One of the longest poems in the English language, John Lydgate’s Fall of Princes, comes in at 36,365 lines, while the shortest poems are just a couple of words. The possibilities are endless.

Poetry is one of the most ambiguous types of writing in that there are seemingly no rules at all in what a writer wants to accomplish. Most novels and short stories have at least a semi-rigid shell, but writing poetry is almost like writing in your journal—you are free to write however you like!

If you are looking to write a poem but are not exactly sure how to get started, try staring with a noun. Pick any concrete noun (a person, place, or thing you can actually see and touch) and describe it using the five senses. Before you write, think about what feeling this item gives you or an experience you’ve had with the item from your past.

Does a poem have to rhyme? The answer is, only if you want it to. If you think it sounds best as a rhyme, think about what rhyme scheme would sound best. You can create couplets (two lines of poetry that rhyme), or rhyme the first and third lines, the second and fourth, or just the last line in a group of four. These are only some of the options too. Not rhyming is totally fine too, if that is how the words come out as you write.

Some Types of Poetry:

  • List Poem – The title is the subject you want to talk about, and the body of the poem becomes a list of nouns and verbs that relate or pertain to that topic.
  • Haiku – A three-line poem that has five syllables in the first and third line and seven syllables in the second line.
  • Acrostic Poem – Choose a word you want to be the title and use each letter in that word as a start of a line that describes that title.
  • Shape Poem – A poem that is in the shape of an object, possibly the object of the poem.
  • Narrative – A poem that tells a story.
  • Cinquain – A five-line poem in which line one is the title, line two has two description words, line three has three action verbs, line four has four words that express feeling, and line five is a synonym of the title.

Use your imagination when writing poetry; it’s great for releasing stress when angry or sad and also for expressing happiness. It’s also a great chance to write for a couple minutes or a few hours. To create poetry that shocks, pleases, and excites, get out your pad of paper and write!