How To Compose Poetry

Understanding The Basics of Poetry

Poetry can be a deep, rewarding art form that engages the emotions with its wordplay and rhythm. As a poet, you can be both reader and writer of your own works. To get started on writing, you need to understand the basics of poetry. Here are some essential concepts and tips about how to compose poetry.


Form is the foundation of a poem. It is the guiding structure, the rules that all poetic words must adhere to. An example of a poem form is the limerick. A limerick consists of five lines that rhyme in AABBA form. All poems take different forms and to come up with your own creative form that fits your own poem, you must consider both the length and meter.


Meter is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem which is usually measured in feet. Examples of meter are iamb, trochee, spondee, anapest, and dactyl. In addition to individual syllables, each line of a poem must also follow a specific meter in order for them to take on the fluidity of spoken words.


Rhythm refers to the velocity of the words and the beats between them. It is what makes a poem roll and sets the mood for a poem. Using words whose syllables contain emphasis, rather than just uniform syllables, is a great tool to ensure your poem has a defined rhythm.


Rhyme is what ties one line of a poem to the other. It not only binds words with similar sounds together, it also gives the poem a musical quality. The rules of rhyme are flexible and can involve single words, phrases and even entire lines.


Stanzas are like line breaks for the poem. They divide the poem mood wise and conceptually, allowing the writer and reader to pause after each stanza to contemplate the meaning of it. For beginners, an easy way to start writing a poem is by creating a four-lined stanza known as a quatrain, which allows the poet to get out a full thought without having to find a place to break the line.


Diction, sometimes referred to as ‘word choice’ is the range of words that a poet can use to share the story of their poem. As a poet, it is important to understand the way certain words impact the atmosphere or tone of your poem.
By understanding the basic concepts of poetic form and structure, you can begin to craft your own creative expressions in poetry.

Creating Your Own Works

Now that you know the basics of how to compose poetry, it is time to create your own work. Here are some tips to help get you started on your poetic journey.

Choose a Topic

The first step to creating a poem is choosing a topic you are passionate about. Whether it be a personal experience, an observation of the world, or a concept you would like to explore further, pick something that you can connect to on a deeper level as it will make your job of writing a poem easier.

Gather Inspiration

Gather as much inspiration for your poem as possible. Read and watch works by like-minded poets or writers and explore topics and angles related to yours. Also note interesting lines or concepts that can be borrowed or adapted to your poem.

Start Writing

Once you have a topic and some supporting material, it is time to start writing. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share even those thoughts or feelings that are considered taboo. Remember the words you write come from within and have the power to engage and inspire.

Use Different Poems Structures

Don’t be afraid to take risks or break the rules. Try a variety of different poem structures or flows, be it rhymed verse or free verse. If you are having difficulty deciding which way to go, start writing and let the poem decide its own structure.

Edit and Revise

Poetry should be edit and revised. Keep rewriting, refining, and testing until you feel the piece is complete. Reading your poem aloud can help identify lines or words that stand out as not quite right. Don’t be afraid to be brutal and make changes that don’t feel comfortable.
By following these simple tips, you can compose your own poetry. To become a successful poet, you must be willing to take risks and be open to embracing new experiences.

Benefits Of Composing Poetry

Composing poetry can have many benefits for both the poet and the reader. Here are 4 reasons why you should consider composing poems:

Expressing Emotion

Writing poems can be an outlet for emotional expression. Poetry offers the reader a window into the writer’s thought processes and can allow those emotions to be released in a safe and constructive way.

Building Voice & Skill

Writing poetry can open the creative pathways in your mind and refine critical thinking skills. It can also help to hone your writing, translating that critical thinking into streamlined and fluid words on the page.

Forming Connections

Reading a poem can open yourself up to different perspectives. You can relate and empathize with the poet and their work, forming a deeper connection. Furthermore, creating a poem can be a powerful tool for connecting with an audience in a meaningful and impactful way.

