How to write good poetry

Tips to writing good poetry

Just like music, poetry is the language of the soul, an expression of the poet’s sentiments, impression, outlook or just voice. While most may consider poetry to be subjective, it can still stand out as appealing and impressive to a vast majority just as Shakespeare’s, Worthsworth’s, Byron’s and many great poets’ poems have. What makes these poems different? What makes poetry really good that they are worth reading over and over again? Perhaps some of these points can be of help to understand how one’s mediocre poems can be improved upon to make a difference.


Step 1

Grammar rules

Poetry is just like literature. Proper grammar and spelling rules have to be followed. Just because it is poetry, doesn’t mean that grammar can be ignored and phrases of words are more than enough. On the contrary, while nouns may be highlighted with added adjectives, articles and prepositions may at times be ignored, provided the meaning of the context doesn’t change. Tenses have to be maintained throughout the poem, just as with literature, and it would be incorrect to assume that while the poem begins with the present tense, it is allowed to conclude with a past tense. Make sure that what you write balances out grammatically correct. Abbreviations are frowned upon, unless it has relevance. Shortened versions of words are acceptable and are often seen more in poetry than in prose.

Step 2

Style and structure

Every poem has a distinct style. What is your style and what do you build your poem upon? Is your poem free-verse or is it a rhyming poem? If it is a rhyming poem, what syle does it follow, or what rhyming pattern does it follow? Is it a sonnet or a ballad, or a simple 4 lined, quatrain rhyme scheme?

If your poem is a free verse, does it follow any free-verse styles as in just an unstructured display of poetic skill? Or does it follow the rigid formats of Haikus, Acrostics, Tankas, Narrative Poems, Nonets, Blank Verses, etc. which are non-rhyming forms?

Bring character, style and identity to your poem by building it upon good poetic structure.

Step 3


Poetry, unlike prose, is very emphatic and to the point. While prose may give lengthy descriptions of events or of the object of the theme, poetry on the other hand, is crisp, succinct, and cut and dry. Imagery is poignant in poetry, where the use of a few words make their mark upon the reader. The use of synonyms of the ‘object of the theme’, along with adjectives to support them make for good, word-starved, yet descriptive poetry.

Step 4


Good poetry flows the way a good sentence is constructed, that is, sounds and accents in poetry fall in line with the way words are spoken and sounds stressed in regular speech. Offbeats, wrong stresses and forced sounds make reading poetry aloud more a pain than a pleasure.

Things Needed
• A strong command of the language and rules of grammar
• Use consistent tenses
• Make sure the words scan correctly with sounds and accents the way they are normally spoken
• Have a strong imagery

Tips & Warnings
• Do not be very descriptive with long sentences and unnecessary filler words
• Keep the theme and imagery of the poem consistent throughout the poem, that is, do not deviate from one setting to another.
• Poetry in sentence form is short and sweet. Make sure the shortened version of normal sentences for poetry is grammatically correct.
• Be consistent with the language style used. If it is an archaic form, do not mix it with modern versions.


Comment: 5
    Harler  07.09.2015 14:03

    Thank you Olivia. :) You surprised me with your visit here. :)))

    Haugh  20.10.2015 11:05

    Well here you are again spreading your talent around. Great Zone Mandy :)

    Prosser  13.11.2015 18:00

    Thank you, Amanda. Poetic License thrills me to no end. I love creating words to fit in the meter of verse.The LORD Knows, it could make me famous one day, since «Yesterday’s nonsense is today’s dictionary definition.» (Just ask Lewis Carroll, who invented the word, «chortle,» in the poem, «The Jabberwocky,» in the fantasy adventure story, called, «Through The Looking Glass.») :)

    Schooling  13.12.2015 08:13

    Thank you Jay. Yes, it is very important to have structure in poetry. Even if it is free verse, there has to be some form of structure, like the foundation upon which a house is built. BTW — nice verse there. I like the use of ‘d with poetry (3rd line).

    Record  16.01.2016 00:09

    Excellent article, Amanda. It is important to have structure, upon which to paint a creative masterpiece. I remember a teacher in either high school or college, saying these words that have made a big difference in my continued courage to write poetry, «If you find a consistent cadence and rhyme scheme that works for your personality, you can write poetry as easily as you can write a letter.»Four-line verses of two couplets, using iambic meter and ABAB rhyme scheme is a staple in the bulk of my poetry. The statement has happily proven true for me.If poetry we’d rightly write,
    we’d rite of pattern pass,
    Or poetry’d be wrongly trite,
    by laddie or the lass.

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