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The Official Page of Justin Bienvenue

The Plasmatic Writer

Author . Poet . Horror Writer  

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Poetry 101: The Basics

Posted on April 19, 2021 at 5:15 PM

Poetry is not basic and if you think it is then chances are it's just not your thing or you haven't really given it a shot. However, I'm not talking about poetry being or feeling basic I'm talking about the basics of it, the fundamentals if you will. How do you write a poem and what makes a good poem? Well, I'm not an English teacher nor am I a 100-year-old poet but what I am is an experienced writer and poet who knows the basics of how to construct a poem. I also know what goes into it so that's what I'm going to be going over, the basics of poetry 101. Whether you write poetry for fun, as a passion, or because you're required to do so, it doesn't matter, I am going to give you a basic rundown on what poetry consists of.


Topic: One thing you absolutely need is a topic for your poetry or a reason to write it. If you read my previous post, https://www.justinbienvenue.com/apps/blog/show/49866712-poetry-101-what-to-write-about" target="_blank">Poetry 101: What To Write About, I cover this in length. A topic can be anything from what you're feeling at the time or an animal you saw at the zoo, as long as you felt emotion after you experienced it or you can just cook something up from the top of your head. I cook up poems out of thin air from time to time but I make sure I map it out before I get it started but that brings me to the next part of the basics in poetry.


Structure: Not everyone can just think of a topic right out of nowhere and they also can't figure out how they want it to be while they write. This is where structure comes in. By structure, I don't just mean the type of poem you want to write whether it's prose, rhyme, sonnet, etc I mean you have to let it stir around in your head a bit as if you're letting what you want to say manifest in your head before you write them down. This is considered structuring because your planning out words and your poetry before you just attempt to write it. Another part of a structure is the foundation and type of poem you wish to write.


Type: Do you like to rhyme? If so, then chances are you like rhyming poetry. Rhyming poetry is my usual go-to type but I have been known to write some prose as well. After you've structured the poem in your head you then need to figure out if you wish for it to rhyme, for it to not rhyme and if you want the lines and syllables to coincide with one another. It can be a bit of a process at first but after you've done it for a while it comes quite naturally. It may even seem like a chore or extra work the first few times but then you'll realize it's not only a part of writing a poem but will make it so much better if you just wing it.


Length: Do you think a poem needs to be a certain length? It doesn't. Poetry can be a sentence, a few lines, a dozen or even 100 lines, it doesn't matter, it depends on how much you want to tell and how you wish to tell it. Haiku and poet Langston Hughes are in my opinion the best examples of writing short poems. They are short but the words use have an impact and make you really think after reading. My poems are usually 12–14 lines long although I do on occasion write long ones. My longest poem to date is 64 lines long while my shortest not counting a haiku is about 6. My point is, don't think you need to write a certain amount of words or that you need to stop if it's too long, you'll know as you read it when you go along.


So what have we learned today? We learned that the basics of poetry are simple and easy to remember. You need a topic and reason to write. You need solid structure before and after you get started. You need to figure out the type of poetry you want to write. Finally, you need to realize that length is not important when it comes to poetry because you are the one in control and your words will tell you when they have said enough.

If you enjoyed this post then please feel free to check out my others on poetry or others on various topics I'm passionate about.

Also, feel free to check out https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Justin+Bienvenue" target="_blank">my books of poetry

Categories: Poetry

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