Five Ways to Help Non-Poets Write Poetry

 
I heard the clock ticking, the birds chirping, the wind blowing, and every other sound around me except the click clack of the computer keys in front of me.

I was attempting to write a poem on that sunny afternoon, but, try as I might, the words would not flow. Why was it so easy to write about topics like loving your neighbor and overcoming worry but so difficult to put sentences and words into iambic pentameter?

It was probably so hard because I am not a poet.

I’m not the touchy-feely, artsy, or creative type. I don’t enjoy gazing at landscapes or taking pictures of animals in my free time.

But I can still write poetry.

Yes, you read that correctly. It may not be the easiest task, but it’s definitely possible. Even though I’m not a typical poet, I can still write poetry; and so can you.

Here’s how non-poets can accomplish the difficult task of writing poetry:

1. Read poetry. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s crucial if you want to create excellent poems. Pick a variety of poets from a variety of periods (for example, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, and Anne Bradstreet). Choose poets who use different styles and study their techniques. How did they portray different events, people, and places? Were their thoughts detailed or abrupt? Do you notice any symbolism?

2. Learn the fundamentals. Find a simple how-to book for writing great poetry. If you’re a little rusty on your poetry knowledge (like if you can’t remember the definition of “blank verse”), brush up on the basics. Of course, you can always choose to follow the examples of the “rule-less” poets, like Emily Dickinson, but I recommend that you at least know what the rules of poetry are so that you can break them purposefully and carefully.  

3. Write poems about things that are important to you. Like with all writing, if you don’t care about a topic, you won’t care how you write about that topic. You’ll definitely struggle to write about something you aren’t interested in. Remember that you can write a poem about anything you like or enjoy—whether that be swimming, sunsets, or cheese fries.

4. Find an experienced poet to critique your poetry and give you feedback. Though the person doesn’t need to be a published poet, he or she should still know how to write poetry and have plenty of experience actually writing it. The point of this exercise is simply to guide you through uncharted territory. It’s helpful to know if you are headed in the right direction.

5. Remember that every poems is different. Not all poems rhyme or use full sentences. Poetry varies because poets vary. Your poem may not have the same style or structure as someone else’s poem, and that’s okay. It differentiates us as writers.

Poetry may not be your favorite genre to write, but I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable if you ever need or want to write it. If you study various poems, discover the basics, choose a topic you care about, ask for feedback, and embrace your unique style, you will be on the right track. 


Bio: Grace M. is a Christian, writer, piano-player, and sunset-lover. She enjoys spending time with her family, baking, playing volleyball, and eating sour gummy worms. She blogs at tizziestidbits.wordpress.com.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me guest post, Writers of Elysian! :)

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    1. Our pleasure. Glad we were able to help you with blog publishing.

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  2. Thank you, Michael! :)

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