How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step

Sean Glatch  |  March 31, 2024  |  27 Comments

how to write poetry step by step

To learn how to write a poem step-by-step, let’s start where all poets start: the basics.

This article is an in-depth introduction to how to write a poem. We first answer the question, “What is poetry?” We then discuss the literary elements of poetry, and showcase some different approaches to the writing process—including our own seven-step process on how to write a poem step by step.

So, how do you write a poem? Let’s start with what poetry is.

What Poetry Is

It’s important to know what poetry is—and isn’t—before we discuss how to write a poem. The following quote defines poetry nicely:

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” —Former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove

Poetry Conveys Feeling

People sometimes imagine poetry as stuffy, abstract, and difficult to understand. Some poetry may be this way, but in reality poetry isn’t about being obscure or confusing. Poetry is a lyrical, emotive method of self-expression, using the elements of poetry to highlight feelings and ideas.

A poem should make the reader feel something.

In other words, a poem should make the reader feel something—not by telling them what to feel, but by evoking feeling directly.

Here’s a contemporary poem that, despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of its simplicity), conveys heartfelt emotion.

Poetry is Language at its Richest and Most Condensed

Unlike longer prose writing (such as a short story, memoir, or novel), poetry needs to impact the reader in the richest and most condensed way possible. Here’s a famous quote that enforces that distinction:

“Prose: words in their best order; poetry: the best words in the best order.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

So poetry isn’t the place to be filling in long backstories or doing leisurely scene-setting. In poetry, every single word carries maximum impact.

Poetry Uses Unique Elements

Poetry is not like other kinds of writing: it has its own unique forms, tools, and principles. Together, these elements of poetry help it to powerfully impact the reader in only a few words.

The elements of poetry help it to powerfully impact the reader in only a few words.

Most poetry is written in verse , rather than prose . This means that it uses line breaks, alongside rhythm or meter, to convey something to the reader. Rather than letting the text break at the end of the page (as prose does), verse emphasizes language through line breaks.

Poetry further accentuates its use of language through rhyme and meter. Poetry has a heightened emphasis on the musicality of language itself: its sounds and rhythms, and the feelings they carry.

These devices—rhyme, meter, and line breaks—are just a few of the essential elements of poetry, which we’ll explore in more depth now.

Understanding the Elements of Poetry

As we explore how to write a poem step by step, these three major literary elements of poetry should sit in the back of your mind:

  • Rhythm (Sound, Rhyme, and Meter)
  • Literary Devices

1. Elements of Poetry: Rhythm

“Rhythm” refers to the lyrical, sonic qualities of the poem. How does the poem move and breathe; how does it feel on the tongue?

Traditionally, poets relied on rhyme and meter to accomplish a rhythmically sound poem. Free verse poems—which are poems that don’t require a specific length, rhyme scheme, or meter—only became popular in the West in the 20th century, so while rhyme and meter aren’t requirements of modern poetry, they are required of certain poetry forms.

Poetry is capable of evoking certain emotions based solely on the sounds it uses. Words can sound sinister, percussive, fluid, cheerful, dour, or any other noise/emotion in the complex tapestry of human feeling.

Take, for example, this excerpt from the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” by Walt Whitman:

elements of poetry: sound

Red — “b” sounds

Blue — “th” sounds

Green — “w” and “ew” sounds

Purple — “s” sounds

Orange — “d” and “t” sounds

This poem has a lot of percussive, disruptive sounds that reinforce the beating of the drums. The “b,” “d,” “w,” and “t” sounds resemble these drum beats, while the “th” and “s” sounds are sneakier, penetrating a deeper part of the ear. The cacophony of this excerpt might not sound “lyrical,” but it does manage to command your attention, much like drums beating through a city might sound.

To learn more about consonance and assonance, euphony and cacophony, and the other uses of sound, take a look at our article “12 Literary Devices in Poetry.”


It would be a crime if you weren’t primed on the ins and outs of rhymes. “Rhyme” refers to words that have similar pronunciations, like this set of words: sound, hound, browned, pound, found, around.

Many poets assume that their poetry has to rhyme, and it’s true that some poems require a complex rhyme scheme. However, rhyme isn’t nearly as important to poetry as it used to be. Most traditional poetry forms—sonnets, villanelles , rimes royal, etc.—rely on rhyme, but contemporary poetry has largely strayed from the strict rhyme schemes of yesterday.

There are three types of rhymes:

  • Homophony: Homophones are words that are spelled differently but sound the same, like “tail” and “tale.” Homophones often lead to commonly misspelled words .
  • Perfect Rhyme: Perfect rhymes are word pairs that are identical in sound except for one minor difference. Examples include “slant and pant,” “great and fate,” and “shower and power.”
  • Slant Rhyme: Slant rhymes are word pairs that use the same sounds, but their final vowels have different pronunciations. For example, “abut” and “about” are nearly-identical in sound, but are pronounced differently enough that they don’t completely rhyme. This is also known as an oblique rhyme or imperfect rhyme.

Meter refers to the stress patterns of words. Certain poetry forms require that the words in the poem follow a certain stress pattern, meaning some syllables are stressed and others are unstressed.

What is “stressed” and “unstressed”? A stressed syllable is the sound that you emphasize in a word. The bolded syllables in the following words are stressed, and the unbolded syllables are unstressed:

  • Un• stressed
  • Plat• i• tud• i•nous
  • De •act•i• vate
  • Con• sti •tu• tion•al

The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables is important to traditional poetry forms. This chart, copied from our article on form in poetry , summarizes the different stress patterns of poetry.

2. Elements of Poetry: Form

“Form” refers to the structure of the poem. Is the poem a sonnet, a villanelle, a free verse piece, a slam poem, a contrapuntal, a ghazal , a blackout poem , or something new and experimental?

Form also refers to the line breaks and stanza breaks in a poem. Unlike prose, where the end of the page decides the line breaks, poets have control over when one line ends and a new one begins. The words that begin and end each line will emphasize the sounds, images, and ideas that are important to the poet.

To learn more about rhyme, meter, and poetry forms, read our full article on the topic:


3. Elements of Poetry: Literary Devices

“Poetry: the best words in the best order.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

How does poetry express complex ideas in concise, lyrical language? Literary devices—like metaphor, symbolism, juxtaposition, irony, and hyperbole—help make poetry possible. Learn how to write and master these devices here:


How to Write a Poem, in 7 Steps

To condense the elements of poetry into an actual poem, we’re going to follow a seven-step approach. However, it’s important to know that every poet’s process is different. While the steps presented here are a logical path to get from idea to finished poem, they’re not the only tried-and-true method of poetry writing. Poets can—and should!—modify these steps and generate their own writing process.

Nonetheless, if you’re new to writing poetry or want to explore a different writing process, try your hand at our approach. Here’s how to write a poem step by step!

1. Devise a Topic

The easiest way to start writing a poem is to begin with a topic.

However, devising a topic is often the hardest part. What should your poem be about? And where can you find ideas?

Here are a few places to search for inspiration:

  • Other Works of Literature: Poetry doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it’s part of a larger literary tapestry, and can absolutely be influenced by other works. For example, read “The Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes , a poem that was inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool.”
  • Real-World Events: Poetry, especially contemporary poetry, has the power to convey new and transformative ideas about the world. Take the poem “A Cigarette” by Ilya Kaminsky , which finds community in a warzone like the eye of a hurricane.
  • Your Life: What would poetry be if not a form of memoir? Many contemporary poets have documented their lives in verse. Take Sylvia Plath’s poem “Full Fathom Five” —a daring poem for its time, as few writers so boldly criticized their family as Plath did.
  • The Everyday and Mundane: Poetry isn’t just about big, earth-shattering events: much can be said about mundane events, too. Take “Ode to Shea Butter” by Angel Nafis , a poem that celebrates the beautiful “everydayness” of moisturizing.
  • Nature: The Earth has always been a source of inspiration for poets, both today and in antiquity. Take “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver , which finds meaning in nature’s quiet rituals.
  • Writing Exercises: Prompts and exercises can help spark your creativity, even if the poem you write has nothing to do with the prompt! Here’s 24 writing exercises to get you started.

At this point, you’ve got a topic for your poem. Maybe it’s a topic you’re passionate about, and the words pour from your pen and align themselves into a perfect sonnet! It’s not impossible—most poets have a couple of poems that seemed to write themselves.

However, it’s far more likely you’re searching for the words to talk about this topic. This is where journaling comes in.

Sit in front of a blank piece of paper, with nothing but the topic written on the top. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and put down all of your thoughts related to the topic. Don’t stop and think for too long, and try not to obsess over finding the right words: what matters here is emotion, the way your subconscious grapples with the topic.

At the end of this journaling session, go back through everything you wrote, and highlight whatever seems important to you: well-written phrases, poignant moments of emotion, even specific words that you want to use in your poem.

Journaling is a low-risk way of exploring your topic without feeling pressured to make it sound poetic. “Sounding poetic” will only leave you with empty language: your journal allows you to speak from the heart. Everything you need for your poem is already inside of you, the journaling process just helps bring it out!

3. Think About Form

As one of the elements of poetry, form plays a crucial role in how the poem is both written and read. Have you ever wanted to write a sestina ? How about a contrapuntal, or a double cinquain, or a series of tanka? Your poem can take a multitude of forms, including the beautifully unstructured free verse form; while form can be decided in the editing process, it doesn’t hurt to think about it now.

4. Write the First Line

After a productive journaling session, you’ll be much more acquainted with the state of your heart. You might have a line in your journal that you really want to begin with, or you might want to start fresh and refer back to your journal when you need to! Either way, it’s time to begin.

What should the first line of your poem be? There’s no strict rule here—you don’t have to start your poem with a certain image or literary device. However, here’s a few ways that poets often begin their work:

  • Set the Scene: Poetry can tell stories just like prose does. Anne Carson does just this in her poem “Lines,” situating the scene in a conversation with the speaker’s mother.
  • Start at the Conflict: Right away, tell the reader where it hurts most. Margaret Atwood does this in “Ghost Cat,” a poem about aging.
  • Start With a Contradiction: Juxtaposition and contrast are two powerful tools in the poet’s toolkit. Joan Larkin’s poem “Want” begins and ends with these devices. Carlos Gimenez Smith also begins his poem “Entanglement” with a juxtaposition.
  • Start With Your Title: Some poets will use the title as their first line, like Ron Padgett’s poem “Ladies and Gentlemen in Outer Space.”

There are many other ways to begin poems, so play around with different literary devices, and when you’re stuck, turn to other poetry for inspiration.

5. Develop Ideas and Devices

You might not know where your poem is going until you finish writing it. In the meantime, stick to your literary devices. Avoid using too many abstract nouns, develop striking images, use metaphors and similes to strike interesting comparisons, and above all, speak from the heart.

6. Write the Closing Line

Some poems end “full circle,” meaning that the images the poet used in the beginning are reintroduced at the end. Gwendolyn Brooks does this in her poem “my dreams, my work, must wait till after hell.”

Yet, many poets don’t realize what their poems are about until they write the ending line . Poetry is a search for truth, especially the hard truths that aren’t easily explained in casual speech. Your poem, too, might not be finished until it comes across a necessary truth, so write until you strike the heart of what you feel, and the poem will come to its own conclusion.

7. Edit, Edit, Edit!

Do you have a working first draft of your poem? Congratulations! Getting your feelings onto the page is a feat in itself.

Yet, no guide on how to write a poem is complete without a note on editing. If you plan on sharing or publishing your work, or if you simply want to edit your poem to near-perfection, keep these tips in mind.

  • Adjectives and Adverbs: Use these parts of speech sparingly. Most imagery shouldn’t rely on adjectives and adverbs, because the image should be striking and vivid on its own, without too much help from excess language.
  • Concrete Line Breaks: Line breaks help emphasize important words, making certain images and ideas clearer to the reader. As a general rule, most of your lines should start and end with concrete words—nouns and verbs especially.
  • Stanza Breaks: Stanzas are like paragraphs to poetry. A stanza can develop a new idea, contrast an existing idea, or signal a transition in the poem’s tone. Make sure each stanza clearly stands for something as a unit of the poem.
  • Mixed Metaphors: A mixed metaphor is when two metaphors occupy the same idea, making the poem unnecessarily difficult to understand. Here’s an example of a mixed metaphor: “a watched clock never boils.” The meaning can be discerned, but the image remains unclear. Be wary of mixed metaphors—though some poets (like Shakespeare) make them work, they’re tricky and often disruptive.
  • Abstractions: Above all, avoid using excessively abstract language. It’s fine to use the word “love” 2 or 3 times in a poem, but don’t use it twice in every stanza. Let the imagery in your poem express your feelings and ideas, and only use abstractions as brief connective tissue in otherwise-concrete writing.

Lastly, don’t feel pressured to “do something” with your poem. Not all poems need to be shared and edited. Poetry doesn’t have to be “good,” either—it can simply be a statement of emotions by the poet, for the poet. Publishing is an admirable goal, but also, give yourself permission to write bad poems, unedited poems, abstract poems, and poems with an audience of one. Write for yourself—editing is for the other readers.

How to Write a Poem: Different Approaches and Philosophies

Poetry is the oldest literary form, pre-dating prose, theater, and the written word itself. As such, there are many different schools of thought when it comes to writing poetry. You might be wondering how to write a poem through different methods and approaches: here’s four philosophies to get you started.

How to Write a Poem: Poetry as Emotion

If you asked a Romantic Poet “what is poetry?”, they would tell you that poetry is the spontaneous emotion of the soul.

The Romantic Era viewed poetry as an extension of human emotion—a way of perceiving the world through unbridled creativity, centered around the human soul. While many Romantic poets used traditional forms in their poetry, the Romantics weren’t afraid to break from tradition, either.

To write like a Romantic, feel—and feel intensely. The words will follow the emotions, as long as a blank page sits in front of you.

How to Write a Poem: Poetry as Stream of Consciousness

If you asked a Modernist poet, “What is poetry?” they would tell you that poetry is the search for complex truths.

Modernist Poets were keen on the use of poetry as a window into the mind. A common technique of the time was “Stream of Consciousness,” which is unfiltered writing that flows directly from the poet’s inner dialogue. By tapping into one’s subconscious, the poet might uncover deeper truths and emotions they were initially unaware of.

Depending on who you are as a writer, Stream of Consciousness can be tricky to master, but this guide covers the basics of how to write using this technique.

How to Write a Poem: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice of documenting the mind, rather than trying to control or edit what it produces. This practice was popularized by the Beat Poets , who in turn were inspired by Eastern philosophies and Buddhist teachings. If you asked a Beat Poet “what is poetry?”, they would tell you that poetry is the human consciousness, unadulterated.

To learn more about the art of leaving your mind alone , take a look at our guide on Mindfulness, from instructor Marc Olmsted.


How to Write a Poem: Poem as Camera Lens

Many contemporary poets use poetry as a camera lens, documenting global events and commenting on both politics and injustice. If you find yourself itching to write poetry about the modern day, press your thumb against the pulse of the world and write what you feel.

Additionally, check out these two essays by Electric Literature on the politics of poetry:

  • What Can Poetry Do That Politics Can’t?
  • Why All Poems Are Political (TL;DR: Poetry is an urgent expression of freedom).

Okay, I Know How to Write a Good Poem. What Next?

Poetry, like all art forms, takes practice and dedication. You might write a poem you enjoy now, and think it’s awfully written 3 years from now; you might also write some of your best work after reading this guide. Poetry is fickle, but the pen lasts forever, so write poems as long as you can!

Once you understand how to write a poem, and after you’ve drafted some pieces that you’re proud of and ready to share, here are some next steps you can take.

Publish in Literary Journals

Want to see your name in print? These literary journals house some of the best poetry being published today.


Assemble and Publish a Manuscript

A poem can tell a story. So can a collection of poems. If you’re interested in publishing a poetry book, learn how to compose and format one here:


Join a Writing Community

writers.com is an online community of writers, and we’d love it if you shared your poetry with us! Join us on Facebook and check out our upcoming poetry courses .

Poetry doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it exists to educate and uplift society. The world is waiting for your voice, so find a group and share your work!

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Sean Glatch


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super useful! love these articles 💕

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Indeed, very helpful, consize. I could not say more than thank you.

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I’ve never read a better guide on how to write poetry step by step. Not only does it give great tips, but it also provides helpful links! Thank you so much.

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Thank you very much, Hamna! I’m so glad this guide was helpful for you.

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Thank you super tips very helpful.

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I have never gone through the steps of writing poetry like this, I will take a closer look at your post.

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Beautiful! Thank you! I’m really excited to try journaling as a starter step x

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Thank you so much for sharing your awesome tips for beginner writers!

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People must reboot this and bookmark it. Your writing and explanation is detailed to the core. Thanks for helping me understand different poetic elements. While reading, actually, I start thinking about how my husband construct his songs and why other artists lack that organization (or desire to be better). Anyway, this gave me clarity.

I’m starting to use poetry as an outlet for my blogs, but I also have to keep in mind I’m transitioning from a blogger to a poetic sweet kitty potato (ha). It’s a unique transition, but I’m so used to writing a lot, it’s strange to see an open blog post with a lot of lines and few paragraphs.

Anyway, thanks again!

I’m happy this article was so helpful, Eternity! Thanks for commenting, and best of luck with your poetry blog.

Yours in verse, Sean

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Last updated on Nov 23, 2022

How to Write a Poem: Get Tips from a Published Poet

Ever wondered how to write a poem? For writers who want to dig deep, composing verse lets you sift the sand of your experience for new glimmers of insight. And if you’re in it for less lofty reasons, shaping a stanza from start to finish can teach you to have fun with language in totally new ways.

To help demystify the subtle art of writing verse, we chatted with Reedsy editor (and published poet) Lauren Stroh . In 8 simple steps, here's how to write a poem:

1. Brainstorm your starting point

2. free-write in prose first, 3. choose your poem’s form and style, 4. read for inspiration, 5. write for an audience of one — you, 6. read your poem out loud, 7. take a break to refresh your mind, 8. have fun revising your poem.

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If you’re struggling to write your poem in order from the first line to the last, a good trick is opening with whichever starting point your brain can latch onto as it learns to think in verse.

Your starting point can be a line or a phrase you want to work into your poem, though it doesn’t have to take the form of language at all. It might be a picture in your head, as particular as the curl of hair over your daughter’s ear as she sleeps, or as capacious as the sea. It can even be a complicated feeling you want to render with precision — or maybe it's a memory you return to again and again. Think of this starting point as the "why" behind your poem, your impetus for writing it in the first place.

If you’re worried your starting point isn’t grand enough to merit an entire poem, stop right there. After all, literary giants have wrung verse out of every topic under the sun, from the disappointments of a post- Odyssey Odysseus to illicitly eaten refrigerated plums .

How to Write a Poem | Tennyson's "Ulysses" revisits a character from Greek epic, but that's only one of the topics you can address in your poetry

As Lauren Stroh sees it, your experience is more than worthy of being immortalized in verse.

"I think the most successful poems articulate something true about the human experience and help us look at the everyday world in new and exciting ways."

It may seem counterintuitive but if you struggle to write down lines that resonate, perhaps start with some prose writing first. Take this time to delve into the image, feeling, or theme at the heart of your poem, and learn to pin it down with language. Give yourself a chance to mull things over before actually writing the poem. 

Take 10 minutes and jot down anything that comes to mind when you think of your starting point. You can write in paragraphs, dash off bullet points, or even sketch out a mind map . The purpose of this exercise isn’t to produce an outline: it’s to generate a trove of raw material, a repertoire of loosely connected fragments to draw upon as you draft your poem in earnest.

Silence your inner critic for now

And since this is raw material, the last thing you should do is censor yourself. Catch yourself scoffing at a turn of phrase, overthinking a rhetorical device , or mentally grousing, “This metaphor will never make it into the final draft”? Tell that inner critic to hush for now and jot it down anyway. You just might be able to refine that slapdash, off-the-cuff idea into a sharp and poignant line.

Whether you’ve free-written your way to a beginning or you’ve got a couple of lines jotted down, before you complete a whole first draft of your poem, take some time to think about form and style. 

The form of a poem often carries a lot of meaning beyond the structural "rules" that it offers the writer. The rhyme patterns of sonnets — and the Shakespearean influence over the form — usually lend themselves to passionate pronouncements of love, whether merry or bleak. On the other hand, acrostic poems are often more cheeky because of the secret meaning that it hides in plain sight. 

Even if your material begs for a poem without formal restrictions, you’ll still have to decide on the texture and tone of your language. Free verse, after all, is as diverse a form as the novel, ranging from the breathless maximalism of Walt Whitman to the cool austerity of H.D . Where, on this spectrum, will your poem fall?

How to Write a Poem | H.D.'s poetry shows off a linguistically sparse, imagistically concrete style

Choosing a form and tone for your poem early on can help you work with some kind of structure to imbue more meanings to your lines. And if you’ve used free-writing to generate some raw material for yourself, a structure can give you the guidance you need to organize your notes into a poem. 

A poem isn’t a nonfiction book or a historical novel: you don’t have to accumulate reams of research to write a good one. That said, a little bit of outside reading can stave off writer’s block and keep you inspired throughout the writing process.

Build a short, personalized syllabus around your poem’s form and subject. Say you’re writing a sensorily rich, linguistically spare bit of free verse about a relationship of mutual jealousy between mother and daughter. In that case, you’ll want to read some key Imagist poems , alongside some poems that sketch out complicated visions of parenthood in unsentimental terms.

How to Write a Poem | Ezra Pound's two-line poem is a masterclass in using everyday language in verse

And if you don’t want to limit yourself to poems similar in form and style to your own, Lauren has you covered with an all-purpose reading list:

  • The Dream of a Common Languag e by Adrienne Rich
  • Anything you can get your hands on by Mary Oliver
  • The poems “ Failures in Infinitives ” and “ Fish & Chips ” by Bernadette Mayer.
  • I often gift Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara to friends who write.
  • Everyone should read the interviews from the Paris Review’s archives . It’s just nice to observe how people familiar with language talk when they’re not performing, working, or warming up to write.

Even with preparation, the pressure of actually producing verse can still awaken your inner metrophobe (or poetry-fearer). What if people don’t understand — or even misinterpret — what you’re trying to say? What if they don’t feel drawn to your work? To keep the anxiety at bay, Lauren suggests writing for yourself, not for an external audience.

"I absolutely believe that poets can determine the validity of their own success if they are changed by the work they are producing themselves; if they are challenged by it; or if it calls into question their ethics, their habits, or their relationship to the living world. And personally, my life has certainly been changed by certain lines I’ve had the bravery to think and then write — and those moments are when I’ve felt most like I’ve made it."

