Tips For Writing Poetry and How to Construct a Poem
This hub article will cover three types of poems: The Japanese Haiku, the Shakespearean Sonnet, and the Song Ballad. In essence, I will show you how to write each and hopefully, by the time you're through reading this hub article, you'll find that it really isn't that difficult (or simple?) to do so. Good luck!
First off, I'd like to thank Dink96 for making this to me nearly a month ago. As I have been busy with a myriad of other projects, this one had to take a back seat at least for the time being. I thank you for your patience and hope that you are able to benefit from this hub as I've pored over all that I know (which isn't much, mind you) in order to produce this hub. If I'm able to effectively help just one person (that includes you, Dink96) then I've surely reached my goal. I'd like to also dedicate this hub to my good friend poetlorraine whose appreciation for poetry exceeds even my own. Thank you for reading this!
How to Write a Japanese Haiku
A Japanese Haiku is non-rhyming verse poem in which the first line consists of five syllables, the second consisting of seven syllables, and the third line consisting of five syllables. When first being introduced to the Japanese Haiku in the seventh grade, my English teacher explained to my class that much the same way telegrams were used in Western culture, the person who was sending a message was charged not by the word, but by the mora or syllable (typically 17 moras per haiku), which in essence, forced the sender or writer of said haiku to write in a very efficient yet creative and compact manner. In addition to this, a Japanese-style haiku should have a kireji or "cutting-word" in which changes the dynamics of the haiku by "cutting" the stream of thought. To learn more about what a kireji is, you can do so by clicking here. Lastly, a Japanese-style haiku should also have a kiga or seasonal reference which will convey a feeling or emotion consistent with the message of the haiku. For instance, think about the scenes of nature that are associated with each of the four seasons as they will provide clues to the reader. So here is a general overview of what a Japanese-style haiku is:
- A non-rhyming poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line
- Has a "cutting word" in which "cuts" or interrupts the stream of thought
- Has a seasonal theme consistent with the mood of the poem
As my good friend Cris A knows, I used to write a lot of haikus up until I discovered fiction. Here's one that I wrote on-the-fly, so please don't laugh:
She's all that I want
Forever green pines and firs
Always I will wait
Okay, I hate to analyze my own work, but in the case, I believe it's necessary. I did achieve two out of the three objectives, but for all intents and purposes, I didn't achieve the third because the "seasonal theme" should really have been made mention of in the final line rather than the second. However, I just couldn't bare to do so, as i like the rhythm of the haiku, especially the alliteration. Would you like some more examples of haikus? Russ Baleson is a very good writer of haikus. Here's one of my favorites titled, It's Time For Haiku.
Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
This may be my favorite of all of Shakespeare's sonnets as it's beautiful and just strikes a chord with me. If you can't feel this sonnet then seriously, you better check your pulse. If I could just write one Shakespearean sonnet just as good as this, I'd be one happy writer to say the least! So as prominent and brilliant as Shakespeare was, he only wrote 154 sonnets which, in my opinion, is a let down. So why did he write only 154 of them? Perhaps because they're difficult to write, that's why! Writing just one Shakespearean sonnet may take an average person weeks or even months to achieve. Heck, they may even spend their entire lives and never finish! I am working on one right now and it really is no cakewalk, mind you. So back to the sonnet 18. Here's the same sonnet broken up into a quatrain, an octave, and a couplet:
So, in terms of lines in a Shakespearean sonnet, there are 4 lines in a quatrain, 8 lines in an octave, and 2 lines in a couplet. In each line, there are 10 syllables in which follows a "stressed" and "unstressed" scheme. This is of course also known as iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is a line made up of five pairs of short/long, or unstressed/stressed, syllables. For a more in-depth breakdown of such please click here.
Piece of cake, right?
How To Write a Ballad
Ballads usually have verses of lines and often have a rhyming pattern in abac, aabb. or acbc which is perhaps the easiest type of ballad to make rhyme. I've read that the best way in which to begin to write a ballad is to come up with a starter phrase, which doesn't necessarily have to be the very first line of the ballad but rather a starting point in which to build upon. Repetition is also found in ballads as whole stanzas can be repeated just like a song's chorus. Lines can also be repeated, but a certain word must be changed so as to make it unique. Ballads also contain a lot of dialogue as well. Any action is usually described in first person and in addition, two characters can speak to each other in alternating lines. Sequences of "threes" are usually prevalent, such as three kisses, three tasks, or three events. I actually wrote a ballad titled The Girl in the Avatar right here on HubPages. So please click here to have a look.
Here is one of my favorite ballads originally written by Elliot Lurie. Below, you'll find a video of my favorite band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers doing a cover of it. Please enjoy.
"Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" (As recorded by Looking Glass) ELLIOT LURIE
There's a port on a western bay And it serves a hundred ships a day Lonely sailors pass the time away And talk about their homes And there's a girl, in this harbor town And she works, laying whiskey down They say "Brandy, fetch another round" She serves them whiskey and wine The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor From the sea." Brandy, wears a braided chain Made of finest silver from the north of Spain A locket, that bears the name Of a man that Brandy loved He came, on a summer's day Bringing gifts, from far away But he made it clear, he couldn't stay No harbor was his home The sailors said "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea." Yeah Brandy used to watch his eyes when he told his sailor's story She could feel the ocean fall and rise, she saw it's raging glory But he had always told the truth, Lord he was an honest man And Brandy does her best to understand At night, when the bars close down Brandy walks through a silent town And loves a man, who's not around She still can hear him say, she hears him say "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea" "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea"
Okay, so there you have it. By now, you've discovered just how easy or how difficult writing and constructing a Japanese-style haiku, a Shakespearean sonnet, and a song ballad can be. In either case, I sure do hope that you give one of them a try as I found it to be a challenge. As soon as I do finish my sonnet, I will post it on this hub article, so be sure to come back to read it. Oh, and by the way, my haiku, ballad and sonnet are all about the same person: Rayna H. Hurman.
If poetry is NOT your cup of tea, then maybe fiction is. I still am taking submissions for my Write a 55-Word Story hub if you would like to participate. Just email me your 55-word story and I'll be sure to post it.
Thank you for reading!
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