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How to Write Better Poetry

Poet, translator and writer of many books of poems. She is interested in literature and culture studies.

The Nature Tells


Ways to Write Poem

Poems are the expression of the imaginative self. However, there are no hard and fast rules to be a good poet, one can not set rules for composing a good piece. A Robert Frost, Rabindranath Tagore, Sylvia Plath or Pablo Neruda are not often born and also it is the truth that the poems like, "The Raven" (Edgar Allan Poe), "The Road Not Taken" (Robert Frost), "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" (Emily Dickinson), etc., are not always composed.

But like every other creative works, one may follow some rules that should be maintained, some red lines not to be crossed and some things must be remembered. If the poet or would be poet closely follows these rules, it is possible that he or she could someday produce a better piece, that may be remembered as a gem forever in the world's poetry and world's literature.

1. Economy of Thought: This is the veritable first rule of writing a good piece of poetry. Economy of thought means that when the poet is going to compose a piece, he or she must have a unified thought that he is going to translate into words. The writer must know what he is going to write. He must remember the famous line of the poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, "Let us go then, you and I". Thus the person and his thought should walk unified, hand in hand, to produce a memorable piece of work.

2. Economy of Expression: Economy of thought must be accompanied with economy of expression. We shall call Matthew Arnold's famous poem "Dover Beach", a good example of economy of expression, for the theme that is taken here by the poet could have been written in various expression and multiple reverberation. But the poet very sufficiently had chosen the right way of economy of expression that makes the poem a perfect poetic piece to be remembered for all ages to come. One just needs to go through the poem to understand the poetic utterance of a highly powerful imaginative self. But while creating a piece of poem, the poet also keeps the boundary line of economy of expression that makes the poem a real great piece. The poet is very much troubled to notice the growing loss of faith and more so because he is now with his ladylove, but this dichotomy is expressed very poignantly keeping the economy of expression intact.

3. Economy of Words: With maintaining these previous two rules, one should also keep in his mind economy of words, only then he or she can be possibly another Robert Frost. Frost's poems are best examples of economy of words. Let's examine the lines from Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", it will undoubtedly reveal his genius in mastering the word's power. If a would be poet just studies Frost's poem minutely, he will nevertheless understand the practice of economy of words. It is perhaps one of the best examples of economy of words. Neither there is more words nor less. Best words of English language are chosen to put into the right place that makes the poem a piece of gem.

4. Economy of Diction: Diction is a very important word in creating poetry. There may be various diction as per the theme of the poem. The poem may be of various tone, lyrical, elegiac, haiku, prose poetry and others. Judging the mood of the thought, the writer should approach the best diction that is best commensurate with the piece. Thus Coleridge's , "The Rime of Ancient Mariner" is different from Frost's "Fire and Ice" or William Blake's "The Tyger" is different from Carl Sandburg's "Fog" or Pablo Neruda's famous poem, "Cat's Dream". Diction should be applied properly with all other relevant things, that are discussed earlier.

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If all these rules are properly maintained and together with high inspiration, a memorable piece of work like Charles Bukowski's "Bluebird" can be composed. So, it is not proper to say that good poets are made in heaven. The poet may have been born with some of the inherited self, either from lineage or from culture, but even then he or she needs to maintain and practice all these skills properly to be a high rated creative self.

© 2021 Ilina Jones


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 16, 2021:

Well expressed, thanks.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 16, 2021:

An interesting article. Thank you for this advice on writing better poetry.

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