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How to Write Your First Poem

Updated on February 23, 2008
A quill and paper, just like the old greats used to do it.  (Photo by Stephantasy)
A quill and paper, just like the old greats used to do it. (Photo by Stephantasy)

Maybe you've never written a poem before. Maybe the last time you wrote one was twenty years ago. Maybe the last time you wrote one was in second grade as a gift to your mom on Mother's Day.

It doesn't matter. Anyone can write a poem at any time. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea -- I mean, by writing poetry you are entering the realms of the great Robert Frost, Homer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth -- let me take you through some easy steps to get started.

Three Easy Steps

1. Relax! All that stuff I said about the Great Poets? It doesn't matter! While poetry may be an ancient and well-respected art form, your poetry doesn't have to be anything other than words on a page (or in your head). Forget about everything you think that poetry is supposed to be. It doesn't have to rhyme or make sense or even have real words. A poem is merely a way of expressing something, and our thoughts don't always make sense. Don't expect your poem to be great the first way you write it, and you won't work yourself up into an unnecessary writer's block.

2. Experience some poetry. Read it, listen to it, learn about it, anything! The best thing a writer can do is read. Do you ever find your thoughts "writing" themselves in the tone of the author of a book you're reading? Use this to your advantage as you get yourself in the "poetry" mindset. Read a book or Google a poet you've never read before. If Walt Whitman doesn't inspire you, read some Federico Garcia Lorca. You'll probably find that, once you find a poet who resonates with you, your creative juices will start flowing whether you want them to or not!

3. Just do it. "But... but..." No buts! If you've done the first two steps, you are more than adequately equipped to do some writing. Grab your favorite writing utensil (or open your favorite typing program) and jot down some words. Know that you never have to show them to anyone, so they can be the lamest, most inane words you think you've ever seen. It doesn't matter. If you edit yourself before you even write it down, you'll get stuck under the heavy weight we call Writer's Block. If you just let yourself write, you will. It's really that simple.

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For Extra Credit...

Of course, if you want to do something other than write the poem (share it, publish it, etc), you'll have to do a few more steps than this. Every piece of art is a work in progress, so even if you feel like you've edited your poem a hundred times, don't assume it is "finished."

If you want to share your poem, ask yourself what you want the poem to accomplish. Is it trying to make a political point? Express something you couldn't speak aloud? Ask a question? Then ask yourself if the poem is actually accomplishing your intention. Better yet, ask a trusted friend what they get out of reading your poem!

But never censor yourself before you get words on the page! This is how people get trapped into thinking they "can't" write. You can always write if you allow yourself to do it. Just remember that, and you'll do great!

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    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 4 years ago

      helenathegreat,

      This was very enthusing since the latest poem which I wrote was a brief one that popped into my head about a week ago. I was not sure about it since I do not understand poetry.

      Before that I may have written in elementary school - I forget. Reading this got me enthused to practice it and study it more. Thank you.

      Kevin

    • profile image

      anthony mattioli 5 years ago

      when i first my our poem was am i 14 year old

    • profile image

      sarah 6 years ago

      iwrote a poem at school about the classroom and i tried so hard on trying to think of a word that rhymns with smiled and work.help me!

    • profile image

      jen 7 years ago

      like

    • dl53acy profile image

      dl53acy 7 years ago from East Texas

      Great hub! Im following you as fan and thanks for sharing! Blessings to you!

    • profile image

      kayla 8 years ago

      UGH! i don't think i can write a poem... its hard.

    • profile image

      poetrys 9 years ago

      go to this url it has the best funniest poems ever http://bestpoems4u.blogspot.com/

    • profile image

      poetrys 9 years ago

      guys

    • J.Stump profile image

      J. Stump 9 years ago from USA

      i wrote my first poem unrelaxed without being literate and without utensils. i wrote it in my head. so you don't need anything to write poetry

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