Writing a poem is a way of expressing your emotions and feelings. If prose has gradually established itself as a poetic genre, the verse poem remains the most common. It tends to affect the reader or the listener more by its play of sounds that can also be found in the songs. Impress your friends and family by writing rhyming poems. Learn the basics of verse writing, find inspiration and have fun with words!
Part 1 of 4: sketching out your poem
Step 1. Write down all of your ideas
Even if it seems like fantasy or inspiration alone, writing a poem is a process that takes thought and application. First of all, take a sheet of paper and a pen. Jot down words, phrases, and concepts depending on what comes to mind. Don't set limits, because inspiration comes from inspiration! The more you write down your ideas, the more you will get.
Keep a notebook with you so that you can write down your ideas at all times. If you prefer, you can use a dictaphone
keep a notebook or something to write down your ideas all the time on you.
Step 2. Seek inspiration
Everyone has their own way of finding inspiration. If you haven't set the theme of your poem, just look around. Discuss with those around you, observe your environment and let yourself be guided by your feelings and impressions. It will surely be easier for you to write on a subject or an object that touches you. A poem can be inspired just as much by an extraordinary passion as by a scene from everyday life.
For example, you can write a poem on your desk lamp, the view you have from your bedroom window, your pet, your mom, your favorite restaurant, or even your day at the office
Step 3. Outline your poem
Once you've found your theme, start writing the words and phrases it inspires you. Don't try to rhyme or create the perfect text, as this is only a rough draft. This first draft can be in prose, in short paragraphs, in disordered verses or even be a succession of words. Make as many drafts as you want without constraints so as not to block your inspiration.
For example, if you want to write a poem about your pet, you can describe it fully, write down the feelings it inspires in you, or develop a particular moment in your relationship. As indicated above, write down all your ideas, even if you only include one in your final poem
advice: if you have rhyme ideas, write them down. You can expand and perfect them as you work.
Step 4. Make a list of rhymes related to your theme
This work can be done alone or included in a larger reflection phase. Write words that rhyme with each other and that relate to the subject or subject of your text. The list can be longer or shorter depending on your theme and your inspiration. Nevertheless, you can enrich it throughout your writing work.
- For example, if you are writing a poem about the cherry tree in your garden, write "CHERRY" at the top of your page. Then list the words that rhyme with "CHERRY" and which can evoke this tree like "BASKET", "SNAP", "FRUIT", "APPLE", "SNAP" or "SUMMER".
- You can then focus on a part of the tree such as its trunk, flowers, leaves or fruits. For example, write all the words that rhyme with "CHERRY" such as "FRISE", "SURPRISE", "BRISE", "MISE", "EXQUISE" or "MERISE".
- Write as many words as you want until your vocabulary is exhausted.
Part 2 of 4: Choosing and composing your rhymes
Step 1. Go for cross rhymes
This arrangement of verses is one of the most common and easy to put into practice. The rhyme is done every two verses.
The crossed or alternate rhymes follow the ABAB pattern
Step 2. Write a ballad
This fixed-form poem obeys relatively complex rules of versification. It consists of three stanzas of eight or ten lines and ends with an entry, which corresponds to a half-stanza. Each stanza ends with the same line which constitutes the chorus. The poem is built entirely on three rhymes and each stanza includes two sets of alternating rhymes. The ballad evokes a song by the return of rhymes and its refrain.
The structure of a ballad with eights follows the diagram ABABBCBC for each stanza. The sending, composed of four verses, is of the form BCBC
Step 3. Compose a monorime
As its name suggests, monorime is a poem in which all the lines end with the same rhyme. Unless you use a sonority that is particularly common in the French language, writing a monorime poem can be a challenge. You can have fun picking it up by drawing on different registers of language.
In a monorime, the versification is not linked to the stanzas, because all the verses rhyme with each other. Therefore, the structure is AAAAA throughout the length of the poem
Step 4. Go for flat or long rhymes
This structure is simple since a line rhymes with the one that follows it directly. Depending on your desires and your inspiration, the poem may consist only of flat rhymes. You can also place a couplet at the beginning or at the end of a stanza. It is a group of two rhyming verses that form a unity of meaning.
- A poem with only flat rhymes is of the form AABBCC.
- You can complicate the basic flat rhyme scheme by adding a third line. You thus obtain doubled rhymes of type AAA BBB CCC.
For example, a stanza with two couplets can be
"Sitting under the cherry tree
I took a fruit from my basket
My very first cherry
Had an exquisite flavor"
Step 5. Create kissing rhymes
It is a structure in which a couplet is framed by two rhyming verses between them. It can compose an entire stanza or only a part.
The rhymes embraced are ABBA type. For example, a poem of quatrains constructed on this single scheme has a structure of the type ABBA CDDC EFFE. You can also opt for a variant of the kissed rhymes by modifying the followed rhymes. Your poem can then have a versification of the type ABCA DEFD GHIG. Only the first and last lines of each stanza rhyme
Step 6. Write a limerick
This kind of poem, originating in Ireland and in the English language, is characterized by its sometimes bold or grotesque humor and strong words. It is a short text since it consists of five lines, the first four of which end with followed rhymes. The stanza ends with a line that rhymes with the first couplet.
