How to Write Effective Poetry

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How to write effective poetry- key rules

Poetry is something that is essentially a ‘talent’, some people are simply better at expression of emotions than others. Poetry is something some people find as a way to vent feelings, others simply love to write about perception points; the world as they see it.

Whatever the case may be, I’ve been writing since the age of 14. I can write about all sorts of comical tales about my life, and lessons learned from it, but regardless of how someone lives, and whether you agree with it, it doesn’t take away from the talents they were born with; poetry happens to be one of my talents.

The following isn’t a promise of making you a good writer, but it is a list of things to consider to enhance your own personal poetry.

Components of great poetry

  • Tone- Poetry sets a tone. Whether it is happy, depressing, angry, it lets the reader be fully aware of what the writer is feeling. Bad poetry is often far too detailed, and people are willing to debate that: some love ‘detailed poetry’, I find it boring.

There was a time me and a college professor debated one of her poems, she had each of us tell our opinion of it: most people simply praised her. I on the other hand am a very harsh judge toward poetry because it is my craft, I told her it was over-detailed and boring. Truth hurts, her defense “It was published”, a little piece of advice about writing, you can have the shittiest writing published, it simply costs you money.

Poetry is meant to be personal, the reader doesn’t have to know the why behind the poetry, they just need to experience the feelings. Whether or not you tell the story that created the poetry, that is entirely up to you, but the fact is simple enough, drive poetry from personal emotions.

The how to write poetry ‘components’

  • Lesson or Story- A good poem tells a story, or teaches a lesson. Either or, poetry is meant to give you a musical outlook toward life and the stories that conspire within a life. It’s meant to me told in a melodic tone through words that a reader can take in and grasp, and actually enjoy.
  • Vocabulary- A certain level of vocabulary is required to write good poetry, especially the poetry that you wish to rhyme. If you rhyme ‘bed’ and ‘head’ ‘fad’ and ‘sad’ and that’s the best you have to offer, trouble is a-brew.
  • Figure the ‘type’ of poetry you excel at- I’m best with darker poetry. I can take sad feelings and emotions and portray them in ways readers can relate to and identify with. Ask me to write about sunshine and butterflies and I’m in for a hard time. Find what you are best with, and grow on it. Some people are meant to simply be good at certain things.
  • Revision- A first draft is exactly that, revise it, shorten the lines, keep the syllable count similar between lines. I don’t believe in any of the generic ‘rules’ of poetry. I believe them to be shit and poor guidance on ‘good’ writing. Good writing is going outside the boundaries of expectation and delivering something that people don’t expect. You don’t do that by following rules.

That’s my general how-to. How to write poetry is a debatable topic, but I find myself to be a successful writer. Of the poems I’ve written there are certain ones that stand out in terms of expressing what I’ve written above, among them: “Gates of Hell” , and here it is:

Title: Gates of Hell

I’d put the bottle down
But in the absence of reality
I feel so much closer to my dreams
I forget what it’s like to be alive
It’s the reminder in waking up
That I’m the spitting image of a lie

It’s the fix that makes my blood cold
The line I signed to sell my soul
The shadow only my eyes see
The voices that coax and make me believe
Cause in finding each second to be a weight
And things are becoming to heavy to bear

So take a few moments with me
I don’t know the time that’s left to spare

I write a note in hope you find
That giving up while in a bind
Was my only option; the hidden clue
I drank to hide from loving you
Cause I abandoned myself long ago
And this skin I wear has worn out
And what lies beneath isn’t pretty
And I feel you need something more

I sewed my eyes shut to close out the light
Now It’s always that time; the dead of the night
The silence is like a harmonious grant
A scar to a heart that’s painted with agony
I’d try to find the words to say
But nothing I’ve said has meant a thing
So here comes that familiar sting

And thoughts that tend to pierce the skin 

So here I sit with this simple letter
About how I could have been more; something better
But it’s too late; I bid farewell
And sign my name to the gates of hell

 

The point of poetry is to really create an image to what you are feeling, what you are thinking, ect. The more personal you can make it, the more the reader is going to grasp exactly what you are putting down for them to read.

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