How to Write a Poem - Poetry Techniques 2 by CWN

Poems, everyone has tried to write at least one. Not many people succeed in this but if you think and learn how it is really quite easy. Here is a continuation of the simple steps to follow in order to write beautiful poetry. Enjoy!
Step 1

Expressing the Invisible

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about how to choose something to write about, and how to start turning your subject into the poem. The poetry techniques I’ve recommended all have to do with careful observation of your subject matter. But what if you’re not writing about a person, place, animal, plant, or thing, but about a feeling or an abstract concept such as Love or Death? How can you observe and describe something that can’t actually be seen or heard?

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Step 2

Meaning and Form

I’ve talked about different kinds of poem content. But what about form?

For very experienced poets, formal aspects of poetry can become second nature, so that they sometimes know right away what form they want to use for a poem. This is probably not your situation. My suggestion is to focus first on your subject and get all your ideas down on paper. Then, once you’ve written down your ideas, start experimenting with the shape.

Try organizing your poem in different ways and see what happens. Try shorter lines and longer ones; try breaking the lines in various places and observe the effects.

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Step 3

Writing and Rewriting

Behind most successful poems, there’s a huge amount of rewriting. According to Robert Wallace in the book Writing Poems (HarperCollins, 1991), one seemingly simple poem by E.E. Cummings went through more than 175 versions.

Every poet has his or her own way of working — there’s no right or wrong method. But here’s one idea for a process that you might find helpful:

In the first stage, as I’ve suggested, you might want to focus your attention on the poem’s subject, considering it from different angles, developing strong ideas about it.

Step 4

Write and Rewrite cont.

Then, you can look for the best words to bring it to life on the page, to create a mental picture for the reader that matches the ideas in your own mind. Don’t start correcting yourself or editing too soon. That can stop the ideas from flowing. Give yourself time to get everything on paper. Maybe sleep on it, then write some new ideas. When you feel that you’ve gotten everything down, then take a look at what you’ve got:

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Step 5

Write and Rewrite cont.

Experiment like crazy. Try different forms, different angles. Try putting the ideas in a different order. Try everything that you think might improve the poem. You’ve got nothing to lose — you can always go back to a previous draft. Compare versions; see what works better and worse. You might decide to combine parts of one version with parts of another. Work to come up with the ideal version of your poem.

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