The world of writing is infinite, full of all sorts of forms, techniques, and styles. One member, poetry, is an ocean unto itself in this galaxy of linguistic art. To write a poem is to teleport your readers somewhere else by conveying your feelings and emotions. However, inspiring your audience is no easy task; it takes a lot to infuse poems with the elements necessary to move hearts. So, here’s a beginner’s guide to writing poetry that inspires–bringing out your inner Shakespeare is easier than it sounds!
Do Your Homework
First things first, to be able to write poetry, you need to have a basic understanding of what it is. That means you need to read up on the various genres and formats of poetry.
Poetry is a genre of literary work that typically includes intense expressions of emotions, often incorporating rhythm and figurative speech. If you think that poetry is just about verses ending with rhyming words, though, then it’s time to update your understanding of the genre! The world of poetry is much richer and more complex than that. There are plenty of poetic varieties out there; here are the most popular ones.
The kind of poem that you’re probably most familiar with is called a sonnet. It consists of 14 lines ending with rhymes. Sonnets date back to the 13/14th century when they were brought to life by prominent Italian Poet Dante and Italian Philosopher Francisco Petrarch.
Limericks are short poems characterized by distinctive rhythms. The first, second, and fifth lines of a limerick are normally longer than the rest and rhyme together, while the third and fourth lines–the shorter ones–rhyme with each other instead.
As you can infer from its name, a narrative poem is one that tells a story. That means that characters and a plot are expected. Length and complexity are not fixed and may vary. An epic is a type of narrative poetry that reflects the achievements of a legendary figure in a lengthy manner.
- Free Verse
Free verse, probably a favorite in the contemporary scene, is a poem that is not constrained by any set of rules. It offers its writers both flexibility and freedom as there’s no wrong or right way to do it; it’s all up to the poet.
Don’t forget to do your research about each type and learn more about the structure. Also, you need to read more into poetry meter, which is the method of measuring a line of poetry according to the rhythm.
Find Your Voice
Once you have an understanding of poetry, you should find your voice. In other words, you must find your own style and tone. Do you like piling on the adjectives, or prefer a minimalist style? Are you inclined to be witty, serious, sarcastic, sincere, earnest, or some combination? What syntactic constructions do you prefer? Are there certain rhetorical devices you gravitate towards more than others? Experiment with various styles and techniques to see what feels the most natural. Then, you’ve found your voice!
Now for the moment when you implement what you’ve been learning. Poetry is a pretty intense form of art and is often so moving that it touches others’ emotions. To write poetry that inspires readers, you’ve got to dig in deep! Delve into your feelings and memories. Walk outside in nature and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the beauty you see. Observe people’s interactions and find the common feelings and impulses that make us human–the beautiful ones, the painful ones, and the mundane ones. The greatest poems are frequently based on personal experiences and observations.
To better describe a person, a place, an object, an emotion, or whatever topic you’re writing about, tap into your senses instead of thoughtlessly picking an adjective or an adverb. Rather than telling your readers that someone is beautiful or young, describe what precisely makes him or her beautiful or youthful.
When you write a poem, consider using figures of speech such as metaphors or similes. A metaphor equates a symbol with something or someone else using “like” or “as.” Consider this example: “Her teeth were like gleaming pearls.” Similes accomplish the same thing, but don’t use “like” or “as.” If you transformed the previous example into a simile, you’d get, “Her teeth were shining pearls.”
Delve into the Work of Others
Reading other poets’ work can help you learn new techniques and can serve as a source of inspiration. Poetry is an old craft, so you’ll find no shortage of materials. Its longevity as an art means that it has evolved significantly over the years. From Dante to Shakespeare to modern day poets such as Warsan Shire and Rupi Kaur, immerse yourself in a wide variety of styles. The world of poetry is a wide ocean waiting for you to dive in and explore.
Put Your Work Out There
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to put yourself and your work out there. Feedback, as long as it’s constructive, will help you assess your work and progress, giving you room for improvement.