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How to Write Poetry With Imagery

Updated on November 17, 2015

My favorite kind of poetry is filled with emotion and images. They praise the mysteries of nature, fly into the heights of love, or delve into a sea of emotion. Also, this type of poetry can contain a clear meaning or be considered nonsense poetry. Either way, it contains feeling and descriptive words that conjure up pictures or memories.

Inspiration and Brainstorming

It's time to get creative. To inspire creativity, try listening to music, remembering a painful or happy memory, looking at art, or reading other poems. For more stimulation, read this article, 'Inspiration and Creativity'.
After establishing a feeling and topic for your poem, write them down on a piece of paper. Let your mind flow freely as you write down words that help to describe or convey your particular feeling or subject. Then, you may want to use a thesaurus to write a list of words associated with your emotion, subject, or the various words you have written down. Be aware of words that are interesting and choose ones that help the reader to create a picture in his mind. For instance, instead of using the word sad , you could use heartrending, gloomy, or dismal . Make sure you are including a lot of adjectives to spice up your poem. You can also write a list of rhyming words to complement the words you have already added. This is only the beginning of the process; write down as many words that you can think of without inhibition.

Fun Words

  • serendipity
  • demure
  • uncouth
  • insipid
  • illuminate
  • quixotic
  • disparaging

Putting it Together

The best poetry, to me, are ones that flow naturally, but you might want to have some sort of structure, but you don't have to. They can rhyme or not rhyme according to your taste. What is exciting about poetry is that you have the freedom to break the rules. If you are new to writing poems, it might be a good idea to choose a framework. To create a natural rhythm, count the syllables in each word. Try to make the number of words on each line match with the next line. You might want to divide your poem into stanzas. This is a section of a poem, usually consisting of four lines, that contains 2 lines that rhyme and another 2 lines that rhyme with each other. For example:

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

This is taken from Robert Herrick's poem. Listen to the rhythm as you say it out loud. Also, notice that the first and third lines rhyme and the second and last lines rhyme. This means it has a rhyme scheme of ABAB. A represents the first two lines that rhyme in the poem and B represents the second two lines that rhyme. You can choose any rhyme scheme that you wish, but ABAB is the most common.

Using your structure and rhyme scheme, pull your words from the brainstorming list to create phrases. It doesn't have to be perfect and don't worry about grammar mistakes at first. The important thing is to get something on paper. After finishing your first draft, read it over out loud. Do you like the rhythm and flow? Did you choose words that are interesting and help to describe the overall feeling of your poem? Does your poem conjure up emotion, memories, and experiences for the reader? If so, you have created a successful poem filled with imagery.

An Introduction to Poetry


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    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      annacjones: Thank you! I hope it helps people write some creative poetry.

    • annacjones profile image

      Anna Jones 5 years ago from Cheshire, England

      Great hub and some good ideas here!

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      epigramman: I'm so glad you enjoyed this. "Always remember if you write from the heart then the mind will always follow." Yes, I agree whole-heartedly. Thanks for taking the time to share your insight.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      .....this is a master class in the art of poetry writing as taught by a wonderful with a world class attitude - and I don't really think any conventions or boundaries should be applied to poe-tree - just go for it , find your own style and be yourself and stay away from tradition and seek your own voice - and always remember if you write from the heart then the mnd will always follow - so nice to meet you and this is an excellent primer for poets/writers both old and young, experienced and novices - hubbravo to you and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 9:19pm

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Docmo: I'm glad we are in agreement. I also tend to write poetry whenever I'm inspired. Thanks for voting!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      I'm very much in agreement with you on the 'emotion and imagery' for poetry. I strive to create my own when the emotion strikes and imagery follows. such combination gives me artistic satisfaction and based on the feedback I think it captures the heart of the reader very well. Thanks for this insightful hub. voted up/useful.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      htodd: That's so true! I think poetry would be boring without it. Thanks for commenting. :)

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Poetry is tough ..We need imagination to write it

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      Poetic Fool: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, that is from 'To the Virgins, to make much of Time'. I hadn't read it before I started researching for this hub. I definitely hope it will inspire others to write poetry from their heart. Poetry is one of my favorite expressions of writing. Thank you for sharing this, for voting and for retweeting it on twitter. :)

      tammyswallow: Imagery is also my favorite part in poetry. I haven't read that poem, but I'll have to check it out soon. It is fantastic how words can be used to describe feelings; it's like magic sometimes. Thanks for reading!

      madmachio: Yes, I understand what you mean. I like to rhyme in my poems even though that seems to be more difficult sometimes. The good thing about poetry is that you can write poems without rhyming words if you want to. There are no set rules in poetry; the main thing is to write from your heart.

    • madmachio profile image

      Nathan K 6 years ago from Kansas

      I like this! Good advice Ebower! I have a hard time not putting my poems to rhyme.. I should maybe try it the other way some more.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I love imagery in poetry. I think this is what makes Plath's Lady Lazurus my favorite poem. It is amazing how words can move us and create these images. Great hub with some great examples.

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 6 years ago

      Erin, this is such a great hub! Lots of great info and advice explained clearly and concisely in an easy, conversational style. You even cited Robert Herrick, my favorite of all the Cavalier poets. That was from 'To the Virgins, to make much of Time' was it not.

      Hopefully, your hub will help encourage some others to try their hand at poetry. I know I thoroughly enjoy reading yours. Thanks for this great hub! Voted up, awesome, interesting, useful and shared!

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, I have. It's something I really enjoy doing. Poems seem to quietly form swiftly in my finite mind.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      Well, you have certainly given poetry writing a great deal of thought over many years, it seems.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia


    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Good hub Ebower. I like it.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks! Thank you for commenting!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I also love to write poetry. Great idea helping others to write...