Writing Your Own Poetry

The ‘free verse’ style of poetry is the most popular among current writers. Walt Whitman is credited with originating the form in the late 19th century. Poetry was restricted to certain forms and rhyming schemes before that time; Scansion is the analyzing of pattern, rhyme, and meter in formal poetry. Commonly, a letter is placed at the end of the last word in each line. Usually starting with A then B and so on…. For example, if the first two-line rhyme with each other, their letters would be AA. If the second set of lines rhyme with each other the rhyme pattern would be AABB. If the fifth line doesn’t rhyme a C would be introduced and so on. Next, we are concerned with meter. Each line contains a set number of beats, usually two or three syllables. The most common beat is ‘Iambic pentameter’. The individual beats consist of a short and a strong pulse. This beat is present in words such as ‘arrest, domain, forsooth’. The accent is on the second syllable. Time for the fun stuff! When you tell stories or write letters, how do you start? Is it maybe something you overheard or read about? Or maybe something you witnessed? Start with something that is comfortable to you.

What type of poem did you have in mind? A Story? A comment? Or could it be a character study? Go through some examples to help get you started off on the right foot. It is common to get what is called writer’s block. If this happens, take a break, or come back to it the next day. If your out and something comes to you, jot it down.

It may take many weeks or months to get your poem finished. If you’re having trouble, take a break. When you come back, carry on from the last line in your poem. You will be delighted at what comes out.