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Poetry Tips For Beginners

Updated on May 20, 2015


It seems like a dream looking back on it, that day in fifth grade I was formally introduced to poetry. Of course at that point I knew what poetry was, but I didn't know much about it and I couldn't really like it. From the time I was old enough to hold a pencil I enjoyed writing. I'd always scribble and write in journals. But this is the first time a light bulb went off in my head. It just felt like poetry was meant for me all along. My teacher gave us an assignment to write a poem using the line "If I could be ___". We were supposed to fill in the blank with whatever we choose and write about things we would experience and feel as whatever was in the blank. I choose a bird, needless to say I've always thought it would be cool to experience having wings and just flying far, far away. The poem came naturally to me. It was almost as if the words were already written and just flowed through my mind and out of my hand. I turned in the poem which got recognized as being the best in the class. I was embarrassed but proud of myself. The teacher pulled me aside and told me I had a gift and not to waste it. On that day, I found something I could call my special talent. I've written over 300 poems since then. Writing, especially poetry, is still such a huge part of my life and it gives me such a good feeling to be able to share it with the world.

My First "Real" Poem: If I Could Be a Bird

If I could be a bird

I would soar and glide throughout the sky

Over lilies and mountain tops I would fly

I would play in flowers low and sleep in the tallest trees

Stop to say hello to honey bees

I'd feel so invincible and for the first time free

If I could be a Bird,

I would be me

Why Write Poetry?

Poetry isn't for everybody. Just like math, softball, driving, hunting, or running track, some things suit some people better than others. Every sport and hobby is a learned action in some way. You can't expect to pick up a pen and write like the next Robert Frost. At the same time, maybe you'll discover you'll have a knack for it. Mozart started composing music at the age of five. Don't let that discourage you if you haven't already started writing poetry. Nobody is ever "too old" to find their talent. Maybe you've read good poetry and appreciated it but haven't tried writing on your own, and maybe you want to start writing but don't know WHERE to start. If you haven't even thought about writing poetry, maybe you should know some reasons why writing poetry could turn out to be the best thing you've ever tried and loved.

  1. Poetry helps us express feelings we struggle to express in other ways.
  2. It connects us with other people, nature, and ourselves.
  3. Works a great therapy for anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.
  4. Writing poetry gets us in touch with our creative side and can spark countless ideas.
  5. It can and will inspire those who read it.
  6. Poetry can help us realize our goals, dreams, and subconscious thoughts.
  7. Playing with words can build brain muscles and strengthen the part of your brain that makes you playful.
  8. It's a great form of communication- For example, love poems are a great way to show affection to another person.
  9. It will help you develop patience, because some poems take time, and even if they come to mind right away, you might end up making 100 tiny revisions until it's perfect
  10. Be part of a community when you share your poetry online and feel blissful when somebody comments on or shares something you created.

Find a Spark

Poetry is all about writing about whatever you're the most passionate about. If you don't feel inspired, you're going to have a very time writing. it's much easier to write when you know exactly what you want to write about. It's no myth that raw emotion produces the best poetry. You're going to want to make the reader feel and see exactly what is playing through your mind when you're writing, you want them to be about to connect with your pain and happiness, and paint a mental portrait in their head. Finding a spark may come easy: Maybe you just fell in love or experienced the lost of a first pet. Real life events can create much more relatable poetry. Ask yourself what inspires you and draw from it. Take a walk through the woods and listen to any thoughts that pass your mind. Listen to your favorite song and speak the lyrics as if they were poetry. Write about your dreams in a journal and read it each night before bed. Whatever you do, do not force poetry to happen. Just because you lack motivation doesn't mean you will forever, writing when you have writer's block is frustrating and leaks those bad vibes. All poetry is is getting in touch with what you feel and letting it happen. Have an open mind and it will come to you.

Just Start Writing

Even if you are under the impression you have nothing to write about, this often proves to not be true. Words of poetry surround every emotion you feel, every word you speak, everything you see. Poetry is great because unlike most sports and hobbies, there are no rules. Your only limits are your own imagination. Poetry can be about anything you want. The best gateway bridge into poetry is writing. You can literally write about anything. Stuck inside on a rainy day? You can write about things you wish that you could be doing, how the rain makes you feel, what you enjoy about it or what you wish was different. Engage yourself in activities that will get your pen moving. You can write about the crush you have on the guy at the gym or your weirdest dream ever that was about zombie aliens invading earth. Write something everyday and don't forget. It doesn't have to be poetry, but writing can give you ideas, and strengthen your vocabulary and help you write poetry when you feel you're ready.

