Caleb S.
Caleb S.

How to Write a Poem Step by Step - Beginners Guide

12 min read

Published on: Aug 12, 2022

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

How To Write a Poem

Have you ever wanted to express yourself through poetry but didn't know where to start? 

Poetry is a powerful tool for self-expression, but it can seem daunting to write a poem if you don't have much experience with it. 

However, writing a poem doesn't have to be intimidating. 

With the right guidance, anyone can learn how to write a poem that truly speaks to them and their intended audience. 

In this blog, we'll explore some tips and strategies for writing poetry that will help you unlock your creativity. It will help you express yourself in a unique and meaningful way.

So let’s dive in!

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What is a Poem?

A poem is a way of expressing your thoughts and feelings. It can be about anything you want, but it has to have imagery so the reader can see your thoughts. It should also be written in different styles, like meters or metaphors.

What is the Purpose of a Poem? 

The main purpose of a poem is to tell readers what the author feels. They paint an idea or feeling with beautiful language. Thus, the reader will feel what the author is saying, and they can be engaged with powerful words.

Poems can be written in different ways. For example, they can be lines that rhyme or sentences that go together. Aristotle said there are three types of poems:

  • Comedy - Comedy tries to make people laugh by showing something funny.
  • Tragedy - Tragedy makes people sad and wants them to feel more sadness by using certain things like the effects of the story on people.
  • Epic - Epic poems tell a story and use an epic form of writing (slightly different from tragedy).

Moreover, poems are a type of art that can give you new perspectives on life.

Elements of a Poem

  • Imagery 
    To make your poetry powerful and interesting, it is important to use great imagery. You should use pictures and examples that appeal to the five senses. 
    For example, don't just say that love hurts. Use a metaphor to show us how love can be dangerous or harmful.
  • Sound
    The sound of a poem goes along with how it looks. There are two different sound patterns. 
    One is soft and harmonious, like the sound of angels humming. This is called euphony.
    The other sound is harsher, and it doesn't sound as good. It's like large metal machines clanging about in an empty warehouse. This is cacophony.
  • Density
    Density is what makes poetry different from normal speech or the way books are written. Density is how much can be said in a small amount of space. 
    Poets can use metaphors, break traditional grammar rules, and include sounds and rhythms to create greater density.
  • Line
    In traditional poetry, the line decides how many lines your poem will be. You have to follow what the line-by-line words tell you. But in the hipster age, you don't want to do that. 

Types of Poem

Following are the 15 major types of poems. You must be familiar with all these types. Let’s explore them in detail:

  1. Blank verse - It is different from other poetry because it doesn't rhyme. It has a precise meter and usually uses iambic pentameter.
  2. Rhyming Poem - In a rhymed poem, the poet puts words together that sound the same at the end of sentences or verses.
  3. Free verse poem - It has a different pattern for each word. It does not have a consistent rhyme scheme, metrical pattern, or musical form.
  4. Epic poem - It is a long poem. These poems tell about great adventures and special things that happened to people in the past. They usually take a lot of time to read.
  5. Narrative poem - It is when someone tells a story. Two famous narrative poems are "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
  6. Haiku - It is a short poem that has three lines. It originated in Japan. The first line has five syllables, and the second and third lines have 7 syllables each.
  7. Pastoral poem - It is about nature, rural life, and landscapes. Poems like this have been around for a long time in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and today.
  8. Sonnet - It is a poem with 14 lines. It is about love, and it has internal rhymes. The rhyme and meter scheme depends on the style of the sonnet.
  9. Elegy - It is a poem about death or loss. It is traditional to have themes of reflection, loss, and mourning. However, it also includes themes of redemption and consolation.
  10. Ode - It is a tribute to someone. Like an elegy, the person does not have to be dead. But they must be something more than an inanimate object, like John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.
  11. Limerick - It has five lines and an AABBA rhyming scheme. The poem talks about a short story or description that is funny.
  12. Lyric - It is when someone speaks to him or herself. This can happen in books, plays, and other things. They are the most famous in the plays of William Shakespeare.
  13. Ballad - It is a type of poetry or song. It has four lines that rhyme with one another. Poets like John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Bob Dylan all wrote them. They are melodious stories.
  14. Soliloquy - It is when someone speaks to him or herself. This can happen in books, plays, and other things. They are the most famous in the plays of William Shakespeare.
  15. Villanelle - It is a type of poem. It's about 19 lines. This poem has 5 tercets and 1 quatrain. It also has a very specific rhyme scheme, which makes it different from other poems.

