Beginner’s Guide to Writing Poetry

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Sometimes it can be confronting to sit down and pen a poem quickly. You may be on a deadline for college or have an insufficient amount of free time to be creative on the page. You can start writing poems by picking a poetic form that is easy to tackle and by brainstorming ideas before you sit and write.

Use the free verse form. Perhaps the most freeing form in poetry is free verse, where you are not limited by line count, rhyming structure, or syllable count. However, if your aim is to write quick poems, you may put a limit on how many lines your free verse poem is going to be so it is on the shorter side.

Try the haiku form. Another way to compose a poem within a short timeframe is to choose a poetic form that is short. Haiku is a three line poem that uses the 5,7,5 syllable structure. It is a non-rhyming form, so you are not limited by rhyme when you write haiku. Often, haikus focus on nature and natural imagery.

Use the cinquain form. This is a five line poem that contains twenty-two syllables total, following the pattern 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. So, the first line of the poem contains two syllables, the second line contains four syllables, the third line contains six syllables, and so on. Cinquains do not need to rhyme and they can focus on a variety of subjects.

Do the limerick form. Limericks are great options if you have limited time to create a poem. These are five line poems that follow the rhyme scheme AABBA. Often, limericks are humorous and focus on a specific moment or situation. They are meant to act as poetic jokes or humorous aside.

Try the epigraph poetry form. In Greek, epigraph means “upon a tomb”. Epigraphs need to be short enough to fit on a tombstone and are often only one to two lines long. Often, they are written as a couplet, or two rhyming lines, or one line of text.

Make a short shape poem. Shape poems are also a fun way to write a poem quickly. You can choose pretty much any subject and write a poem in the shape or outline of the subject or object. Shape poems do not need to rhyme or follow a specific line count. Instead, you only need to write enough to fill the shape of the subject of the poem.

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