How TO and How NOT to write a Poem (Part 1)

by IdTakeABulletForYou   Mar 25, 2007

First of all, poetry is a serious subject. Few have ever perfected the area of poetry, and the few people who have are recognized as some of the greatest poets of all time. One of my teacher's in school once said, "It is hard to put yourself out there where people judge under their own standards." That quote made me think about, instantly, the posting of poetry. It is a brave thing to do.
No matter what, writing a poem is an accomplishment. Many people out there would spend hours merely thinking of the line. One day, I was sitting in the cafeteria after school and I was writing a poem and my friend came up to me and asking what I was writing about. I told her and she said it was amazing how people could write a poem, when she couldn't even write a line. And, I insisted she could write at least a line, and I found out that in fact, I was wrong. She could not write a line for the life of her, and it in fact was a task to write ONE measly line. That is why in order to write a poem you must feel satisfied with whatever you can accomplish. You must put your heart and soul into the words being written on paper (or typed on the computer), and when you don't put your heart and soul into a poem, it shows.
There are steps on how to write a poem, how to write this style and that style, etc..., but I believe that it is important to know what to NOT do rather than to know what TO do. Which is why I have taken to writing this article?

Suggestions on how NOT to write a poem:


**Writing comes from the heart and the soul, not the dictionary or the encyclopedia. Taking your poem and putting it on Microsoft Word (or other Word Processors) and running the words through the thesaurus are almost like taking your body and getting it all redone by a plastic surgeon: you will regret it. Your poem should be honest and true. Only use a dictionary/encyclopedia as a worst case-scenario and only use it a few times. When you are 12 or 13, obviously your vocabulary will (or should) be nothing compared to a 40 year old. The key to a good vocabulary is to read a lot and listen to people more than you talk to them. Don't try and force yourself into using big words when sometimes, all you need to satisfy the reader is a small little word that says it all. **



**I made that mistake. I came on this website to write for quantity, and I will admit that with bashfulness and remorse. I look back on my recent AND old, grammarless poems and know that I was just so greedy to beat 800 that I merely posted the poems in their raw form. I was so stuck to the idea that all I needed to do was post a poem and then another and then another and it would be fine. I didn't really understand that I would be embarrassed later by the lack of grammar and the carefulness that was shown in posting my older poems. The key to writing a good poem is to not look at it as a number, look at it as a lifestyle. Know that people will be reading your poem hoping that it will give them some revelation. They are looking for a poem that they can read with ease. A bumpy poem that has a good meaning is not looked as a good poem, but merely a bumpy poem. Take the time to capitalize your It's and scour your poem for every spelling mistake that you can find and correct it. The human eye is much better than the dictionary in Microsoft Word. **



**Did Emily Dickinson write her morbid poems because people in a hundred years would enjoy them? The answer is no. She wrote poems about the little things she noticed that she recognized rarely got noticed. This is important to write with: Originality. Write about what you WANT to write about. Nobody is forcing you to write. Don't write for what you think you should write about; write about what you can write about. If you have an imagination like Silver J (read her poems, very well written), don't bother following this rule; but if you have a tough enough time writing a poem about your own experiences, I suggest you don't write a poem about something else.**


How TO write a poem:


**Don't try to write a sonnet when you don't even know what a sonnet is. Trust me; it won't even turn out how you want it. If you have ever tried to write an acrostic, you probably know very well that the poem most of the time sounds forced. That is self-explanatory. You are FILLING-IN the first word of each line to fit into the acrostic, and you have to let the first letters mold your poem. The best thing to do when writing a poem is to not predetermine a style for the poem. It will sound forced. Let the poem show on paper. You should write a poem and not remember writing it. I write poems in whatever style that shows up. I write however I want, not worry whether or not people will understand it. The trick is to be satisfied with what shows on paper and to not worry about elegance or eloquence. If that confused you, think about it this way: What title would you think to get more views? A) Tears Falling Down (terza rima) or B) Tears Falling Down. If you think like me, I would choose B, mostly because it is more attractive. I'm sure that no one really knows that a Terza Rima is a poem that has a rhyme scheme aba, cdc, efe etc..., and it kinda... makes them avoid your poem because they are not familiar with the style.**


*Suggestion TWO: FLOW IS THE KEY!*

**In order to make a poem appealing and smooth for your readers, you should reread your poem to make sure it is void of breaks in the flow. A flowing poem should make the poem a fast read. **



**I don't think I can stress this enough. It is SO important to edit your poem over and over again. I have been posting poems here for a couple years and I am just realizing the importance of editing my poetry, something I never quite paid attention to before. When your poem is edited, it is more attractive and appealing to the reader, and the better your poem looks, the easier it is to read it. **



**Remember, some people are new to this website or haven't ever read your poems, so make each poem just as good as if you were reading it aloud in front of a crowd of strangers. It is actually more likely that more new people view your latest posted poem than regulars. **


This is my first article, so I understand that it is a little... amateur. I promise that my next article will be better!Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and good luck writing your poems. The next article I post will hopefully be about Grammar, Spelling or maybe something else if I feel like it.

Thanks for reading again,

~Stephen White
(*Happily*Never*After* | YellowFeverLime)

(not sure if this is any better)

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