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How to Write Poetry

Updated on March 8, 2015

I can show you how to write amazing poetry.

Choose which type of poem you would like to write. This is how to do it:

How to Write a Cinquain

This is really easy and very effective.

A Cinquain has five lines which go like this:

Line 1: one word title

Line 2: two descriptive words

Line 3: three action words

Line 4: four feeling words

Line 5: one word which answers the question: 'When I think of the title, I think of ...'

So an example would be:


black, white

waddling, swimming, frolicking

a tuxedo in the icy water




Chubby, cheerful

Waiting, grinning, winking

Icy weather keeps him smiling


How to Write a Haiku

First of all - what is a Haiku?

Well it's a poem made of 17 un-rhymed syllables,

organised into 3 lines.

So it will look something like this:

The ravenous frog (5 syllables in the first line)

Squatting on a lily pad (7 syllables in the second)

Dreams of careless flies (5 syllables in the third)

Start with the thought. Most Haiku reflect some elements of nature. They express a moment of beauty, which prompts you to think about our wonderful world.

A good starting point is to have three questions to ask yourself:

1. Where it happens eg., On the branch above

2. What is happening eg., Song-thrush sings his lonely song

3. When it happens eg., To the cool morning

So your haiku is:

On the branch above

Song-thrush sings his lonely song

To the cool morning

When you've got your idea, it's easy to adjust the syllable count to make it fit the

5 - 7 - 5 structure.

Just begin with the thought and adjust the syllables later. The strict structure ensures that you cut out all unnecessary words and you end up with a really rich poem, full of expression.

How to Write a Limerick

The origin of the actual word 'Limerick' is not clear, thought it's generally taken to be a reference to the city of Limerick, in Ireland.

The limerick's rhyme scheme is a-a-b-b-a. In other words, the first, second and fifth lines all rhyme with one another; the third and fourth lines have their own rhyme.

The meter is also very strict. You will know it well!

Da DA da - da DA da - da DAA

Da DA da - da DA da - da DAA

Da DA da da DAA

Da DA da da DAA

Da DA da, da DA da, da DAA


There was an old man of the coast

Who gingerly sat on a post

But when it got cold

He relinquished his hold

And called for some hot, buttered toast.

Limericks are often a bit naughty and sometimes quite rude. That's what makes them good fun.

How to Write a Sonnet

The theme of a sonnet is often love, but modern sonnets can be about almost anything.

Divide the sonnet into two parts so that the second part comes to some sort of a conclusion.

A sonnet has 14 lines, with a formal rhyming pattern.



The stresses of the lines should be in iambic pentameter. This means that every other syllable is stressed and each line ends with a strong rhyme.

There are 10 syllables in each line.

The ninth line of the sonnet usually changes tone or direction in the poem.

Hint: If you take your time and think of all possible words or feelings about a specific topic, and then change the words and thoughts into iambic pentameter, then you can write a better

sonnet. Once you have come up with the topic of the sonnet, make a list of words that you feel best fit the mood of the poem, then make a list of words that rhyme with those words. A thesaurus is a handy tool when writing sonnets.

I can't leave this one out can I?

William Shakespeare - 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 oft' 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 owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

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

How to Write a Ballad

For Rebecca, who wanted to know ...

Ballads are very easy to write.

They are verses which can (but don't have to be) sung to music.

Originally ballads were not written down and were passed down from generation to generation orally; the music helped people to remember the story.

They have a specific rhyming structure, which is usually four lines long (either abab, or aabb, or abac, where the last line is a chorus line).

They have a set number of syllables. Decide upon your own and make sure that you stick to it.

There is often a chorus which is repeated throughout the ballad and which sums up the story of the ballad.

If you do want to make sure your lines rhyme, try Try typing the sound of the part of the word that rhymes, rather than the whole word. You'll get more options that way. Secondly, do not get so caught up in rhyming you can't make it make sense.

To start your ballad, find one phrase, a line or two, that you like, and build your song from there.

Start by writing the chorus - you can repeat that over and over throughout the song leaving it unchanged or changing it only slightly each time.

Then add the verses.

If you know the story you want to tell, but you're having trouble putting it into a poetic structure, write out the story first. Don't worry about putting the story into verse yet--just get the key words down. You may find it easier to organize once the story is written.

How to Write an Acrostic Poem

Example: SLUG by Andrew Jessop, aged 7

S lowly

L onely

U gly

G astropod

Write the letters of the title in a column and find the best descriptive words you can to complete the poem.

