April is Poetry Month: How to Write Poetry

If you want to begin writing poetry, start today! It doesn’t matter how it turns out. Your own mistakes will become your teachers. Your own writing will motivate you to greater creativity. Once you start the process, how do you improve it?

  1. Use nouns and verbs more than adjectives. Which is stronger: “She was as beautiful as a flower…” or “Roses wilted in shame as she passed by…”? “He looked at the depressing clouds…” or “He watched as dark clouds moved in, covering his sky…”?
  2. Don’t tell the reader how to feel. Let the words elicit the emotions directly, without explaining. “The tragedy touched them all,” is more touching to the reader as “Men and women, doctor and workman… thirteen people looked upon the scene… with tears in their eyes.”
  3. Use dramatic and emotional words. Not all words are equal in their ability to “grab” a reader or elicit emotion. “Fell,” “take,” and “love,” will probably be weaker than “plunged,” “seized,” and “worship.”
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