Poetry

How to Write Your First Poem

There are many different forms of creative writing and most people will agree that poetry is the most romantic. To this day, we use the writings of some of the most famous poets in history to express our own feelings.

We turn to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Pathways and E.E Cummings’ Love is a Place for wedding vows; to Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay during times of grief, to William Blake’s The Sick Rose during moments of heartache.

The language of poetry is timeless and, as such, one of the most powerful forms of writing to date.

Though we all find ourselves relating to classic and modern poems at one point in our lives, nothing is quite as satisfying as writing your own poetry to convey your innermost emotional landscape.

The writing itself can be a deeply cleansing and intimate experience that will help you get in touch with what truly moves you – positively or negatively – and this, in turn, will help inform your style and topics.

A blank piece of paper is daunting even to the most experienced of writers; for a novice, however, it can be the make or break.

Do you have the patience and courage to stare at that blank piece of paper until your emotions and thoughts begin stirring and the first words start forming? Or will the pressure and the necessary meditation and confrontation with your inner self cause you to buckle and abandon your fascination for this personal art form? It’s time to face the challenge. Here are three ways to go about writing your first poem.

Find Your Preferred Style

A book with poetry written on it

When we think of poems, we typically think of pastorals or sonnets – in other words, poems that rhyme and follow a clear rhythm. There are so many other forms to explore, however, so don’t limit your creativity by forcing one that does not come natural to you.

If you are familiar with modern and classic poetry, you will probably already have a strong idea of your own style preference. Just because you enjoy reading it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy writing it, though!

Allow yourself the time to experiment with different forms until you find the style that suits you best. Whether you decide on a haiku or free verse, doesn’t matter – each form holds its own, unique beauty.

Meditate on What You’re Feeling

Some of the world’s most prolific poets don’t know what they are setting out to write until they are actually writing. The words seem to flow out of them automatically, magically and with ease.

This is because experienced poets always follow the same lead: their heart. Before you sit down to write, don’t just settle on any random topic in your head, but really tune into what you are feeling. This will help you find a writing flow that is meaningful and authentic to you.

Open with a Killer First Line

The first line of your poem will set the tone for the entire piece. Once you have found your cause (for writing this poem), think all the words that come to mind and jot them down. Once you’re done, go over them and try to feel out which one of them resonates with you the most.

Make your pick and focus on building your opening line around this word – one that creates an atmosphere and inspires a strong mental image or emotional response. Don’t get hung up on how other people might perceive your poem; if it resonates with you, chances are, others will relate to it, too. There’s no need to rush this process – it’s all about the journey.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey.

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