You might eventually polish your work if you decide to publish your poetry down the line. (If you do, definitely check out the rest of this guide for tips and a list of magazines to submit to.) But as your first draft comes together, treat it like it’s meant for your eyes only.

A good poem doesn’t have to be pretty: maybe an easy, melodic loveliness isn’t your aim. It should, however, come alive on the page with a consciously crafted rhythm, whether hymn-like or discordant. To achieve that, read your poem out loud — at first, line by line, and then all together, as a complete text.

How to Write a Poem | Emily Dickinson's poetry shows off her extraordinary musicality

Trying out every line against your ear can help you weigh out a choice between synonyms — getting you to notice, say, the watery sound of “glacial”, the brittleness of “icy,” the solidity of “cold”.

Reading out loud can also help you troubleshoot line breaks that just don't feel right. Is the line unnaturally long, forcing you to rush through it or pause in the middle for a hurried inhale? If so, do you like that destabilizing effect, or do you want to literally give the reader some room to breathe? Testing these variations aloud is perhaps the only way to answer questions like these. 

While it’s incredibly exciting to complete a draft of your poem, and you might be itching to dive back in and edit it, it’s always advisable to take a break first. You don’t have to turn completely away from writing if you don’t want to. Take a week to chip away at your novel or even muse idly on your next poetic project — so long as you distance yourself from this poem a little while. 

This is because, by this point, you’ve probably read out every line so many times the meaning has leached out of the syllables. With the time away, you let your mind refresh so that you can approach the piece with sharper attention and more ideas to refine it. 

At the end of the day, even if you write in a well-established form, poetry is about experimenting with language, both written and spoken. Lauren emphasizes that revising a poem is thus an open-ended process that requires patience — and a sense of play. 

"Have fun. Play. Be patient. Don’t take it seriously, or do. Though poems may look shorter than what you’re used to writing, they often take years to be what they really are. They change and evolve. The most important thing is to find a quiet place where you can be with yourself and really listen."

Is it time to get other people involved?

Want another pair of eyes on your poem during this process? You have options. You can swap pieces with a beta reader , workshop it with a critique group , or even engage a professional poetry editor like Lauren to refine your work — a strong option if you plan to submit it to a journal or turn it into the foundation for a chapbook .

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The working poet's checklist

If you decide to fly solo, here’s a checklist to work through as you revise:

✅ Hunt for clichés. Did you find yourself reaching for ready-made idioms at any point? Go back to the sentiment you were grappling with and try to capture it in stronger, more vivid terms.

✅ See if your poem begins where it should. Did you take a few lines of throat-clearing to get to the actual point? Try starting your poem further down.

✅ Make sure every line belongs. As you read each line, ask yourself: how does this contribute to the poem as a whole? Does it advance the theme, clarify the imagery, set or subvert the reader’s expectations? If you answer with something like, “It makes the poem sound nice,” consider cutting it.

Once you’ve worked your way through this checklist, feel free to brew yourself a cup of tea and sit quietly for a while, reflecting on your literary triumphs. 

Whether these poetry writing tips have awakened your inner Wordsworth, or sent you happily gamboling back to prose, we hope you enjoyed playing with poetry —  and that you learned something new about your approach to language.

And if you are looking to share your poetry with the world, the next post in this guide can show the ropes regarding how to publish your poems! 

Anna Clarke says:

29/03/2020 – 04:37

I entered a short story competition and though I did not medal, one of the judges told me that some of my prose is very poetic. The following year I entered a poetry competition and won a bronze medal. That was my first attempt at writing poetry. I am more aware of figurative language in writing prose now. I am learning to marry the two. I don't have any poems online.

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5 Tips for Poetry Writing: How to Get Started Writing Poems

Hannah Yang headshot

Hannah Yang

A beginner's guide to poetry

Poetry is a daunting art form to break into.

There are technically no rules for how to write a poem , but despite that—or perhaps because of it—learning how to write a successful poem might feel more difficult than learning how to write a successful essay or story.

There are many reasons to try your hand at poetry, even if you’re primarily a prose writer. Here are just a few:

  • Practice writing stronger descriptions and imagery
  • Unlock a new side of your creative writing practice
  • Learn how to wield language in a more nuanced way

Learning how to write poetry may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we’ll cover five of our favorite tips to get started writing poetry.

How Do You Start Writing Poetry?

How do you write a poem from a new perspective, how do you write a meaningful poem, how do you write a poem about a theme, what are some different types of poetry, tip 1: focus on concrete imagery.

One of the best ways to start writing poetry is to use concrete images that appeal to the five senses.

The idea of starting with the specific might feel counterintuitive, because many people think of poetry as a way to describe abstract ideas, such as death, joy, or sorrow.

Examples of abstract words

It certainly can be. But each of these concepts has been written about extensively before. Try sitting down and writing an original poem about joy—it’s hard to find something new to say about it.

If you write about a specific experience you’ve had that made you feel joy, that will almost certainly be unique, because nobody has lived the same experiences you have.

That’s what makes concrete imagery so powerful in poetry.

A concrete image is a detail that has a basis in something real or tangible. It could be the texture of your daughter’s hair as you braid it in the morning, or the smell of a food that reminds you of home.

The more specific the image is, the more vivid and effective the poem will become.

Examples of concrete thoughts from abstract words

Concrete imagery: Example

Harlem by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Notice how Langston Hughes doesn’t directly write about dreams, except for the very first line. After the first line, he uses concrete images that are very specific and appeal to the five senses: “dry up like a raisin in the sun,” “stink like rotten meat,” “sags like a heavy load.”

He conveys a deeper message about an abstract concept—dreams—using these specific, tangible images.

Concrete Imagery: Exercise

Examine your surroundings. Describe what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.

Through these concrete images, try to evoke a specific feeling (e.g., nostalgia, boredom, happiness) without ever naming that feeling in the poem.

Once you've finished writing, you can use ProWritingAid’s Sensory Check to see which of the five senses you've used the most in your imagery. Most writers favor one or two senses, like in the example below, which can resonate with some readers but alienate others.

ProWritingAid's Sensory Check using I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to try the Sensory Check.

Bonus Tip: Start with a free verse poem, which is a poem with no set format or rhyme scheme. You can punctuate it the same way you would punctuate normal prose. Free verse is a great option for beginners, because it lets you write freely without limitations.

Tip 2: Play with Perspective

A persona poem is a poem told in the first-person POV (point of view) from the perspective of anything or anyone. This could include a famous person, a figure from mythology, or even an inanimate object.

The word persona comes from the Latin word for mask . When you write a persona poem, it’s like you’re putting on a mask to see the world through a new lens.

What is a persona poem

If you’re a new poet and you haven’t found your own voice yet, a persona poem is a great way to experiment with a unique style.

Some persona poems are narrative poems, which tell a story from a specific point of view. Others are lyric poems, which focus more on the style and sound of the poem instead of telling a story.

You can write from the perspective of a pop star, a politician, or a figure from fable or myth. You can try to imagine what it feels like to be a pair of jeans or a lawn mower or a fountain pen. There are no limits except your own creativity.

Types of persona poems

Play with Perspective: Example

Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy

Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed … (from Shakespeare’s will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme to his, now echo, assonance; his touch a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on, dribbling their prose. My living laughing love— I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head as he held me upon that next best bed.

In this poem, Carol Ann Duffy writes from the perspective of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare.

She imagines what the wife of this famous literary figure might think and feel, with lines like “Some nights I dreamed he’d written me.”

The poem isn’t written in Shakespearean English, but it uses diction and vocabulary that’s more old-fashioned than the English we speak today, to evoke the feeling of Shakespeare’s time period.

Play with Perspective: Exercise

Write a persona poem from the perspective of a fictional character out of a book or movie. You can tell an important story from their life, or simply try to capture the feeling of being in their head for a moment.

If this character lives in a different time period or speaks in a specific dialect, try to capture that in the poem’s voice.

Tip 3: Write from Life

The best poems are the ones that feel authentic and come from a place of truth.

Brainstorm your own personal experiences. Are there any stories from your life that evoke strong feelings for you? How can you tell that story through a poem?

Examples of personal experiences

Try to avoid clichés here. If you want to write about a universal experience or feeling, try to find an entry point into that feeling that’s unique to your life.

Maybe your first hobby was associated with a specific pair of shoes. Maybe your first encounter with shame came from breaking a specific promise to your grandfather. Any of these details could be the launching point for a poem.

Write from Life: Example

Discord in Childhood By D.H. Lawrence

Outside the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips, And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship’s Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.

Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound Of a thick lash booming and bruising, until it drowned The other voice in a silence of blood, ’neath the noise of the ash.

Here, D.H. Lawrence writes about the suffering he endured as a child listening to his parents arguing. He channels his own memories and experiences to create a profoundly relatable piece.

Write from Life: Exercise

Go to your phone’s camera roll, or a physical photo album, and find a photo from your life that speaks to you. Write a poem inspired by that photo.

What does that part of your life mean to you? What were your thoughts and feelings at that point in your life?

Tip 4: Save the Theme for the End

In a poem, the last line is often the most important. These are the words that echo in your reader’s head after they’re done reading.

Many poems will tell a story or depict a series of images, allowing you to draw your own conclusions about what it’s trying to say, and then conclude with the takeaway at the very end. Think of it like a fable you might tell a child—often, the moral of the story comes at the end.

Tip for writing the last line of a poem

In sonnets it’s a common trend for the final couplet to summarize the theme of the whole poem.

Save the Theme: Example

Resumé by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

Here, Dorothy Parker doesn’t make the poem’s meaning clear until the very last line: “You might as well live.” The poem feels fun, almost like a song, and its true meaning doesn’t become obvious until after you’ve finished reading the poem.

Save the Theme: Exercise

Pick your favorite proverb or adage, such as “Actions speak louder than words.” Write a poem that uses that proverb or adage as the closing line.

Common adages

Until the closing line, don’t comment on the deeper meaning in the rest of the poem—instead, tell a story that builds up to that theme.

Tip 5: Try a Poetic Form

Up until now, we’ve been writing in blank verse because it’s the most freeing. Sometimes, though, adding limitations can spark creativity too.

You can use a traditional poetic form to create the structure and shape of your poem.

If you have a limited number of lines to use, you’ll concentrate more on being concise and focused. Great poetry is minimalistic—no word is unnecessary. Using a form is a way to practice paring back to the words you absolutely need, and to start thinking about sound and rhyme.

The basic elements of a poem

The rules of a poetic form are never set in stone. It’s okay to experiment, and to pick and choose which rules you want to follow. If you want to use a form’s rhyme scheme but ignore its syllable count, for example, that’s perfectly fine.

Let’s look at some examples of poetic forms you can try, and the benefits of each one.

The haiku is a form of Japanese poetry made of three short, unrhymed lines. Traditionally, the first line contains 5 syllables, the second line contains 7 syllables, and the last contains 5 syllables.

Because each haiku must be incredibly concise, this form is a great way to practice economy of language and to learn how to convey a lot with a little. Even more so than with most other poetic forms, you have to think about each word and whether or not it pulls its weight in the poem as a whole.

The Old Pond by Matsuo Bashō

An old silent pond A frog jumps into the pond— Splash! Silence again.

What is a haiku?

The limerick is a 5-line poem with a sing-songy rhyme scheme and syllable count.

Limericks tend to be humorous and witty, so if you’re usually a comedic writer, they can be a great form for learning how to write poetry. You can treat the poem as a joke that builds up to a punchline.

Untitled Limerick by Edward Lear

There was an Old Man with a beard Who said, "It is just as I feared! Two Owls and a Hen, Four Larks and a Wren, Have all built their nests in my beard!"

how to write a limerick template

The sonnet is a 14-line poetic form, invented in Italy in the 13th century.

There are multiple types of sonnet. One of the most well-known forms is the Shakespearean sonnet, which is divided into three quatrains (4-line stanzas) and one couplet (2-line stanza).

Almost every professional poet has tried a sonnet at some point, from classical poets such as William Shakespeare , John Milton , and John Donne , as well as contemporary poets such as Kim Addonizio , R.S. Gwynn , and Cathy Park Hong .

Sonnets are great for practicing more advanced poetry. Their form forces you to think about rhyme and meter.

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no, it is an ever fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand’ring barque, Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken. Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

what is a shakespearean sonnet?

The villanelle is a 19-line poem with two lines that recur over and over throughout the poem.

The word “villanelle” comes from the Italian villanella , meaning rustic song or dance, because the two lines that are repeated resemble the chorus of a folk song. Using this form helps you to think about the sound and musicality of your writing.

Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my lids and all is born again. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, And arbitrary blackness gallops in: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade: Exit seraphim and Satan’s men: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said, But I grow old and I forget your name. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead; At least when spring comes they roar back again. I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. (I think I made you up inside my head.)

Try a Poetic Form: Exercise

Pick your favorite poetic form (sonnet, limerick, haiku, or villanelle) and try writing a poem in that structure.

Remember that you don’t have to follow all the rules—pick the ones that spark your imagination, and ignore the ones that don’t.

These are our five favorite tips to get started writing poems. Feel free to try each of them, or to mix and match them to create something entirely new.

Have you tried any of these poetry methods before? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

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Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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The Ultimate Guide to Writing Poetry for Beginners

By Rofida Khairalla

poetry for beginners

Poetry is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’ve always had a passion for the sonnets of Shakespeare, the verses of Petrarch, or even the works of Edgar Allan Poe, then you might just be gifted with an inner lyricists.

Poetry is one of the genres of writing that is both different and similar to other forms of creative writing. How can this be?

Well, poetry is a much tighter type of writing compared to a novel or even a short story, but it’s also highly descriptive.

Wait a second, you’re thinking, how do you explain works like the Divine Comedy then?

Here’s the rub:

Although there are types of poetry that are considered unrestricted, like free form, poetry is still very much a genre that has rules, just like fiction and non-fiction.

One of the most important rules to know right off the bat: there are forms of poetry, like epics, that are considered relatively outdated. Can you break the rules? Sure. But you better have a really good reason as to why.

So now that you’re more acquainted with modern poetry, it’s time to get a handle on the basics. But with so many different types of poetry out there, and an abundance of theories about what makes a good poem, where do you even start?

Well, it starts with getting to know the types of poetry and identifying which forms pull you. That’s where this ultimate guide to writing poetry for beginners comes in.

Use this article as a beginner’s guidebook. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a college student that feels way out of their depth, this is a guide that can help you get a little more comfortable with poetry.

Curious to try your hand at a couple of verses? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Part One: Finding Your Form

Read lots of poetry, find the right genre for you, emulate a poet you admire, know which themes/genres are popular today, part two: crafting a good poem, imagery, imagery, imagery, keep images simple, no to clichés, brush up on the poet’s toolbox, keep a journal, be observant, write regularly, challenge yourself, think once, twice, and thrice before you rhyme, part three: revise, often, read your work aloud, poetry workshops.

poetry writing help

The first part of any endeavor is finding your niche. That’s especially the case for poetry. Every poem takes on a certain form, or structure, that helps define the shape, rhythm, and even the subject of that poem.

There are an abundance of forms to choose from and each form comes with its own set of rules. For example, a lyrical poem, like those of Robert Frost, have a very different structure than some of the narrative poems written by Joyce Carole Oats.

Here’s the beauty of poetry:

You don’t have to stick to one kind of form. Pick up any book of modern poetry and you’ll find that most poets write in five, six, or even ten different forms. You can become a master of multiple forms, but its starts with experimentation and getting really good at one or two forms.

Where should you start? Well, it starts with becoming a connoisseur of poetry. Here a few starting points.

If you’re a writer you probably already know this rule. The more you read of any style, genre, or subject, the better you’ll get at writing it. Same goes for poetry.  Read as much as you can as often as you can. Ideally, you want to be reading not only different poets like these ones on Twitter , but also from different time periods.

The reason you should read from varying time periods, and not limit yourself to modern poetry, is that reading older works, like those of Shakespeare or even the romance period, can give you a historical and philosophical background for your writing. This can be especially important as you progress in your writing, allowing you to tackle bigger and bigger subjects.

Like fiction, there are lots of different genres of poetry. You might find that in some genres you excel more than others.

Narrative poetry is one of the oldest forms of poetry around. If you happen to be a fiction writer, or someone who just loves a good story, this may be one of the best places to start when it comes to poetry because a narrative poem is one that tells a story.

Just like a novel, or short story, narrative poems usually have a narrator (or speaker) and follow a sequence of events.

However, the big difference between narrative poetry and fiction writing is that the language is much more condensed. Remember, as a poet you have a limited amount of space to develop the story along with any critical imagery, metaphors, similes, etc.

The thing that sets narrative poetry apart from other forms of storytelling is that the language is much “cleaner,” meaning that there are no unnecessary details or fluff.

Ideally, you don’t want to spend stanza after stanza describing a scene in a narrative poem. However, you can and should focus on one or two key details, like smell, taste, or something visual to highlight.

Keep in mind, narrative poems can be written like a typical narrative or they can feature lyrical elements like rhyme, rhythm, etc.

Another type of narrative poem is the lyrical poem. As mentioned above, these types of poems typically feature musical elements, including meter and rhyme.

Unlike the broad category of narrative poems, lyrical poems usually have a set structure, which defines them by the number of lines in a stanza or even the number of lines in total.

There are several types of lyrical poems. They include the ode, the ballad, the villanelle, and the sonnet.

An ode is a form of poetry that praises a particular person, concept or place. One of the best examples of ode poetry is the work of John Keats , with works like “Ode to a Grecian Urn” and “Ode to an Nightingale.”

When it comes to ballads, you may be more familiar with the term under pop culture contexts, such as the love ballads written by famous musicians including Journey. So what is a ballad? It’s a narrative poem written in four line stanzas that features a refrain, which repeats. In pop culture, that refrain is known as a chorus.

A villanelle, which became a popular form of poetry near the 19 th century, has six stanzas and nineteen lines. The first five stanzas are comprised of three lines (known as tercets) and are followed up by a four-line stanza (known as a quatrain).  It also features two refrains and two rhymes that repeat. Although topics can vary, villanelles are typically used to address darker themes like obsession.

Sonnets are a very peculiar type of lyrical poetry because they come in two forms: the Spenserian (named after poet Edmund Spencer), or more popularly known as Shakespearean, and the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet. Both sonnets are typically fourteen lines and begin by establishing a concept, setting, or scenario, and end by responding to the situation or shifting perspective—known as the “turn” or “Vola” for Petrarchan sonnets.

They are also both written in iambic pentameter. However, they differ in their rhyme scheme. Petrarchan sonnets follow an “ABBAABBA” rhyme scheme, while Shakespearean sonnets follow an alternating rhyme scheme of “ABABCDCDEFEFGG,” which ends with a rhyming couplet that usually adds to or refutes the main concept presented.

Typically speaking, language poetry is one of the harder forms of poetry to master both as a reader and a writer. It’s a much more modern form of poetry that can be traced back to the 1970s.

Language poetry focuses on deriving meaning from language rather than traditional imagery. A really good example of language poetry is the work of Charles Bernstein.

If you’ve ever read the Odyssey or the Iliad , then you’re very familiar with epic poetry. Epics are some of the oldest forms of poetry, and can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks.

An epic is a type of narrative poem that usually focuses on the concept of heroism or a major social-cultural event (think the battle of Troy in the Illiad ). These tend to be longer works that can span hundreds of pages and that tell a very detailed story.

Over the centuries there have been many types of epics that have been published, including Virgil’s The Aeneid, Beowulf, Divine Comedy, and Paradise Lost .

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that epic poetry is something that people don’t often read anymore. For that reason, you may want to rethink writing the next groundbreaking epic.

You may be familiar with the elegy if you’ve ever attended a funeral. Simply put, an elegy is a poem that reflects upon and laments the death of a particular person.

However, an elegy can also reflect upon other serious topics such as regret or sorrow. Elegies usually focus on three major topics throughout the poem: lament, grief, and praise for the dead.

One of the cool things about elegies is that they’re not restricted to a particular form. Although they have evolved over the years from the traditional hexameter of the ancient Greeks, they can also be written in free verse or iambic pentameter.

  • Meditative:

Meditative poetry can have two meanings. The first is in a religious context that focuses on spirituality and prayer. The second follows the idea of meditating, or reflecting, upon a particular subject.

Think of meditative poems as an exploration of a topic or theme. It can be religious, but it can also be social, political, or personal. There’s no exact structure for how a meditative poem should be written and most are written in free verse.

One of the best writers of meditative poetry is Ann Carson . Her work The Beauty of a Husband strictly focuses on meditating upon the idea of fidelity.

Although Haikus are popularly associated with children’s poems, they are far from easy to master. The Japanese form is comprised of seventeen syllables that are broke up into three lines of five syllables, seven syllables, and then five syllables. Traditionally the subject of these poems is nature.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a communist like Pablo Neruda or commit to the life of a seamstress like Emily Dickenson. But you can try to emulate their style. Try using dashes in your poetry or experiment with musicality.

One of the best exercises to do is to pick a poet you’ve been reading and try emulating their writing technique. These types of exercises are so important because you can learn so much about the craft of poetry by doing them.

Like to try your hand at a poetry exercise?

Here’s one: pick a poem you’ve read recently and try to emulate its form and even rhythm as much as possible. Do your best to restrict yourself to crafting a poem that’s similar in language and style, but not in subject.

Let’s be honest, Chaucer is beautiful—but if you try to write a poem in Middle English no one will understand you. Similarly, while the poetry of the romantics is considered some of the best, currently, it’s considered one of the most out dated forms of written poetry. While you don’t want to put a limit on your creativity, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the school of contemporary poetry—especially if you hope to get published.

poetry writing help

Now that you have a good grasp on the kinds of poetic form you’d like to explore, it’s time to get your hands dirty with a few verses. But before we begin, there are a few things you should note about the process of crafting a poem.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time poets make is that they often get caught up in exploring a particular idea or subject without grounding the exploration in “tangible” images. Of course, while not all poems have to be grounded in imagery, such as language poetry. You really have to think through your purposes for writing a poem in a certain way or even selecting a particular form.

For example, you don’t want to write a poem about death in the form of a sonnet unless you’re choosing to be satirical about the death (which depending on the context maybe inappropriate) because the musicality of the poem will be off.

Another mistake you want to steer clear of is choosing images that are too abstract. For instance, using a “river of love” as an image is much harder to picture for your audience than a river that caresses the bank as the water ebbs and flows. One is much easier to picture than the other. Ideally, you want to select these types of concrete details as you write over abstract concepts.

If you’re truly serious about writing poetry think of the following tips as your poet’s toolbox that will help you construct a great poem.

Unless you’re writing a language poem, don’t underestimate the power of imagery in your work. Just like fiction is dependent on solid descriptions, so is poetry. One of the best things to do when writing a poem is to select a specific image and expand upon it.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a nostalgic poem about your childhood. Choose a place, smell, or sound that reminds you of your childhood and expand upon it. A great example of this Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll.”

