Source: Karen Burns
Poetry is cathartic and not scary
Have you ever thought of writing poetry?
Are you scared that you won’t know the words to use?
Fear not, because there are over 50 different styles of poetry to choose from, and this is what makes it so wonderfully versatile. There really is no reason to worry about the words that you use, either. Because poetry is very much an individualistic form of creative expression. Much like any creative art form, people will either love it or hate it (a bit like Marmite, I guess!).
Poetry is an excellent way to let one’s emotions out. I personally find it to be very cathartic. Plus, poetry can also be great at helping to lift other people’s emotions too.
How to get started
Firstly, it is useful to think of the subject of your poem, and there really are no limitations here.
Let your imagination go wild
Then decide what style of poem you are going for. Here are descriptions and examples of 4 poetry styles:
- Free verse
This is a non-rhyming and free-flowing style of poetry. It is one of the newest styles of poetry and allows for the most versatility of words. As it consists of a style that resembles natural speech.
The picture for this article, which illustrates one of my own poems, is a perfect example of free verse poetry.
This is a fun, and often rude, style of poetry. Unlike free verse poetry, there is more structure and rhyme, and more rules to follow. Limerick poems should be only one stanza with 5 lines. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines will rhyme with each other, and the 3rd and 4th lines will rhyme between them (In a pattern of AABBA).
Here is a famous example of a Limerick poem:
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a bee.
When they said, “Does it buzz?”
He replied, “Yes, it does!
It’s a regular brute of a bee.”
(There was an Old Man in a tree, by Edward Lear)
This style of poetry is one of the oldest forms of poetry, originating in the 17th century. It is a style that comes from Japan, and it developed from the hokku (the opening three lines of a longer poem called a Tanka).
Much like Limerick poetry, it has rules and a structure to it. The poem only has 3 lines, so it is short and snappy. In the 1st line, the words must have five syllables, the 2nd line must have 7 syllables, and the 3rd and final line must have 5 syllables again.
Here is a famous example of a Haiku poem:
Furu ike ya
mizu no oto
Which in Engish translates to:
The old pond
A frog Jumps in
Sound of the water
(The Old Pond, by Matsuo Bashō)
This is another fun style of poetry. It is probably one of the easiest forms of poetry, in my opinion. There really aren’t many rules.
Acrostic poetry is where the first letter of each line spells out a word, name, or phrase when it is read vertically. The first letter of each line is written in bold, to make it easy to recognise what it says vertically.
Here is an example of a simple acrostic poem:
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! If that language from thy heart arise,
Breathe it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His Follie — pride — and passion — for he died.
(Elizabeth, By Edgar Allen Poe)
As the poetry styles above show, there is really no limit to the imagination.
But how do I know if my poetry is any good?
First of all, don’t stress! Poetry is meant to be fun and give you a sense of inner peace. The more you write, the more your words will just flow. Practice makes perfect, as they say.
If you really want constructive feedback on your poetry, then you really can’t go wrong with a website called “All Poetry“. It is a free site to join, it’s full of amateur poets from around the world, and after signing up it really is an easy site to use. You are encouraged to give feedback on others’ poetry, and you will get feedback in return.
It is also good to know that your poetry is being shared (if you want it to be) and that others can also get joy from what you have created.
Poetry is an amazing creative art form. It is great for our mental health and can introduce you to a whole community of like-minded creative writers.
Give it a go, because you just might be the next Kipling or Pam Ayres.