Things Every Poet needs

A pencil and eraser
A travel notebook
A laptop or tablet
A black ink pen
A camera
An active imagination
A want to write

Making The Words Count

So you're finally writing poetry. Now what?

Your poetry is unique just like your ideas. Don't let your poetry be weighed down with overused words, poor rhyming, or cliches. Do you really compare your lovers eyes to being lost an an ocean? Probably not, so avoid things that have been said in poetry hundreds of times.

Overused words: Overused words might include sky, ocean, feelings, hate, happy, said, funny, etc. I could make a list a mile long. These words are boring and dull. Don't be afraid to be descriptive and daring with your writing. Instead of sky, try heavens or blue. Instead of feelings, try to describe what the feelings are. Instead of hate, stir up stronger emotions with despise or envy. And instead of said, think of other ways you could say 'said': stated, replied, told or whispered. Spice up your writing with vibrant language to engage the writer and stand out among other poems.

Poor Rhyming: Remember that poems don't have to rhyme! If you do want to use a rhyme scheme in your poetry, you may have to pull out that dictionary you thought you'd never use. Please understand that repeating a word for emphasis is okay, but rhyming the same word together shows lack of skill as a writer. Don't use words that don't have a rhyme, and orange isn't the only one. Also on the list are bulb, silver, sixth, wolve, and airt. (And a few others) If you're not sure if a word has a rhyming word, look it up. You can search for "things that rhyme with ----" to get ideas if you can't think of your own. Almost rhyming words are acceptable in most cases as long as the poem flows nicely. When in doubt, say the poem outline and see if it feels nice on the ears.

Cliches: Similar to overused words in poetry are cliches. Cliques are things that people expect to hear of find in poetry, or things that have been said in different but alike ways, or things that are just over the top cheesy and cringe worthy. There technically isn't such a thing as good or bad poetry, seeing as how it's a matter of opinion. But that doesn't mean that a majority of people could think it sounds like a five year old wrote it. Instead of using cliques, apply your own unique spins to your poems? Give special attention to things about feelings or situations you want to write about that you know are unique and not likely to be found in a Hal-mark card.

Find the Style that Suits You

Just like paintings and music, there are many types of poetry and finding the one that best suits you is import to compliment your writing. It might take more than a few poems, but after a while you might notice a trend start to develop that is unique to you; the type of writer you are. Style and length of poetry are simple things that can alter what category your poem should fall under. If your not sure about or familiar with types of poetry, here's a helping hand to help you find just the right style'

  • Haiku: Haiku poetry is suited for writer's with a shorter style or those who like to write about things related to nature. It's 3 lines and fits a pattern of 5 syllables- 7 syllables- 5 syllables.
  • Sonnet: Sonnet poetry is usually suited for poets that are confident and skilled with their writing. They have either 4 lines rhyming abba abba or 6 lines rhyming either cdecde orcdcdcd.
  • ABC poem: ABC poems are unique and fun. They are usually witty, to the point, or lighthearted. The first word starts with A, the second word starts with B, and so on. They can be quite the challenge.
  • Rondeau: Rondeau poems are great if you have some ideas for rhymes but struggle to rhyme an entire poem. The poem is 15 lines of eight or ten syllables arranged in three stanzas — the first stanza is five lines, the second four lines, and the final stanza six lines. The last line of part two and three of the poem must be a repeating line.
  • Sijo: These poems may suit people who love the idea of haiku but think they're too short. Sijo is used by Korean poets and is usually written as three lines, each averaging 14-16 syllables, for a total of 44-46 syllables.
  • Acrostic: Poets with even the simplest skill level can use this poem. Chances are we've all made one for mom on mother's day. An acrostic poem spells out a word going down, and the First letter starts out the word of that particular line.
  • Free verse: Free verse is probably the most common type of poem because it can fit any length, style, or skill level of poem. Free verse can have as little as no rhymes, a few rhymes, or many as you want. It puts the "free" in free verse for a reason.

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    • manatita44 profile image


      2 years ago from london

      Magnificent write. Great and loving Hub. Sweet thoughts and write on poetry.


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