Exploring Freedom

Poetry is not bound by the rules that govern literature and can transcend beyond the printed page to explore universal themes. Its use of imagery, sounds and metaphors allow writers to dabble with language and capture a unique version of the human experience.
Poetry can be a great form of both self-expression and a tool to explore important ideas and questions. Why not start writing your own poem today?

Techniques To Consider

As your creative and poetic practice grows, you may consider using more advanced tools for writing. Here are 4 techniques poets use when writing poetry:

Assonance & Consonance

Assonance are the repeated vowel sounds within a word or in words close together and consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds. Both of these techniques are used to create a sense of rhythm and mood in a poem.


Personification describes giving an inanimate object or abstract concept human qualities. It is a powerful literary device and can be used to explore complex thoughts and emotions.

Allusions & Metaphors

Making an allusion or metaphor within a poem can allow the poet to explore their ideas in a subtle and mysterious way. While it may be hard to find the perfect words, it can be an effective way to engage with the reader.


Repetition can be used in multiple ways as a poetic device. It can provide emphasis to ideas and highlight certain words, or it can be used to build up a certain rhythm or meter.
These are just some of the techniques you can use when writing poetry. With the right knowledge and practice, you can use them to your advantage and create compelling works of art.

Creative Writing Ideas

Not sure what to write about? Here are some creative writing ideas to get you started on your next poem:


Nature is an endless source of inspiration for poets. Explore the natural world and its potential for symbolism, growth and transformation.


Love is often an excellent topic for expressing emotions, both the joy and heartache of it. It can also be used to explore both the fantasy and the reality of relationships.


Dreams can be used to explore the subconscious, the true feelings of the writer, or the unsaid feelings of the character.


Incorporate whimsy into your writing as an ode to the absurd or to capture a lighter tone. Use it to make fun or silly statements and combine it with metaphor or allusion to engage the reader further.


Write about the past, be it a personal memory or a reflection on a wider experience. Through memory-focused works, poets often explore thoughts and feelings that have been forgotten or pushed aside.


Let your poem revolve around questions to gauge the idea of uncertainty. Use questions to explore themes and provide openings for readers to ponder.


Life can be used as a broad topic that can range from thought-provoking ideas to personal experiences. Through life-focused works, poets often explore larger topics such as death, politics or the meaning of life.
These are only some of the many themes which can be explored through poetry. Whatever the topic of your work, remember to treat each piece as a creative act and allow yourself to be exploratory and brave.

Performing Poetry

Once you have written your poem, you can choose to share it with an audience. Here are some tips to help you perform your work:


Before performing, practice reading your poem multiple times until you become familiar with it. Memorizing the poem before the performance can also help you to have an easier time with your delivery.

Know Your Audience

Having an understanding of the people in the audience can give you an idea of how to shape your performance. Depending on the size of the audience, you may need to adjust your voice and delivery to suit the room.

Project Your Voice

Keep your voice strong and steady as you recite your poem. Speak slowly, enunciating each word and varying the volume, pitch and speed of your delivery to enhance the mood of the poem.

Engage Your Audience

Engage the audience with your body language, facial expressions, and visual cues. Make eye contact with different members of the audience to keep their attention.

Allow Silence

Allow moments of silence between the poem’s stanzas to reflect the mood of the piece. Silence can often be more powerful than words.
By following these tips, you can have a successful poem reading. With consistent practice and feedback, you can develop a strong poetic presence and share your work with the world.

Final Thoughts

Writing and performing poetry can be a truly rewarding experience. With its possibilities of emotional expression, connection and exploration, it can be both comforting and invigorating. To compose poetry is to let yourself explore in both a creative and meaningful sense. With the right understanding and skills, you can open yourself up to endless possibilities and discover something special within yourself.

Minnie Walters is a passionate writer and lover of poetry. She has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the work of famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more. She hopes you will also fall in love with poetry!

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