rules of poetry writing

rules of poetry writing

The Rules of Poetry Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

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1. Introduction to Poetry Writing

Creating it entails dedication and work, which should be directed by intelligent effort; the principles to which that effort should be directed are presented here as stepping stones. Poetry is a part of civilized life that goes back many years, even earlier than any written works of humankind. When people want to celebrate, to remember, to persuade, to stimulate, they turn to poetry. They have done so for much of human history. Hymns, lamentations, elegies, epics, songs, and narrative poems are human history. They use diverse forms of expression, often in a difficult style, and they reside in anthologies, in libraries, printed in books and, before, copies were circulated in writing; now they are often available in audiovisual or digital formats.

Poetry is not just the expression of the poet’s thoughts and feelings; art requires mastery. There is a whole range of skills and techniques open to the poet, but mastery is essential. And these skills and techniques are the subject of this little handbook. Not only does it contain details of poetic meters (the most important aspect of the poet’s craftsmanship), but it also deals with the nature of the poem and the kinds of them in existence, with the poet’s use of language and the figures of speech available to him, and with matters that trouble many of those who read and like poetry – aspects of interpretation and how to tackle the question of, is one poem better than another? Some guidelines are given on composition – and, crucially, on how to read poetry. Finally, we show how to learn and how to criticize poems. The message is straightforward; writing poetry is a great pleasure and of high educational and human value.

2. Understanding the Elements of Poetry

Some of the common elements of poetry include figurative language, meter, rhythm, setting, mood, imagery, theme, phonetic patterns, simile, metaphor, rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Other recognized elements cannot be generally agreed upon whether they are integral parts of the poem or not. These are the apostrophe, the varied line, stanza forms, and peculiar punctuation usage. These elements set up a work of poetry and distinguish it from other forms such as journalistic news, prose writing, or academic communication like science textbooks. In several communities, poetry writing is not unreservedly a recognized form of textual literacy.

Modern poets are encouraged to celebrate diversity and inclusion and understand the conflict and differences among various community and individual identities. Modern poets exhibit unity in diversity. Poems are made up of distinct elements which are termed as the basic poetic structures that the poets employ when composing their works. These elements are used to form the fundamentally essential weather structures of the poem, and the combined effect of them can meaningfully affect, reinforce, or undermine the central symbolic elements of the poem. These components can serve as a compass which guides the poets when selecting the materials that can create poetic effects. Usually, poets cannot choose structurally unrealistic elements or incorporate them into their poems because they will offend the unique sensibility which is derived from the combination of their structural choices, subject compositions that will create it, and the accepted conventional artistic norms that society has.

3. Crafting Poetic Form and Structure

In other words, a literary artist must be as knowledgeable about poetic structure as he or she is about poetic content. Remember, the readers start out an extra bit behind the poet since they must first figure out what the poem is actually about. Used in the right frame of reference, however, poetry forms enable the literary artisan to nudge readers into getting it on their own quicker so that they have time to enjoy the juicy parts of the poem, thereby adding even more pleasure to the experience.

How about the sonnet, which consists of fourteen rhyming lines? Each of these lines has about the same number of syllables. The sonnet also has its own arrangement of lines, and in some cases, the last word of each group of lines is designed to rhyme with another word. The same is true of the villanelle, the couplet, the triolet, and other examples of poetic form and structure.

4. Mastering Rhyme, Meter, and Rhythm

“Meter” is the name for the kind of rhythm used in a poem. That rhythm is created by paying attention to two things: the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables so that they are separate “feet” and the number of those “feet” in a poem. The number of feet in a line generally determines the name and basic rhythm of the poem. Most of the well-known metrical forms have one of these meters: Iamb, or iambus, is a unit of meter consisting of two syllables. The first is an unstressed syllable, and the second is a stressed syllable. It is a rising meter. It is the most common meter in English poetry. One way to understand it is to think of it as the “heartbeat” of the poem. “Shaken to the Core” by Octavia McCartney and “Therea” are examples. Anapest is a metrical foot used in formal poetry. It consists of three syllables, and the first two are short or unstressed, followed by a third long or stressed syllable. Trochee is a unit of meter consisting of two syllables. The first is a stressed syllable, and the second is an unstressed syllable. It is a falling meter. This poem is a trochaic tetrameter. Since the pattern in this song uses double iambs, it’s also said to be common meter.

Your poem must have a pattern of sound. Take a moment to find a few different words that are either similar or the same. Who knew that as easy as arranging words in a pattern could create magic in a poem! Each unit of the word is called a syllable. The pattern of syllables within a verse of a poem is called its meter. The most commonly used unit in meter is the “foot.” The actual rhythm and number of feet per line have to be determined based on the specific form. However, it’s very helpful to have an overall understanding of different kinds of feet and their typical meanings. For one thing, it gives you a place to start when you’re ready to get actual words onto the page.

5. Polishing Techniques and Revision Strategies

Certainly all of us, even those great writers of yesteryear, have witnessed the results of a hundred different revisions of a poem submitted by a first-time writer; what is left comes off as spread so thin that we worry that the poet can ill afford the loss of blood. Nonetheless, do anything you can to make your work stronger through revision. Writing assistance can be obtained from reference books and school/college writing tutors, and help can also be gained from leaving the poem alone for a good long time. That way, you can come back to be surprised at your poem—if it still satisfies you on the emotional level, then submit it. But be absolutely sure that it is your poem that does the satisfying.

So you’ve got your nearly final draft of the poem on paper, but the poem isn’t finished yet. What to do next? Before you do anything, put your poem down for a while: a few days, a week, a month, whatever feels right. Then come back to it with a red pencil. Remembering that poetry is more than just an exercise in description and beautiful language, critically challenge the first version of your poem. Criticize and cross out lines, add new ones, and question your images and metaphors. Reevaluate words and sounds to ensure they’re completely effective. Why did you choose this phrase, these words, these sounds? Don’t stop revising until they are the most potent choice of all.

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