On another note, keep in mind that the space in which you are writing is typically limited to a few stanzas. The last thing you want to do is overdo the detail.

In most cases, imagery is where readers will draw meaning from your poem, so be very selective about the images you chose to include. Only chose a few scenes to describe and be thorough, but precise in your descriptions.

Avoid Clichés like the plague. This is another instance where understanding the rules of modern poetry will be critical. Unless you’re being satirical or humorous, clichés will bore your reader because they’re already familiar with the imagery or idea.

Additionally, using clichés has a tendency of introducing drama, or melodrama, into your poem. That’s another thing you want to steer clear of. Rather than dripping your poem in emotion, try using images that will evoke emotion.

Poems are really one of those forms of art where you have to depend on your tools in order to convey meaning.

Symbols are especially important within poetry because they can help you to explore abstract ideas in a concrete way. A symbol can be anything from a place, word, action, or object. However, commonly it’s an object or word.

Once again, the key thing to keep in mind about symbols and imagery is that you don’t want to overdo it. When it comes to symbols and the meaning associated with them, less is more.

  • Metaphor/Simile:

Metaphor and similes are forms of comparisons. Similes use “like” or “as” to make the comparison, whereas within a metaphor the comparison is innate. For instance, the saying “easy as pie” is a simile, while the saying “love is a battlefield” is a metaphor. The meaning pulled from it isn’t literal, but rather symbolic.

Within poetry you can also run into another kind of metaphor, called an extended metaphor. These are comparisons that go on for an extended period, which can be anywhere from a few lines to several stanzas depending on the poem.

Within poetry, rhythm is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make the musicality of a poem. Usually when we discuss the rhythm of a poem we are referring to its meter.

If you’ve read the works of Shakespeare than you’ve probably come across one of the more popular types of meter, which is iambic pentameter. Meter is the sequence of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem. In some cases, such as Shakespeare, meter is very pronounced and you can quickly identify it. In other cases, a meter can be much more subtle and hard to catch unless you’re listening carefully.

There are several types of meter in poetry. They include:

There’s an abundance of meters to choose from, but the ones on this list happen to be the most popular in the English language. Although you might not run into a whole lot of meter in modern poetry, some writers still use it, and it’s definitely the mark of a master poet.

If you want to try your hand at a few metered poems, one of the best things to do is begin by studying works that use metered verse. As you go along, mark each syllable as stressed or unstressed.

The more you do this, the better your ear will get at identifying which syllables ought to be stressed or unstressed depending on the meter. Over time, this will make writing in a particular meter much easier.

Often, when people think of rhyme they might think of Dr. Seuss. However, poetic rhyme has been around since ancient times and still continues until today. There are two main types of rhyme to keep in mind:

  • End rhyme : This is the most popular type of rhyme, where the last word of a line rhymes with last word of a following or preceding line. Examples of this include Shakespeare’s sonnets and Dr. Seuss.
  • Internal rhyme: Internal rhyme is a much more complex and difficult type of rhyme to manage because it requires that two—or more— words within the same line rhyme. One of the masters of this type of rhyme actually happens to be rapper and musician, Eminem. Many of his lyrics feature this type of internal rhyme throughout, such as the song “low down dirty” when he says: “It was predicted by a medic I’d grow to be an addicted diabetic, living off liquid Triaminic pathetic.
  • Caesura vs. Line Break:

One of the key elements of any poem are pauses; not only do pauses allow the reader to take a breath before beginning the next line or word, but—if done right—they can also add meaning to your poem.

For example, take Emily Dickenson’s dashes. In a lot of cases those dashes can serve as an implication or even a sort of pregnant pause that adds another layer of meaning to her poems.

Two of the most important types of pauses within poetry are the Caesura and the line break. A caesura is basically the use of punctuation in the middle of a line. This can be a comma, a dash, semicolon, or even a period. The other type of break is the line break, which is basically where one line ends and another begins.

As a poet, there are a few choices you have to think about while you’re writing. The first choice is if, when, and where you plan on using a caesura. Sometimes you might just add a caesura because it makes the poem flow better. In other circumstances, you may add a caesura for the sake of creating a choppy rhythm.

It all just depends on how YOU chose to handle a particular subject in your poetry. The other choice you’ll have to make is in regards to where your lines breaks will take place. Ideally, you want to keep your lines about the same size, but sometimes an irregular break can serve a purpose.

  • Enjambment:

Enjambment is somewhat of the opposite of a caesura or a line break. An enjambment is when one line continues into the next line without a pause.  The use of a enjambment forces the reader to speed up, which can also add a layer of meaning, especially if you write a poem that uses regular line breaks but features one or two enjambments.

Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound close enough together that it almost seems to create an echo. This is one of those tools that’s not always easy to use and, for readers, it can sometimes be hard to pick up on depending on the vowel or diphthong used.

The key to becoming a pro at assonance is to practice pairing words together that have the same vowel sounds. One of the best examples of this literary device: Pink Floyd. Just take a look at this line: “Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese.”

  • Repetition/ Refrain:

Repetition is another one of those literary devices that can be especially important in a poem because it adds emphasis. There are several types of repetition that you can choose from as a poet, but the two most popular tend to be:

  • Anaphora: repeating the same word at the start of a stanza.
  • Anadiplosis: repeating the last word in a line or stanza.

Another key aspect of repetition is the refrain, which is a repeating line that reappears multiple times throughout the poem.

  • Alliteration:

The key thing about alliteration is that it can add a layer of musicality to your poem as well as meaning. Alliteration is the repetition of a particular letter or sound that comes at the beginning of words that are close in proximity. For example, take this famous tongue twister:

Peter Piper picked a bag of pickled peppers

Here, the alliteration is the repetition of “p” sounds throughout the sentence.

  • Structure/Layout of a Poem:

Another critical element of any poem is its structure. This not only includes the poem’s form, such as literary, narrative, etc., but also the actual physical appearance of the poem. Most poems you’ll run across will be linear, which means that they appear as one or multiple stanzas that follow each other in consecutive order.

However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. You can get playful with the way your poem is laid out, depending on your subject. A good example of this: concrete poetry, which is a poem that’s been written to take a specific shape, like that of a tree, an apple, or even a pyramid.

Another one of the key parts of any poem is a stanza. Traditionally stanzas are broken up into a set of lines, which are listed as follows:

  • Couplets: two lines that typically rhyme.
  • Tercets: three lines.
  • Quatrains: four lines.
  • Sestets: six lines.
  • Octave: Eight lines.

In free verse, you may not be restricted in the exact amount of lines in each poem. As a beginner, however, you may want to try limiting yourself to a particular stanza structure in order to maximize your use of language.

Remember, sometimes less is more, and especially as a beginner you can learn so much by placing certain restrictions upon yourself.

  • Ending your Lines:

Something that plenty of beginning poets and even teachers can overlook is how a poet chooses to break up their lines.  When it comes to line breaks, try challenging yourself to end each line on a noun or verb, rather than a preposition.

The reason for this is twofold: ending on a preposition can actually add a choppiness to your poem that you may not intend, while ending on a verb or noun adds an additional layer or significance because it’s the last word your audience will read before moving on to the next line.

That’s not to say that you can’t ever end a line on preposition, but definitely think hard about the purpose behind the action before you do it.

Any writer should do this, but poets stand the most to benefit from keeping a journal. The reason? You can refer back to the images you see or the ideas you write down later on in your poetry.

As we noted earlier, poetry is all about imagery . The more observant you become of the world around you, the more unique and “eye-catching” your imagery will become.

The more you write and the more time you dedicate to the craft, the better a poet you will become.

You may be a really great free verse poet, but have you ever tried to write a lyrical poem? What about a Haiku? Try writing different types of poetry. Sometimes, restriction brings out the best in us creatively speaking.

This is another instance where being familiar with the school of contemporary fiction will help. Rhyming is another one of those things that’s typically considered outdated, unless you’re really really really good.

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Just like any type of writing, poetry can benefit from going through the stages of drafting and revising. Don’t forget, poetry is all about trying to create a meaning within a limited amount of space and words, so the more you revise the better your poem can get.

But after you’ve taken the time to write a poem, where to begin when it comes to revision? Here are a few tips to help you identify those weaker areas of your poem.

Poems sound different when read aloud. Because of their structure, language, and meter, they tend to come alive. Whether you’re reading your own work, that of a colleague or friend, or a poem written by an 18th century master, make sure you take the time to read it aloud.

When it comes to revision, reading aloud will make any areas that feel choppy or awkward really pop out.

With fiction, workshops tend to be hit or miss. However, when it comes to poetry, you should definitely attend a workshop. Especially as a beginner you need the input of your peers. Since poems are meant to be read aloud, you also need a forum where you can do comfortably.

There’s a lot you stand to gain by revising your poetry. Typically, the more you revise the better your poem will become. Think of it this way: a poem is written in layers. The first layer is just the idea. The next layer you might add more refined imagery. The third time around you may work on the musicality. Typically speaking, poems can go through many drafts, just like a novel or short story.

Even if you have no intention of becoming a legendary poet, there’s still a lot that any writer can benefit from practicing poetry.

Remember, poetry teaches you to embrace concrete images over abstractions and to use precise and tight wording to explore an idea. That kind of restriction can be a benefit to your overall creativity, as well as the overall quality of your writing.

But it starts with having the courage to pick up a pen and dabble a few lines of verse.

Looking for advice on writing fiction? Be sure to take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Novel.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Poetry for Beginners is an article from Writing Tips Oasis . Copyright © 2014-2017 Writing Tips Oasis All Rights Reserved

As a graduate from the University of Arizona in English and Creative Writing, Rofida Khairalla’s love for classical literature and post-modern fiction extends beyond the realm of books. She has provided her services independently as a freelance writer, and wrote on the news desk for the student-run newspaper, The Daily Wildcat. As an aspiring children’s book author, she’s refined her craft amongst the grand saguaros of the Southwest, and enjoys playing with her German Shepherd on the slopes of Mount Lemmon.

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Poetry Writing

Tips for improving your poetry writing skills.

The section “Poetry Writing Skills” in our guide provides tips and techniques for improving your poetry writing skills. It covers a variety of ways to improve your poetry writing including:

Reading widely: Reading poetry written by other poets can help to expose you to different styles, forms, and techniques, and can inspire you to develop your own unique voice and style.

Experimenting with different forms and structures: Poets can try their hand at different forms of poetry, such as sonnets, haikus, and free verse, and explore different structures and techniques to find the one that works best for them.

Using descriptive language and imagery: Using descriptive language and imagery can help to bring your poetry to life and create a more vivid and engaging experience for your readers.

Paying attention to rhythm and sound: Paying attention to the rhythm and sound of your poetry can help to create a more musical and engaging experience for your readers.

Revising and editing your work: Revising and editing your work can help to improve its structure, imagery, and overall impact on readers.

Overall, the section “Poetry Writing Skills” provides tips and techniques for poets to improve their poetry writing skills. It covers the different ways to improve their skills by reading widely, experimenting with different forms, using descriptive language and imagery, paying attention to rhythm and sound, and revising and editing their work. It is designed to help poets to become more confident and proficient in their writing and to develop their own unique voice and style.

poetry writing skills

Ideas For Poems: Finding Inspiration

Our section on “Ideas for Poems” is designed to help poets find inspiration for their work and develop their own unique voice and style. It covers different ways to get inspired, from observing the world around to exploring different themes, structures, and techniques. It provides prompts, ideas and tips to help poets to generate new and exciting ideas for their poems.

Why Write Poetry?

Fostering a deeper appreciation for literature and the written word.

Encouraging critical thinking and reflection.

Enhancing creativity and imagination.

Improving language skills and vocabulary.

Poetry writing can be a highly beneficial and rewarding activity for many people. It is a powerful way to express emotions, thoughts, and ideas, and can help to improve writing skills, creativity, and self-expression. Some of the key benefits of poetry writing include:

Emotional catharsis: Poetry allows individuals to explore their emotions and feelings in a safe and creative way, helping to release pent-up emotions and reduce stress and anxiety.

Improved writing skills: Poetry often requires a high level of focus on language, structure, and imagery, which can help to improve writing skills, vocabulary, grammar and learning poetic elements.

Increased creativity: Poetry provides a unique form of creative expression, where individuals can experiment with different styles, forms, and techniques, and push their own creative boundaries.

Self-expression: Poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression, allowing individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and to communicate them to others.

Empathy and understanding: Poetry can be a powerful way to connect with others, by providing a window into the emotions and experiences of others.

Self-discovery: Writing poetry can help people to better understand themselves, their emotions and experiences, and can help them to uncover new insights and perspectives.

Overall, poetry writing can be a valuable and fulfilling activity that can help to improve emotional well-being, writing skills, and creativity, while also providing a powerful means of self-expression and connection with others.

Poetry Writing Exercises & Prompts

Our guide to “Poetry Writing Exercises & Writing Prompts” provides a variety of exercises and prompts to help poets generate new creative writing ideas and improve their poetry writing skills. It covers different exercises such as free-writing, theme-based, form-based, imagery-based and rhythm-based, to help poets to find new inspiration, explore different emotions and perspectives, experiment with different forms and structures, and to create more vivid and engaging poetry.

Poetry Writing Exercises

An Overview of Our Guide to Poetry Writing

Our guide to poetry writing is divided into three main sub-topics to help aspiring poets develop their skills and find inspiration for their work. There are other options to help with writing poems such as literary devices. While they are useful, we have many other choices available also.

Poetry Writing Skills: This section of the guide covers the basic skills needed to write poetry in a poetic form, including understanding poetic forms and devices, learning to use imagery and metaphor effectively, and developing a strong sense of voice and style. It also covers tips for editing and revising poems, as well as advice for getting published.

Ideas for Poems: This section of the guide provides inspiration and prompts for generating ideas for poems, including tips for observing and writing about the world around you, using personal experiences and emotions as inspiration, and exploring different themes and subjects. Additionally, it covers how to use real-life experiences to inspire poetry, encouraging readers to draw on their own emotions and observations to create powerful and relatable work.

Poetry Writing Exercises and Prompts: This section of the guide includes a variety of exercises and writing prompts to help poets practice their craft and develop their skills, such as writing in different forms, experimenting with different structures and techniques, and using specific words, phrases, or images as inspiration. The prompts will help to push the poets creative boundaries and to explore new ways of writing different kinds of poetry such as free verse poetry.  The guide covers the various forms of poetry, from traditional sonnets to modern free verse, and provides examples and exercises to help poets experiment with different forms and find the one that suits them best.

Overall, our guide to the poetry writing process is designed to help poets of all levels improve their skills, find inspiration, and develop their own unique voice and style. It includes a section on how to get published, providing advice on how to submit poetry to literary journals and magazines, as well as tips for building a strong online presence and networking with other poets. Additionally, it covers how to write poetry that is accessible to the readers and how to make it relatable, with practical advice on how to convey complex ideas and emotions in a clear and concise way.

Our guide to writing poems in an excitingly wonderful way mixes well with Grammarly’s post about How to Write a Poem . It is a great guide if you’re ready to begin your own poem writing adventure. We have explored with concrete words and brought to the surface great ideas for anyone to get started writing epic poetry.

Remember to use figurative language, a rhyme scheme and some helpful ideas to get your creative juices flowing! Great poetry always begins with an idea.

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9 Essential Poetry Writing Techniques For Beginners: A Complete Guide

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by r. A. bentinck

Poetry writing techniques

Poetry writing techniques

Diving into poetry can feel like wandering through a beautiful, mysterious forest—exciting but a bit intimidating.

The art of poetry is rich with techniques that transform simple words into  emotional tapestries .

Our guide is your trusty map, showing you how to wield these techniques and  craft verses  that resonate and captivate. Get ready—your  poetic journey  awaits!

Key Takeaways

  • Poetry needs techniques like  rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia  to make words come alive. These tools help create a rhythm that can make reading poetry feel like music or dance.
  •  Similes and metaphors are comparisons used in poetry to paint vivid pictures with words. They help the reader see and feel what the poet describes.
  •  Sound devices in poetry, such as alliteration, consonance, and assonance, add musical effects to poems. They catch our attention and enhance the mood of the poem .
  •  Hyperbole exaggerates for effect, while symbolism uses objects or actions to suggest deeper meanings beyond their literal sense.
  •  Techniques like  enjambment  keep readers moving through a poem, while  meter  sets up an  underlying beat  that guides how the poem is read aloud.

Table of Contents

The importance of poetic techniques.

Importance of Poetic Techniques

Poetic techniques shape the heart of poetry, breathing life into words.

They turn simple phrases into rich experiences and help readers feel emotions and see images in their minds.

Poets use tools like  alliteration, assonance, and rhyme  to make their work memorable.

These techniques give poems a rhythm that can make you feel like you’re dancing through the verses.

These tools also let poets express ideas in powerful ways . Similes compare one thing to another, painting pictures with words.

Metaphors take this further by saying something is something else entirely, deepening the meaning.

By  mastering poetic devices , writers create worlds that readers can get lost in. They learn how to say more with less and connect deeply with those who read their creations.

Essential Poetic Techniques for Beginners

Poetic Techniques for Beginners

Embarking on the journey of poetry writing can be as daunting as it is exciting for beginners.

To craft verses that resonate and captivate, mastering a few essential poetic techniques is critical – these are the tools that will shape your raw thoughts into structured elegance and expressive power.

Rhyming creates a musical rhythm in poetry, making it more memorable and enjoyable to read or listen to.

Choose words that sound alike at the end of lines to establish a pattern; this is called an  end rhyme .

Think about popular nursery rhymes you heard as a child; they stick with us because of their simple yet effective rhyming patterns.

To master musicality in your poems, mix up your rhyme scheme.

Experiment with  internal rhymes  where words within the same line sound alike or  slant rhymes  that are close but not exact matches.

The key is to create flow without sounding forced. Rhyming isn’t just for classic forms like sonnets or ballads— modern free verse  can play with partial rhymes to add subtle harmony.

Moving from rhyming to repetition, we dive into another  powerful tool  in poetry. Repetition hammers home a point or theme.

Poets like  Sylvia Plath and T.S. Eliot  used this technique masterfully to leave a lasting impact on their readers.

A  repeated word or phrase  can echo throughout a poem, tying ideas together and making the message stick.

For beginners, mastering repetition is about knowing why and where it’s effective. Use it to  emphasize an emotion ,  create rhythm , or build tension.

It can make your poems more memorable and give them structure without saying too much.

Think of  William Shakespeare and his knack  for repeating lines that resonate long after you’ve read them – that’s the poetic power of careful repetition at work!


Repetition captures attention, while  onomatopoeia brings sounds to life . Imagine reading a poem and hearing the actual noise of what’s happening.

That’s what onomatopoeia does! Poets use this device to  mimic sounds with words  like “buzz,” “thump,” or “whisper.”

These words  create an echo of real-life noises  in your mind. Onomatopoeia doesn’t just tell you about the sound; it makes you experience it.

When poets pick these particular words , they  paint a vivid picture with audio effects .

You can almost hear the raindrops tapping or the clock ticking when onomatopoeic words are woven into verses. It’s like  adding a soundtrack to poetry !


Alliteration grabs your attention with the repetition of  initial consonant sounds . Think of tongue twisters, like “She sells seashells by the seashore.”

In poetry, it’s a  powerful sound device  that poets use to add a  musical rhythm  and make their words memorable.

Imagine reading a line like “Whispering winds swept swiftly through the willows.” The repeated ‘w’ sound pulls you into the scene and makes the wind almost audible.

Using  alliteration , poets can create an atmosphere or emphasize essential themes in their poetry.

It goes beyond just being catchy; it  enhances mood  and helps paint  vivid pictures  in your mind.

Look at Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” where he writes “, And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain..” — this use of alliteration adds to the poem’s spooky vibe.

Now, let’s explore how assonance also contributes to poetic effect.

AssonanceAssonance adds a musical beat to poetry . It does this by  repeating vowel sounds in the middle of words .

Think about how songs stick in your head; that’s what assonance can do in poems. It  pulls you into the rhythm and sound .

Picture yourself reading these lines out loud: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.” Hear that?

The “ai” sound bounces around like a ball, tying the words together. By using assonance,  poets make their work echo and hum , giving it a flow that feels natural.

Next up is simile – let’s see how it paints pictures with words!

The simile uses “like” or “as” to  compare two different things . This shows how they are similar. A good simile  helps readers picture the scene  or  feel the emotion .

It’s like  painting with words ! For instance, saying someone is “as brave as a lion” creates a clear image of courage in our minds.

Beginners can start using similes by thinking of everyday items and what they represent.

The night sky could be “like a blanket of stars,” or someone’s smile might be “like sunshine.” Similes add spice to writing , making it more vivid and expressive!

A metaphor is like a  bridge that surprisingly connects two ideas . It’s not just saying something is similar to another; it’s boldly stating one thing IS the other.

For example, calling someone “the light of my life” means they’re more than just necessary – they brighten up your world like actual sunlight.

Poets use metaphors to make their writing  powerful and vivid . They help you see  ordinary things in new ways . Imagine saying, “Life is a rollercoaster.”

Suddenly, you feel the  ups and downs ,  twists and turns  of life experiences without needing any extra words. That’s the magic of using metaphors!

Just like a metaphor can colour your poetry with vivid comparisons,  hyperbole  takes it up a notch by adding  strong exaggeration .

Hyperboles are bold statements that stretch the truth for effect.

Imagine saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” You don’t mean it literally, but it sure does express hunger in a big way!

Using hyperbole in your poems can create humour or show deep emotions.

It’s like saying your heart shattered into a million pieces when you’re sad—everyone knows you mean really heart broken , not an actual broken heart.

This technique  grabs attention  and  makes feelings larger than life !

SymbolismSymbolism in poetry  goes beyond the  literal meaning  of words.

Poets like Sylvia Plath and T.S. Eliot packed their works with symbols to add depth to their poems.

A symbol can be an object, a person, a situation, or an action that suggests more than its literal meaning.

It often points to ideas and emotions without directly stating them. For example, a rose might symbolize love or beauty; winter could represent death or old age.

Mastering symbolism takes time and practice, but it’s worth the effort.

Not only does it enrich your writing with  multiple layers of meaning , but it also engages readers as they uncover more profound significance behind your verses.

Dive into this technique by identifying objects or elements in life that evoke robust responses for you—these could become your go-to symbols!

Understanding the Effects of Poetic Techniques

the Effects of Poetic Techniques

Delving into the world of poetic devices isn’t just about fancy words or complex ideas.

It’s about grasping how these techniques breathe life into verses, giving them a pulse that resonates with readers and listeners alike—let’s explore how they do just that!

