The Art of Poetry

Written by Anam Siddiqi

Poetry is a favorite writing form for many, and for several reasons. Some enjoy the various usage of poetic devices, others the pleasing layout. But the common theme is the expression of feelings in a unique and beautiful way. It allows your heart and soul to speak, without uttering a word. It makes a painting in the mind without having to use colors or shapes. You can get any emotion across using words and only words. It may sound intimidating but it’s nothing to fear. Instead it’s something to embrace and take advantage of. It’s an art that you don’t need a paintbrush for to be good at.

It’s also one of those great “filler” activities. Whether you have writer’s block or simply want a small writing project, poems are your answer! And the great part is, (most of the time) there’s no rules. It can be about everything and anything. It’s all up to you. That’s the beauty of it: you’re in control. And whatever you decide to do, it will be spectacular. If not to you, then to someone else. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. All you need are your feelings and maybe a thesaurus.

When it comes to poetry, you can be as dramatic as you want. Going full-blown Shakespeare is highly encouraged. You may feel as if “the winds of spring are waving at you and calling out your name” or perhaps you are “drowning in a pool of tears.” At any rate, this is no time to water down how you feel. If anything, you need to isolate each and every emotion. Whether it’s pain or joy, depression or euphoria- you must welcome it. Shake its hand and have an interview. Why hello, Fear! What brings you here today? Why is that? Could you describe yourself in one word for me?… and so on.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, figurative language and I are very tightly knit. Almost all my writing pieces, poetry or not, include imagery, similes, metaphors, and juxtaposition (which are just a few of my favorites). That’s one of the great things about poetry: it lets you practice using figurative language, so that you can incorporate it into other writing pieces.

The best way to do this is to think about objects or things that remind you of the emotion you are conveying, then incorporate them into a simile or metaphor. For example, if you’re feeling sorrow, you may be reminded of rain. Is it drizzling or pouring? Cold or freezing? Then go from there. The freezing rains of sorrow poured down on me, my skin absorbing every drop until it could hold no more. Bam! Metaphor and imagery combined in one line!

There are several other aspects to poetry that must be considered, one of them being rhyme. Rhyme schemes are rhyming patterns that you can (usually) create. Many writers tend to find a rhyme scheme they like, and then stick with it for almost everything. This is technically fine, but the best way to improve is to get out of your comfort zone. Play around with the rhyme scheme! 

Another tip is to read other poetry. Look at the different authors’ techniques and styles. How does it compare to yours? Look at this as an opportunity to see what poetic devices they may use that you don’t, or to identify a rhyme scheme you’ve never used before. Diversity is a craving you must give into when it comes to writing.

So next time you go to write a poem, whether 5 lines or 30, remember your mantra: isolate your emotions, be dramatic, incorporate figurative language, and switch things up. With this toolbox, watch your writing transform and become that much better.

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