Poetry is a beautiful and timeless art form that has the power to capture emotions, tell stories, and convey ideas in a way that no other medium can. It can be intimidating to write a poem, but with practice and the right techniques, anyone can write a good one.
In this article, I will explore some essential tips and techniques for writing a good poem, along with examples of poems that demonstrate these techniques in action.
- Choose Your Subject
The first and most crucial step in writing a good poem is choosing your subject. A poem’s subject is the central theme or idea that the writer wants to express. It can be anything, ranging from love and loss to nature and social issues. The subject should be something that you are passionate about or something that resonates with you on a personal level, so that you can convey your emotions and thoughts effectively.
Example: “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee;
In this famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe, the subject is love and loss. The poem tells the story of a man’s love for a woman named Annabel Lee, who dies and is buried in a tomb by the sea. The speaker’s grief and longing for his lost love are palpable, making the poem a moving and powerful work of art.
- Use Sensory Language
Sensory language is another critical element of a good poem. It involves using words and phrases that appeal to the senses, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Sensory language helps to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader or listener, bringing the poem to life in their minds.
Example: “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
In this opening stanza of “The Waste Land,” T.S. Eliot uses sensory language to set the scene and create a sense of mood and atmosphere. The image of lilacs breeding out of the dead land, mixed with memory and desire, is both vivid and unsettling, setting the tone for the rest of the poem.
- Choose the Right Form
There are many different forms of poetry, each with its own set of rules and conventions. Some common forms include sonnets, haikus, villanelles, and free verse. When choosing a form for your poem, it’s important to consider the subject matter and tone you want to convey, as well as your own personal style and preferences.
Example: “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
In “Ode to a Nightingale,” John Keats uses the form of an ode, a lyric poem that celebrates a particular subject, to convey his love for the nightingale’s song. The form is highly structured, with a specific rhyme scheme and stanza pattern, which adds to the poem’s sense of grandeur and beauty.
- Use Metaphors and Symbolism
Metaphors and symbolism are powerful tools in poetry, allowing the writer to convey complex ideas and emotions in a way that is both memorable and impactful. Metaphors are comparisons between two things that are not literally related, while symbolism refers to the use of objects, images, or actions to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Example: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
This article has provided you tips and techniques for writing a good poem, including choosing a subject, using sensory language, choosing the right form, and using metaphors and symbolism. If you want to learn more about poetry writing, I recommend the following books: