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Tips For Writing Poetry and How to Construct a Poem

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Dohn121 is a freelance writer who currently resides at the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains of New York's famed Hudson Valley.

This hub article will cover three types of poems: The Japanese Haiku, the Shakespearean Sonnet, and the Song Ballad. In essence, I will show you how to write each and hopefully, by the time you're through reading this hub article, you'll find that it really isn't that difficult (or simple?) to do so. Good luck!


First off, I'd like to thank Dink96 for making this to me nearly a month ago. As I have been busy with a myriad of other projects, this one had to take a back seat at least for the time being. I thank you for your patience and hope that you are able to benefit from this hub as I've pored over all that I know (which isn't much, mind you) in order to produce this hub. If I'm able to effectively help just one person (that includes you, Dink96) then I've surely reached my goal. I'd like to also dedicate this hub to my good friend poetlorraine whose appreciation for poetry exceeds even my own. Thank you for reading this!


Japanese Rock Garden

Japanese Rock Garden

How to Write a Japanese Haiku

A Japanese Haiku is non-rhyming verse poem in which the first line consists of five syllables, the second consisting of seven syllables, and the third line consisting of five syllables. When first being introduced to the Japanese Haiku in the seventh grade, my English teacher explained to my class that much the same way telegrams were used in Western culture, the person who was sending a message was charged not by the word, but by the mora or syllable (typically 17 moras per haiku), which in essence, forced the sender or writer of said haiku to write in a very efficient yet creative and compact manner. In addition to this, a Japanese-style haiku should have a kireji or "cutting-word" in which changes the dynamics of the haiku by "cutting" the stream of thought. To learn more about what a kireji is, you can do so by clicking here. Lastly, a Japanese-style haiku should also have a kiga or seasonal reference which will convey a feeling or emotion consistent with the message of the haiku. For instance, think about the scenes of nature that are associated with each of the four seasons as they will provide clues to the reader. So here is a general overview of what a Japanese-style haiku is:

  • A non-rhyming poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line
  • Has a "cutting word" in which "cuts" or interrupts the stream of thought
  • Has a seasonal theme consistent with the mood of the poem

As my good friend Cris A knows, I used to write a lot of haikus up until I discovered fiction. Here's one that I wrote on-the-fly, so please don't laugh:

She's all that I want

Forever green pines and firs

Always I will wait

Okay, I hate to analyze my own work, but in the case, I believe it's necessary. I did achieve two out of the three objectives, but for all intents and purposes, I didn't achieve the third because the "seasonal theme" should really have been made mention of in the final line rather than the second. However, I just couldn't bare to do so, as i like the rhythm of the haiku, especially the alliteration. Would you like some more examples of haikus? Russ Baleson is a very good writer of haikus. Here's one of my favorites titled, It's Time For Haiku.


Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

This may be my favorite of all of Shakespeare's sonnets as it's beautiful and just strikes a chord with me. If you can't feel this sonnet then seriously, you better check your pulse. If I could just write one Shakespearean sonnet just as good as this, I'd be one happy writer to say the least! So as prominent and brilliant as Shakespeare was, he only wrote 154 sonnets which, in my opinion, is a let down. So why did he write only 154 of them? Perhaps because they're difficult to write, that's why! Writing just one Shakespearean sonnet may take an average person weeks or even months to achieve. Heck, they may even spend their entire lives and never finish! I am working on one right now and it really is no cakewalk, mind you. So back to the sonnet 18.  Here's the same sonnet broken up into a quatrain, an octave, and a couplet:

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

So, in terms of lines in a Shakespearean sonnet, there are 4 lines in a quatrain, 8 lines in an octave, and 2 lines in a couplet. In each line, there are 10 syllables in which follows a "stressed" and "unstressed" scheme. This is of course also known as iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is a line made up of five pairs of short/long, or unstressed/stressed, syllables.  For a more in-depth breakdown of such please click here.

Scroll to Continue

Piece of cake, right?