How to Write a Poem?

Do you want to write a poem? Follow the steps below to write a poem like a professional:

  1. Go Brainstorm

    Don't think of your poem as an ordered list. Pick a starting point, like a line or phrase. It can be something you want to work into your poem.

    You might pick something specific, like the curl of your daughter's hair or the feeling you want to describe in your poem.

    Or it might be something more general, like memories that keep coming back to you over and over again.

  2. Free Writing Prose

    First, you need to think about what your poem is going to be about. Think about the theme. You can write anything you want about this theme.

    You can write in paragraphs, dash off bullets, or even sketch out a mind map.

    The purpose of this exercise is not just to generate a plan for your poem but also to generate a lot of material that can then can be used as inspiration for writing your poem.

  3. Choose the Form of the Poem

    Once your free-write is finished, you should look at it. You probably have a mess of ideas that are not in order or well put together, but that's okay. Somewhere inside, there is a poem.

    The next step is to take all the concrete words and figure out what shape they will be arranged in when you finally write down the poem on paper.

  4. Read other Poems for Inspiration

    Poems are different from other types of books. You don't need to read a lot of research for poems.

    But it does help to read some books that are related to your poem's subject before you start writing.

    For example, if you are writing about a relationship between mother and daughter, then you want to read poems about relationships between people who are jealous of each other.

  5. Start Writing for Yourself

    After you put your idea out there, it is time to start writing. But creative writing can sometimes make you feel anxious.

    To keep the anxiety at bay, we suggest that poets write for themselves and not for other people.

    You might want to polish your poetry if you are going to publish it. You can read this list of magazines that are accepting submissions. When you write, make sure to keep in mind that your first draft is meant to be what you see.

  6. Give Your Poem a Read

    A good poem has to be fascinating. Not all poems need to be sung or pretty. Instead, a poem should come alive on the page when it is read aloud, and you can hear the rhythm of the words.

    To do this, first, read your poem one line at a time and then read it as a whole text.

    Reading poems out loud can help with choosing between synonyms. It is interesting to notice the differences in sound and meaning between words like "glacier", "icy", and "cold".

    Reading out loud also helps you troubleshoot line breaks that don't feel right. If a line is too long, then it might feel awkward or confusing. You could make a choice on whether to keep the line or change it to make it more comfortable for the reader.

  7. Take Break to Refresh Yourself

    Congratulations! You have written a poem. It might not be perfect yet, but you should be proud. Now, put it away and come back to it later.

    You need time to work on other things and think about what you want to change or fix with your poem. Then, when you come back to it refreshed, revise the poem again so that it is better than before.

  8. Revise Your Poem Again

    When you read a poem, it might look shorter than what you usually write. Poems can take a long time to become what they are. They change and grow. The most important thing is to find a place where you can be with yourself and listen to your thoughts.

    While revising a poem, you should look for the following things:

    1. Hunt for cliches that you use. Did you find yourself reaching for an idiom? Go back to the feeling and try to think of a better word.
    2. See if your poem starts where it should. Is it difficult to find the beginning? Try starting further down in your poem.
    3. Make sure that every line is important. If you read each line, think about how it helps to make the poem as a whole better. The lines should help with the theme, imagery, and expectations of the reader. If you think that a line does not do those things, then it should be cut from the poem.

Literary Devices

Poetry is a form of art that relies heavily on literary devices to convey its message and evoke emotions in the reader. 
These literary devices can be thought of as tools in a poet's toolbox, used to create powerful and memorable poems.

