Friday, September 19, 2008

How to Write Poems That Capture the Heart and Imagination of Your Readers

How to Write Poems in English

Poems express ideas, experiences or emotions in a more concentrated form than ordinary articles, prose or speech. They can rhyme or be in a rhythmical composition of words. They are one of language’s most powerful forms of expression. So how can you write a poem that truly expounds what you want to say? Here are some key elements in composing and developing the poetic form. Follow these key steps to write a poem that will capture the heart and imagination of your readers as did those of Robert Frost (pictured).

Choose the Poetic Rhythm Type

Identify the type of poetic rhythm you will use for your poem. Three commonly used types include:

Iambic Pentameter – a poetic form of five measures or long and short unaccented syllables i.e., to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield)

Iambic Tetrameter – a poetic form of four measures or long and short unaccented syllables

Haiku – a poetic form in English of three unrhymed lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively with a total of 17 syllables

Determine the Stanza Type

Identify the verse grouping you will use for your poem. Three commonly used verse grouping types include:

Couplet – two lines that rhyme one after the other, i.e.,
“Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are … “

Tercet – three lines that can rhyme in different ways

Quatrain – a stanza or poem of four lines often rhyming as abab, abba, or abcb

Choose a Primary Rhyming Pattern

How will the lines of your poem rhyme within a stanza? Several different line rhyming patterns can be used especially if your poem will be a Quatrain. Three simple line rhyming patterns are:

• abcb
• abab
• aabb

Select a Main Theme for the Poem

What is your poem going to be about? It should focus on one theme or topic such as:

• Life
• Nature
• An Emotion
• A Person

Identify the Primary Words to be Used in the Poem

What are some key words you want to use in your poem? Write down as many as you’d like to include in your poem. Try to use as many as you can comfortably use: Three or four may suffice for a short poem, while longer words can easily include up to a dozen related key words. Some examples of primary words in a love poem might be:

• Desire
• Loneliness
• Beauty
• Honesty
• Sincerity

These steps will get you started in writing poetry that gets read and noticed and will help set you apart from the “word butchers” who don’t conform to rules or form that can help their poetry writing to excel. For more tips and techniques on composing this most-elusive form of language in context, see the companion article post, “How to Evoke Imagery, Emotions and Ideas in Writing Poetry That Captures Your Readers Imagination

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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