Enriching the Imagery

Use  vivid words  to paint pictures in the reader’s mind. Think of  strong, sensory language  that can show readers a scene rather than tell them about it.

For example, instead of saying “the sunset,” describe how the sky blazed with streaks of orange and purple as the day faded into twilight.

This technique draws readers into your poem and lets them see what you see.

Symbolism adds depth to poetry by connecting elements to  larger themes or ideas . A simple object like a rose could symbolize love or beauty.

It might also represent something more complex, like the fleeting nature of time.

By weaving symbols throughout your work, you invite readers to look beyond the surface and find  deeper meaning  in your words.

Enhancing the Sound

Just as vivid images captivate our eyes, sounds in poetry grab our ears. Poets use  sound-based techniques  to give their work a  musical quality .

Sounds can flow smoothly or jar against each other—both effects serve a purpose. Euphony creates gentle and pleasing rhythms that can soothe the reader.

Alliteration uses repeated starting consonant sounds, like “slippery slope,” to make lines stick in your head.

Cacophony is another powerful tool; it’s noise on the page! Harsh-sounding words clash and create tension or show conflict.

Think about how cacophonous words might make you feel anxious or excited.

Skilled poets mix these elements carefully. They know just when to calm with sweet  assonance  or startle with a crack of consonants!

Deep Dive into Specific Techniques

Specific Techniques

Journey beyond the basics as we explore a treasure trove of unique and nuanced poetic devices that can transform your writing, elevating it from simple verses to profound poetry—there’s so much more to discover.

Anaphora  grabs attention and adds emphasis by  repeating the same word or phrase  at the beginning of multiple lines or sentences.

Think of  Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream”  speech, where he used anaphora to hammer home his vision.

This technique can create a strong emotional effect, making specific ideas stick in your reader’s mind. Poets often use it to express passion or drive home a point.

But that’s not all – anaphora works wonders in  setting the rhythm in poetry , much like a drumbeat that gets listeners nodding along.

It helps build up anticipation   leading readers through a series of thoughts , each starting with those  familiar repeated words .

Let’s explore Metonymy & Synecdoche next, where we replace terms with others that are closely related but strikingly different.

Metonymy & Synecdoche

Metonymy and synecdoche are like secret codes in poetry. They pack a punch, squeezing big ideas into just a few words.

With metonymy, poets  swap out a word with something closely related  to it—think “The White House said” instead of “The President said.” It’s all about association.

Synecdoche is similar but  takes a small slice to represent the whole  pie.

When a sailor shouts, “All hands on deck!” he doesn’t mean just hands; he means whole sailors!

These techniques aren’t just showy tricks; they  deepen meaning and connect readers  to the poem’s heart.

Imagine finding  little treasure boxes within the lines  that  unfold layers of significance  as you peek inside—that’s what these devices do in every verse they touch.

Enjambment & End-Stopped Lines

Enjambment pulls you along. Imagine reading a poem when suddenly, a line jumps to the next without stopping.

That’s  enjambment  for you – it  creates excitement  and an  urge to see what comes next .

It’s like a mini cliffhanger after each line! Poets use this technique to keep your eyes moving down the page.

End-stopped lines do the opposite. They  make you pause  and think about what you just read because they finish with punctuation, like a period or comma.

Each end-stopped line is like taking a breath before diving into the next thought or image in the poem.

This gives  each phrase its own space , shaping how you experience the rhythm and flow of the words.

Zeugma  is a  fun tool  in your poetry kit. Imagine one-word pulling  double duty  in a sentence,  linking two thoughts together .

It’s like using “open” to talk about both a door and a heart at the same time! With zeugma, you  make your poem sharper  and  give your readers something clever to think about .

For example, you could say, “She broke his car and his heart.” See how “broke” works for both parts?

That’s Zeugma doing its magic. It  makes poems more potent with fewer words . Use it wisely, and watch your verses come alive!

Internal & End RhymeInternal rhyme  spices up a poem by using words that rhyme within the same line.

This technique creates a beat that makes reading poetry feel like listening to music. Picture hearing “The Cat in the Hat” and feeling the rhythm it adds to Dr. Seuss’s work.

End rhyme  happens at the ends of lines, giving poems a  structured sound . It’s what you hear in classics like Shakespeare’s sonnets—rhymes closing each line bring it all together.

Imagine reading, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star; How I wonder what you are.”

The ending words “star” and “our” create end rhymes that stay with us long after we finish reading.

Both internal and End rhymes make poetry  memorable and enjoyable . They give life to verses and help poets craft works that readers love to echo time after time.

Consonance & Assonance

Just like internal and End rhymes add spice to poems,  consonance, and assonance  enrich the sound, too.

Consonance is all about  repeating consonant sounds  in close proximity. Think of it as a subtle drumbeat that gives your poem  rhythm without overpowering the words .

It often comes at the End of lines but can pop up anywhere.

Now, let’s talk about assonance—the  repeated vowel sounds  in neighbouring words.

This technique  creates harmony  and can make your poem sing! Mix up short and long vowel sounds for a melody that dances through your lines.

Use these tools wisely, and you’ll craft verses that stick with readers long after they’ve finished reading.

Euphony & Cacophony

Moving on from the smooth and repetitive patterns of consonance and assonance, let’s explore  euphony and cacophony .

These elements colour your poetry with soundscapes that can soothe or startle the reader.

Use euphony to craft lines that flow like a  musical stream , guiding readers through your poem with sounds that please the ear. Think of words that whisper, hum, or sing.

In contrast, bring in cacophony when you want to shake things up. Harsh-sounding words crash together, creating  tension and dissonance .

It’s like the clattering of pots and pans interrupting a tranquil melody.

This technique works well to convey chaos or discomfort within your poem’s narrative— loud whispers  in a quiet room demanding attention.

Choose each word carefully for its sound; it can change how someone feels about your poetry just by hearing it aloud!

Shifting from the melodic flows of euphony and cacophony, we land on the  structured beats of meter .

Meter gives poetry a rhythm, much like a heartbeat within a line. Think of it as the poem’s underlying music that guides the reader’s voice.

Classic poems often use  iambic pentameter  – that means five iambs per line, where one iamb is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one.

There are other  rhythmic patterns , too, such as trochees with their heavy first beat or dactyls dancing to three syllables with stress at the start.

Even modern poets play with a meter to give their words pulse and pace; they might need to avoid mixing up  metrical feet  or craft lines without any apparent pattern on purpose for effect.

Meter isn’t just old-school – it evolves but always brings  order and tempo to verses  across ages.

Using Poetry Techniques in Comparisons and Analysis

Poetry techniques can turn simple comparisons into vivid paintings for the mind.

Take  similes and metaphors ; they don’t just say one thing is like another; they make us see the connection.

A poet might write “time is a wave” to show how moments rush at us and then slip away.

With  hyperbole , poets stretch the truth so we feel their strong emotions or understand their grand ideas.

Good  poetry analysis  digs deep into these techniques. It shows why a poet chose specific words and structures to create an effect.

Look closely at  Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” . Notice his use of  iambic tetrameter , which gives a calm, steady rhythm—it’s like the quietness of falling snow!

As you analyze poems, look for repeated sounds in  alliteration  or  assonance , too. These sounds can tie lines together musically or emphasize important points.

When you compare poems or analyze one work sincerely, always seek out these  crafted details .

They reveal how  skilled poets  guide our thoughts and feelings through verse—like conductors with words instead of batons.

With this approach to poetry analysis, every read uncovers something new—even if it’s your tenth time through the same stanza.

Now, let’s move forward and explore some concluding thoughts on poetic techniques..

Concluding Thoughts on Poetry Writing Techniques

Ready to dive into poetry? Grab your pen and let these nine techniques be your guide. Play with sounds, shape your verses, and paint with words.

Remember, each technique adds a  unique flavour —mix them well for a  powerful poem . Now go forth and create; the world awaits your verses!

1. What are some basic poetry writing techniques for beginners?

Start by exploring figurative languages, such as metaphors and similes, to paint vivid images with your words. Try using different metrical patterns like iambic pentameter or trochaic tetrameter to give your poem rhythm.

2. How can I make my poetry sound more pleasing to the ear?

Use euphonious devices like alliteration—the repetition of consonant sounds at the start of words—or similar vowel sounds within lines for a musical effect.

3. Can you explain what blank verse is in poetry?

Blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter—each metrical line has ten syllables, with every second syllable stressed. It’s common in English literature and gives a natural flow to the poem.

4. Why should I use poetic forms like haikus or villanelles?

Poetic forms such as haikus and villanelles have specific structures that challenge you creatively while guiding your expression—with these forms, even strict rules can spark creativity!

5. Is rhyme necessary in modern poetry?

Not at all! While rhyming couplets add charm, modern poets often write free verse without rhyme schemes or regular meter—it’s all about your style and message.

6. What if I’m struggling with how to begin writing my poem?

No worries—try free writing or brainstorming ideas without worrying about form first; this can kick-start your creative process! Once you have some thoughts down, then play with meters and stanzas.

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How to Write Poetry: Writing Poetry for Beginners

Too often, new writers associate poetry with some of the most complicated and foreign poetic movements. No longer is poetry just Whitman, Blake, or Keats. Poetry has evolved in many ways, making it more accessible than ever to beginners.

As a small literary magazine who publishes new writers often, we are committed to sharing just how easy it is to start writing poetry. This is writing poetry for beginners.

Common Types of Poetry

There are various types of poetry, but that doesn’t mean you have to only write one or that you must follow all of the “rules.” Here are a few different types of poetry that you should become familiar with, especially when you’re a beginner.

Prose Poetry

Prose poetry has steadily been rising in popularity, and is perhaps one of the most accessible forms for beginner poets. This type of poetry is written in prose sentences, but can adopt many of the common attributes of poetry. For example, prose poems might focus on sound, tone, symbolism, metaphor, or a specific theme.

List of Famous Hats , by James Tate is an excellent example of a prose poem.

Napoleon’s hat is an obvious choice I guess to list as a famous hat, but that’s not the hat I have in mind. That was his hat for show. I am thinking of his private bathing cap, which in all honesty wasn’t much different than the one any jerk might buy at a corner drugstore now, except for two minor eccentricities. The first one isn’t even funny: Simply it was a white rubber bathing cap, but too small. Napoleon led such a hectic life ever since his childhood, even farther back than that, that he never had a chance to buy a new bathing cap and still as a grown-up–well, he didn’t really grow that much, but his head did: He was a pinhead at birth, and he used, until his death really, the same little tiny bathing cap that he was born in, and this meant that later it was very painful to him and gave him many headaches, as if he needed more. So, he had to vaseline his skull like crazy to even get the thing on. The second eccentricity was that it was a tricorn bathing cap. Scholars like to make a lot out of this, and it would be easy to do. My theory is simple-minded to be sure: that beneath his public head there was another head and it was a pyramid or something.

Narrative Poetry

If you read poetry, you’ve definitely read narrative poetry. This type of poetry, generally has an arch, a strong narrative voice, and a plot regardless of the length.

These poems can range in form and length. While they may “sound” like more complicated forms of poetry, they tend to be easier to follow.

Ever heard of William Shakespeare? Well, he’s the King of Sonnets. This type of poetry follows a specific form. Made up of 14 lines, iambic meter, and a ending rhyme scheme, sonnets are a more traditional type of poetry.

Enjoy Sonnet XXII , by Shakespeare

My glass shall not persuade me I am old, So long as youth and thou are of one date; But when in thee time’s furrows I behold, Then look I death my days should expiate. For all that beauty that doth cover thee Is but the seemly raiment of my heart, Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me: How can I then be elder than thou art? O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary As I, not for myself, but for thee will; Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary As tender nurse her babe from faring ill. Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain; Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.

Epic Poetry

The hero’s journey is encapsulated in epic poetry . Epic poems are longer, and follow the trials and tribulations of a heroine. Many epics are rooted in mythology – this is why you may be familiar with some of them.

Homer’s The Odyssey is an example of an epic poem.

Free Verse Poetry

Ready to throw rules out the window? Free verse poetry follows no particular format, rhyme scheme, tone, or pattern. As a beginner, free verse is a fun way to start writing poetry because it does not place any limitations on the writer.

How to Write Poetry

Being a poet requires more than writing (yes, it’s true). By adopting some of these rules into your routine, you can ensure that your poetry grows and develops.

1. Read Poetry

While this sounds obvious, you’d be surprised to learn that few poets READ a lot of poetry. If you want to become a famous poet, you need to read the poets who can come before you.

Reading poetry can also help you identify which styles of poetry you’re interested in writing. Plus, it’s a great way to get inspired when writer’s block inevitably creeps out its head.

If you’re having trouble finding a great poetry book, or don’t want to commit to a collection of only one author, we highly recommend exploring poetry anthologies (our editor’s favorite is the The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poets).

2. Don’t Overcomplicate It

We understand that this may be easier said then done, however, starting small is a great way to start doing anything new.

For example, don’t try to start writing poetry by writing a 1,000 line epic poem . Instead, start with something shorter, like a 3 line haiku or minimalist poem .

Starting small will help you to grow your skills, and eventually help you grow your confidence to try harder forms of poetry.

3. Attend or Watch Local Poetry Slams / Groups

Creative spaces help to cultivate and hone your poetic style. We highly recommend you get involved in your local creative scene. This means attending poetry readings, joining a local writers or readers group, and maybe even sharing and editing your work in a workshop.

If you’re unable to connect with local poets, there are numerous spaces online to do so. Instagram, Twitter, and Medium are welcoming spaces for new poets and writers. From prompts, to resources and encouragement, you can find fellow poets online that can help keep you focused and driven in your pursuit to be a poet. You can follow us on Twitter or Instagram as well!

Pro Tip: There are some Instagram accounts that do awesome live poetry readings! Also, learn more about growing your poetry account on Instagram here.

This practice benefits poets in two ways. First, it encourages you to write due to the accountability factor. Second, it makes writing more community-driven versus you, being in a room, banging your head on the desk because you’re not feeling inspired.

How to Start A Poem

Many people want to write poetry, but they don’t know where to start. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to start a poem.

Do you write in other genres ? If so, what themes and topics do you usually explore?

For example, if you tend to write fantasy, use fantastical elements, like hidden forests, magic spells, and an evil-doer to inspire your poetry.

Start writing poetry using what you already know. Using this technique makes it much easier to start a poem. Additionally, examine and be present in your surroundings. Describe what you see, feel, smell. Use your senses to brainstorm possible poetry topics and to add poetic imagery to your writing.

If you need further inspiration, check out our Glossary of Poetic Terms . It may help nudge if you get stuck.

5 Poetry Writing Exercises

Still scratching your head when it comes to writing poetry? Try one or all of these poetry writing exercises. Writing exercises are a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

1.) Look at an old photo. Write about everything not in the picture. Feel free to move to and from reality.

2.) Describe a place you’ve never been to. Be as realistic as possible. The catch? It has to be a single word list.

3.) What’s the last dream you remember? Use colors and smells to describe it.

4.) Finish the sentence and continue the story… “When my head hits the pillow…”

5.) In 13 words, describe your oasis.

These poetry writing exercises can be recycled. Get creative, and exploratory. Write what comes to mind. These prompts are meant to help you begin your poetry writing journey. There are no right or wrong ways to approach them. And remember, revision always comes later on.

What Makes a Good Poem?

This is an age-old question, and one that writers now and into the future will keep asking.

But, honestly, what makes a good poem?

If someone reads your poem, and feels something – anything – then you’ve written a good poem. There are many people that will argue with this, but at the end of the day, it’s about how the writing makes you feel, not anyone else.

Yes, some of the common types of poetry follow a set of “rules,” but you’re the writer, and when you’re the writer, you get to write whatever kind of poetry you want.

No matter which forms you find yourself writing, all poetry elicits a response in readers. As a beginner, if you can stick to that rule of thumb, chances are you’re moving in the right poetic direction.

Want more tips? Read our 10 tips to improve your poetry .

How to Write Poetry FAQs

How can I teach myself poetry?

To teach yourself poetry, we recommend reading poetry and writing it. Reading more poetry will help you learn the various styles of poems. Once you learn about the varying types of poetry, consider trying to write a few lines about a topic that resonates with you.

What is the easiest poem to make?

Free verse poems are the easiest poems to make because they don’t have any rules. This allows you to be creative!

What is the best type of poetry?

The best type of poetry is a poem that leaves readers feeling inspired. This is very subjective; a poem you love might not be another person’s top choice – this is what makes poetry so amazing because it can cater to many audiences with different preferences.

Ready to Start Writing Poetry?

Poetry isn’t an inaccessible form of writing, but it can come across that way when you’re a beginner. Instead, writing poetry for beginners is pretty simple. Hopefully, this brief guide has made poetry feel more approachable. Now, it’s time to write poetry!

Be sure to check out our submissions page – we’d love to read what you’ve been working on!

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The Power Of Poetry: A Beginner’s Guide To Writing Poetry

  • The Power Of Poetry
  • Additional Resources

Interest in poetry has been on the rise lately. Among students and children, surveys suggest that today around a quarter of them read poetry recreationally and around a fifth write poetry recreationally , which is a significant increase compared to the last decade. Similar significant increases in interest in poetry have been seen among adults, especially young adults . 

Since the interest is clearly there , it would make sense to incorporate poetry into a curriculum and to use it to increase student’s engagement with learning. To help, we will explain some of the powerful benefits of teaching poetry as well as provide activities and resources that will assist in teaching poetry to students and children.  

The power of poetry

Poetry can be a powerful tool in the classroom. Research and scientific studies have shown that students who engage with poetry as part of their learning demonstrate higher reading skills, creative writing skills, and enthusiasm for literature . Poetry also gives students the opportunity to increase their vocabulary and oral communication skills. Poetry also often allows students to gain higher cultural awareness by being introduced to views, experiences, and societies beyond their own. In addition to all of that, reading poetry has been shown to be good for a person’s mental health and can help students learn empathy and compassion for others .

So, it should go without saying that there are lots of benefits to teaching students poetry. But are there methods to present poetry to students in a way that even those who find poetry intimidating or uninteresting will find engaging?

Poetry activities

To help increase interest in learning poetry, many teachers find it helpful to introduce students to it using different activities. Listed below are just some ideas of activities that may help students find poetry more appealing or exciting.

  • Have students read their favorite poem aloud. Ask them to explain why they like it and why they feel a connection to it. 
  • Create a poem by having each student contribute a line. 
  • Introduce a new type of poem (acrostic, limerick, haiku, etc.) to students each week and hold a weekly challenge where students write a different style of poem. 
  • Have students memorize a poem and recite it back.
  • Have students write poetry about their favorite thing from popular culture or from the perspective of a favorite fictional character.
  • Ask students to find a song they like and see if they can find what poetic techniques the artist used, such as rhyme scheme, metaphor, or personification, for example.
  • Build “pop sonnets” by challenging students to transform a modern song into a specific type of poem or to transform a classic poem into a modern pop song. 
  • Challenge students to make a poem using a weird word list or words that don’t seem to go well together. 

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Additional Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com poetry and writing resources

Writing poetry is an exciting way to build vocabulary. And we provide much more than vocabulary resources that can inspire novice and advanced poets alike. Browse our writing guides related to poetry for more ideas.

▶ More Poetry Activities For Kids

In honor of World Poetry Day, we’ve crafted this collection of surefire ways to instill appreciation and excitement for the vast world of poetry.

▶ Learn How To Write a Haiku

Here’s what you need to know to write a traditional or modern haiku. Learn the history of this Japanese form and read a variety of examples from the masters.

▶ Poetic Foot vs. Poetic Meter 

Poetry has a lot of moving parts, and a great place to start is by understanding rhythm and sequence. Learn the difference between a poetic foot and meter.

▶ Are There Any Words Without a Rhyme? 

It’s the age-old question… or at least the age-old word game question: are there any words without rhymes?

▶ Poetry Terms For Beginners

There’s no better time than now to learn how to talk about the poetry you love. Here are 10 basic terms explained so you’ll be poetry-ready all year long.

▶ Poetry Terms For Advanced Poets 

Impress your teachers and friends with your knowledge of these advanced poetic terms that will help you read and understand poetry like an expert.

▶ 12 Essential Types of Poetry 

There are many different kinds of poetry out there. Learn more about 12 essential types of poetry to expand your poetry knowledge.

▶ Positive Words Starting With A to Z 

Seeing the good in life can be tough. Luckily, we have a long list of positive words to help you out—amazing ones and zippy ones and everything in between.

▶ Negative Words Starting With A to Z 

Life got you down? We can’t always make it better, but we can offer creative ways to express your worldly woes with this A-to-Z list of negative words.

▶ Writing Prompts 

Whether you are trying to defeat writer’s block, practice writing, or increase your creativity, writing prompts are a great tool to incorporate into your writing routine.

▶ 14 Types of Wordplay

Wordplay is no joke! It’s what makes language so lively, after all. Whip your words into a frenzy with these entertaining types of wordplay.

▶ 12 Steps to Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing a paragraph? An essay? Maybe a novel? Regardless of your project, here are 12 things you can do right away to improve your writing.

▶ Writing Activities For Elementary School Students 

Looking for ways to get your elementary student to write more? We’ve compiled activities within 6 themes including poetry, weather, and space.

▶ Writing Activities for Middle School Students 

These writing activities for middle schoolers can help them improve their skills and channel creativity. Try out a writing activity yourself, too!

Check out our hub for all you need to learn and teach the essentials of English grammar.

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Ways To Say

Synonym of the day


6 Online Tools for Poets

Some days, the creativity flows easier than others—and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little help. There are a number of online tools for poets that can help fuel your writing. Whether you’re looking for a unique word, an interesting rhyme, or general inspiration, these six online poetry tools can help you find the way. 

If you’ve ever wanted to jump into a dictionary feet-first, Visuwords is the perfect playground. This online tool is a great option for finding inspiration. Simply type in a word and watch a web of related words and concepts spring forth. Allow yourself to tumble from topic to topic as you learn, and double click on any word bubble to start another cluster. 

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

If you want to take your word choice beyond Webster’s Dictionary, Green’s Dictionary of Slang can be a great place to start. This online tool is a repository of information on English slang—over 500 years of it, in fact. You can use the browse section to investigate a group of slang words, or you can search by history, meaning, or usage. If you’re looking for general inspiration, they offer a word of the day as well. 

There are many online rhyme generators out there, but rhymer is among the best for poets. Its simple interface is easy to use but complex enough to allow you to search for specific types of rhymes, like end rhymes, beginning rhymes, double-rhymes, and more. Simply select your desired rhyme from the drop-down menu, and type in the word you’re hoping to rhyme with. Rhymer will show you several options—even for the word “orange.” Ever blank on the next line? Keep Rhymer in your back pocket. 

