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Perfect Your Poetry


Like tying your shoes or riding a bike, writing poetry isn’t all that difficult once you get started—it’s knowing how to begin that is most challenging. But if you’re interested in taking up this craft, try one of these methods.


Blank verse: doesn’t rhyme, but uses iambic pentameter (when reading, each line should sound like a heartbeat)

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun
-Robert Frost

Free verse: can by rhymed or unrhymed, and doesn’t need to follow iambic pentameter (no set structure)

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
-Walt Whitman

Limerick: a more lighthearted poem, with a set number of syllables per line and structure. Lines 1, 2, and 5 should rhyme and contain 7–10 syllables. Lines 3 and 4 should rhyme and contain 5–7 syllables.

There was an old man with a beard
Who said, “it’s just how I feared!
Two owls and a hen
Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard.
– Anonymous

Haiku: Japanese-style poem that has 3 lines. Line one has 5 syllables, line 2 has 7 syllables, and line 3 has 5 syllables (doesn’t necessarily need to rhyme).

The grass is so green.
The weather, hot as the sun.
Summer has arrived.
– Anonymous


Beating Writers Block

Even seasoned writers experience writers block from time to time. As frustrating as it may be, these tips can help you clear your mind and get back to work in no time at all. 

  • Walk away from your work. Taking a break to clear your mind can help you come back and feel refreshed.
  • Read another person’s writing. You could find inspiration from an unlikely source.
  • Write outdoors. Changing up the scenery is a good way to feel inspired.
  • Put the phone away, or turn off the television. Electronics are a guaranteed distraction.
  • Start writing something else. Free writing can help you stretch your creative muscles.

For more ways to get your creativity flowing, visit americanlifestylemag.com/.