Poetry: How to Write Your First Poem

Poetry is an art form I have admired for years. The idea of expressing your thoughts, emotions, and life through eloquent writing fascinated me and still does to this day. Before I ever learned about how poetry was written in middle school I thought poetry was boring and didn’t understand why people always talked about it. Then I realized, poetry is artistic, and it’s meaningful. Not all poetry is “deep” but most poetry comes from the writer’s personal ideas, imagination, and experience. I believe one of the main purposes of poetry is to get the reader to think, to open their minds to the beauty and pain of the world.

Writing poetry requires the writer to become extra observant of their surroundings. There is always a moment from which a writer can derive a poem from. For example; if one was to write a poem about nature, it would be good to sit outside and quietly observe how it moves and reacts to it’s surroundings. Writing is generally very relaxing, stress relieving and allows you to fully express how you feel.

A few things that helped me get started in writing poetry was reading poetry. I would go to bookstores and the library and bring home books all about poetry. I wouldn’t read all of them, but the one’s I did read were very inspiring. I love reading poetry about nature, music, and love. I have a great interest in those subjects so it is only natural I would find those genres appealing. There are poems written about all kinds of subjects! It won’t be difficult to find poetry about things you have interest in 🙂 . Reading poetry helped me grasp a good understanding of the different types of poetry such as lyric poetry, narrative poetry, love poetry, free verse, etc. I love all different styles of poetry but if I had to choose a favorite I would choose lyric poetry. 🙂

Here’s a list of some things you will need to write a poem:

  • Paper
  • Pen/pencil
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Rhyming dictionary
  • Time (it can take a lot of time to write)

I don’t use any physical dictionaries but I do have an app on my phone called Poet Assistant that has all three. It is pretty convenient and easy to use, I recommend using something like that if you don’t have a thesaurus or dictionary at home.

Writing your first poem can be intimidating if you’ve never written one before. There’s no need to worry though. Here are a few steps I took when I first started writing. Writing an outline will help you organize your thoughts and ideas.

  • Write the general idea of what you want your poem to be about
  • Write down key words
  • Expand on those keywords. How do they relate to your main idea?
  • What is the purpose of your poem? What do you want your message to be?

Your poem doesn’t have to be organized or in good form at first. You can just write. Write down everything that comes to mind until you’re sure you have nothing else to say about the subject of your poem. Then you can take a break and come back to it later with a fresh mind and basically “rewrite” what you already wrote but more condensed and precise in the form of poetry you want it to be in. You might not even have to change much from what you originally wrote.

I shared a link to my favorite how-to poetry book in my blog on songwriting, the book is called The Art and Craft of Poetry. This book really inspired me and I’ve read it front to back at least three times in the past few years. It is so helpful and was the only book that really gave me a strong understanding of poetry. If you want to start writing a lot of poetry I highly recommend the book.

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