Is hesitation slowing you down? Get to the next step faster with Twin Word. This tool is like Apple’s predictive text on steroids. The program analyzes the context of your writing, senses when you pause, and opens a box of suggestions for what to write next. You can also search for synonyms or other related words within your writing using the highlight tool, or take it to the next level by highlighting an entire phrase or paragraph. 

Are you easily distracted? Fine-tune your focus with Omm Writer. This free online poetry tool helps eliminate distractions and offers a soothing soundscape to help you write. Omm Writer fills your screen with a soothing background and hypnotic keystroke sounds to help you get in the zone. Choose from two different experiences: a light, mountainscape background with keyboard sounds, or a dark, starry background with soothing raindrop sounds with each keystroke. Copy and paste your text or download it when you’re done. 

Writer’s Digest: Write Better Poetry

There’s a good chance you’re familiar with Writer’s Digest, as the organization has been helping writers improve their craft since 1920. Their Write Better Poetry page offers a slew of resources for poets, but perhaps one of the best things about this page is the many challenges to choose from. If you’re struggling with inspiration or looking for exercises to help you warm up your writerly brain, check out their monthly challenges, poetry prompts, and poetic form challenges.


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101 Poetry Prompts & Ideas for Writing Poems

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Not sure what to write a poem about? Here’s 101 poetry prompts to get you started!

poetry writing prompts

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These poetry prompts are designed to help you keep a creative writing practice. If you’re staring at a blank page and the words aren’t flowing, the creative writing prompts for poems can be a great way to get started!

New for 2023! Due to popular demand, I created a printable, ad-free version of these poetry prompts you can download to use at home or even in the classroom! Get them at our Etsy Shop .

Even if poetry isn’t your thing, you could always use these things to inspire other writing projects. Essays, journal entries, short stories, and flash fiction are just a few examples of ways this list can be used.

You may even find this list of creative poetry writing prompts helpful as an exercise to build your skills in descriptive writing and using metaphors!

Let’s get onto the list, shall we?

Here are 101 Poetry Prompts for Creative Writing

Most of these creative writing ideas are simple and open-ended. This allows you total creative freedom to write from these poetry prompts in your own unique style, tone, and voice.

If one poetry idea doesn’t appeal to you, challenge yourself to find parallels between the prompt and things that you do enjoy writing about!

1.The Untouchable : Something that will always be out of reach

2. 7 Days, 7 Lines : Write a poem where each line/sentence is about each day of last week

3. Grandma’s Kitchen : Focus on a single memory, or describe what you might imagine the typical grandmother’s kitchen to be like

4. Taste the Rainbow : What does your favorite color taste like?

5. Misfits: How it feels when you don’t belong in a group of others.

6. Stranger Conversations : Start the first line of your poem with a word or phrase from a recent passing conversation between you and someone you don’t know.

7. On the Field : Write from the perspective of a sports ball {Baseball, Soccer, Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, etc.} – think about what the sports ball might feel, see, hear, think, and experience with this poetry idea!

8. Street Signs: Take note of the words on signs and street names you pass while driving, walking, or riding the bus. Write a poem starting with one of these words you notice.

9. Cold water: What feelings do you associate with cold water? Maybe it’s a refreshing cold glass of water on a hot day, or maybe you imagine the feelings associated with being plunged into the icy river in the winter.

10. Ghostwriter: Imagine an invisible ghost picks up a pen and starts writing to you.

11. Lessons From Math Class: Write about a math concept, such as “you cannot divide by zero” or never-ending irrational numbers.

12. Instagram Wall: Open up either your own Instagram account or one of a friend/celebrity and write poetry based on the first picture you see.

13. Radio: Tune in to a radio station you don’t normally listen to, and write a poem inspired by the the first song or message you hear.

14. How To : Write a poem on how to do something mundane most people take for granted, such as how to tie your shoes, how to turn on a lamp, how to pour a cup of coffee.

15. Under 25 Words : Challenge yourself to write a poem that is no more than 25 words long.

16. Out of Order: Write about your feelings when there is an out of order sign on a vending machine.

17. Home Planet: Imagine you are from another planet, stuck on earth and longing for home.

18. Uncertainty : Think about a time in your life when you couldn’t make a decision, and write based on this.

19. Complete : Be inspired by a project or task be completed – whether it’s crossing something off the never-ending to-do list, or a project you have worked on for a long time.

20. Compare and Contrast Personality : What are some key differences and similarities between two people you know?

21. Goodbyes : Write about a time in your life you said goodbye to someone – this could be as simple as ending a mundane phone conversation, or harder goodbyes to close friends, family members, or former partners.

22. Imagine Weather Indoors : Perhaps a thunderstorm in the attic? A tornado in the kitchen?

23. Would You Rather? Write about something you don’t want to do, and what you would rather do instead.

24. Sound of Silence : Take some inspiration from the classic Simon & Garfunkel song and describe what silence sounds like.

25. Numbness : What’s it like to feel nothing at all?

26. Fabric Textures : Use different fiber textures, such as wool, silk, and cotton as a poetry writing prompt.

27. Anticipation : Write about the feelings you experience or things you notice while waiting for something.

28. Poison: Describe something toxic and its effects on a person.

29. Circus Performers: Write your poetry inspired by a circus performer – a trapeze artist, the clowns, the ringmaster, the animal trainers, etc.

30. Riding on the Bus : Write a poem based on a time you’ve traveled by bus – whether a school bus, around town, or a long distance trip to visit a certain destination.

31. Time Freeze : Imagine wherever you are right now that the clock stops and all the people in the world are frozen in place. What are they doing?

32. The Spice of Life : Choose a spice from your kitchen cabinet, and relate its flavor to an event that has happened recently in your daily life.

33. Parallel Universe : Imagine you, but in a completely different life based on making a different decision that impacted everything else.

34. Mad Scientist : Create a piece based on a science experiment going terribly, terribly wrong.

35. People You Have Known : Make each line about different people you have met but lost contact with over the years. These could be old friends, passed on family, etc.

36. Last Words : Use the last sentence from the nearest book as the inspiration for the first line of your poem.

37. Fix This : Think about something you own that is broken, and write about possible ways to fix it. Duct tape? A hammer and nails?

hammer poetry prompt idea

38. Suspicion : Pretend you are a detective and you have to narrow down the suspects.

39. Political News : Many famous poets found inspiration from the current politics in their time. Open up a newspaper or news website, and create inspired by the first news article you find.

40. The Letter D : Make a list of 5 words that start with all with the same letter, and then use these items throughout the lines of your verse. {This can be any letter, but for example sake: Daisy, Dishes, Desk, Darkness, Doubt}

41. Quite the Collection : Go to a museum, or look at museum galleries online. Draw your inspiration from collections of objects and artifacts from your favorite display. Examples: Pre-historic days, Egyptians, Art Galleries, etc.

42. Standing in Line : Think of a time you had to stand in line for something. Maybe you were waiting in a check-out line at the store, or you had to stand in line to enter a concert or event.

43. Junk Mail Prose: Take some inspiration from your latest junk mail. Maybe it’s a grocery store flyer announcing a sale on grapes, or an offer for a credit card.

44. Recipe : Write your poem in the form of a recipe. This can be for something tangible, such as a cake, or it can be a more abstract concept such as love or happiness. List ingredients and directions for mixing and tips for cooking up your concept to perfection.

45. Do you like sweaters? Some people love their coziness, others find them scratchy and too hot. Use your feelings about sweaters in a poem.

46. After Party : What is it like after all party guests go home?

47. Overgrown : Use  Little Shop of Horrors  for inspiration, or let your imagination run wild on what might happen if a plant or flower came to life or started spreading rapidly to take over the world.

48. Interference: Write a poem that is about someone or something coming in between you and your goals.

49. On Shaky Ground: Use an earthquake reference or metaphor in your poem.

50. Trust Issues : Can you trust someone you have doubted in the past?

51. Locked in a Jar: Imagine you are a tiny person, who has been captured and put into a jar for display or science.

52. Weirder Than Fiction: Think of the most unbelievable moment in your life, and write a poem about the experience.

53. Fast Food: Write a poem about fast food restaurants and experiences.

fast food writing prompt hamburger

54. Unemployed: Write a poem about quitting or being fired from a job you depended on.

55. Boxes: What kinds of family secrets or stories might be hiding in that untouched box in the attic?

56. No One Understands : Write about what it feels like when no one understands or agrees with your opinion.

57. Criminal Minds : Write a poem from the perspective of a high-profile criminal who is always on the run from law enforcement.

58. Marathon Runner : Write a poem about what training you might be doing to accomplish a difficult challenge in your life.

59. Trapped : Write about an experience that made you feel trapped.

60. Passing the Church : Write a poem about noticing something interesting while passing by a church near your home.

61. Backseat Driver: Write about what it’s like to be doing something in your life and constantly being criticized while trying to move ahead.

62. Luster: Create a descriptive poem about something that has a soft glow or sheen to it.

63. Clipboard: Write a poem about someone who is all business like and set in their ways of following a system.

64. Doctor: Write a poem about receiving advice from a doctor.

65. First Car : Write an ode to your first car

66. Life Didn’t Go As a Planned : Write about a recent or memorable experience when nothing went according to plan.

67. Architect : Imagine you are hired to design a building for a humanitarian cause you are passionate about.

68. The Crazy Cat Hoarder : Write about someone who owns far too many cats.

69. Queen : Write a poem from the perspective of a queen.

70. Movie Character : Think of a recent movie you watched, and create a poem about one character specifically, or an interaction between two characters that was memorable.

71. Potential Energy : Write about an experience where you had a lot of potential for success, but failed.

72. Moonlight : Write about an experience in the moonlight.

73. Perfection : Write about trying to always keep everything perfect.

74. You Are Wrong : Write a poem where you tell someone they are wrong and why.

75. Sarcasm : Write a poem using sarcasm as a form of illustrating your point.

76. Don’t Cry : Write a poem about how not to cry when it’s hard to hold back the tears.

77. Listen Up: Write a poem telling someone they are better than they think they are.

78. Flipside : Find the good in something terrible.

79. Maybe They Had a Reason : Write a poem about someone doing something you don’t understand, and try to explain what reasons they might have had.

80. How to Drive : Write a poem that explains how to drive to a teenager.

81. Up & Down the Steps: Write a poem that includes the motion of going up or down a staircase

82. Basket Case: Has there ever been a time when you thought you might lose your mind? Jot your feelings and thoughts down in verse form.

83. Lucky Guess:  Many times in our life we have to make a good guess for what is the best decision. Use this poetry idea to write about feelings related to guessing something right – or wrong.

84. Dear Reader:  What audience enjoys reading the type of poetry you like to write? Craft a note to your potential audience that addresses their biggest fears, hopes, and dreams.

85. All or Nothing : Share your thoughts on absolutist thinking: when one’s beliefs are so set in stone there are no exceptions.

86. Ladders in the Sky : Imagine there are ladders that take you up to the clouds. What could be up there? What feelings do you have about climbing the ladders, or is their a mystery as to how they got there in the first place?

ladder poetry prompt

87. Always On My Mind: Compose a poem about what it’s like to always be thinking about someone or something.

88. Paranoia : What would it be like if you felt like someone was watching you but no one believed you?

89. Liar, Liar: How would you react to someone who lied to you?

90. Secret Word: What’s the magic word to unlock someone’s access to something?

91. For What It’s Worth: Use a valuable object in your home as inspiration as a poetry prompt idea.

92. Coming Home to Secrets: Imagine a person who puts on a good act to cover up a secret they deal with at home.

93. Productivity: Talk about your greatest struggles with time management and organization.

94. Defying Gravity: Use words that relate to being weightless and floating.

95. Signs of the Times : How has a place you are familiar with changed over the past 10 years?

96. Sleepless Nights : What ideas and feelings keep you up at night? What’s it like when you have to wake up in the morning on a night you can’t sleep?

97. You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit : Use one of the worst job related memories you can think of as a creative writing prompt.

98. By George : You can choose any name, but think of 3-5 notable figures or celebrities who share a common first name, and combine their personalities and physical characteristics into one piece of poetry. For example: George Washington, George Clooney, George Harrison.

99. Shelter : Write a poem about a time you were thankful for shelter from a storm.

100. Cafeteria : Create a poem inspired by the people who might be eating lunch in a cafeteria at school or at a hospital.

101. Dusty Musical Instruments : Base your poem around the plight of a musician who hasn’t picked up the guitar or touched a piano in years.

Love these prompts? The printable, ad-free version of these poetry prompts can be used offline or in the classroom! Get them at our Etsy Shop .

There are unlimited possibilities for ways you can use these poem ideas to write poetry. Using a list like this can greatly help you with getting into the habit of writing daily – even when you don’t feel inspired to write.

While not every poem you write will be an award-winning masterpiece, using these poem starters as a regular exercise can help you better your craft as a writer.

I hope you enjoy these poetry prompts – and if you write anything you’d like to share inspired by these creative poetry writing prompts, let us know in the comments below – we love to see how others use writing ideas to create their own work!

And of course, don’t forget to get the ad-free poetry prompt cards printable version if you’d like to use these prompts offline, in the classroom or with your small group!

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Chelle Stein wrote her first embarrassingly bad novel at the age of 14 and hasn't stopped writing since. As the founder of ThinkWritten, she enjoys encouraging writers and creatives of all types.

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I had a wonderful inspiration from prompt number 49 “On Shaky Ground,” although it’s not exactly about an earthquake. I wanted to share it on here, so I hope you enjoy it!

Title: “Shaking Ground”

The ground’s shaking My heart’s aching I’m getting dizzy My mind’s crazy

On shaking ground It’s like I’m on a battleground We’re all fighting for love Dirtying our white glove

The ground’s shaking My body’s quaking Love is so cruel Making me a fool

On shaking ground We are all love-bound Stuck in a crate Nobody can avoid this fate

The ground’s shaking We are all waking Opening our eyes Everyone dies

On shaking ground Our love is profound Although we are separate Better places await

The ground’s shaking Death’s overtaking Heaven is descending The world’s ending

On shaking ground In love we are drowned

Awesome interpretation Amanda! Thanks for sharing!

heyyy, I have written something regarding prompt 27 and 96 The Night Charms.

Do you dread the dark; Or do you adore the stars? Do you really think the fire place is that warm; Or you just envy the night charms? The skyline tries to match the stars’ sparkle, The sky gets dark, the vicinity gets darker. The “sun” has set for the day being loyal; These are now the lamps burning the midnight oil. The Eve so busy, that everyone forgets to praise its beauty. The sun has set without anyone bidding him an adieu, Failed to demonstrate its scintillating view. The moon being the epitome of perfection, Has the black spots, Depicting an episode of it’s dark past.

And I sit; I sit and wonder till the dawn. What a peaceful time it is, To have a small world of your own. Away from the chaos, I found a soul that was lost. So tired, yet radiant, Trying to be someone she’s not in the end. That bewitching smile held my hand, Carried me back to shore, letting me feel my feet in the sand. The waves moved to and fro, Whispering to me as they go, “Oh girl, my girl This is the soul you have within you, Never let it vanish, For it alters you into something good and something new, Don’t let the cruel world decide, Don’t let anyone kill that merry vibe.”

Then I saw my own soul fade, Fly into my heart, For what it was made. Oh dear lord, The night’s silence became my solace, My life lessons were made by the waves. Who am I? What have I done to myself? Many questions were answered in self reproach, The answers were still unspoken with no depth. Oh dear night, What have you done to me? Or should I thank you for putting a soul that I see. The nights spent later were now spectacular, My darkness somehow added some light to my life, Making it fuller… Everyday after a day, walking through the scorching lawns, I wait for the the dusk to arrive, and then explore myself till the dawn.

This is so amazing I ran out of words. Very lit thoughts beautifully penned. Keep writing like this dude.❤🌻

That is beautiful, it inspired me to write about my fears, thank you!!

Thank you for the inspiration! 😀 This was based of 21 and 77 (I think those were the numbers lol)

Goodbye to the days when we played together in the sun Goodbye to the smile on your face and to all of the fun I look at you, so dull and blue How long before I can say hello to the real you You are worth more than you think At the very least, you are to me Though there are greater things that wait for you than the least You are worthy of the most, the greatest of things If only goodbye could be ‘see you later’ I want to see the real you again To your suffering I don’t want to be just a spectator I want it all to end Goodbye to my only friend I want to heal you but I don’t know how I wish I had this all figured out Please come back to me I just want you to be free

Thank u so much im more inspired after seeing these creative ideas. 🤗

Glad they inspired you!

Thanks for sharing Amanda!

That was beautiful! I am a writer too! I actually just finished writing one but, it wasn’t from this website, just kind of something that’s been on my head for a while you know? Anyways, again, that was awesome! I am a Christian, and I love seeing people write about that kind of stuff! 🙂

I am jim from Oregon. I am also a writer, not very good but active. I am a Christian as well as you are. Sometimes it is hard to come up with something to write about.

All of a sudden, I have started to write poetry. Do you like all forms of writing? I would enjoy reading some of you work if you would you would like to s if you would like to send me some.

i have written one about frozen time:

my brother will be drawing, his pencil wont leave the sheet, my mother hearing the radio, today’s news on repeat. my sister, in fact, is making her bed, she’ll be making it still, till the last bug is dead. me, on the other hand, i’ll be visiting you, i’ll see you in action, doing the things that you do, i’ll be happy to see you, just a last time, i’ll kiss your still lips, and hold for a while. then i’ll take a plane to saudi, where i’ll see my dad, he’ll be swimming with turtles, he will not seem sad. i have lived on this earth, for 15 whole years, time for goodbye, with not a single tear.

hey beautifully expressed…!!!

Beautifully penned 🌼

I love it I tried one out myself as well Change

She sat looking out the window. The sound of the piano’s cheerful tune ringing out throughout the room. The sweet smell of burnt pine emanating from her fireplace. The sky is blue and the sun shines bright. She closes her eyes for a second. She opens them again. The window is broken and scattered on the ground. The piano sits covered in ashes, every symphony played now just a distant memory replaced with a discordant melody. The room smells of smoke and ash. The sky is dark and rain falls on the remnants of her home. Not a living thing in sight,not even her.

Nice one Amanda. kind of tells me the chronology of love and its eventualities.

such a dilightful poem, thanks for the word that made the day for me. you are such a good poet.

Omg! What!! This is amazing! I’d love to feature this piece on my blog monasteryjm.com. I also love this blog post by thinkwritten.com, planning on putting the link in my next blog post so others can come over here to check it out! So helpful!

this is so great! I’ve been needing inspiration. this might work

Thank you so much for this article! I love the profundity and open-endedness of the prompts. Here is a poem I wrote, drawing inspiration from #56, “No One Understands.” I wrote this from the perspective of a psychic Arcturian Starseed in her teenage years and how the world perceives her spiritual connection; while at the same time hinting at the true meaning of her various baffling actions. Enjoy 🙂

Starseed – a poem on perspective

In the snow She stands alone Wrapped in shrouds of mystery Her gentle hand gloved with giving Caressing A violet stone

Math class is dismissed But there still she sits Speaking to the ceiling in tender tones A soft and healing resonance Murmuring sweetly of ascension to Another, dearer dimension

In homeroom Her classmate weeps Of missed planes and shattered dreams Quietly She strokes the hand of the suffering And whispers then of channeling Some celestial utopia called Arcturus Where she claims to have been.

Please feel free to let me know where I need to improve! I’m fourteen years old and only an amateur, so a few suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, love and light 🙂

#79 I don’t know why he was so mad Did he not get his mail Was he already mad Or did he only get bills

He swung his arm with force He caused a loud bang He hurt his own hand He left with some blood

He is the man that punched the mailbox His hand dripped blood on it He left it with a dent He left it alone after that

That’s great Michael, thank you for sharing your response to one of the prompts!

Awesome! That was simple and yet creative

Interesting tips and keywords for boosting inspiration. I’ve found some good topic for start writing. Thanks

sleepless nights (#96)

it’s never a strangled cry that drags me from my dreams, but a gentle whisper, there to nudge the socks off my feet, and settle me back into the sheets. i seem to wake before i’ve had a chance to fall to rest.

why is it that i can never sleep, but always dream?

sleepless nights rule my life and drag me by my toes, throwing me into a sky of black and blue. not a single star can break through this spillage. and i sit and wonder in a sea of sheets, rippling around me, why my mind can swim these dark, tangling waters and i never need to take a breath.

have you ever noticed how static-filled the dark is? because when i lay buried under these burdens and blankets, the world seems ready to crumble under my grasp.

i can’t sleep, but i can dream, of days when i wasn’t pulled struggling from bed but awoken into the light. i wonder how i ever survived the grainy sky’s midnight troubles, the oil spill of its thunderclouds, the sandpaper raspiness of the three a.m. earth against my throat.

oh, how i can never sleep in a world that threatens to fall apart.

this is amazing! i hope i can be this good one day

once again beautiful <3

Thank you so much for these prompts! They’re so thought-provoking.

You’re welcome! Glad you enjoy them!

Take me back to those days, When I was allowed to dream, Where no one use to scream. Take me back to those days, When I was a child, Where I never use to find reasons to smile. Take me Take back to those days, When I never used to lie, Where I never used to shy. Take me back those carefreee days, When I was far away from school days. Take me back to those days , where every one used to prase, no matter how foolish i behave. Take me back to those days, when i wasn’t stuck between fake people. Take me back to the day I was born, So that I could live those days again………….

so mine is basically a mix between 76 and 77… I made it for my literature club i recently began trying to make.

‘Listen to me’ Listen to me your words mean more than you think your opinion is worthy to be shared your songs are capable of being sung

Listen to me

your smile is bright your frown shows nothing more than you should be cared for like you care for us.

your laughter is delightful and so is everything else

dont let the past go hurt you find strength in the experience

are you listening to me?

can you here me?

because YOU matter

Nice, thank you for sharing!

Prompt #1 “Untouchable”

Grasping Reaching Searching for the untouchable The indescribable On the tip of my tongue My fingertips Close to my heart But warping my brain Yet understood in the depths of my soul Emotions undiscovered Words Unsaid Deep in the depths of my mind Hand outstretched Lingering on the edge Eyes wide open But somehow still blind Unattainable But still in the hearts of The Brave The Curious The Resilient They Seek the unseekable They pursue the unattainable Each man seeing it in a different aspect Each of their visions blurred Each distorted by Experiences Traumas Wishes Dreams Filtering what’s untouchable

Thank you, glad you enjoy it!

I had good inspiration from #51, locked in a jar. I used it more metaphorically instead of literally. So here it is: glass walls, lid screwed on tight, can’t escape, not even at night. From the inside, looking out, this is not who I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be bigger, I’m supposed to be free, not stuck in a jar, no room to breathe. I need to move, I need to soar, I need to be able to speak my opinions and more. So as I look down at my tiny self, in this glass jar, “let me out, I can’t take it anymore”, I say to the bigger me, the one ignoring my tiny pleas.

