How to Write Poetry
Older forms of poetry had specific rules for meter and rhyme, which you must learn individually in order to write poems in the classical styles. Most poetry teachers, though, prefer that their students learn modern poetry first, and then go back and learn the classical styles. To write modern poetry, you only have to bear two considerations in mind:
- The sound of words. In general, prose is solely concerned with the meaning of words. But in poetry, the sound of words is critically important. Even if you are not writing with any particular meter, the words should still flow together and have a musical, rhythmic quality.
- Line breaks. In prose, the line breaks don’t mean anything. It’s just where the author ran out of room and had to start a new line. But in poetry, line breaks carry considerable significance. Each line acts like a musical phrase, separated out from its neighbors. In addition, the first and last word of each line has an inherent significance – pay close attention to the words you place in these prominent positions.
Aside from these two considerations, you can let your curiosity run free. And this includes rhyme! In fact, many poetry teachers today ban their students from using rhymes at first, since they find that it distracts from the more important issues of sound and lines.
When to use Poetry
Poetry is its own form of creative writing, and naturally difficult to work into any other area of writing. However, there are a few cases where poetry can be worked into novels and short stories. For example, having a character speak in verse is a great way to give that character a mysterious, mythical vibe, since works of mythology were often written in poetic form.