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What is Poetry?

Poetry is a form of self-expression where you can say anything without any limitations. Whether you are feeling joyful, sad, or angry, it’s all welcome in the world of poetry. Put your pen to the paper and let your creative juices flow.

Poetry (derived from the Greek poiesis, “making”) is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.

According to Wikipedia, poetry has a long and varied history, evolving differentially across the globe. It dates back at least to prehistoric times with hunting poetry in Africa, and to panegyric and elegiac court poetry of the empires of the NileNiger, and Volta River valleys. Some of the earliest written poetry in Africa occurs among the Pyramid Texts written during the 25th century BCE. The earliest surviving Western Asian epic poetry, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written in Sumerian.What are the benefits of Poetry

under the sheets

In What Ways Can We Benefit From Poetry?

Everyone can benefit from writing poetry, whether they want to share it or not, because it:

1. Improves cognitive function. Learning new words (I’m never without a Thesaurus), working out meter (math!), and finding new ways to articulate our thoughts and feelings (communication) are all good for the brain. Want to get smarter? Write poetry! 

2. Helps heal emotional pain. Grief is one of the most painful emotions we experience, and it’s also the source of some of the world’s most inspirational poetry. When I have experienced a profound loss, the act of putting my feelings into words or memorializing and paying tribute to those who I lost is extremely cathartic.

3. Leads us to greater self-awareness. Most of us don’t have the time or desire to just sit and aimlessly ponder the meaning of our lives or what makes us deeply happy. Writing poetry gives us a constructive way to do that. Not only does it help us explore and gain insight, we have something to show for all that “inner reflection” when we’re done.

4. Provides a gift of inspiration or education to others. One thing we know—we are not alone! Universal questions, fears, and emotions are called ‘universal’ because everyone, no matter what country or culture they’re raised in, experiences them. Once we’ve done the work of exploring and finding our own answers, we can help others by sharing them. I like to share my poem ‘Eternal Happiness’ because it describes what I’ve found to be the source of my own eternal happiness.

5. Helps us celebrate! For some things, balloons and cake just don’t suffice. Proposing to my wife, the births of my children, their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, falling in love—these were among the most emotionally powerful, joyful times of my life. Thanks to the poems I wrote at the time to capture those feelings, I can experience them again and again.

What is the difference between Poetry and Prose?

Prose looks like large blocks of words. Poetry is typically reserved for expressing something special in an artistic way. The language of poetry tends to be more expressive or decorated, with comparisons, rhyme, and rhythm contributing to a different sound and feel.

Prose is a straight forward form of literature, wherein the author expresses his thoughts and feelings in a lucid way.Poetry is that form of literature in which the poet uses a unique style and rhythm, to express intense experience.
Straight forward language.Expressive or Decorated language.
Pragmatic in nature.Imaginative in nature.
Message or information is the essence.Experience is the essence.
The purpose is to provide information or to convey a message.The purpose is to delight or amuse.
Ideas can be found in sentences, which are arranged in paragraph.Ideas can be found in lines, which are arranged in stanzas.
No line breaks.Has line breaks.
Paraphrasing is possible.Exact paraphrasing is not possible.
Difference between prose and poetry

How to write Poetry

Step 1: Understand Your Purpose

Why are you writing a poem and what do you want it to say? The purpose of your poem can dictate what form or style it should use, how long or short it should be, and the types of language you use. Are you writing for yourself, for an assignment, or for someone else?

Step 2: Choose a Subject

The subject is the focus of your poem, or what your poem is about. Choosing a subject before you write can help focus your mind on that specific subject. If you need ideas to get started, a poetry prompt can help.

Some common poetry subjects are:

  • An emotion, such as love or fear
  • A person, real or fictional
  • A place, real or fictional
  • A feeling, like acceptance or rejection
  • An object
  • An animal
  • A time

Step 4: Brainstorm

Start by writing down all the words that come to mind when you think of your subject. Poets and writers often imagine what other people or objects see or feel. If a poet saw an apple, he may wonder why it is there, who put it there, what the apple is thinking, or what it will become, like applesauce or apple pie.

Take a walk and try to experience every physical sense: touch, smell, sound, taste, and vision. Try to watch people and animals, and imagine their feelings and perspectives. Get silly and make up crazy stories. All you have to do is loosen up, have fun, and start writing whatever comes to mind.

Step 5: Choose a Poem Format

The format of your poem is influenced by the subject and tone. As a beginner, you don’t need to worry too much about style or get caught up trying to perfect a format. Choose one, learn the basic rules, and do your best to stick to them.


Types of Poems and Poetry Styles

There are many types of poems you can write. Poems don’t have to have rhymes and meter, but they can if you feel comfortable using them. Once you’ve selected a format, you can learn more about that style of poetry by reading many examples of that type of poem.

Some of the easier types of poems and poetry styles for beginners include:

  • Acrostic: The first letter of the first word on each line spells out a word.
  • Free verse: There are no rules. Just write what comes to mind.
  • Haiku:This short poem uses a specific number of syllables per line.
  • I Am: Write a poem all about you that doesn’t have to follow any other rules.
  • Narrative: A narrative poem tells a story and includes ballads and epics.
  • Rhyming couplets: The last word in each of two consecutive lines rhyme.

Step 6: Write One Line

You have your purpose, subject, related words, and a format. Now it’s time to write. Jot down one line to start. This could end up being your title, your opening line, or your last line. Take a look at the line and see where you think it falls on the spectrum of your idea.

Step 7: Write the Rest

If you use the first line as your opening line, simply start adding lines after it. If it’s your ending line, you can work backwards or work towards that line. As you write, don’t worry too much about perfect formatting. You can fix that later.

Step 8: Edit Your Poem

One of the best things you can do is put the first draft of your poem away for a day or two. Come back to it and see if you can make any improvements with a fresh pair of eyes. You may even want to get someone else to read and critique it. When you feel good about the poem, it’s done.

Tips for Writing Your First Poem

Your first poem may not be perfect, or even good. That’s okay. If you keep a few things in mind as you write, your poem is more likely to be something you’re proud of.

  • Write with feeling: What makes poems great is the feeling they give the reader.
  • Avoid clichés: Clichés are sayings that have been overused, like “busy as a bee.”
  • Use imagery: Use concrete words that appeal to the senses.
  • Use similes and metaphors: Similes compare two things and usually use the word “like” or “as.” Metaphors do the same, but without using “like” or “as.”

Recommended Read: Tips for Writing Better Poetry

Begin Your Poem

Whether you’re writing for an assignment or for personal reasons, learning how to write poetry can be easy. All you have to do is start writing. Start now, would you? We would love to read and publish your first poem. Click here to submit your poem when you are done writing.

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