How to Write Poetry: 7 Steps for Beginners

Are you new to writing poetry or do you simply wish to become a better writer? The steps outlined below are designed for beginners in mind. Be sure to follow the steps to the letter. Once you become a more advanced writer you may wish to change the order up a bit, add your own steps, or possibly even forgo the steps all-together. However, I personally feel that following a routine is the best way to get the creative juices going and to formulate a poem.

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber. Below is a list of seven steps beginners can follow to write their first poem.

1. Read poetry

By reading poetry, you will subconsciously pick up the rhythm of the author, the author’s vocabulary, and the dictation the author uses. This is exactly what you need as a beginner.

2. Brainstorm your theme

Think about what your book will be about. What subject and ideas do you wish to cover? Try to be as specific as possible.

3. Decide on your goal

What is the purpose of your poem? Is it an exposition, narration, description, or persuasion piece? Choose one and only one and stick with it throughout the poem. Don’t try to change it midway through.

Your goal should also include your audience. Whom are you writing the piece for? Is your audience children, adults, school kids, workers, teachers, or perhaps a loved one? This is important because it can dictate your vocabulary usage, poem length, and poetic form.

5. Choose your poetic form

There are many forms. Choose the form that bests suits your theme. If you feel poetic forms are too restricted, you may wish to try out free verse. However, free verse is an extremely difficult form to follow as a beginner. Meters typically give the author a way to control their writing while pure cadence can be chaotic and unpredictable. This is not to mention that generally the steps are different to follow when writing cadence. Cadence generally involves spouting at as many lines as possible and writing down the best ones and making sure the flow gets faster and slower when it needs to within the poem. I highly suggest a fixed-verse for beginners.

5. Take notes

Write down words and phrases that come to your mind about your theme. Include assonance, alliterations, rhymes, similes, metaphors, etc. The more you can jot down the better. These notes can later be used to help write your poem. Your notes will serve as a gateway to a finished product.

6. Write your poem

Be sure to write your poem in accordance to the poetic form. Be sure to follow the metrical pattern, foot pattern, syllable count, stanzas, or whatever else and use your notes.

7. Read, revise, read

Read your poem aloud. Does it flow well? Does it sound natural? Check for any type of dictation issues. Fix them. Read the poem again. Rinse and repeat.

There you have it! I hope this can serve as a great guide to beginners of poetry everywhere.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

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