Just wanted to add a twist to this promt. I’m just a beginner in the art of poetry, but I tried. If anyone has any creative criticism, go ahead! #16: our of order

My brain is out of order My thoughts have filled it to the brim Of my deepest thoughts of who I am Who we are As people We are out of order Never focusing on what we want Our passions All we ever get is work on top of work Pushing us down and down Like a giant hand Squeezing us into the depths of our depressions Until We can do anything But take it Anymore

Thank you Ash for sharing your take on the prompt with us!

Thank you ASH for reminding we can do anything if we try

Was inspired by #77 listen up Listen up…….! When would you listen up! Seems! you have given up! No matter who shut you up! Stand straight and look up!

Look up don’t be discouraged Let you heart be filled with courage Listen up and be encouraged Let life be sweet as porridge

You might have been down Like you have no crown Because deep down You were shut down

There is still hope When there is life Yes! You can still cope If you can see the light Yes! Even in the night

Oh listen up! Please listen up and take charge, You are better than the best Listen up! And oh! Please listen up.

beautifully written!

I wrote a poem using prompt 21 and I’m so proud of it. Comment if you want me to post it🤓

I bet the poem you wrote about prompt 21 is really good. I would like to read it please.

Mental prison, what a way to be trapped, being hidden, being snapped,

Clear glass is all i feel, apart from people, I hope I heal, I will never be equal,

I am different I am hurt raging currents people put on high alert but no one cares

No one dreads many tears I only have so many more threads

One day I’ll be gone but no one would care I will run away from the death chair

But until then

Mental prison what a way to be trapped being hidden being snapped

One day this will all blow away someday I will be molded out of clay but until then I will be lead astray

This is so darn awesome. It’s so deep and evokes the deepest of feelings🥰

I wrote almost the same thing omg I’m turning it into a contest entry

Inspired by No. 1! I am completely new to poetry, but I love it so much already! Here it is.

Perfection is Untouchable-

Perfection waiting, out of reach

Will I never touch it?

It always remain


No matter how hard I try

I will never quite reach

It will always remain

Though many people have tried

And seemed to have come close

But perfection’s not the goal

‘Cause we can’t quite grasp it

Perfection will always be

For all eternity

Looks like you are off to a great start!

Of Course, Silly Billy Me

”Well shit, I guess I lost my opportunity” the youngster retort

You see, for him, it’s all about his hurt – but she’s so educated, knows more about the rules of English than the rest of us.

Thus, to me she said… You cannot use curse words in a court report… you need to paraphrase his quote.

Into her spastic face I smiled – and pled my case

If you were my English professor back in the day, I could only imagine how much further in life I would have been…

”Don’t you mean farther in life?”

Of course, silly billy me.

This poem is called Secret Keeper and was inspired by #92. I hope you like it.

Everyone has a secret, Whether it be their own, Or someone else’s, We all have one.

But what if, You met someone, Who had a secret so big, That telling anyone would lead to horrible things.

And what if, That person told someone, And what they told them, Was more horrible than anything they could have ever imagined.

What if, That person told everyone, And when the parents, Of the kid with the secret found out, They were furious.

What if, They kept doing horrible things, Even though everyone knew, Even though they knew it was wrong.

And finally, What if, No one ever helped, The little kid with the biggest secret.

On number 28 : Poision I wrote a poem for it and would like to share it. The poision of friends and love

Beaten,she lies there. For they may be mistaken. Laughter rings throughout the school halls; a pure disaster. The dissapearence of parents hast caused this yet no one stops it. “Your a disgrace!” She heard them say. While in place she cries “I don’t belong here! Perhaps im out of place..” But she is not misplaced rather.. Shes lost in space.

I miss when you called me baby And I was in your arms saftely I know we drive eachother crazy But I miss callin you my baby

Those restless nights when I couldn’t sleep You calmed me down with your technique Always reminded me I’m strong not weak If only I let you speak

My heart only beats for you My feelings for you only grew You understood what I was going through I will never regret knowing you

Your smile melted my heart I wish we could restart And I could be apart Of a man I see as a work of art!

Stary night painting poem I guess ill call it

I raised my paint brush to my canvas So I could help people understand this This feeling of emotion for this painting has spoken I see the light as opportunity As for the whole thing it symbolizes unity The swirls degnify elegance and uncertainty For this painting executes this perfectly Where as my paintings let me adress Everything I feel I need to express!

#56 WHITE NOISE Faded away In the background Unheard Not visible

Eardrums splitting from the screams Yet none seem to care Can even hear my cries for help? For I am screaming as loud as I can

Are you? For all we hear Are whispers in here

Fading away in the background Unheard, invisible Yet it’s there, not loud enough Not noticeable, but there White noise Blank and pure In the background Faded away, yet so clear.

Just need to listen So open your ears She’s screaming for help But it’s muted to your ears

So open ’em up And listen to the calls For faded away, in the background Not visible, but clear. White Noise. It’s there.

Hi guys, I’m kind of late joining in. I read the prompts and the poems posted and this community is a creative bunch. I liked #35 People You Have Known. I want to share it with you guys.

Bern, a friend from grade school was my seat mate as well Rob had always teased me so my young life was hell Neesa was pretty, she knew that she was my crush Miss Homel, our teacher was always in a rush Played ball with Buco and I got hit on my head Fell in love with Cia, dreamt of her in my bed Had a tattoo with Marcus and called it “The Day” Chub challenged me to eat two pies, I said, “No way” I had to go far away so I wrote to Charie In this new place I found a friend in Perry My Grandma Leng passed away, she was a doll My grumpy uncle, Uncle Zar was teased by all These people have touched my life for worse or better Won’t be forgotten, be remembered forever

I hope that you liked it. Thanks guys. Thanks Think Written.

#37 fix it Still new to poems, and I haven’t written one in a while. Criticism is welcome because I need some more inspiration since I haven’t been getting any.

This is the body repair shop where we fix humans that have stopped how may we help you?

the girl stumbled upon the front door and spilled her list of regrets out into the open

“we’re sorry, miss” “but i’m afraid your first kiss will just be a dear old reminisce”

“your heart is also one that cannot be mended” “for every shattered piece- their lives just simply ended” the sewing kit can’t sew the fragments of her heart back because there were way too many to backtrack

she cried her heart out and it went “plop!” her tears like a river and like a lightbulb flickering its last light she too, took her last breath and was put to death

This is the body repair shop where we fix humans that have stopped “it seems we have failed again today” “sorry we’ll just try harder again another day”

I did poetry prompt #7. I wrote about the street I grew up on. Luverne Luverne, I moved onto you at the age of three. We like to race up and down your pavement road, either biking or running. You keep safe the house that I grew up in, one that has six humans and three dogs. You shelter other houses, too, that hold family friends and best friends to last a lifetime.

Luverne, we love you.

-Margaret McMahon

I was inspired by the prompt poison. Monster Roses are beautiful and delicate, but flawed.

Every rose has thorns that cause you to bleed.

Its innocence and beauty draws you in.

Only then when you touch it, it poisons you.

Am I really such an ugly monster, that plants pain an watches it spread?

I would say no.

Wouldn’t we all?

But maybe, just maybe a rose doesn’t notice it’s thorns.

-Lilliana Pridie

You said you’re only just starting?! That was sooo good! No criticism here. 🙂

Sorry, that was meant for “Ash” but yours was amazing too! 🙂

Prompt number 8: Street signs STOP Stop look and listen Stop at the corner Stop at the red light Stop for pedestrians Stop for cyclists Stop for animals Stop doing that Stop drop and roll Stop doing something else Stop shouting Stop whispering Stop talking Stop being quiet Stop posting cute cat videos Stop forgetting your appointments Stop making plans without me Stop eating all the yummies Stop running Stop the insanity Stop shopping Stop the never-ending commentary in my head Stop stopping Stop

Thanks for making this site and all its suggestions and especially this space to post our work, available!

I wrote from prompt #72 about moonlight. Shining down like a spotlight, Illuminating everything around you. The pure white light, Paint your surroundings in a soft glow. The round ball in the sky, speckled with craters like the freckles on your face. Looking down upon the sleeping earth, A nightlight for those still awake, a nightlight for you. Guides you, pulls you, lulls you towards it. It caresses your face with the light, casting away the shadows of the night.

I liked it I just wrote a small poem dedicated to my tutor and tutor just loved it .I used 21 good bye . I liked it really.😊

I just took up writing so bear with me.

Based on #72 “Moonlight”

A full bed Just the left side filled Soft, cold, baby blue sheets wrap around bare feet

She sweetly invites herself in Dressing the dark in a blue hue through cypress filled air, like 5 A.M. drives in January on the misty Northern coast.

Damp hair dances across grey skin, Waltzing with the breeze to Radiohead’s “How to Disappear Completely”

Euphoria slow dances with Tranquility Heavy eyes give in to sleep

Ladder to the Sky I want to climb the ladder to the sky I’m sure all would be well and that I could fly The ladder would be sturdy but still give me a fright Because looking down I’ll realized I’ve climbed many heights The higher I climb the greater the fall The greater the fall, the greater the sprawl But if i ever get to the sky up high I would be sure to hug you and say “goodbye” Once I’ve climbed the ladder I’ll know Sometimes its okay to look far down below Life is full of failure but soon I’ll find Happiness is a place, and not of the mind We all have ladders to climb and lives to live We all have a little piece of us that we can give Because when we climb that ladder to the sky We should think “No, life never passed me by”

Hi Ray, I love your piece.It gives one courage to face the challenges of live and move on.

Thanks for sharing the prompts Chelle Stein. I wrote this sometimes ago before coming to this site and I believed prompts #1 and #88 inspired my writing it. kindly help me vet it and give your criticism and recommendation. It is titled “SHADOW”.

My shadow your shadow My reflection your reflection My acts your acts

No one sees me,no one sees you Programmed by the Ubiquitous, To act as our bystander in realism

Virtuous iniquitous rises on that day To vindicate to incriminate My deeds your deeds.

Thanks for the seemingly endless amounts of writing prompts. I’ve been working on a poem, but it isn’t much.

She’s got my head spinning, Around and around; She’s all I think about, I can’t help but wondering, Does she feel the same?

Of course not, I’m just a fool; I’m nothing special, Just another person; Bland and dull.

How could a girl like her, love a guy like me? But the way she looks at me, Her smile, I can’t help but to feel flustered; Is this just my imagination?

It must be.

Wow! That’s exactly how I feel! Amazing poem!

Thanks so much, I’m glad you like it. 🙂

A massive thank you to thinkwritten.com for these amazing prompts. Some of these prompts have now formed the basis of my upcoming poetry collection (Never Marry a Writer) scheduled for release on January 1 2021. I will also be leaving a “Thank you” message for this website in the acknowledgements section. You have inspired a whole poetry collection out of nowhere which is highly commendable. So booktiful that!

That is wonderful news!

So I didn’t use any of the prompts but I wanted some feedback on this; it’s not great but I’m working on improving my writing skills

I am a girl who is broken easily and loves music I wonder if things will ever be normal again I hear light screaming through the darkness I want freedom from the chains trapping me in my fear I am a girl who is broken easily and loves music

I pretend to float in the ocean, letting the waves carry me away from reality I feel a presence of hope like a flame on my bare skin I touch the eye of a storm, grasping the stillness it brings I worry about wars that a spreading like wildfires I cry when I’m not with the people I love I am a girl who is broken easily and loves music

I understand feeling hopeless when you have no control over what is happening I say our differences make us special I dream to be a nurse, to help others when they can’t help themselves I try to do my best in everything I hope that all mankind will stop fighting and live in peace I am a girl who is broken easily and loves music






I wrote a poem based on #101.

Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

And then it was there. What I had been missing. What is it? You may ask. Well, it’s quite simple actually. It’s the joy of music. It’s the joy of sitting down and making music. It’s the joy you feel when you look up at people admiring you. The joy you see in peoples’ eyes. I don’t know why I ever stopped that. The piano sat on the stage. Dusty and untouched. It’d been decades since I’ve seen it. I haven’t come to this stage since I lost her. After the concert. The last time I ever heard her voice. And yet here I am years and years later. Knowing why I haven’t been happy in so long. Of course pain is always gonna be there, But as I played a soft note on the piano, All of it seemed to disappear. It was as if all the weight on my shoulders got lifted. The melodious notes resonated around the hall. And for a few moments, I forgot about all the pain. I forgot about the tears. I forgot about the heartache. And as the last notes echoed around the hall, I was truly happy.

Prompt #92: Coming home with secrets

My mother’s radio sits in the balcony And it greets me with electric static Coming to this sheltering home is somewhat problematic Cause the walls are too thin, and it’s back to reality. Back to the running water that conceals the noise of cracks Crumbling behind my peeling mask, holding my face with wax An unraveled thread masking the makeup smile of a wakeup call That runs down to my chin and I keep under wraps. I take invitations to the mall, yet the space around me seems so small Nevertheless, I show my teeth with a big, shiny grin And suck a trembling breath through their thin slit Happy to wear tight jeans, to stop me from an embarrassing fall. The bath hurts on my skin, but even more to protect screams from the halls My head floats in the water, but feels trapped in its walls It cracks my head open with all these secrets inside me Before a blink of an eye, to my room I’d already flee. Not to the radio playing static or streets that won’t let me be But to under the blankets, where no one can really see The struggle to be a walking, talking, breathing secret That was thrown to the ocean in a bottle, wishing to be free. However, the words untold keep coming like ever so frequent Like adrenalized filled cops in pursue of an escapee delinquent All the more, my doppelganger and I have come to an agreement To take these secrets to our grave, that we nowadays call home.

Recipe for Happiness

Start with friendship, Then add time, A dash of humor, And forgotten binds. Mix it up, Till blended well, And make sure, To remember the smell. Put that bowl, To the side, Grab a new one, Add grateful sighs. Then add family, And a smile, Then sit back, And mix awhile. To that bowl, Add a laugh, A cheerful cry, And blissful past. Whip until, There’s heavy peaks, Then pour in, What we all seek. Combine the two, Then mix it well, Spray the pan, And pour it out. Cherish the memory, The beautiful scent, Of unity, And happiness.

My mother died when I was younger so this poem is about me sitting on the lawn at night shortly after she passed away. I was imagining better times, which is why in my poem I talk about how the girl is imagining ‘walking on the moon’ and she is gripping the grass tight and trying to remember the warmth of her mothers palms.

Sitting in the blue black grass She’s walking on the moon Watching specks of silver dance To the mellow tune Her fingers gripping the grass so tight She can almost feel The warmth of her mothers palms

The winds cold fingers

The winds cold fingers Tousle with my hair Loosening the soil My sobs are carried away on the wind

I would love to share this list (credited to you) with students participating in a virtual library program on poetry. Would that be possible/acceptable? These are great!

Wow! Thank you so much for all these awesome prompts! I’ve written two poems already!

Prompt #1 AND #15, untouchable and less than 25 words. i’m lowk popping off??

Apollo Commands the sun, which squints so brightly, scorches and freckles. i want her hand on mine. searing pain fears, still i reach out, and bubble.

I looked at the word “Duct tape” And thought about it. Its not anywhere in this poem at all but it inspired it yk?

Feathers are Soft

Feathers are soft People aren’t

Plushies are soft People aren’t

Pillows are soft People aren’t

People are mean Not nice Not joyful

well my poem is only loosely based on the second prompt because I found I had too much to say about Sundays. I would love to share it with you but these comments don’t support links.

Inspired by number 55 in list of poetry suggestions. Poem to song guitar chords. —————————————————-

Carnegie Hall

D I was feeling ecstatic G when I went to the attic A and found my auld busking D guitar

D But I felt consternation G I disturbed hibernation A at first it seemed quite D bazaar

D When I blew off the dust G it smelt like old must A but t’was time to give it a D bar

D It was then I heard flapping G which sounded like clapping A my first ever round of D applause

D It stayed with the beat G while tapping my feet A I kept playing despite all my D flaws

D I took early retirement G though not a requirement A “Bad Buskers” all get D menopause

D I’m strumming the strings G and the echo it rings A but no jingling of coins as they D fall

D So I play here alone G as to what I was prone A never made it to Carnegie D Hall

D Time to call it a day G as they used to say A for no encores or no curtain D call

D There’s a butterfly G in my guitar

D There’s a butterfly G in my guitar.

Finn Mac Eoin

23rd July 2022

I love this Finn, where can we listen to your song?

Hello I wrote this in remberence of 9/11. Its now sitting in ground zero. A ordinary day to start  Same as any other Dad goes off to work again, Child goes with their mother. Vibrant busy city,  busses, cars galore Workers in the offices, from bottom to top floor. Throughout our life situations Hard times often do arise, Unfortunatly we never think of saying last goodbyes. That’s exactly what happened on September 11th 2001 A day that turned the world so cold When tragedy begun. Twin towers has exploded Co ordinate attacks, Al-Qaeda behind the planes That seemed to be hijacked. Thousands were killed instantly Some lives hang by a thread, Calls were made to loved ones Onlookers face of dread. Fears & screams while running As smoke fills up the air, News reports on live tv Helplessly they stare. On the news we hear the voices of all who are caught inside, Lying next to injured ones Or sadly ones who died. One man makes a phone call My darling wife it’s me, I’m sorry that I upset you And that we disagreed. My offices have been attacked they’re crumbling to the ground, A massive explosion hit our floor then instantly no sound. If I do not make it I’m stating from the heart, I love you darling, & in your life I’m glad to play a part. Tell the kids daddy loves them Continue well at school, Stand up for all your beliefs Don’t be taken for a fool. The wife is crying down the line Darling please don’t go, I love you darling so so much I’ve always told you so. He replied my darling im feeling really kind of weak, Breathlessly he’s coughing, he can hardly speak. If you ever need me just look up to the stars, I will hear your voices And heal up any scars. Suddenly all was quiet The wife screams down the fone, Darling can you hear me, don’t leave me here alone. The towers live on tv start to crumble to the ground, Clouds of smoke then fill the air The world in shock no sound. Crying at the images of all who has lost their lives , Mums,dad’s , Nan’s & grandads, husbands & wives. Rescue teams included and all those left behind To All who were among them,  all who did survive, All who were injured All who sadly died. Never in this lifetime that day will be the same For ground zero holds the memories Of every single name.

Those hero’s on that awful day who never thought about their life Who fought to save the innocent To keep each sole alive Those who were pulled to safety Those we lost in vein, Never be forgotten The pain will still remain We will never forget that tragedy For the days will never be the same. But may I say with all my heart In God we put our faith United we stand For eternity were safe Amen

This is a beautifully sad poem. You really wrote your way into my heart. <3

I wrote a poem inspired by number 72. Not really sticking to what it said but thought this was kinda close to what it said…

After dusk, the almost eternal night. The dark, winter sky, full of millions of tiny stars. The sky, a color of blue that seems darker than black.

Sunset, full of an array of colors. Purple, orange, pink, and yellow. Nearly all dark blue.

Right as dawn appears, practically the same sunset hours later. Light wispy clouds fill the sky. Orange, pink, and light blue diffuse in the sky as the sun awakens

Wrote one based off the recipe one (I don’t remember which number)

From the Kitchen of: any teenager ever For: Disaster Ingredients: Social anxiety Existential dread A crush Zero sense of self worth A single class together And no social cues

Steps: (Warning: Do NOT do this if your crush is not single) You’re going to try to talk to your crush. Just say hi. If that doesn’t work, don’t go forward with the rest of these steps. Once you’ve talked to your crush, overthink every single thing you said to them. Do it. Then you’re going to decide you’re stupid for overthinking it. Next, you’re going to wait until they begin speaking to you on their own accord. If they don’t, overthink some more. One day you will think your crush is waving to you in the hallway. They won’t be. They’ll be waving to their friends behind you. Play it cool and pretend you’re doing the exact same thing. Run into the bathroom and cringe at yourself. Keep talking to them and try to partner up with them for a project. If they say no, don’t continue further; you’ll only embarrass yourself. If they say yes, say you need their number for the project. Call them “about the project” and eventually segway into other topics. Continue doing this until you guys eventually call all the time for no reason. Ask them out. If they say no, do not, I repeat, do not act like it was a dare or a joke. It ruins everything. Say “oh okay. Well, can we still be friends?” and continue from that point. If they say yes, go on a date with them outside of school before asking them to be your partner. Eventually break up and either get your heartbroken or break someone else’s heart.

And that is how you make an average teenage disaster. Enjoy!

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Poetry Writing Templates: Tools To Help You Write Your Best Poems

Are you tired of feeling stuck in your poetry writing? Do you find yourself struggling to come up with new ideas or fresh language? Well, fear not! Poetry writing templates may just be the tool you need to take your writing to the next level.

By utilizing the structure and guidelines provided by these templates, you can experiment with different poetic forms and free verse structures, ultimately creating more dynamic and engaging poems.

Whether you consider yourself a seasoned poet or a beginner, these templates can help you improve your craft and inspire new ideas.

So, let’s dive in and explore how poetry writing templates can help you write your best poems yet!

Key Takeaways

  • Poetry writing templates provide structure and guidelines for different poetic forms, making it easier to stay focused on your message and create a clear and concise theme.
  • Traditional poetic forms like Sonnets, Haikus, and Villanelles can help structure your poems and create a more impactful message, but require mastery of meter and rhyme scheme.
  • Contemporary free verse poetry allows for experimentation with form and structure, characterized by its absence of rhyme and meter.
  • Experimenting with different forms and styles, personalization techniques, and creative prompts can help expand your poetic repertoire and take your poetry to the next level.

Traditional Poetic Forms

If you want to improve your poetry writing skills, it’s time to explore traditional poetic forms like Sonnets, Haikus, and Villanelles. These templates will help you structure your poems and create a more impactful message.

With Sonnets, you can follow the 14-line structure to express your emotions and tell a story.

Haikus, on the other hand, are perfect for capturing a moment in time with just 17 syllables.

Lastly, Villanelles can help you repeat a key message throughout your poem while adding lyrical depth.

You’ll find that sonnets can be a challenging but rewarding form of poetry to master. The sonnet is a 14-line poem that originated in Italy and was popularized by Shakespeare in England.

There are two main types of sonnets: Shakespearean, which follows the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, and Petrarchan, which follows the rhyme scheme ABBA ABBA CDCDCD or CDECDE.

The key to writing a successful sonnet is mastering the meter. Sonnets are typically written in iambic pentameter, which means each line has ten syllables and follows a pattern of unstressed/stressed syllables. However, some poets choose to write sonnets in trochaic tetrameter, which follows a pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables.

