How to Write Poetry

Do you want to learn how to write poetry or how to improve as a poet? Would you like step-by-step advice on how to get poetry ideas and turn them into poems?

You're in the right place! Find answers to these questions:

  • "What should I write poems about?"
  • "How should I decide the right form for my poem?"
  • "What are common mistakes that new poets make, and how can I avoid them?"
  • "How do I write free verse/blank verse/sonnets/haiku etc.?"

How to Write Poetry - Table of Contents

Definition of Poetry. What is poetry, and how is it different from other types of writing? Here's our take on these questions.

Poem Structure. How should a poem be divided into lines? ("At random" is the wrong answer to this question!) Here you'll find some better ideas about choosing the right structure for your poem.

Poetry Meter. What poetic meter is, and why you should care. An easy-to-understand guide to the rhythmic side of poetry.

Rhyme Schemes. Rhyme is an important tool in your poetry toolbox. Why do some poets intentionally choose rhymes that aren't exact? What's the rhyme scheme of a limerick? Find out here!

How to Write a Poem - Poetry Techniques 1. A step-by-step guide on how to write poetry. Advice on what to write about, how to get started, and choosing the right words.

How to Write a Poem - Poetry Techniques 2. Advice on how to write well about abstractions such as Love and Death, how to choose a form for your poem, and a checklist to improve your poetry writing.

How to Write Poems - Poetry Techniques 3. Can you guess the most common problems which damage the work of new poets? Find out how to write poetry without falling into these traps.

Types of Poems - How to Write a Sonnet. A clear explanation of the sonnet form, plus poem starters for writing your own sonnet.

Types of Poems - How to Write: Acrostic Poems, Blank Verse, Sestinas. Explanations of these poem types with ideas for trying them yourself. Download a free poetry tool to help you write sestinas.

poetry book with paper butterfly on spine

Poem Types - How to Write a Narrative Poem or Ballad. Explanations and examples of narrative poetry. Advice on writing your own narrative poem or ballad and poetry prompts to get you started.

Poem Types - How to Write a Limerick. Limericks are a lot of fun to read and write. Get started here.

Poem Types - How to Write a Haiku. Haiku is a Japanese poetry form which captures a moment in just a few words. Learn how to preserve your own insights and memories by writing haiku.

Poem Types - Found Poetry. Writing found poetry is a kind of treasure hunt. Learn to discover poetic material in surprising places and turn it into poems.

Poetry Ideas - Write about an Animal.  Here are some ideas to get you started, plus animal poem examples to inspire you.

Interview: Michael Klam on Poetry Slams. Poet, teacher, and translator Michael Klam spoke to us about poetry slams, performance poetry, and literary translation.

Interview: Karl Elder on Language Poetry. Karl Elder offers his view on the limitations of language poetry and the "aesthetic of chance."

Interview: Jessie Carty on Narrative Poems. Jessie Carty talks about her poetic influences and her experience as the editor of a literary magazine.

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Get a Poem a Day from the Academy of American Poets.

Online Writing Course - Essentials of Poetry Writing. In this 8-week course, you'll learn techniques for writing powerful poems.