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How To Write A Poem

Pick a topic

…This can be anything from something mundane like the weather (although this is arguably an incredibly important topic in British conversation) or moving like the love of a mother. Essentially poetry is all about observation, so consider how this topic makes you feel.

I chose the ever changing British summer and people’s attitudes towards it.

Phrasing it
…Pick a few words or phrases that are associated with that topic, so for weather and British attitudes one might split this into negative attitudes (e.g. lack of existence; sunburn) and positive associations (e.g. barbeques, ice-cream, tan-lines). This should be your inspiration. Work from these words, and decide which are most important to the concept that you want to portray.

Decide if you want your poem to rhyme or not?

…Poetry does not have to rhyme.  A lot of the greatest poets did not rhyme their poems. But it can be fun to rhyme them, and it can add a little structure and guidance to the poem, as well as making the poem more

Structure
…Decide if you want to follow any of the conventional poetry structures, or decide on the number of syllables you want per line. Haiku’s can be interesting to make as they follow a very specific structure and can be very short. It can be interesting to device your own pattern to produce acertain effect though sometimes.

Imagery and poetic devices

…You can use metaphors, personification and similes to bring create images in the readers mind. Giving a non-living object a human quality can be quite effective in allowing the reader to really understand the way in which you wish to portray certain things. In my example I have given the sun the human quality of sweltering in order to emphasize the oppressive way in which the heat is felt by the characters in my poem. This is also an example of using exaggeration to emphasise the point, another useful poetic technique.

Devices such as alliteration and sibilance can also help with poetry writing. I have used alliteration in the example ‘sun swelters’ as it draws extra attention to the words as a pair.

Ending it

…The ending is a good place to put the main message of your poem, this can help to leave the readers with a strong idea of what it is you have been trying to convey.

Here is an example of one of my poems, good luck with writing your own!

Great British Summer

The sun swelters down,

People hope, people dare.

Flip-flops, shorts and tan-lines are in the air.

For a few.

 

But the red faces glow,

And the awful reality of the moobs’ begins to show.

Blistered feet, sweat marks and spotty backs

Slip through the cracks.

 

Flies hover in galore,

Whilst ice-creams are eaten in excess and more.

At barbeques, burgers are tossed around,

With complaints.

As the sun swelters down.

 

This continues on,

Until one day the sun.

Goes,

And out come the moans;

Where has our Great British Summer gone?

Additional resources:

How to Start Writing a Novel
Writing Myths
Writing Skills

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