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An Aspiring Writer's Guide to Poetry

pop culture

May 19, 2022

Writing poetry can be a rewarding experience and an opportunity to express your inner passions. However, many aspiring poets often struggle with topics to write about and even their own techniques! When you think of poetry, do you imagine William Shakespeare using iambic pentameter in a complex manner?

Since this form of writing can be overwhelming, this guide covers crucial information all new poets should learn. Feel free to review and reference this article as you continue to write.

There are several types of poetry that you may discover throughout your writing career: sonnets, free verse, spoken word, and many more. When starting to write poems, it is best to start with free verse. Free verse poetry is poetry with no rhyme scheme or structures that the lines must strictly follow. It is best to establish one kind of poetry first before trying to write many different types at the same time.

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Try writing poetry in a place that is meaningful to you. This could include your library, home, or a public center you visit often. The environment surrounding you can affect the tone, mood, and theme of your work.

If you are attempting to write surrounded by distracting friends, it can be more difficult to focus. Be sure to write in places that are quiet and clean where you will feel comfortable pursuing your future work.

Here comes one of the most difficult parts of writing poetry: getting your first words onto the page. Finding a topic to write about, even if it is a beautiful one, will not always be illustrated through your words without passion. Poetry is a free place to express your notions and ideas on life with your own unique, literary voice!

Join writer communities that are nearby to you! Introduce family or friends to creative writing so you can collaborate and share with like-minded writers. Writing services, tools, and communities can be found online, in your classroom, or at certain events in your local area.

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But, finding the motivation to write is not easy. It can be difficult to sort through your thought processes or schedule a time to begin writing. For some, inspiration comes naturally to them, while others must search for it. Make no mistake: inspiration can never be forced.

You may have heard advice such as “Write about your hobbies” or “Go for a stroll in the park to find inspiration.” Not all poets find subjects to base their literary works on what they are surrounded by, but rather on what they are feeling. If searching for topics to write about by observing your surroundings didn’t work out, that is okay! Try instead of writing about your feelings, pleasures, sorrows, and desires.

Writing about personal themes and experiences can help your audience connect with you as a poet. It’s a judgment-free zone.

Your first draft will not always turn out to be what you expected. Your word choice may interrupt the alliterations you were planning to write. There may be spelling mistakes or formatting errors.

This is normal! Revise your writing if you believe that is necessary. Writing poetry is a process of critical thinking and editing.

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Moreover, all writers want to write pieces that are original. If you wish to write a poem based on another, be sure to give credit to the sources you referenced. There are many websites that check for plagiarism that you may use.

As you continue writing poetry and finding your writing style, it can become tiring. You may find that the works you are creating seem similar to each other in structure or theme. When you feel comfortable with the basics of poetry, try writing different kinds.

It can refresh your mind and give you new ideas. However, some types of poetry may be harder to write than others based on the rules. For example, a Shakespearean sonnet must have fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, and a specific rhyme scheme. Practice, practice, practice!

Dive into the basis of poetry to discover new and interesting topics and enhance your writing skills. As you continue to strengthen your understanding of literature, you will discover how magical poetry truly is. Good luck! Below is a list of famous poems you may enjoy.

  • “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost
  • “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman
  • “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
  • “A Poppy Blooms” by Katsushika Hokusai
  • “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by William Shakespeare

Kelly Halliburton
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Kelly Halliburton is a member of the Creative Writing Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She enjoys writing poetry, volunteering, and reading. Through exploring themes of student life and personal growth, she aspires to project meaningful ideas in the community.