How To Write a Ballad

Ballads usually have verses of lines and often have a rhyming pattern in abac, aabb. or acbc which is perhaps the easiest type of ballad to make rhyme. I've read that the best way in which to begin to write a ballad is to come up with a starter phrase, which doesn't necessarily have to be the very first line of the ballad but rather a starting point in which to build upon.  Repetition is also found in ballads as whole stanzas can be repeated just like a song's chorus.  Lines can also be repeated, but a certain word must be changed so as to make it unique. Ballads also contain a lot of dialogue as well. Any action is usually described in first person and in addition, two characters can speak to each other in alternating lines. Sequences of "threes" are usually prevalent, such as three kisses, three tasks, or three events. I actually wrote a ballad titled The Girl in the Avatar right here on HubPages. So please click here to have a look.

Here is one of my favorite ballads originally written by Elliot Lurie. Below, you'll find a video of my favorite band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers doing a cover of it. Please enjoy.


"Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" (As recorded by Looking Glass) ELLIOT LURIE

There's a port on a western bay And it serves a hundred ships a day Lonely sailors pass the time away And talk about their homes And there's a girl, in this harbor town And she works, laying whiskey down They say "Brandy, fetch another round" She serves them whiskey and wine The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor From the sea." Brandy, wears a braided chain Made of finest silver from the north of Spain A locket, that bears the name Of a man that Brandy loved He came, on a summer's day Bringing gifts, from far away But he made it clear, he couldn't stay No harbor was his home The sailors said "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea." Yeah Brandy used to watch his eyes when he told his sailor's story She could feel the ocean fall and rise, she saw it's raging glory But he had always told the truth, Lord he was an honest man And Brandy does her best to understand At night, when the bars close down Brandy walks through a silent town And loves a man, who's not around She still can hear him say, she hears him say "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea" "Brandy, you're a fine girl What a good wife you would be But my life, my lover, my lady Is the sea"

Okay, so there you have it. By now, you've discovered just how easy or how difficult writing and constructing a Japanese-style haiku, a Shakespearean sonnet, and a song ballad can be. In either case, I sure do hope that you give one of them a try as I found it to be a challenge. As soon as I do finish my sonnet, I will post it on this hub article, so be sure to come back to read it. Oh, and by the way, my haiku, ballad and sonnet are all about the same person: Rayna H. Hurman.

If poetry is NOT your cup of tea, then maybe fiction is. I still am taking submissions for my Write a 55-Word Story hub if you would like to participate. Just email me your 55-word story and I'll be sure to post it.

Thank you for reading!

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

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Glen Rix from UK on July 01, 2015:

I'm surprised by your comment about Shakespeare. His plays are largely written in the same iambic pentameter that he used for the sonnets.

Walter on July 24, 2013:

Pretty. Looks like you're at least three weeks behind us here so far as the soaesns go. Most all the leaves around here are fallen now, have been for a week.Down in the North Fork, at about 6000 feet, it looks kinda like that still. Not that green though.Is that you in that taildragger? And will I get a takedown notice from the copyright holder on those pics? 0

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on April 17, 2012:

Thank you, Felina. As you are flabbergasted, I am elated that you think so!

Felina Margetty from New York, New York on April 05, 2012:

Beautiful, I am flabbergasted.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 22, 2012:

I cannot believe that it's taken me this long to respond to everyone in the last 20 months that has read this hub, but I thank you and apologize for not getting back to you sooner! Thank you, thank you, and thank you...

Annette Gagliardi from Minneapolis on January 13, 2012:

this was an informative hub. thanks.

mistifields on October 27, 2011:

Very useful. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

philipandrews188 on September 15, 2011:

Great tips.

Poetic Fool on June 15, 2011:

Thanks for the hub. I particularly appreciated the introduction to Haiku. I haven't written Haiku as yet but am encouraged to give it a try. Thanks!

Drew Breezzy from somewhere in my mind on May 14, 2011:

Excellent hub! I studied EE Cummings & Shakespeare's sonnets a few weeks back. Then I wrote 1,000 words worth of sonnets for my college English class and receIved an A!

love poems on April 27, 2011:

thanks you explain better then my teacher.your way to explaining is very good .you must be a teacher i righter? and your students are very luck if you really are a teacher

Annette Gagliardi from Minneapolis on February 22, 2011:

Thank you. I will learn

much from reading your hubs -But

now I must sleep some.

stephen murtagh on December 22, 2010:

wow,you have alot of friends. thats good i dont like poetry that much but i would liketo write a book someday. i do think your guild is very helpful and will help alot of people. thay seem to like your thinking and so do i. stgephen murtagh

