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How to Write Poetry 101

Step 1: Forget everything you know about poetry

Just forget it. Everything. Every notion you’ve held about writing poetry is no longer valid the second you sit down and decide to write poetry. Sorry. Poetry isn’t something you place in a shape or a mold, the addition to words to an already existent idea you THINK deserves your heart. It doesn’t. Poets don’t sit down and toss around the idea of producing a Shakespearian sonnet or something a little more epic, like the good ole’ days. No, things that already exist don’t help you write your poem. All they do is provide you with examples and ideas, history and context, and lead you to believe that the most beautiful poem is one that fits a “rule.” When you write poetry it’s because that continuous song behind your mind is belting - shaking the walls around you, giving you no other option but to turn potential into actual. Poetry is the result of a personal filter to which one’s heart and mind is shaped and blended into something wordy; juice of one’s thoughts merely provide the medium between IDEA as it connects to IDEA in a continuously unraveling process of self-discovery. This is poetry. Words tumble upon words the moment you decide to write. The original idea you once had moments before you locked your mind to go to sleep is now changing, transforming into purity, singing its own song before your eyes and all you do is allow it, and listen. Your mind wants to be rid of it. Vomit all over the page the second the perfect sentence comes to you and stop the second it feels right. Not before, not after. Poetry isn’t for the weak hearted because of the fact that it EATS at your heart. Writing for somebody or writing for something presents parts of YOU that, until now, only YOU knew of. Writing poetry is one of the most shell-ripping things you can do to yourself. It makes you nervous. It makes you look from the outside in at inner songs you didn’t really realize you were singing to everybody. Writing poetry is horrifying...... only if you’re doing it RIGHT. All is fair in love and war, but we can add poetry on to the end of that for now. So forget everything you know about it, and leave it at the door. You’ve entered a different place. This is YOUR space. Writing poetry is like decorating the walls of your bedroom with your eyes closed. Because who cares what happens? It was EXCITING, and in the end? It’s still your bedroom.



Aradhana Shukla on August 30, 2020:

Thank you for writing this, before reading this I was convinced by one of my senior in college (who also happens to be a poet/writer) that I don't know the real thing about writing and I don't write the "right way" because I don't know anything about "writing rules." ( as he quotes them)

Daniel James Hinton (author) from Orlando, Florida on July 26, 2013:

Thank you so much Brenda :D I'm glad you agree.

And there's no better way to explain poetry.. then poetry :)

Brenda Durham on July 24, 2013:


Now THIS is truth! The whole hub.

"....singing its own song before your eyes...."

"....you've entered a different place.........."

So true!

You've embedded some poetry (like those lines) into your article; matter of fact, your entire article is poetry to me; I recognize and empathize and love love it! Thanks for this hub.

Jose Velasquez from Lodi, New Jersey on June 18, 2013:

Very true words. The most important part of poetry is expression. If you aren't putting a little of yourself into each word, you're not doing it right.

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