Writing Poetry: Before We Write

Hello! Welcome to my new series, Writing Poetry! This post is going to be preparatory towards the rest of the post in this series. Let’s get right into it!

            Writing Poetry is a new series that I’m writing to share my favourite kinds of poems and hopefully to help someone to understand poetry a little better. I’ll be touching on four (or more if I’m convinced to) poetry forms that I love writing: haiku, sonnet, sestina, and villanelle. There are multiple forms of each of these and I’m going to be describing and writing original poems about each one! I want to share my creative writing here, and I feel like this carries less weight than if I shared my few finished short stories.

            The question now is: what do you need to know before the first post? What do I need to know? I wanted to define some poetic terms in this post so that we’ve got a basis of knowledge for talking about the poems themselves. Unlike a poetry class, I’ll be as succinct as possible and give you as few terms as possible. And no need to memorize anything! I’ll put a link in the next posts in this series back to this one (if I don’t, it’s because I didn’t figure out how).

            The list of terms below should help us remember and understand the poetic forms introduced later. These terms will apply to all poems. I’ll introduce more when they arise within the poetry forms. That way, nothing unnecessary gets in the way. Sources cited below.

· Allegory: A poem or story interpreted to have a secondary or alternate meaning.

· Allusion: An indirect reference to something.

· Alliteration: Close repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words.

· Assonance: Close repetition of vowel sounds.

· Consonance: Close repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in the words.

· Couplet: Two-line stanza, usually a rhyming pair.

· Dissonance: A disruption of the harmony of sounds within the poem or line.

· Foot: A unit of measurement in a line of poetry.

· Line: A unit of measurement. Made up of feet.

· Meter: The rhythmic measure of a line. Ex. Pentameter.

· Metaphor: Comparing one thing to another without using “like” or “as”. Direct comparison.

· Repetition: Repeating specific words or phrases within a poem.

· Rhyme: The repetition of similar-sounding words, usually at the ends of lines. There are many kinds of rhymes.

· Rhythm: Rhythm comes from the patterns of short, long, stressed, and unstressed syllables in a line, stanza, or poem.

· Refrain: The repetition of a line with a poem.

· Stanza: A group of lines that together make up a unit of measurement in a poem. Like a paragraph in prose writing and usually separated by a space.

Now we’re ready to write poems! It’s important to note that poems can also be free verse, so you don’t need these rules and definitions to write a beautiful poem. Any length of line, any meter, and as many stanzas as you want can create the picture or feeling you wish to convey. I prefer the structure that these give me, but we’re all different. Thank you all for reading and I hope you’ll join me on Saturday, May 15th to write some Haikus! See you then!





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