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How to Write Poetry With Imagery

Updated on March 15, 2020
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Erin is a writer and content creator from Georgia, United States. She loves coffee, books, and puppies.

My favorite kind of poetry is filled with emotion and images. It praises the mysteries of nature, flies into the heights of love, or delves into a sea of emotion. Also, this type of poetry can either contain a clear meaning or be considered nonsensical. 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 on a piece of paper. Let your mind flow freely as you write down words that help 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 the words that are the most interesting and choose ones that help the reader create a picture in his mind. For instance, instead of using the word sad, you could use gloomy, or dismal . Make sure you are including a lot of adjectives to help 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

In my opinion, the best poems are ones that flow naturally, but you might want to use some sort of structure. They can rhyme or not rhyme according to taste. What is exciting about poetry is that writer has the freedom to break the rules. If you are new to writing poetry, 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 two lines that rhyme and another two 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 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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