In this section, we'll explore some of the most common literary devices used in poetry.

Metaphor: A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things that highlight the similarities between them. 

For example, "Love is a rose" is a metaphor that compares love to a flower, emphasizing its beauty and fragility.

Simile: Similar to a metaphor, a simile is a comparison between two things. However, a simile uses "like" or "as" to make the comparison.

For example, "Her eyes were like diamonds" is a simile that compares the brightness and sparkle of someone's eyes to that of diamonds.

Personification: Personification is when an inanimate object or abstract concept is given human qualities. 

For example, "The wind whispered through the trees" personifies the wind by giving it the human quality of whispering.

Imagery: Imagery is a device that uses sensory language to create vivid mental images in the reader's mind.

For example, "The sun slowly sank below the horizon, painting the sky with hues of red and orange" creates a vivid image of a sunset.

Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of multiple words in a phrase or sentence.

For example, "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers" is a famous example of alliteration.

Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in a phrase or sentence. 

For example, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" uses the "ai" sound repeatedly.

How to Write a Poem - Example

You know all the basic things needed to craft a poem, from its meaning to form of poetry. For further guidance, here are some written samples of different types of poems:

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Tips to Write an Impressive Poem

It is okay if your poem isn't perfect. Keep in mind as you write what might make it better or worse so that it is more likely to be something you are proud of.

Look at the tips below if you want a poetic form of your writing:

  • Start with an idea or inspiration: The best poems often stem from a specific idea or inspiration. Whether it's a personal experience, a current event, or a feeling you can't quite put into words. Starting with a strong concept can help guide your poem and give it direction.
  • Use sensory language: Poetry is all about creating vivid mental images in the reader's mind. Using sensory language can help bring your poem to life and make it more engaging for the reader.
  • Experiment with structure and form: While some types of poetry have specific structures and forms, there is often room for experimentation within those guidelines. Don't be afraid to play with line breaks, stanza length, and punctuation to create a unique and memorable poem.
  • Show, don't tell: Instead of simply stating your feelings or ideas, use imagery and metaphor to show them to the reader. This can make your poem more evocative and powerful, as the reader is able to experience the emotions and ideas for themselves.
  • Revise and edit: Writing a good poem often requires multiple drafts and revisions. Take the time to read your poem out loud, experiment with different phrasing and word choices, and cut out any unnecessary words or lines. Editing is a crucial part of the writing process, so don't be afraid to make changes and improvements as needed.
  • Read and learn from other poets: Reading the work of other poets can be a great way to gain inspiration and learn new techniques. Don't be afraid to study the work of your favorite poets and try to incorporate some of their styles and voice into your own writing.

A poem is a short piece of writing, usually rhyming. It can be about any subject or topic, and there are no hard-and-fast rules on how to write one. The most important thing in the process of creating your own poetry is that you have fun with it!

If this has sparked an interest in starting to create your own verse - give it a shot!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you structure a poem?

A poem can have different structures, including rhyming words or free verse. The basic building block of a poem is called a stanza. A stanza is part or all of the poem with one line. 

How to write a poem that rhymes?

Below are some steps of a rhyming poem: 

  1. Brainstorm the poem ideas. 
  2. Look around for anything that inspires you and write it down. 
  3. Create a list of words that can rhyme with each other, and think of how you want to put them together, like abab or cdcd. 
  4. Finally, write your poem out, and make sure to proofread it before you publish it! 

How short can poems be?

Poems can be of any length. You decide how long the poem is by writing it. Length does not matter, but you should think about what you are saying.

How do you begin a poem?

Here are some tips to help you start your poem:

  1. Start with a sentence that gets people's attention. 
  2. Use figurative language in the first words of the poem. 
  3. And introduce the character or plot literary device in the poem.

How do you write a short story poem?

  1. To write a poem, you need to:
  2. Find the right words. 
  3. Use poetic devices. 
  4. Tell a story. 
  5. Proofread it.


Caleb S.


Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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