How to Write a Poem and Wake Up the World
Writing a poem is much different from writing an essay or research paper. It might not be more complicated but it is definitely more tremendous and exciting. Let us be honest, making art is always heart-pounding. If you know some basic rules to follow, with our poem writing help you can easily create a poem that will reflect your feelings, thoughts and worldview. Grab your pen, invite the Muse, and let us get it started!
A Poem: What Is It?
A poem is a piece of writing organized in poetic lines. As a rule, the presence and type of rhyme, metrical foot, and the length of lines are the same in the entire poem and are determined by the personal preferences of the poet. However, in free verse, rhyme and length of lines might differ. Poetry allows writers to express their feeling, emotions, and views in any format.
Forms of Poetry
All poetry is divided into specific forms; nevertheless, the line between these forms is rather blurred. Below, you will find some general standards that will help you improve your poem form and structure.
It is the most intimate and emotional form. Such poems focus on the themes from the poet’s personal life: love and hate, fidelity and treason, happiness and sadness, delight and disgust, lust and changes, dreams and fears. This form is subdivided into categories, and let us discuss some of the main:
- Personal lyric: The poet is both the author and antagonist of the poem.
- Sonnet: It is a classical poem that comprises 14 rhyming lines; the structure and metrical foot differ in English, French, and Italian sonnets.
- Dramatic Monologue – As a rule, it is a part of theatrical performance. The poet creates lines for their character that experiences some personal tragedy or uncertainty.
- Elegy: It is a formal tribute for the dead person.
- Ode: Traditionally, it is a long poem praising a hero, heroic adventure or act, or a historical event. However, today, the classical form acquired a fresh impetus. For example, Pablo Neruda loves this type of poetry a lot. He has such famous pieces as the “Ode to Watermelon,” “Ode to Tomatoes,” or “Ode to the Onion.”
Such poems tell a story. Ancient epics, for example, Beowulf or Virgil’s Odyssey, ballads such as Villon’s “Ballad of the Gibbet” or Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” and mock-heroics, for example, Voltaire’s “The Maid of Orleans,” are examples of narrative poetry.
Such poems teach readers something and have a clear educational message. Some prominent examples include Blake’s “A Divine Image” and Hesiod’s “Works and Days.”
These poems have a loose structure, and poets are free to break any rhyme and pattern rules. According to Robert Frost, writing free verse is similar to playing tennis without a net.
The Poem Structure
A traditional poem uses two technical foundations:
A foot is a stable sequence of unstressed (light) and stressed (heavy) syllables in each line of a poem. This sequence creates the rhythm of a poem. The following feet are distinguished:
- Iamb: It is a two-syllable foot; the first is light, and the second is heavy.
- Trochee: It is a two-syllable foot; the first is heavy, and the second is light.
- Spondee: It is a two-syllable foot; both syllables are heavy.
- Anapest: It is a three-syllable foot; the first two are heavy, and the third is light.
- Dactyl: It is a three-syllable foot; the first is heavy, and the next two are light.
The number of feet in one line of the poem is called a meter. The following meters are the most popular:
- Monometer: one foot in a line;
- Dimeter: two feet in a line;
- Trimeter: three feet in a line;
- Tetrameter: four feet in a line;
- Pentameter: five feet in a line;
- Hexameter: six feet in a line;
- Heptameter: seven feet in a line;
- Octameter: eight feet in a line.
The most common metrical foot is iambic pentameter.
How to Write a Poem: Eight Steps to Your Masterpiece
Step 1: Why Do You Want to Write a Poem?
You should clearly understand the purpose of writing a poem. What is your message? Is it a college assignment? Or your emotional outpouring? Do you write for yourself? For a friend? For a lover? All these peculiarities will help you choose the most appropriate style, length, and metrical foot.
Step 2: About What Do You Want to Write?
Now, you should choose the subject of your poem. In other words, you should decide what you are going to write. You can look for poem writing ideas on the Internet or just follow your muse. The subject will help you focus and get thoughts together. The most popular subjects are:
- A feeling or emotion;
- A real person or fictional character;
- An animal;
- An epoch.
- A location or place;
- An event;
- An object.
Step 3: Where to Find the Muse?
Try to find a calm place and focus on the chosen topic. Write down some words, phrases, maybe some fragments. Try to step into your poem. If you are writing about a sunflower, for example, imagine you are the plant and envision why you are here, how you see the world, what you think, what you dream?
Poetry is a subjective interpretation of reality. Therefore, you will need to utilize all your senses: hearing, touch, smell, vision, and even taste. You might go for a walk to a forest, a park, or even a busy street to find inspiration and new perspectives. Try to watch birds, animals, and people. Imagine what they feel, think, and wish. Give rein to your imagination and passions! Make crazy stories, have fun, laugh, or even cry. Just do what your heart says you to do. The right words will come on their own.
Step 4: How to Start Writing a Poem?
Now, when you understand the purpose, have chosen the subject, set the format, and noted some words, you can begin writing a poem. Jot down the first line; later, it might be moved, changed, or even deleted. However, it is the beginning.
Step 5: What to Do Next?
Just let your pen write! Add line by line. Do not worry about poem writing styles and formats! You even do not need to re-read what you write at this stage. You will polish and make everything fit together later on.
Step 6: What to Avoid When Writing?
Try to substitute adjectives and adverbs with artistic comparisons. Instead of writing “pretty woman walking down the street,” you can write “an angel stepping gently on the cold marble of the city.” Instead of writing, “I love her,” you can write “her skin is softer than silk,” “her eyes are the deep sea that makes me go under.” Allow your reader to feel and sense the beauty through the art of the word.
Step 7: What about the Rhythm?
Rhythm is the very thing that distinguishes poetry from prose. It appears that neither poem essay structure nor rhyme is important. However, if your piece is not rhythmic, it is anything but a poem. To check the rhythm, you should read your poem aloud a few times. If possible, ask a friend to read it, as well. If a syllable is missing, a word is excess, or there is something out of tune, you will feel it and thus will be able to make required changes.
Step 8: The Time to Polish Your Poem
A poem is like a cup of tea; it needs time to draw. Put your poem away for a few days. Come back to it later. After a pause, you will be able to see it from a different perspective and notice some nuances to be improved. If you are not afraid of criticism, hand the poem to your friend or professor. When you are satisfied with every part of it, your masterpiece is finally ready to see the world!
Finding the correct words or themes to compose poetry should come from your heart. Do not be afraid to take a risk or learn because that is how poems work. They do need brave souls.