Lemaios from England on December 04, 2010:

It's nice and relatively concise advice compared to what is sometimes out there. Thank you :)

shogan from New England on December 01, 2010:

Great hub, Dohn. I've found that teaching iambic pentameter in my high school classes is easier when students think of a stressed syllable in iambic pentameter as a potential drum beat. If the IP poem were lyrics to a song, every other stressed syllable could be on the beat.

sarah geronimo on September 29, 2010:

ala kwenta!!!!!!1

LizzyBoo from Czech Republic on September 13, 2010:

Dohn my dear friend!!! This is what I needed to read. I do writes a basic poems and your information will hopefully help me in my progress. Thank you for sharing your experiences you heavenly good hubber!


Germaine Reilly on July 30, 2010:

Dohn, thanks for the very detailed analysis, demystifying the mechanics of poetry is useful for poets and readers alike.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on May 12, 2010:

Thank you so much, Katie! I used to think that I had to get "inspired" before writing poetry when I was younger, but no more. Any one of us can "tap" into our creativity with some persistence and time (this I learned). I'm so happy to hear that this was helpful. I hope that you come back to read this as a resource. Thanks!


Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 08, 2010:

dohn, poetry is something that sometimes drains from me, it is a flood of emotions and is hard to contain. I really appreciate your taking the time to create such a helpful guide as to how to write poetry and construct it properly. It's very helpful. Thanks and Peace :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on May 04, 2010:

Thank you, Felix. I was actually thinking about writing a hub article in which others will submit their poetry to in which I'll then post. Why don't you join HubPages and then go from there? Please let me know.

Felix Glikpo on May 04, 2010:

i like the site for it has helped me create a lovely poem.But i would like you to give me the chance to past it here.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on April 29, 2010:

Hey GH. Thanks for book marking this hub my friend. Yes, I've been extremely busy what with a new job and new place. I really miss being on HP and being active. I'm going to try my best to be more visible. Thanks for the inquiry ;)

Gener Geminiano from Land of Salt, Philippines on April 25, 2010:

Wow going to bookamrk this dohn. Great job here, btw what's keeping you busy!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on April 12, 2010:

Thanks Kimberly! I'm glad you liked this and hope that it does help! Thank you for bookmarking it too :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on April 12, 2010:

Hi, Laurel! Thanks so much for the comment! The feeling's mutual :D I enjoyed writing this as much as you enjoyed reading it and am glad to have shared it. Thank you!

kimberlyslyrics on April 12, 2010:

dohn I bookmarked this but also printed it.

Really well done

Thank you


Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on April 03, 2010:

Dohn, your hubs are amazing gifts! This is one more example of your lovely and witty writing. Boy, am I glad I 'fanned' you when I did! :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 15, 2010:

Thank you so much, Dink96. Yes, I spent some extra time on this hub and had a great time doing so. I figured that you were up to your eyes with work, class, and other responsibilities. You certainly are a dutiful daughter. Just write whenever you can :D Keep up the great work and keep improving your craft! It's great to hear from you.

Dink96 from Phoenix, AZ on March 15, 2010:

Wow! A tremendous amount of work in this and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your research and info! Yes, I have been off HubPages and writing for quite some time. Getting my mom settled, working, and doing a LOT of reading. As you know, just posted my first hub in a loooong time, "Driving Backwards Through Life, Pt 1" last night. The poetry "faucet" has been dry of late, but I always try to carry a pad of paper for when something sparks me. Thank you my friend.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 09, 2010:

Thanks for the compliment, Lynda. I had a fun time constructing this hub, so hearing such great feedback is truly a blessing. Thanks for stopping by and of course for the comment!

Lynda Gary on March 09, 2010:

dang! I don't think I've ever seen a hub with SO MANY comments. Holy cow. LOL Good for you, dohn!

Beautiful pictures in this hub.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 05, 2010:

It's so good to hear and see that you did, MG. Thank you for doing so.

Moon Goddess1854 from Wherever my writing takes me on March 05, 2010:

Took your advice, I find many interesting ideas from this article. Thanks!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 02, 2010:

Thanks, Lgali for the comment!