Regardless of the meter you choose, writing a sonnet requires skill and practice. But once you’ve mastered this form, you’ll have a powerful tool in your poetic arsenal.

Haikus are the perfect way to capture the essence of a moment in just three short lines, creating vivid and powerful imagery in the reader’s mind.

Nature inspired haikus are particularly powerful as they allow us to connect with the natural world on a deeper level. They can transport us to a serene, peaceful place with just a few words.

Haikus can also be used for emotional expression. They’re a powerful tool to convey complex emotions in a concise and impactful way. Whether it’s joy, sadness, or even anger, haikus can help us express our feelings in a way that’s both beautiful and cathartic.

So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion, try writing a haiku and see how it helps you process those feelings.


Listen closely to the rhythmic repetition of the refrains in villanelles, allowing the words to wrap around you like a warm embrace.

Villanelles are a form of poetry that originated in France and are known for their intricate repetition of lines. It may seem daunting at first, but revisiting villanelles can help you master the form and break tradition by modernizing it.

To start, familiarize yourself with the structure of a villanelle. It consists of 19 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme and two repeating refrains. The first and third lines of the first stanza become the refrain lines, and they alternate as the last line of each subsequent tercet until the final quatrain where they both appear again.

Once you have grasped this, you can start breaking the rules and experimenting with modernizing villanelles. Try using unconventional refrains or changing the rhyme scheme to make it your own.

With some practice and creativity, you can create a fresh and innovative take on this traditional form.

Contemporary Free Verse Structures

If you’re looking for a way to break free from traditional structures, contemporary free verse poetry can be a canvas where your thoughts flow like a river, unencumbered by rhyme and meter. This type of poetry is characterized by its absence of rhyme and meter, which allows the writer to experiment with form and structure.

Contemporary free verse poetry is all about expressing your thoughts and emotions in a way that feels natural to you, without the constraints of a preconceived structure. One popular form of contemporary free verse poetry is blank verse, which is a form of poetry that uses unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter. This structure allows for a natural flow of language and can be used to create a sense of rhythm and musicality in your poetry.

Another popular form of contemporary free verse poetry is concrete poetry, which uses the physical arrangement of the words on the page to create meaning. This type of poetry allows the writer to experiment with the visual aspect of their work, creating a unique and immersive experience for the reader.

So if you’re looking to break free from traditional structures and experiment with new forms of poetry, contemporary free verse structures may be just what you need.

Using Poetry Writing Templates to Improve Your Craft

You’ve been exploring the various contemporary free verse structures and experimenting with different ways to structure your poems.

But have you ever considered using customizable templates to improve your poetry writing? Templates are an excellent tool for streamlining your creative process, providing a structure for your thoughts, and helping you create more polished poems.

Customizable templates allow you to choose the structure that best suits your style and subject matter. You can select the number of stanzas, lines per stanza, and even the rhyme scheme. This gives you a starting point for your poem and helps you avoid the dreaded writer’s block.

Using a template can also help you stay focused on your message, ensuring that your poem has a clear and concise theme. The benefits of structure are numerous, and customizable templates provide an easy and effective way to incorporate it into your poetry writing.

So why not give it a try and see how it can take your poetry to the next level?

Tips for Experimenting with Poetry Writing Templates

Experimenting with customizable structures allows for greater creativity and flexibility in crafting meaningful verses. Creative prompts are a great way to spark inspiration and can be tailored to fit your personal writing style.

By using templates, you can focus on the content of your poem without worrying too much about structure. This will allow you to experiment with different forms and styles that you may not have considered before. Personalization techniques are another way to make a template your own.

Changing the length of lines, syllable count, or even the order of stanzas can completely transform the meaning of a poem. Don’t be afraid to play around with the template until it feels like it truly embodies your voice and message. The beauty of poetry is that there’s no one right way to do it, so don’t be afraid to take risks.

By using customizable structures and personalization techniques, you can push the boundaries of traditional poetry and create something truly unique.

So there you have it, aspiring poets! With the help of poetry writing templates, you can elevate your writing and explore new forms and structures.

From traditional poetic forms to contemporary free verse, there is a template out there to suit every writer’s style and preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different templates and techniques, and remember that writing poetry is all about expressing yourself and your unique voice.

With the right tools and a bit of practice, you can create truly breathtaking and impactful works of art. So go forth and write, and let your imagination run wild.

Recommended Reading...

Muse of poetry: understanding the inspiration behind poetic creation, onomatopoeia in poetry: exploring the use of sound words in poems, play vs screenplay writing: key differences and similarities, poems that rhyme: understanding and writing rhyming poetry.

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How to Read a Poem

Reading poetry well is part attitude and part technique. Curiosity is a useful attitude, especially when it's free of preconceived ideas about what poetry is or should be. Effective technique directs your curiosity into asking questions, drawing you into a conversation with the poem.

Where to Start

Book Recommendations

We asked dozens of notable poets to reveal the books they frequently recommend to students or new poetry readers.

Groundbreaking Books

Know which books have most dramatically influenced today's poetry landscape.

Featured Essays

The Great Figure: On Figurative Language by D. A. Powell

When we think of great poems that we love, we think of the ways in which the language casts a certain light upon some occasion or subject to create a new and impressive way of listening, seeing, experiencing the world.

Another and Another Before That: Some Thoughts on Reading by Carl Phillips

If all we can ever know comes filtered through the lens of our own experience, and if we are readers, some part of our very selves will be the result of what we have read. Reasons for Poetry by William Meredith Poets, in the large Greek sense of makers, are crucial to a culture. They respond newly, but in the familiar tribal experience of language, to what new thing befalls the tribe.

Someone Reading a Book Is a Sign of Order in the World by Mary Ruefle

Reading...is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single lifespan, to watch the great impersonal universe at work.

Death to the Death of Poetry by Donald Hall

I believe in the quality of the best contemporary poetry; I believe that the best American poetry of our day makes a considerable literature.

Browse Anthologies

Many poetry readers discover new work by reading anthologies.

Featured Resources

Poetry Glossary

A brief guide to understanding basic terms, including the various elements of figurative language, poetic devices, forms, and meter.

Poetry Forms & Techniques

Overviews of everything from traditional forms, such as the ode, to more experimental styles, such as OULIPO.

Schools & Movements

Introductions to the founding principles and poets associated with various literary trends, from Romanticism to Ethnopoetics.

Reading Guides

Reading poetry will make you a better reader. If you write poetry, reading poetry will make you a better poet. As former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky has said: "Poetry connects us with our deep roots, our evolution as an animal that evolved rhythmic language as a means of transmitting vital information across the generations. We need the comfort and stimulation that this vital part of us gets from the ancient art." Here are some guides to help you as you begin.

Walt Whitman

Whitman's great subject was America, but he wrote on an expansive variety of smaller subjects to accomplish the task of capturing the essence of this country.

Emily Dickinson

Drawing from primarily musical forms such as hymns and ballads, and modifying them with her own sense of rhythm and sound.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes became the voice of black America in the 1920s, when his first published poems brought him more than moderate success.

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Poetry Center

poetry writing help

Shake the Tree of the Unknown: How to Find Your Way into Difficult Poems

People fear poetry because they don’t “understand” it..

Once at a teaching conference, I met a woman who was about to teach an introductory poetry class. She confided that she’d never taught poetry before. I asked her what poets she’d decided to teach. She said airily, “Oh, actually, I’m teaching all films, and we’ll look at the poetic influences on imagery.” I stared at her with my mouth open and thought, She’s afraid of poetry . 

People fear poetry because they don’t “understand” it. This is what they say. But I suspect people fear poetry because it shakes the tree of the known, uses language and uncanny forms to facet and reflect the unsaid in human lives, makes the seemingly knowable unknown. In this way, poetry brings the culture forward, changes the world. 

This is terrifying if you like the status quo. This is exhilarating if you accept that change is the essence of life. I trust poets to startle-shape the path for us to move forward from what we’ve gotten wrong. (At the end of this blog, I offer a method for finding your way into difficult poems.)

Since April is a month dedicated to poetry, I suggest you examine your own relationship to poetry.

poetry writing help

In Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem , Citizen: An American Lyric , she gathers poetic evidence to illustrate the breadth of America’s racism: narration of aggressions and microaggressions, photographs, quotations, metaphors. It takes the gathered form of this book to illustrate the daily, careless, overtly accepted nature of such harm. Rankine needs a variety of tools to breathe this truth into the reader. 

The rain this morning pours from the gutters and everywhere else it is lost in the trees. You need your glasses to single out what you know is there because doubt is inexorable; you put on your glasses. The trees, their bark, their leaves, even the dead ones, are more vibrant wet. Yes, and it’s raining. Each moment is like this - before it can be known, categorized as similar to another thing and dismissed, it has to be experienced, it has to be seen. What did he just say? Did she really just say that? Did I hear what I think I heard? Did that just come out of my mouth, his mouth, your mouth? The moment stinks. Still you want to stop looking at the trees. You want to walk out and stand among them. And as light as the rain seems, it still rains down on you. 

To understand racism as a concept is a different experience than to have the language and structural choices of a poet lay it down inside you, to saturate you so that you, too, must acknowledge the monstrous hatred that teems in this land, and since “it still rains down” on us all, we all must consider our part.

poetry writing help

In CA Conrad’s Book of Frank , Conrad uses surrealist portraits to illustrate the realism of familial failure, the devastations of abuse. A coming-of-age book, Frank is by turns innocent and ribald and accusatory and bewildered. The characters do and say disgusting, tender, violent, sincere things, both exaggerated and on point, exactly like people do. To this nonbinary truth of a reality so many want to make binary, Conrad offers juxtapositions of danger and joy, of being alive and willfully dead.

‘This is your captain’ Frank says from the cockpit

‘all passengers wishing to bail out  Any time during our flight

it  is too late

I have shredded the parachutes to confetti In celebration of our arrival’

Using white space and line breaks, they warn us: “it/is/too/late” to bail (true of all of us alive in this moment). But also, what can save us might have to save us in other ways, suggesting that reframing, re-viewing can offer up the new paths we need to change what is dead inside of our lives. Will parachutes save us? Or maybe something more nuanced, such as remembering to celebrate. 

‘there’s a small bird I want to save’ Frank says

‘give it a chance

but it’s the size of my heart and I know futility when I see it’

Reframing, re-seeing, is hard work, full of doubt, but I always respond to Frank’s initial impulse: to save, to offer chances.

we can trust poets to use their tools of form, symbol, white space, poetic line, metaphor, experience and attention

What is untrustworthy, the poet Anne Waldman notes, is our bland acceptance of what is no good for us, our eyes closing against the pain of others. From “Revolution,”

Spooky summer on the horizon I’m gazing at from my window into the streets That’s where it’s going to be where everyone is walking around, looking around out in the open suspecting each other’s heart to open fire all over the streets

Waldman provides abstractions to illustrate the betrayals of our culture. When performing her work, she shakes us out of our stupor, her hands squeezing the air, her raised voice pointing to the ticking clock of passively accepted doom. Embodying ritual structures of “body, speech, and mind,” she names the ways that America culture buries cruelties, supports aggressions, ignores the planet, and she offers those ways back to us in an altered state for clarity. In “Anthropocene Blues” she warns,

nothing not held hostage by the hand of Man

can we resist? will we fail? to save our world?

we dream replicas of ourselves fragile, broken robotic thought-bubbles

inside the shadow a looming possibility this new year to wake up

could it be?

We can say these things prosaically, that racism = death, child abuse = death, hiding from our inhumane and climactic mistakes = death. Or we can trust poets to use their tools of form, symbol, white space, poetic line, metaphor, experience and attention, to risk rousing the citizens who must wake or die, to risk giving ourselves another chance.

Since April is a month dedicated to poetry, I suggest you examine your own relationship to poetry. What do you love about it? What intimidates you about it? Which poets speak to you immediately? Which ones mystify you? When I was teaching poetry in foundation English classes to hosts of students convinced that poetry “wasn’t for them,” I created a method for reading based on the ideas behind the Benedictine Monk's Lectio Davino (divine reading), a devotional, repetitive practice of reading.

poetry writing help

I suggest you find a poem that mystifies or troubles or eludes you and read it four times aloud, using these guidelines. 

Step one: read lightly.  .

Allow images, ideas, sentences, phrases, single words to catch your attention. Let there be free association. Make note of any of words or ideas that interest you. Look up any words you don’t know. Think about why you like a certain word or phrase. Think about any sounds patterns you find. You might simply love a word for no obvious reason. This is fine! This is great! Let this happen. 

Step Two: Read for Action.  

Write down what you think is taking place in the text, whether this means actual action (two men are fighting over money), or simply thoughts or ideas or memories on the part of the author (a cloud represents freedom to a prisoner). Is there any kind of a mood? Even understanding one single section or one single line can be a pleasure. 

Step Three: Read for Connection . 

Can you connect with this speaker’s ideas in any ways? Do you feel anything at all about this text? Do you feel sympathetic or scornful or interested towards any action, images, or ideas in the text? Is the speaker saying something you believe in or something you disagree with? Do you find anything beautiful in the way it looks on the page or sounds? Does it speak to your own heart or knowledge?

Step Four: Read for Contemplation .

Does the speaker give you an image of something you didn’t have before? Did they say something that surprised you? What feeling does it give you? What do you think is the main heart of the text? Do you have value assumptions that block your understanding? What does the poem say to you? Does this text reflect on the way you want to, or don’t want to, live your life, either personally or in community?

No poem is written for everyone. Of course not!  If you don’t like some of the famous poets you were forced to learn in school, that is perfectly okay. You don’t have to love every poem. But make no mistake, there are poems written for you . Maybe this month you can go to the Poetry Center (free!) and sit in a comfy chair and read until you find one. 

Frankie Rollins is the author of  Do You Feel Like Writing? A Creative Guide To Artistic Confidence , and two books of fiction,  The Grief Manuscript   and  The Sin Eater & Other Stories.  She was shortlisted for  Aesthetica ’s Creative Writing Award 2023. Frankie is the founder of the Fifth Brain Collective, a platform offering online classes and coaching and community for creative people. 


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Poem generators.

Select one of the 30 poem types below, and our AI system will generate a poem on your topic for you. Choose free verse, haiku, limerick, acrostic, and much more.

AI Poetry Generators

Ai poem generator.

This poetry generator tool will write a poem using the latest AI transformer models, trained on over 100 billion parameters. Enter a word or phrase and it will generate a poem.

AI Haiku Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a haiku for you using AI transformer models. Just enter a word and it will generate a haiku.

AI Poem Idea Generator

This poetry generator tool will write lines of a poem for you using AI transformer models. Just enter a word and it will generate a list of poem stanzas.

AI Thanksgiving Poem Generator

This tool will generate a Thanksgiving poem about one thing you're thankful for using AI.

AI Valentine's Day Poem Generator

This tool will use AI to generate a love poem for Valentines' Day. Just enter the name of your love interest, and this tool will generate a beautiful love poem for you.

Poems about People

Name poem generator.

This poetry generator tool will help you write an acrostic poem using a person's name. This is different from the Acrostic Poem Generator above, which takes a noun as input and uses that to find related adjectives. The name poem generator uses adjectives that describe a person.

I Am Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool will help you write an I Am poem. In order to create the poem, you will need to enter a series of words or phrases about yourself.

Funny Rhyming Poem About Someone Generator (for birthdays, roasts, etc.)

This is a funny poem generator. You can generate a funny or silly poem with a message for someone (for example, 'happy birthday'). This is a great gag poem generator for birthdays, anniversaries, roasts, etc..

Poem About Friend or Family Generator

This poetry generator tool will help you write a positive, loving poem about a friend or family member. In order to create the poem, you will need to enter the name of the person that you are writing about, their relationship to you, and some information about the person.

Our Original Poem Generator

If you're looking for our original poem generator, click here.

Other Poetry Forms

Automatic concrete poem generator.

This poetry generator tool will write a concrete poem/shape poem about any topic you want. In order to create your concrete poem, you will select a shape and enter a subject and some keywords.

Manual Concrete Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool lets you enter a poem, and it formats the poem as a concrete poem/shape poem in your selected shape.

Limerick Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a limerick about any topic you want. In order to create your limerick, you will need to fill in the fields.

Acrostic Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool will help you write an acrostic poem. In order to create the poem, you will enter a subject word or phrase. The generator will find words that are associated with that word/phrase. Note: if you are writing a poem about a person, use the Name Poem Generator below.

Poems about Feelings

Sad poem generator.

This poetry generator tool will write a sad freeform poem for you. In order to create the poem, you will enter a topic phrase. The phrase will be used in the title or body of the poem.

Dark Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a dark poem for you. In order to create the poem, enter a topic phrase. The phrase will be used in the title or body of the poem.

Love Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a love poem for you. In order to create the poem, you will enter the name of your love interest.

Heartbreak Poem Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a poem about a broken heart, unrequited love, or a breakup for you. In order to create the poem, you will enter the name of your love interest.

Haiku Generator

This poetry generator tool will write a Haiku about any topic you want. In order to create your Haiku, you will need to enter two singular nouns.

Haiku With My Own Words Generator

This poetry generator tool will ask for 8 words and try to write a poem using those words. If it can't, it will add auto generated related words.

AI Haiku Idea Generator

This poetry generator tool will write lines of a haiku for you using AI transformer models. Just enter a word and it will generate a list of haiku stanzas.

Poems about Events

Thanksgiving poem generator (i'm thankful for...).

This tool will generate an "I'm thankful for..." Thanksgiving poem.

Mother's Day Poem Generator

This tool will generate a Mother's Day poem for your mom, or a close family member.

Father's Day Poem Generator

This tool will generate a Father's Day poem for your dad, or for someone who is like a dad to you.

Christmas Poem Generator

This tool will generate a Christmas poem.

New Year's Eve Toast Generator

This tool will generate a New Year's Eve toast poem.

Valentine's Day Poetry Generators

Valentine's day poem generator.

This tool will generate a love poem for Valentines' Day. Just enter the name of your love interest, and this tool will generate a beautiful love poem for you.

Kids' Valentine's Day Poem Generator

This tool will generate a kids' poem for Valentines' Day. Just enter the name of your love interest, and this tool will generate a sweet and fun poem about your crush.

Do It Yourself

Determine if text content was written by AI or by a human.

How to Write a Poem

This tutorial will teach you how to write a poem yourself.

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Poem Generator

Write an entire poem in less than a minute!

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Rhyming couplets, narrative poem, line by line, alliteration, our other generators, dating profile generator, name generator, plot generator, song lyrics generator, letter generator, character generator, random generator, coming soon - the app, suggest a generator.

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How to write a poem with our generator.

  • 1. Choose a type of poem.
  • 2. Select some keywords.
  • 3. Let us automatically create a poem and an image.

Masterpiece Generator refers to a set of text generator tools created by Aardgo. The tools are designed to be cool and entertain, but also help aspiring writers create a range of different media, including plots, lyrics for songs, poems, letters and names. Some generated content parodies existing styles and artists, whilst others are based on original structures.

Our first generator, Song Lyrics Generator was launched in 2002 as a student magazine project. After it proved popular, we expanded to include plots, and the project grew from there.

We're proud to see work we've helped you create pop up on blogs and in fun projects. We enjoy watching you read your creations on YouTube. We're currently developing a cool app based on our site.

logo: International Arts and Mind Lab

International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) is a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative accelerating the field of neuroaesthetics.

More than words: why poetry is good for our health.

Amanda Gorman

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious”

Amanda Gorman, the 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate, spoke these powerful words at the 2020 presidential inauguration from the dais of the United States Capitol where, just weeks prior, a violent insurrection had erupted.

For millions of viewers watching virtually, amidst a raging pandemic and tumultuous political moment, her words provided solace and healing.

Gorman’s performance was a testament to the power of poetry and its delivery through spoken word to express our collective fears and most fervent hopes. Research shows that poetry—reading, writing, speaking it—can help support our mental health, especially in times of great need.

Amanda Gorman. Every word. Every single word. Inspiring and healing. Powerful and moving. #InaugurationDay https://t.co/LF5UQPp1aW — Javier Muñoz (@JMunozActor) January 20, 2021

The Healing Word

Poetry can provide comfort and boost mood during periods of stress, trauma and grief. Its powerful combination of words, metaphor and meter help us better express ourselves and make sense of the world and our place in it.

Different research studies have found evidence that writing or reading poetry can be therapeutic for both patients dealing with illness and adversity as well as their caregivers. A 2021 study of hospitalized children found that providing opportunities for them to read and write poetry reduced their fear, sadness, anger, worry, and fatigue. A group of 44 pediatric patients was given poetry-writing kits containing writing prompts, samples of selected poems, colorful construction paper, pens, and markers. The majority of children reported that they felt happy after the poetry activity. The post-poetry surveys also found that writing and reading poetry gave the children a welcome distraction from stress and an opportunity for self-reflection.

Another study found that guided poetry writing sessions significantly alleviated both symptoms of depression and trauma in adolescents who have been abused. Other studies found that poetry therapy with a certified therapist helped cancer patients improve emotional resilience, alleviate anxiety levels and improve their quality of life .

Poetry therapy also may support the emotional well-being of caregivers, including domestic violence counselors , family members of dementia patients and frontline healthcare workers. A systematic review published in 2019 found that poetry can help healthcare workers combat burnout and increase empathy for patients, giving the frontlines another arts-based tool to turn to during the pandemic and beyond.

And the healing benefits of poetry can extend to just about anyone: one study of undergraduate students in Iran found that reading poetry together reduced signs of depression, anxiety, and stress. Using poetry to find our voice can open up new ways of expressing ourselves that cannot be traversed with everyday words, and open up ways to heal and restore us particularly in times of stress. As UCLA psychiatrist and poetry therapist Robert Carroll once put it : “Our voices are embodiments of ourselves, whether written or spoken. It is in times of extremity that we long to find words or hear another human voice letting us know we are not alone.”

Rhythm and Rhyme on the Mind

Our brains are highly attuned to rhyme and rhythm in poetry. Even newborn infants respond to rhymes. In one 2019 study , researchers measured the surface brain activity of 21 Finnish newborn babies listening to regular speech, music, or nursery rhymes. Only the nursery rhymes produced a significant brain response when the rhymes were altered, suggesting that the infants’ brains were trying to predict what rhyme should have occurred.

Of course, even adults appreciate rhythmic and rhyming poems. One study found that the brain can automatically detect poetic harmonies and patterns even when the reader had not read much poetry before. In particular, stanzas with rhymes and a regular meter , or rhythm, led to a greater aesthetic appreciation and more positively felt emotions. This may be because, according to the cognitive fluency theory , we tend to enjoy things that are easier for us to mentally process, and both rhyme and repeated patterns do just that.

