How to write better poems ? : Capture the soul and the rest will follow

Well, I am not an authority for this craft, but having read a lot of poetry myself, and with some valuable inputs from the experts, I think I can share a few Words of Wisdom for writing a good poetry here. So let us see if they make sense to you and whether they help you to write better better poems. 

To begin with, let me assure you that even bad poetry can make you a better writer, read how . And having a practical and analytical approach to writing poetry is not that bad afterall read why. So if there are some vague thoughts and ideas that are knocking your head, listen to them, spend time with those thoughts. If you are running a busy life take more time to think , observe and experience. Writing will follow. Poetry will come out.

1. Chose your title smartly: 

It often boils down to a chicken and egg situation when you try to give a title to your writing piece. So whether to write first or name it first? Should it be a phrase or a word? Is this title good enough? Does the writing concur with the title? Well there are no correct answers to these. And I don’t think somebody else will be able to answer these questions for you. Its only you who needs to ask these questions to yourself and find out a favorable situation. From what I have observed, in most cases having a title first is a more favorable situation. 

Say you chose a word instead of a phrase as a title, like the poems we got as entries to the contest; Silence  or Masks . It is not very easy to conceptualize a central thought for such broad titles. And the poets have faltered to some extent. So unless you have a very specific titles like Midnight Oil or an abstract title like Purple Swirls or a funny/witty title like Bartender or Weekend girl , it is better to think of a phrase. Having a “word” can work for you in such cases. At least I personally would definitely want to read a poem with such titles. They generate curiosity at a first glance. 

If you decide on a phrase title like You chained me  Lost in my thoughts , Stories Untold you actually give out a lot before the reader even gets to read the rest of your poem. This in a way takes out the “vagueness or that extra abstractness from the poem. However, just because you found a great phrase as a title of your poem don’t forcefully try and insert the phrase to every stanza just to make your rhyming scheme work. It works fine only with songs! So do it if you intend to turn your poem into a song. J

2. Rhyming scheme is good to have but is not mandatory: 

As mentioned earlier, phrases make great titles but repeated use of that phrase in the poem again and again in can make your poem very very monotonous. So rhyming scheme ? Well…. you are not writing a nursery rhyme or a song….Are you? So forget about it. Dont tax your word power, murder the english language for your having a rhyming scheme. Get the soul of your poem , experience it and then express it with the words you have at your disposal. I can assure you that if you are holding on to the soul , the central idea of the poem, you will be never short of words or even for that matter a rhyming scheme may suddenly come out on its own. 

3. Take full liberty for punctuation but play with grammer carefully:

If you read famous poets , you will realise they have taken lot of liberty as far as the language rules are concernced. Reasons? Well as I said they are “famous”. And they became famous because of their powerful, thought provoking ideas and not because of their comand over the language. Language is for you to express your thoughts and feelings. If you are able to weave that effectively, take liberty with the language as much as you want. Discover new words, new phrases and punctuation is least that you need to bother about while writing a poem. But the basic idea has to be powerful enough to take all these calculated risks. 

4. Not all genres work in poetry

Even if you pick up a collection by  famous poets like Tagore, not all his creations are famous. Why? Well to begin with Tagore is a huge collection. It is difficult to read and fully comprehend his entire body of work even if you spend your lifetime. But I am taking his example is because, he is one poet that I know of, who has covered almost all facets of life and has captured almost every human emotions possible in his poetry. So what you need to do is identify your genre. Atleast a few favourite moods that you feel like writing about most often. Romance, Humour, Nature or a specific incident could be a few simple ones to begin your poetry attempts. If you directly jump on to extremely intellectual , philosophical or  spiritual themes you really really need to experience those emotions very deeply. 

So Melonites, keep on your Poetry Attempts. 
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3 thoughts on “How to write better poems ? : Capture the soul and the rest will follow

  1. I have always been troubled by recent poetry. Coming from a Marathi background, I have read extremely rich yet rhyming poems which adhere to a complex structure of grammar.

    Recent poems just don't cut it. IMHO, there are two parts of a good poem, richness of content, and crafty nature of expression. This crafty nature is what elevates an idea from a lengthy prose to a cleverly written poem.

    In recent times, what I see in Marathi and English blogs, the so called poems, if written in straight line appear just like prose. It seems gone are the days when writers who could write prose which would appear like Poetry when read.

    Rhyme is just a start, an art of poetry is very much complicated than that. Anyhow I am not artistic enough to ornament my thoughts into poems and hence I have stuck with prose, but I had to say it out. NOM.

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