Lgali on March 02, 2010:

wow another good one Thanks

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on March 01, 2010:

Hey, BP! You always make me blush whenever I read your comments :D Thank you for reading this. I had a lot of fun writing this and so hope that it helps others. Thanks, cutie pie!

blondepoet from australia on March 01, 2010:

Oh Dohn that was a fantastic article. Oh you are such a smart guy as well as being a really cute one as well. xo

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 27, 2010:

You're welcome, anjalichugh. I'm so glad that I was able to help you in this respect. I learned much of this in college--I was writing poetry for years and until I got to college, I really thought I was writing poetry (which in reality, was prose structured like a poem). When we begin to get into the nitty gritty of poetry writing, we find that it is indeed tougher than we thought! I hope that your haiku turned out well! Thank you for reading this and commenting.

anjalichugh from New York on February 27, 2010:

I should thank you for making me aware of the pattern I normally follow while writing a poem. Its always somewhat similar to ballad. Surprising as it sounds, I had no idea about the category, my style falls in. I started writing in my school days and since then I've been following the same style. Recently I tried writing a poem for my son in Japanese Haiku style. Well, not that I knew that time what style it was. He gave me a pattern (given by his teacher)to follow and I simply adhered to it. I just learnt from this hub what that style was in fact. Thanks very much for enlightening me on this subject.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 25, 2010:

Hey James! It's great to hear from you. I was wondering how your journey was going as of late. As I've said before, I'm inspired by your free-flowing nature. I really do hope that you get the recognition and exposure you deserve. The novel is still in the editing stage before submission with my hopes to do so by May or June. Much work is still needed. Thanks so much for keeping in touch.


James J Mills from Northern California on February 25, 2010:

Dohn..... thanks for reminding me about the structure of poetry. Sometimes I become a little too free form.... I've been writing still in Puerto Vallarta now and submitting alot to various magazines, thus not much is being posted at my hub.... but more soon. Really enjoy your writing. Hows the book publishing coming? Keep it going.

Best.. JM

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 22, 2010:

Thanks, sophs. Thanks for bookmarking this one. If I had to choose a favorite sonnet by Shakespeare, it would have to be #18 without question. Thanks for reading this!

sophs on February 22, 2010:

Wow! This is a brilliant hub, I'm bookmarking this! Ohhh I love Sonnet 18 sooooo romantic! Thanks for the tips and advice you're a great writer and an inspiration! :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 21, 2010:

Thank you, TFT! I've always been why to try just about anything for the first time. Once I was taught how poems worked, I began writing them...And haven't stopped. Thanks again, my friend.

Truth From Truth from Michigan on February 21, 2010:

Thanks Dohn, Nice explanation of poetry. I enjoy reading poetry occasionally, however I don't think I have any talent in that area myself. Well done.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 21, 2010:

Thanks, Ten Blogger. That's exactly what I had in mind wrhen writing this as I do want to help others. I appreciate it!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 21, 2010:

Hey, Rebecca. Never say never! You'll NEVER know until you try! Thanks for doing that for me. You're always a big help. I really appreciate it.

Ten Blogger on February 21, 2010:

Nice.. reminds me of my english literature classes.. I liked the pictures that put as well.

Rebecca E. from Canada on February 21, 2010:

okay so I'll never write a great peom but i love this explaination rated up and stumbled upon.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 20, 2010:

That's awesome to hear, daisyjae! That's exactly what I intended when writing this hub. I hope you do and soon. Thanks for the comment.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 20, 2010:

Really Maita? I had no clue! That's so cool. I just hunted it down and posted it. I don't remember the source unfortunately, but I'll take your word for it :D Thanks again, Pretty Lady!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 20, 2010:

Ha! Thanks, Dolores! I know exactly how you feel. I'm trying my pen at writing a sonnet and it's NOT EASY! I won't give up however, no matter what. Don't you love that sonnet? I'd like to write about 100 sonnets before I croak ;) Thanks for reading this!

daisyjae from Canada on February 20, 2010:

This makes me want to write a poem. I need to write more!

prettydarkhorse from US on February 20, 2010:

Dohn, thank you for this article, I came by again because I failed to tell you, the beach in this hub is the BORACAY beach YEHEY? is it-- and I like the images you put here again, I like most Japanese styled gardens and beaches, my two favorite sceneries....Maita

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 20, 2010:

