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How to write a poem

Have you ever wanted to write a poem, but didn't know where to start? I am a classical singer and poet, so I both write and sing poetry! Here are a few tips for getting started writing poetry!

1. Read and learn

Get familiar with the works of famous poets. Analyse their poems and figure out what you like and what you don't. Learn about different forms of poetry - such as sonnets, aubades, and villanelles - and the jargon - such as iambic pentameter, stanza, and couplet. Learn about history, mythology, symbolism, art, music, and more - all of these will help you to understand poetry better and to imbue your own poems with many layers of meaning.

2. Get inspired

Inspiration doesn't always come out of thin air. In fact, it rarely does. Inspiration comes from living life, absorbing knowledge and culture, and planning regular writing sessions. You can be inspired by many things. For example: you can be inspired by something "mundane" (such as a white ceiling), by another type of artistic work (such as a painting or musical work), or by something personal (such as an intense emotion).

3. Make a plan

Once you have an idea (a topic, a phrase, an image, or something else), develop it BEFORE you start to write. Will you choose a specific form, or will it be freeform? What will the rhythm and metre scheme be? Will there be a rhyme scheme? From whose perspective is the poem written? What is the story you want to tell? What is the main point you want the reader to understand? Jot the answers to these questions down, or keep them in mind.

4. Start writing

Get some initial ideas down on paper - they can change along the way. If you are writing directly onto paper rather than going digital, I recommend using a pencil and eraser so you can easily change things as you go. You may find tools such as a thesaurus, dictionary, spellchecker, and online rhyme finder useful. Don't worry if you are struggling to find the exact word you want right away - it may come to you later, or you might find that changing the entire line/stanza might help you to better express what you want to say.

5. Revise and edit

Once the poem is "finished", read it back to yourself. If something doesn't sound quite right, go back and change it. This can happen immediately after you finishing writing, but often taking a break (an hour, a week, a month...) helps you to see the work with fresh eyes and to know how to improve what is already on the page.

6. Share your work!

Of course, social media is a good start. There are also some great poetry communities online. You may like to submit your poems to a contest or publication, and/or start working towards your first poetry chapbook (up to 40 pages) or book!

Happy writing!

Read about my book "Embodied" (2022)

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