back-burner the creation of the title.  Develop the poem not giving the title a second thought.  Poems can end up going a different direction than the one you intended so your title may change even if you think of one to begin with. 
  3. If You Can’t Think of a Title After “Finishing” – Don’t Panic!

    So you think that you are done with the poem and are ready to create the title.
    You still can’t think of one.  Try taking some key words/concepts from the poem and see if a title is born out of that.  Title still isn’t obvious?  Now here’s what may be a hard next step, but it’s what you need to do - walk away.  Stroll back when your creative mind nudges you back.  Don’t put pressure on yourself.  When your mind is ready to think of a title, it will.


A title can enhance or derail a poem!  Have fun with creating a title, and don’t be afraid to revise it if the original title isn’t as suitable as you first thought.


Gail R. DeBole
Premium Member


Book: Reflection on the Important Things