Dohn, I remember in school, learning how to construct sonnet and haiku poetry. I'd work so hard, then reread 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day' and think, what a waste of time. It would be like blasphemy to even think I could come up with something called a sonnet, after reading the real thing, so exquisite! Thanks for the lesson!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 20, 2010:

Thank you, myownworld! I had no idea that you have a Master's in Literature! I'm thinking about going back to college to get an MFA in Creative Writing--just as soon as I exhaust every last literary agent and publisher in the known universe! Thanks for coming by! It's always a treat to hear from you!

myownworld from uk on February 20, 2010:'re one talented guy I have to say!! I did a Masters degree in Literature, so you can imagine how interested I was in this... great hub! So beautifully presented and excellent selection of poems! keep going....! :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Thanks, Sage Williams for reading and bookmarking this! I sure do hope that you give haikus a try. They're a lot of fun to write once you get the hang of it. I really appreciate your reading this. Thank you!

Sage Williams on February 19, 2010:

What a terrific hub. I will definitely book mark this one. I have always wanted to try Haiku but have never given it a whirl. Very well done.

Thanks so much, I will definitely have to try this soon. I appreciate your efforts in writing this hub. It is an awesome resource.


dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

That's absolutely fine, Kaie! What an awesome compliment! Like prasetio30 you are an educator and to be asked such an awesome request is an honor! And as a head's up, I'm going to be posting my Shakespearean sonnet very soon--most likely by the end of the weekend. I'm still mulling over it now as it is difficult to do. Thanks ever so much, Kaie!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Thanks, prasetio30. That's a great compliment coming from you. I'm glad I was able to share this with you and the pleasure's all mine! Thank you.

Kaie Arwen on February 19, 2010:

dohn121- I use a variety of different ways of breaking down this type of writing for my students............ and you have done a great job in explaining their construction ............... can I borrow your explanations if they are ever needed? I'd love to have another concrete example............. you never know when you'll need one!



prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 19, 2010:

as a teacher I really impressed with this hub. I get many information here. good work my friend and thanks for showing me about all the poems.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Thank you so much for that, Jen. I'm glad to have shared this with you and so many others. It's great to hear such encouraging words, thank you!

Jen's Solitude from Delaware on February 19, 2010:

dohn121 you are a wonderful teacher! Thanks so much for the education. I truly appreciate understanding more about Japanese Haiku, the song ballad, and Shakespearean Sonnets.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Ha! Thanks, akirchner! I'll admit, it's not easy, but certainly not impossible. It certainly makes me appreciate others that can, however! Practicing on writing a 55-Word is really a good thing. Authors like Hemingway and Hwang Sun-Won have taught me so much about NOT wasting words and writing a 55-word story is a challenge to say the least. I hope that you give it a try. I'll be awaiting your submission!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Thanks, Philipo. I'm glad that you like it!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on February 19, 2010:

Great information and I will have to think about those styles and see if I can do any of it! Gosh - a 55-word story- I have a feeling that would be hard to do (for me). I probably clock in around 50,000 words. Will think about that though and see if I can whittle away at some idea and keep it short and sweet!

Philipo from Nigeria on February 19, 2010:

Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 19, 2010:

Thanks, Elayne. I sure do hope that you do. One of the things that helps me is dedicating the said poem I'm working on to someone special in my life (a friend or family member) so as a source of motivation. It usually works for me!

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on February 19, 2010:

Excellent hub on poetry. I have been hesitating writing because I didn't really know how, but I admire those who do. Maybe I'll get brave now and give it a try. Thanks.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Thank you, Elena. I'm happy to hear that you liked my Haiku! I'm doubly happy that you liked this hub as well. I'm always willing to take up a challenge and who knows, just like me 55-Word Story Hub, I'd like to someday come up with a hub in the same tradition but instead of 55-Word Stories, writers will submit haikus instead. What do you think? Please let me know!

Thanks as always, pretty Lady :D

Elena from London, UK on February 18, 2010:

Thanks Dohn. I've always wondered what Haiku Poems were. I have read a few on HP but still didn't understand the term "Haiku" and have been lazy to google it.

I'm glad you explained it and I like your Haiku Poem. Wow, you are full of surprises.

Beautiful photo's too. Cheers.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

I'll certainly take a look. Thanks for commenting and sharing your views. I've always been fascinated in all of the different mediums available to us as creative writers and the haiku was introduced to me at an early age. I'll admit that it has been a long since I wrote one (up until now of course) but will try to write a bit more in the near future. I'll look forward to hearing from you again!

