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 Poetrysoup.com. 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 Poetrysoup.com. 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?
- When Reading Other Poems, Take Note of the Titles
When reading other poet’s creations on Poetrysoup.com or a poem you like anywhere else, take note of the titles that drew you in, and think about how that title engaged you.
- 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.
- 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 Poetrysoup.com Member