Big Hint: Use a dictionary to help you to find original words and a thesaurus to make them even better!

For example, I want to write an acrostic poem about my dog Tiger. So I need to write down:






Now I need to find some really good words to describe him. I know that he is determined, cheeky, energetic, intelligent, naughty, kind, friendly.

'Energetic' and Intelligent' already fit in, so I am going to use my thesaurus to find my other words.

Instead of 'determined', I am going to use 'tenacious'.

Instead of 'friendly', I am going to use 'gregarious'.

Instead of 'naughty', I am going to use 'rogue'.

(I got these words from the thesaurus.)

So, my Acrostic poem is:

T enacious

I ntelligent

G regarious

E nergetic

R ogue

A very good idea is to do an acrostic poem all about yourself - use your own name and find words which describe you!

Let us know what you think. - What other information would be useful for you?

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Yeah. The info provided helped me too!

      4.5 stars out of 5

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Awesome detail nice job helped me a lot i n my exams i got an A1!!!! wooo

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      9 years ago

      5***** and welcome! This lens is now a featured lens on the newly redesigned Homeschooling Group!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This information was so helpful. I had no idea how to write poems like this thanks. [ P.S It really helped me on a long term assingment]

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      10 years ago

      Lovely lens, thanks for sharing. 5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I loved the way you explained everything, thanks a lot I give you 5 stars

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice job!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice lens. I gave it 5*****

    • MagicMummy profile image


      10 years ago

      Oh God I love this lens - it's really top quality. Thank you for putting this information altogether, it is very inspiring and a great resource for a natural learning mumma like me!

      Yay - well done!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Royalton

      The Tadpoles have been out in the rain looking for something new to do for Recess. Your great lens has given them some great ideas.

      Favored and joined your club. 5 Stars!

    • KSamuel-Stevens profile image


      11 years ago

      Very nice lens. It is a useful resourcefor everyone.

    • marlene3 profile image


      11 years ago

      Nice lens. keep up the good work,

      stay encourage and God Bless. 5 stars!

      Thanks, Marlene

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      valuable lens Coral, one of a kind. Keep it up! 5* from me :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens! I voted 5 stars - I invite you to check out mine too, and rate it for me! Live Streaming Video

    • KnotGypsy Designs profile image

      Donna Littlewood 

      11 years ago from Seguin, Texas

      What a wonderful lens! 5 stars and add to my lensroll. I will be coming back when I have time to write some poems. You explain how so very well.

    • sdtechteacher profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a very nice lens! 5 stars. We do these on the computer in our classes.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi! Very nice lens! A definite 5 Star rating! Check out my Lens when you can find the time. Cheers!


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      excellent job, coralmilburn. a very well diserved 5 stars.

    • KCStargazer profile image


      11 years ago

      Coral- Great info and great fun! A wonderful activity for a rainy day. Welcome to the Welcome to the Kaleidoscope Group!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very nice lens! Great job!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Fantastic lens! 5 stars and I have lensrolled you to my Alpha Omega Homeschool Curriculum Review lens.

    • tutor1235 lm profile image

      tutor1235 lm 

      11 years ago

      This is SO COOL! I wish you all the best. Thanks for joining my group All Info About Reading, and I hope you'll drop by and visit my reading lenses!

    • groovyoldlady profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a totoally groovy lens! Keep up the good work and wwelcome to Happy at Home.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      11 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hey There,

      I write Poetry as well...Actually I had written a few Acrostic poems recently. One of my poems (not Acrostic) is

      Great Lens,


    • Christene-S profile image


      11 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • mllamb46 profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens!

      I gave you five stars.

      ~Melody My Miniature paintings My Miniature paintings on Refrigerator Magnets

      How I make a miniature painting

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Squid Angel Star

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Well done Coral! My wife is a published poet. Very well put together. Thank you.

    • CoralMilburnCur profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thanks, Rebecca, for that challenge. I'll have to write a good one now, won't I?


    • profile image


      11 years ago


      can you give an example of a sonnet you've written?

    • CrystalDBooth profile image

      Crystal Booth 

      11 years ago from Wellston, Ok

      Very detailed information on poetry writing. Thanks for this great resource. Welcome to the Squidoo Ratings Swap ~ Crystal

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Wow, fabulous lens Coral! I always enjoyed poetry as a child. Good luck and hope to see more poems...stephanie


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