Rhyme and rhythm in poetry also intensify all emotional responses , be it joy or sadness. And like music, poetry can give us the chills, producing literal goosebumps with a good stanza. One study found that recited poetry could cause participants to feel intense emotions and subjective feelings of chills. Surprisingly, even subjects with little prior experience with poetry were moved; 77% of them said they experienced chills listening to unfamiliar poems. Video recording of the participants’ skin (via a “goosecam”) captured objective evidence of goosebumps during the readings.

These poetry-induced chills activate parts of the brain’s frontal lobe and ventral striatum, which are involved with reward and pleasure. The insular cortex, a brain area associated with bodily awareness, was also activated during these moving passages which may explain why poetry can feel like a full-body experience.

The words matter too, of course. The right words in a poem elevate the intensity of positive emotions the reader has.

The use of metaphor—making comparisons and drawing connections between different concepts—in particular has been found to activate the right hemisphere of the brain . Normally, our brain’s left hemisphere is far more involved in helping us understand language, but research has found that the right hemisphere may be critically important for integrating meanings of two seemingly unrelated concepts into a comprehensible metaphor.

In times of trauma, our language centers may go offline, making it difficult to fully express ourselves. By activating a different part of the brain through metaphor, poetry may help us again find our voice.

Though more research still needs to be conducted to understand all the ways poetry impacts our health, this much is clear: beyond rhyme or reason, poetry is good for our health and soul.

How to Make a Rhyme on Your Own Time

  • Listen to The Slowdown daily poem podcast from American Public Media and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Check out these 5 tips for how to read poetry from NPR.
  • Write your own poems. Try these poetry exercises to help you get started.
  • Read some selected poetry that resonates with teens.
  • Transform Shakespeare into a pop song or vice-versa. Take a sonnet by the Bard and write it like a Top 40 hit. Or turn your favorite love ballad and make it a sonnet .
  • Try your hand at writing your own poem – these worksheets of literary devices can help you get your creative juices flowing.
  • Find a favorite children’s poet , such as Shel Silverstein or Roald Dahl.
  • Act out a poem. Sing a poem. Find different ways of enjoying poetry!
  • Write a haiku . A traditional form of Japanese poem with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, writing a haiku can be easy and fun.
  • Write an acrostic poem . You can start with your own name, but branch out to anything you like or enjoy.

This is article is a part of IAM Lab’s regularly updated  COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide . Be sure to  check the Guide  for the latest, evidence-based tips on how the arts can support our wellbeing during the pandemic.

We would also like to hear from you: Are you, your loved ones or colleagues dealing with specific issues and want to learn more about art-based solutions? Are you already using the arts to help you cope? 

Please share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with us at  covid19arts@artsandmindlab. org . Be well and stay safe.

Lead Image: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II / Flickr

Written and reported by IAM Lab Communications Specialist Richard Sima . Richard received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins and is a science writer living in Baltimore, Maryland.

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What the Poem is About?

Poem is generating...

🌟 Exciting News: We have listened to your feedback and are thrilled to announce the launch of our AI Story Generator for all our readers! 🚀 If you enjoy using our tools, please don't hesitate to share them with your friends and consider writing about them on your blog.

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Ai Poem Generator FREE

Play around with words and take your creativity to the next level with PoemGenerator.io, your ultimate AI poem generator. Whether you are a full-time poet or someone who loves mixing and matching words, this AI poem generator is here to make writing poems fun for you. 

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Write unique poems with just a click.

  • Advanced AI technology 
  • Fun and unique poems 
  • Generate poetry in multiple styles
  • Create poems in varying lengths 
  • Download PNG or copy the poem to the clipboard

Advanced AI Technology for Generating Cool Poems

Our AI poem generator uses smart tech (machine learning algorithms) to whip up cool and unique poems. All you have to do is tell the tool what the poem is about, and it will create a unique poem accordingly. No need to stress about finding the perfect rhyme or counting syllables!

Here’s What You Can Do with the AI Poem Generator 

Create any kind of poems .

Whether you love short, snappy haikus or longer, flowy sonnets, our AI poetry generator can do it all. Pick your style and let the tool do the rest. 

Breathe life into your ideas

Just give the tool a theme, a mood, or a few keywords, and let it surprise you with its creativity. It’s like having a personal muse available at all times!

Get instant inspiration 

Hit a creative roadblock? No worries. The AI poem generator can help you get your creativity flowing again.

Learn as you go

Curious about various types of poems and how to write them? Our tool can help you learn it all as you go along.

How the AI Poem Generator Works 

Step 1: Head over to the Poem Generator.io tool page https://poemgenerator.io/

Step 2 : Provide a brief description of the poem’s subject in the “ What the Poem is about” box. The clearer your prompt, the more enhanced the results will be.

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Step 3 : Choose the desired poem type. You’ve got three options: Haiku, Free Verse, and Sonnet.

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Step 4 : Choose the desired poem size – short, medium, or long – and hit the “ Generate Poem” button.

Step 5: The generated poem is in front of you. You can either download the poem in PNG format or copy the poem.

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To download the poem, select your preferred font and click the “ Download” button. The poem will be saved as a PNG file. 

Alternatively, if you prefer the text format, just copy the poem and paste it wherever you’d like.

And voila! You’re done! 

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Create Poetry in Multiple Styles

Haiku poem generator .

Want to try Haiku but not sure how? Haiku is a classic Japanese poetry style with three lines and a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Our Haiku Poem Generator makes creating these short, meaningful poems a breeze.

Free Verse Poem Generator 

Sometimes, the best poems don’t have a particular structure or rhyme scheme. It’s all about expressing your thoughts and feelings freely. And that’s exactly what free verse is all about. With our Free Verse Poem Generator, you can create beautiful, free-flowing poems.

Sonnet Poem Generator 

The sonnet is one of the oldest and most revered poetic forms. A sonnet traditionally consists of 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme.  And now, it’s easy to write your classic sonnet. The Sonnet Poem Generator will help you to create elegant, structured poems within no time. 

Choose Your Poem Size

Short poem generator.

If you want a short and impactful poem, then the short poem generator is what you need. Short poems are like a snapshot of a feeling or a moment, captured in just a few lines. Short size can help you create catchy slogans, a short message for a card, or a short poem. 

Medium Poem Generator

Not too long, not too short – the medium poem generator creates poems that are just the right length. They let you express your thoughts and feelings in depth without becoming a novella. This option is excellent if you’re looking for a well-balanced poem that allows ample room for a thorough exploration of your theme.

Long Poem Generator

If you have a lot to say and want a weighty piece of poetry to say it, the long poem generator is perfect for you. Long poems allow you to explore different facets and perspectives in a way shorter poems can’t.

Why You’ll Love Our AI Poem Generator

Super Easy to Use You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use the tool. The AI poetry generator is simple and user-friendly, allowing you to create poems in no time.

Always Available Need to write a poem at 2 am? No problem. Our poem generator is available 24/7.

Great Learning Tool You’ll not only have fun creating poems, but you’ll also learn more about poetry along the way.

Perfect for Everyone Whether you’re a pro poet, a newbie, or somewhere in between, our tool is a fun and handy way to create unique poems.

Generate Poems Now! 

So, what are you waiting for? Give our AI Poem Generator a spin and start creating unique poems today!

How is this AI poem generator different from other poetry generators?

Our tool uses advanced machine learning to create unique, creative, and human-like poems. It offers flexibility in terms of poem type and length and provides learning opportunities for users.

Can I use this tool even if I’m not a poet?

Absolutely! Our poem generator is user-friendly and for everyone, regardless of their poetry writing skills.

What types of poems can I create with this tool?

You can create a wide range of poems including, but not limited to, haikus, free verse, and sonnets.

Can I specify the length of the poems?

Yes, our tool offers you the flexibility to choose between a short, medium, or long poem according to your preferences.

Is your tool free to use?

Yes, our AI Poem Generator is completely free to use.

What if I don’t like the poem that the AI tool generates?

No problem! If you’re not satisfied with the poem generated, you can try again with the same or different inputs. The beauty of AI is that it can create unlimited poems.

poetry writing help

Writing Poetry Helps Me Cope With Depression—But Are Mental Health Struggles Required for My Creativity?

S ix months into the pandemic, I hadn’t written a word. When I finally returned to the page, in September 2020, it wasn’t with the clarity and intention required for the essays and stories I was used to writing. Instead, my thoughts and feelings and pen meandered and explored; I wrote in a generally unfocused, sometimes frenzied stream of consciousness and emotion that, to my surprise, began to take a different shape: poetry.

My last two and a half years have been a ride : depressive episodes, an anxiety disorder diagnosis, a handful of panic attacks … and also recovery, rejuvenation, and reemergence into a place of more happiness and balance. Through it all, poetry has moved closer and closer to the center of my life. And, it seems I’m not alone in having found it as an outlet during this time.

Amid lockdown, poetry writing and reading were on the rise. According to CNN, one popular poetry site, poets.org , saw a historic spike in traffic, garnering 1 million pageviews —a 25 percent increase—from January through October 2021, following National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s recitation at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“What often follows periods of decay and destruction and chaos is rebuilding and renaissance—periods of fresh invention in thought, in art,” former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo told USA Today in February 2021. “That’s what often emerges from the ruins. You see little plants like after a fire…coming up from the char.”

My own plant emerging from the char is my recently published a chapbook, The Funny Thing About A Panic Attack . It explores how depression, anxiety, and grief intersect with creativity, joy, and love. In celebrating the release of my book, and reflecting on the journey that brought it to life, I’ve wondered about the relationship between my mental health challenges and my creativity.

I’ve wondered about the relationship between my mental health challenges and my creativity—am I creative, at least in part, because I live with anxiety and depression?

Am I creative, at least in part, because I live with anxiety and depression? Do I somehow rely on my struggles to create art? And how does effectively coping with my mental health issues impact my writing, for better or worse?

The possible links between creativity and mental health

There may be a link between creativity and individuals with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression, and PTSD, says Jessica Ketner , IMFT, a marriage and family therapist based in Columbus, Ohio. She zeroes in on common symptoms of some of those mental health conditions. For example, tendencies to ruminate or hyperfocus on a feeling or memory could “offer a unique way of seeing the world that, if expressed creatively, can display an intensity, a perspective, a beauty that is captivating, moving, and interesting to experience,” she says. “Also, a disinhibited racing or wandering mind can be an opportunity for a flow of ideas. Those ideas can be channeled in creative ways.”

Even so, Ketner cautions against viewing anxiety or depression as some kind of requirement or boon for creative output. Romanticizing mental health struggles or reinforcing the stereotype of a “tortured artist” or “mad genius” can be dangerous, she says, especially if they discourage a person from seeking mental health care in order to “stay in a creative place.”

Researchers and laypeople alike have long-speculated about the relationship between mental illness and creativity , yet some often-cited studies that show a link between the two have been criticized on the grounds that they use small samples, employ inconsistent methodologies, and strongly depend on anecdotal accounts. Still, the idea of the “mad genius” remains widespread and deeply ingrained in mainstream culture, and many point to brilliant, tragic figures like Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, or Emily Dickinson as evidence. But the notion that good art has a positive correlation to artists with mental health issues is a fallacy, says Adriana Garcia , LMFT, a licensed therapist, art therapist, and illustrator based in Santa Monica, California.

How writing poetry, in particular, can function as a mental health exercise

In my experience, anxiety and depression foster the complete opposite of creativity: respectively, relentless, intrusive thoughts and existential dread. Exhaustion and despair negate any hope I have of writing a poem, not to mention, you know, my ability to lead a functional, healthy life.

If I’m drowning in a depressive episode or thrashing in the raging waters of anxiety, it takes a fleet to pull me out: patience and support from friends and family; lots of therapy; and months of lying on the floor zoning out to The Office , followed by slowly resuming a routine of eating well, working out, and relaxing. In the darkest hours, my poetry alone isn’t enough to rescue me—if I’m even able to muster any output at all—but writing works wonders for my day-to-day mental health, veering me away from depressive sinkholes and quieting the constant buzz of anxiety.

As a supplement to a healthy lifestyle and mental health treatment, “finding a creative outlet can be an excellent and meaningful way to express, release, process, or communicate your feelings,” Ketner says. “Many people find an immense amount of healing available to them through expressive writing, visual arts, playing or making music, dancing, and other creative pursuits.”

Research backs up a positive correlation between how creative activities can benefit mental and emotional well-being . One study that focused on the link between creativity and mental health substantiates these findings and offers a crucial addition: When creativity is viewed as a coping strategy, it is associated with mental health benefits, but when creativity is viewed as a defining trait of a person, there exists a negative association to mental health.

Because I’m the kind of person who loves to write poetry, I also may be the kind of person who’s prone to anxiety and depression. At the same time, writing poetry helps me cope with anxiety and depression.

In other words, because I’m the kind of person who loves to write poetry, I also may be the kind of person who’s prone to anxiety and depression. At the same time, writing poetry helps me cope with anxiety and depression. While I sometimes have trouble finding joy in my life, I often create joy on the page. Sometimes I use writing to escape the pain; other times, to pull it closer, as a means of coping or catharsis, or as a path to seeing my struggles in a different light. Even when my poems delve into my darkest moments, the process of writing replaces anxiety with positive energy and a sense of play. These themes manifest in both the process and product of my work.

In my poem “Deep Sea Donuts,” the speaker falls asleep dreaming “of ways / to not wake up”; he wishes for the waves to “tide me / into nothing.” By the end, though, he discovers sensory pleasures—namely breakfast—that make life worth living, when he wakes up and realizes:

that i don’t like

saltwater in my coffee

and they don’t

have bear claws

at the bottom of the sea

“When total gray eclipses the sun and gravity is a train and I’m a penny on the tracks” in my poem “Brent,” the speaker turns to his writing, to create characters, build worlds, and find solace in (even a marginal) escape: “It’s an incremental fantasy where everything is exactly the same / except everyone hovers three to five inches off the ground”

In “Notepads,” the speaker emerges from fear and despair to find intimacy and connection:

and I was scared

I’d do something bad to myself so I’d call you and you’d come over

make grilled cheese or just sit on the kitchen floor and breathe

and I guess

that’s what it means to need someone

In my poem “The Funny Thing About A Panic Attack,” the speaker thinks he’s dying, so his roommate calls the paramedics who, muscle-bound and suspender-clad, arrive looking like “April, May, and June on next year’s calendar.” At the end of the poem, the speaker and his roommate reflect, seeking humor in the mutually traumatic experience:

Later you ask your roommate if she had time to put on clothes before they came or if she was just wearing that Backstreet Boys sleep shirt and she’s like “Yeah, I did put on sweatpants and my god, that’s the most action I’ve gotten in a while” and you laugh and she laughs because you both really, really need it to be funny.

Finally, at the end of the book, when the speaker arrives at a place of stability in “I Wish You Superblooms,” he thinks of others who may be struggling, and sends strength to them via the page:

This is the morning you arise as your own cavalry

by noon you’re exponential, blessed with the power

to lift your finger and move the decimal point of the day

all the way to the right

Yes, my creativity thrives on imaginative, sometimes frenzied, thinking, along with deep, intense, often painful emotions. My writing also requires feelings of lightness, levity, balance, and ease. It’s that duality that makes me who I am, as a poet and as a person, and allows me to face depression, anxiety, and grief in my writing—and in my life—with humor, heart, and a defiant sense of wonder.

W+G_Editorial_Mental health and creativity


  1. 5 Steps to Writing a Poem is our poster for July! Click the image to

    poetry writing help

  2. How To Write A Poem 1

    poetry writing help

  3. How To Write Poetry For Beginners

    poetry writing help

  4. Poetry Writing Guide: Basic Tips On How To Write An Informative Poem

    poetry writing help

  5. How to Write Good Poetry

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  6. 101 Poetry Prompts & Creative Ideas for Writing Poems

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  1. Top 7 Poetry Writing Tips!

  2. Ask for help!

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  4. How to Start Writing Poetry

  5. Poetry Writing Process: Inspiration

  6. Poetry Writing Process: Ideation (Brainstorming Ideas)


  1. How to Write Poetry: 11 Rules for Poetry Writing Beginners

    A simple rhyming poem can be a non-intimidating entryway to poetry writing. Don't mistake quantity for quality; a pristine seven-line free verse poem is more impressive than a sloppy, rambling epic of blank verse iambic pentameter, even though it probably took far less time to compose. 4. Don't obsess over your first line.

  2. How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step

    Nonetheless, if you're new to writing poetry or want to explore a different writing process, try your hand at our approach. Here's how to write a poem step by step! 1. Devise a Topic. The easiest way to start writing a poem is to begin with a topic. However, devising a topic is often the hardest part.

  3. How to Write a Poem: Get Tips from a Published Poet

    8. Have fun revising your poem. At the end of the day, even if you write in a well-established form, poetry is about experimenting with language, both written and spoken. Lauren emphasizes that revising a poem is thus an open-ended process that requires patience — and a sense of play. "Have fun. Play. Be patient.

  4. How to Write Poetry: A Beginner's Guide to Poetry

    Save the Theme: Exercise. Pick your favorite proverb or adage, such as "Actions speak louder than words.". Write a poem that uses that proverb or adage as the closing line. Until the closing line, don't comment on the deeper meaning in the rest of the poem—instead, tell a story that builds up to that theme.

  5. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Poetry for Beginners

    If you're truly serious about writing poetry think of the following tips as your poet's toolbox that will help you construct a great poem. Imagery, Imagery, Imagery. Unless you're writing a language poem, don't underestimate the power of imagery in your work. Just like fiction is dependent on solid descriptions, so is poetry.

  6. Poetry Writing 101

    benefit 4. Improving language skills and vocabulary. Poetry writing can be a highly beneficial and rewarding activity for many people. It is a powerful way to express emotions, thoughts, and ideas, and can help to improve writing skills, creativity, and self-expression. Some of the key benefits of poetry writing include:

  7. 9 Essential Poetry Writing Techniques For Beginners: A Complete Guide

    Key Takeaways. Poetry needs techniques like rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia to make words come alive. These tools help create a rhythm that can make reading poetry feel like music or dance. Similes and metaphors are comparisons used in poetry to paint vivid pictures with words. They help the reader see and feel what the poet describes.

  8. How to Write a Poem

    Write from the heart first. Don't worry if what you're writing seems to be the worst poem ever written. You can edit your poems later. Great poems always have to start from the heart. Tip 2: Choose a great metaphor. This is one of my favourite tips to share with beginners on how to write poetry.

  9. How to Write a Poem: Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Poetry

    Prasanna. Prasanna is on a little break from academia and spends his time compiling fiction writing tips. He enjoys poetry, mythology, and drawing lotuses on any surface he can find. 9 steps to writing poetry: 1. Read ten other poems 2. List topics you feel passionate about 3. Consider poetic form, but not too much 4.

  10. Writing Poetry 101: A Full Beginners' Guide

    Introduction. Poetry is an art form that predates written text, serving as a means to convey emotions, tell stories, and express ideas in ways that prose cannot. It's a personal and intimate ...

  11. How to Write Poetry: Writing Poetry for Beginners

    It may help nudge if you get stuck. 5 Poetry Writing Exercises. Still scratching your head when it comes to writing poetry? Try one or all of these poetry writing exercises. Writing exercises are a great way to get your creative juices flowing. 1.) Look at an old photo. Write about everything not in the picture. Feel free to move to and from ...

  12. The Power Of Poetry: A Beginner's Guide To Writing Poetry

    For students who are poets (and may or may not know it!), these resources, tips, and tricks will make learning and teaching poetry engaging and fun.

  13. 6 Online Tools for Poets

    Fine-tune your focus with Omm Writer. This free online poetry tool helps eliminate distractions and offers a soothing soundscape to help you write. Omm Writer fills your screen with a soothing background and hypnotic keystroke sounds to help you get in the zone. Choose from two different experiences: a light, mountainscape background with ...

  14. Poetry Coaching

    Help you learn to write poetry if you're a total beginner - see the above section on our poetry tutoring services . Guide you through a private, highly customized poetry course online . Meet with you regularly on a weekly or biweekly basis (online via video chat and a shared digital document) for writing coaching or tutoring ...

  15. 101 Poetry Prompts & Ideas for Writing Poems

    29. Circus Performers: Write your poetry inspired by a circus performer - a trapeze artist, the clowns, the ringmaster, the animal trainers, etc. 30. Riding on the Bus: Write a poem based on a time you've traveled by bus - whether a school bus, around town, or a long distance trip to visit a certain destination. 31.

  16. Poetry Writing Templates: Tools To Help You Write Your Best Poems

    Traditional Poetic Forms. If you want to improve your poetry writing skills, it's time to explore traditional poetic forms like Sonnets, Haikus, and Villanelles. These templates will help you structure your poems and create a more impactful message. With Sonnets, you can follow the 14-line structure to express your emotions and tell a story.

  17. Poetry 101: Resources for Beginners

    Poetry 101: Resources for Beginners - How to Read a PoemReading poetry well is part attitude and part technique. Curiosity is a useful attitude, especially when it's free of preconceived ideas about what poetry is or should be. Effective technique directs your curiosity into asking questions, drawing you into a conversation with the poem.read moreWhere to StartBook Recommendations We asked ...

  18. Shake the Tree of the Unknown: How to Find Your Way into Difficult Poems

    Step One: Read Lightly. Allow images, ideas, sentences, phrases, single words to catch your attention. Let there be free association. Make note of any of words or ideas that interest you. Look up any words you don't know. Think about why you like a certain word or phrase. Think about any sounds patterns you find.

  19. Poem Generator: Create 30 Different Types of Poems

    Acrostic Poem Generator. This poetry generator tool will help you write an acrostic poem. In order to create the poem, you will enter a subject word or phrase. The generator will find words that are associated with that word/phrase. Note: if you are writing a poem about a person, use the Name Poem Generator below.

  20. Poem Generator

    How to write a poem with our generator. 1. Choose a type of poem. 2. Select some keywords. 3. Let us automatically create a poem and an image. Masterpiece Generator refers to a set of text generator tools created by Aardgo. The tools are designed to be cool and entertain, but also help aspiring writers create a range of different media ...

  21. More Than Words: Why Poetry is Good for Our Health

    COVID-19 Literature Mental Health Neuroscience Wellbeing Writing. Poetry can provide comfort and boost mood during periods of stress, trauma and grief. Its powerful combination of words, metaphor and meter help us better express ourselves and make sense of the world and our place in it.

  22. Ai Poem Generator ~ PoemGenerator.io

    A sonnet traditionally consists of 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme. And now, it's easy to write your classic sonnet. The Sonnet Poem Generator will help you to create elegant, structured poems within no time. Choose Your Poem Size Short Poem Generator. If you want a short and impactful poem, then the short poem generator is what you need.

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