Writing Tip: How to Write Poetry

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Notice the title isn’t how to write good poetry, bad poetry, or even ugly poetry. Art is subjective. Poetry might be the most subjective form of art. Good, bad, or ugly depends upon the writer foremost. If you write something, and you don’t like it, don’t release it. Simple, right? That should be the cardinal rule for every artist regardless of the art form. That’s the only review that matters. The only audience that matters. Yourself. If you write something, sit back, take it in, and let it settle. If you think it’s good, that’s all that matters. Not everybody likes everything. The old “you can’t please all the people all the time” bit.

There aren’t many rules to consider when writing poetry. The first rule I covered. The second rule is the only rule to writing poetry is the first rule. After that, no rules. Regardless of what anyone tries to tell you. Unless you write an epic poem. If you want to write the next Beowulf, you’ve got a few things to consider. I’ve never written an epic poem. I’d like to though. When I do, I’ll write about the experience. I guess haikus are another exception to the rule. But I don’t write haiku’s, don’t care for them myself. If you want to write one go ahead, but someone else will have to tell you how.

Why the lack actual rules? That’s a good question. What about rhyme schemes and all those things they teach in school? Another good question. Poetry is undefinable. Sure it has a definition in a dictionary. Big deal. Poetry has no set format. Poetry can be serious and say something, or an episode of Seinfeld and be about nothing. The format can be in lines, stanzas, or any combination. A poem can be long, or short. It can be anything, everything, or nothing at all. That my friends, is the true beauty of poetry. It’s whatever you want, or need it to be. Serious. Silly. Tell a story if you want. You can have more rhymes than Phyllis Diller and Abe Vigoda. Those are Beastie Boys references by the way. Maybe you don’t even want to rhyme at all.

Poetry is what you make it. Remember, write for you. Writing poetry can be great therapy. Maybe some stuff is just for you, to help you get through a difficult period or make sense of something. Then there’s the stuff you want to share. Perhaps you write something for one person’s eyes. A, B, C, or any combination is fine. Do what makes you happy. Just don’t let anybody tell you you’re doing it wrong. I’ve been writing poetry more than half my life. It can take time to find your voice. Once you find it, don’t be afraid to scream.

 Copyright © Drew Martin 2016

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