Sharif Selassie on February 18, 2010:

I would love your opinion on several haikus that i have posted--the allure to me in the haiku is the length. As a writer we are allowed to be so descriptive in mostly all our works. I found it interesting to play around with haikus. If you could just tell me if I hit on all the points that it was supposed to. Thanx and I look forward to reading some of your short stories as well. Feel free to follow me and check out some of my other work--Bless.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Hey, cosette! You should do a hub a Nostradamus. Actually, now that you mentioned it, you better do quickly before someone else does (and no I don't mean me, silly). I'm going to finish my sonnet hopefully by the end of the day, so I'd like to hear some feedback (aren't writers needy like that?). I'm glad you liked it ;)

Yeah, I never tried one of those doo-hickeys...I always thought a widget was one of those watchamacallits you stick underneath a door to keep from swinging shut :D

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Hello, Lily Rose! Thanks as always for the comment. I had a lot of fun writing this. I guess that I'm just putting my English degree to good use ;) Please come by anytime!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Hey, Sherbert Penny. I've been staying away from free verse myself and so have been working on my fiction more than anything else. The Tanka is something that I'm not familiar with and so will have to now look into. If you could, can you share a few of them? I'd sure like to see it. The Phoenix and the turtle is certainly a classic. If I could write a hundred sonnets in my life time, I think it would be a life well lived! Thanks again, my friend. I appreciate your comment.

cosette on February 18, 2010:

it scares me how similar our musings are...this is amazing. never seen "quatrains" talked about on HubPages before, that's for sure ;) in fact, i have been considering writing a hub about Nostradamus' quatrains.

p.s. i clicked "Add dohn121's widget to your website" but nothing happened. oh well.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Ha! I used to sleep through math class, so I guess we're even. In English class, I was the smartass that couldn't stop raising his hand and talking :D Come back anytime ;)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Hey, Tony. Thanks for that. I was always blown away by the level of difficulties these masters of the English language seemed to grind out effortlessly such amazing works. The Shakespearean sonnet may be my favorite. Thanks for reading!

Lily Rose from A Coast on February 18, 2010:

Hi Dohn - this is a great hub! It's well written and explained, just as all your writings are. I am far from being able to write poetry, but if I ever feel like giving it a try, I'll definitely come back here for the lesson!

Sherbet Penny from Galway, Ireland. on February 18, 2010:

Well well dohn, good man for introducing some forms, as there are hundreds I'm sure you know. It's important for writers with poetry to know the trade, and studying poetry forms, meters, rhythm etc. is very important. Like any trade, you have to know the basics.

For me, there are to many people out there, writing what they call poetry, claiming to be poets, getting there slop published and clueless about the structure, construction or even the history of poetry, all this been important to open the gates of the poetic mind.

So another fine hub, though when it comes to Haiku I'm a strong believer in less syllables for more impact. Trying to write the Japanese form in English, Spanish etc. is near impossible in the these languages without sounding to long or like a book. The same goes for the Tanka form. Ive been studying these two forms years now, Tanka been my favourite and hope one day to publish a book on both out of the hundreds I have written.

As for Shakespeare I love " The phoenix and the turtle" such a legend, and it is crazy that his sonnets where sneered at in his day, and left to rot 'till the early nineteenth century. Fascinating, Thank you again for a great hub, keep the forms coming.

emievil from Philippines on February 18, 2010:

Gosh dohn. I had a hard time relating to your hub. I don't write poetry and I seemed to have slept through this topic in our English class :). But hey, I'm glad you wrote this. Now all I have to do is read it very carefully :D. Thanks. :)

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 18, 2010:

Great stuff here, Dohn. I like the way you have laid it out. I am more into free verse myself but appreciate the other forms also. And of course the Shakespearean sonnet is one of the pinnacles of English poetry.

Love and peace


dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 18, 2010:

Thanks ever so much, H. I appreciate the sincere compliment. There are so many places in this world I'd like to visit and Japan is indeed one of them. I sure do hope that you'll get to visit one day. I of course will welcome your story if and when you do finish it and submit to me. Thank you as always!

