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Poetry...A How To

Updated on July 1, 2009

 The word poetry is scary to some.  It amazes me how many people feel they can't write.  Poetry is a word that encompasses feelings; how those feelings are delivered, line by line; word by word, is poetry.

So many assume that poems have to rhyme.  This in fact, is a very difficult way to write.  Your thoughts are pushed forward and driven by the need to come up with words that sound similar, rather than simply expressing yourself in text.  ABAB or AAAB poems are common.  The A's rhyme and the B's rhyme, or in the last case, the B is on its own.  Some examples are:


Look at the formation of clouds in the sky

As the birds swoop and dive to the ground

I cover my forehead to shield my eyes

From the golden sun, bright and round.


I see the trees sway to and fro

The bustling leaves have somewhere to go

The wind is busy and I know

it's getting close to winter.

I prefer non-rhyming poetry that paints a metaphorical picture in my mind and the minds of those reading it.  Interpretation is left to the reader, even though I may very well have specific ideas of what I'm trying to convey when I write.  There is no rhyming, only pictures painted with words...

I trampled down the endless street

afraid of the gnarled, twisting branches

that attempted to grab my shirt

along the way.

With trepidation, I slowly stepped

upon the weathered wooden plank

and reached forward, pressing the button...

"Trick or Treat", I screamed.

To me, poetry is a way of expressing oneself through creative thought.  There are many names to various types of poetry, however you should not allow yourself to be caught up in rules when truly wanting to express yourself.  With my students, I am amazed at what good writers they are when allowed to simply write phrases and descriptors of something.  We do write some standard types of poems such as acrostic.  This is where you write your name vertically and write descriptions of yourself next to each letter.  Example...

Beautiful, young lady

Eclectic, energetic

Calm and chatty

Kooky at times

Your best friend

Or, we write Haiku which is comprised of three sentences with syllabication of 5-7-5

The young puppy yaps

at its mother for some food

as she walks away.

Why not try your hand at some poetry today?  It's a creative outlet and allows you to exercise some self therapy on yourself!  Go outside, take in some of your surroundings, pick up your pencil and a pad of paper and go for it!



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