Fun Methods for Writing Poetry

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Writing poetry does not have to be challenging. Just about anyone can successfully compose a poem in just minutes! This lesson introduces several fun and easy methods for writing poetry and will conclude with a short quiz.

Writing a poem is not difficult! Give it a try with these fun tips.
broken pencil

Poetry

Pick up a magazine, turn on the radio, or visit the greeting card section at your local supermarket. What do these three things have in common? Of all of the answers you could have given, poetry probably wasn't at the top of the list. All three examples contain poems. While these types of poems may not be viewed in the traditional sense like the works of Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson, they contain poetic devices similar to those used in classic works. By definition, poetry is the written expression of thoughts, feelings, or experiences.

Poetry can be fun. In fact, poetry should be fun! Anyone can compose, or write, a poem. Yes, that's right. You do not need to be a scholar to write a poem, so let's get started.

Poetry is not limited to scholars like Emily Dickinson. Anyone can write a poem.
classical poetry

The Everyday Poem

Think about the last time you left someone a note. What did it say? Perhaps it was a reminder to take out the trash or to pick up some milk at the store. Maybe you left a love note to your sweetheart. Believe it or not, these little everyday tasks can become the roots for a simple and meaningful poem. Let's practice the everyday poem.

Begin with a list of activities that you need to accomplish tomorrow. Your list may include seemingly ordinary things like going to the gym, stopping at the bank, and picking up the dry cleaning. Select one of those experiences and think for a moment about what you see around you when you complete the task. What do you smell? How does being in this place make you feel? Guess what? You've got yourself a poem that emerged from your daily list of chores!

The Blind Poem

For this simple activity, you should ask a friend to fill a brown paper bag with a few small items. To begin, you will close your eyes and select one of those items. Hold the object in your hand for a few moments and think about how it feels. Is it firm or soft? Is it smooth or rough? What is the shape of the item? Is it warm or cold? Now smell it. Is there a fragrance? What could this item be? Does it remind you of anything that you have felt or experienced before? Open your eyes. What is your first impression?

Now, place the object aside and begin to write. Describe your physical perceptions of the item. How did it feel in your hands? What kinds of things did you imagine? What did you think it was? How did you feel when you finally saw it? This written expression of your experience is poetry. You have written a blind poem. How easy was that?

The Plug In Poem

To create a plug in poem, begin by thinking about your favorite song. Hum it in your head for a brief moment. What are the words? Write down a few phrases. Now, underline all of the nouns or naming words. Circle all of the verbs or action words. Let's begin with the nouns. For each underlined word, replace it with another noun. For example, if the original word was girl, perhaps you change it to tree. Continue until you have plugged in all new nouns. Now, replace each of the verbs with a new action word. If you feel inspired, keep going with the conjunctions or connecting words.

Read your plugged in poem. What is it like compared to what you started with? This exercise can be done repeatedly and with any written work. The idea is that you begin with an inspiration or template and build upon it to create your own original work.

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