Andrew from Italy on February 17, 2010:

This is great. You know dohn, beside Scotland Japan is the second place I love, even if I've not been able yet to visit it, so your explanation of Haiku has been extremely interesting. Together with sonnet and ballad of course. But it would be better if I write a 55 words story, at poetry I'm not very good. Great hub man. :)

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Ha! I love this comment! I approve! This is great, anginwu! Very cool? Okay, disregard that, lol. To me, writing poetry is now like riding a bike--albeit a rusty one at that, ha ha. Thanks so much for the thumbs up. It really means a lot to hear such great comments. I'd really like to somehow expand this *puts on thinking cap* I'm going to have to get back to you on this one! You really made me laugh!

You're very welcome!

anglnwu on February 17, 2010:

Haiku, sonnet, ballad--what a spread

Now poetry I'll never dread,

Your explanation clear and plain

No longer is poetry a pain.

Dohn, don't laugh--can't help

my silly little ballad belt

out so shamelessly

perhaps, you'll nod approvingly?

OK, silliness aside, this is a very comprehensive hub on how to write poetry--you did a very good job of showing us how to write any of the above. Like you, I used to write poetry but now, I'm all rusty--all I ever do now is churn out articles that sell--how sad.

Thanks--love it, love it and love it!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Hey, Al! Hahaha! I can understand the barrier that you must face, my man. My first language is actually Lao and from what I learned over the years, knowing more than one language is certainly a challenge in many ways when writing. When you think in one language, it's different from the mode of thinking of another. Each outlook is unique. I give you a lot of credit for knowing--what is it? Three or four?--language. You certainly are a man of the world, not to mention a poet and writer! Yes, I'm jealous :D I'd love for you to share it with me when you're done, my friend!

Warmest Regards,


dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Hey, andromida. Yeah, the stats have been funny today. It seems that HP headquarters had a power outage. I did comment on your comment before but now both are gone! Thanks so much for coming by a second time! I did read invictus's poem and it is very good. Of course I'd welcome your 55-word story in a heartbeat my friend. I'll be waiting :)

Mystique1957 from Caracas-Venezuela on February 17, 2010:

Hey, my man Dohn! You hit another soft spot of mine! haikus and sonnets. It is interesting because I just finished an attempt to am Alenxandrine sonnet. I did my best, and I had an excellent muse. I`ve written lots of Haikus in Japanese, though the feeling is different in every language, even following rules and metrics, because it is a cultural thing as well. I am really glad for this hub, as I have been getting back to my poetry composing again, and I am concentrating more in English than in other languages.

Two Haikus up!

warm regards and blessings,


dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Hi, Flightkeeper. Yes, it certainly is, but I would like everyone to give it a whirl! I've always been the type to welcome challenges and to me, a sonnet is one of the most difficult of all forms of poetry. I'm still working on mine but should be finished soon. Thanks for reading me!

syras mamun on February 17, 2010:

Oh, I see my comment is missing here-maybe,hubpages downtime I did the comment,:),Let me write it again.This a great hub Dohn,thank you so much.Actually, I love poetry and trying to write my first ever poem.Sometimes, I secretly visit many poetry hubs and few days back I found Invictus wrote a great poem of love-"I will love you forever and again".I guess I might write a 55-word story.Thanks Dohn.

Flightkeeper from The East Coast on February 17, 2010:

dohn, I suck at poems, reading your hubs makes me realize it is an altogether different talent from prose. I will content myself with reading other people's poetry.

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Hey, Maita. That's wonderful to hear. I'm pretty much a sucker for the written word. I think that poets admire prose writers and prose writers admire poets for their creativity and ability (that's just how the world works, I guess). I'm so glad I was able to help. Thank you!

prettydarkhorse from US on February 17, 2010:

Thank you, thnak you and thank you, you explain it better than my teacher in college DOHN, sigh with that sonnet example, I love all the images here and I like it that you gave example to each style, Maita

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

You know, Green Lotus, I'd be honored to include a 55-word story from you. I hope you seriously do consider. I found that it helped me to NOT waste words with lots of practice. Let me know if you do decide to do just that. I'm just glad that you got to read this hub! Thanks!

dohn121 (author) from Hudson Valley, New York on February 17, 2010:

Thank you martycraigs. Brandy is one of my all-time favorites and it uses the description of ballad writing nicely. Thanks so much for reading this!

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