The structure of the limerick is of the AABBA type
Step 7. Include rhymes in the same verse
A succession of long lines can weigh down the poem. To energize the rhythm, enrich your text by repeating sounds within the same line. A worm can be divided into two equal halves called hemistiches. For example, the alexandrine, composed of twelve syllables, has two hemistiches of six feet. You can thus write leonine verses whose rhyming words are placed at the end of each hemistich. Broken or internal rhymes are more complex, as they are placed in the middle and at the end of each line. They can be analyzed as a form of rhyming leonine worms.
A line like "I took a cherry fruit from my basket" is leonine. Indeed, the words "BASKET" and "CHERRY" rhyme and are respectively placed in the middle and at the end of the verse. For example
“Under the tree heavy with fruit, I slept in peace.
Awakened by a noise, I saw a beautiful jay"
is an example of broken rhymes.
Part 3 of 4: perfecting your poem
Step 1. Reread your poem several times
Like all writing, the composition of a poem includes an important phase of proofreading. Once your draft is finalized, reread it several times. Modify it until you are completely satisfied with it. Replace, add or delete words as necessary. Rewrite entire verses or stanzas if that seems relevant to you. At the extreme, you can write a whole new text.
- Read your text aloud. This work is essential, because one of the major interests of a poem lies in its musicality. As you read it aloud, you may notice heaviness in the rhythm, flaws in the rhymes, or asymmetries in the structure of the lines. Do not hesitate to take again any element, even minor, which unbalances your poem.
- If you have to recite your poem in public, it is all the more important to read it aloud and to perfect it. Even the greatest poets drafts and reworked their writings before producing their finest works.
Step 2. Get feedback from those around you
Read your poem to someone you trust. It could be a friend, classmate, teacher, or family member. Ask him for a critical and objective opinion. Take into account the content and form corrections that are suggested to you. It is also important that you listen to the poem. You will hear it in a different way and will be able to perfect it.
If you need to recite your poem in class or at an event, be sure to collect feedback at least a few days before the day of the presentation so you have time to polish it
advice: it is not a question of proofreading your text only to correct minor errors, typos or spelling mistakes. This rereading can be an opportunity to rework your poem in depth and to perfect its content and form.
Step 3. Take the time to rework your poem
If you're not happy with your text but don't know how to improve it, don't force yourself to find solutions. Not working on your composition for a few hours or days can help you get a new take on it. When you feel ready, take it back. You will undoubtedly have new ideas to improve it.
Part 4 of 4: enriching your rhymes
Step 1. Differentiate rhymes according to their genre and richness
Rhymes ending with a silent sound are said to be feminine while the others are masculine. The rhymes can also be more or less rich. For example, if only the last sound is common, the rhyme is said to be poor. Conversely, a rhyme is rich if the words that end two lines have at least three sounds in common.
- For example, lines ending with the words "BRISE" and "SURPRISE" form a rich feminine rhyme. Indeed, they contain the sounds [r], [i] and [z] and end with a silent e.
- For example, the words "GAMES" and "HAPPY" can form a poor masculine rhyme.
Step 2. Try the faulty rhymes
Even if they don't follow the classic rules of versification, flawed rhymes are a way to play with tones and surprise your audience. They are based on words whose pronunciation is similar without being identical.
- For example, the words "THRONE" and "CROWN" or "FOREST" and "GOUTER" can form faulty rhymes.
- You can also use words with the same etymology like “HAPPINESS” and “MALHEUR” to compose a faulty rhyme.
Step 3. Get your rhymes from the namesakes
The so-called equivocated rhymes bring into play words which have an identical pronunciation, but whose meaning differs. This technique is associated with the pun. It can add humor or depth to your poem.
- For example, the homonyms "MER" and "MOTHER" can be the basis of equivocal rhymes.
- Create complex rhymes by repeating homonyms on multiple lines. For example, use the words "VERRE", "VER", "VERT" and "VERS" in a quatrain.
Step 4. Create visual effects
A poem is not only based on the play of sounds. Indeed, the various writing conventions such as the use of capital letters at the beginning of verses or the structure in stanzas also make it a visual object. You can thus create a complex association between visual and sound effects by including rhymes for the eye. They are based on words with a graphic identity, but which are dissonant.
For example, the endings of the words "INCENSE" and "SENS" are similar, but their pronunciation is totally different
Step 5. Reinforce an idea by repeating the same word
Identical rhymes allow a concept to be emphasized by using the same word at the end of the lines. However, this technique can weigh down the poem and be interpreted as a lack of reflection. It is therefore preferable to use it sparingly.
For example, if you write
"I was savoring the arrival of summer
By tasting the first fruits of summer”, you insist on the simple pleasures of the season.
advice: limit the repetition of the same word, at the risk of your text losing its interest. On the other hand, the occasional use of identical rhymes can reinforce your message.
- Do not hesitate to enrich your vocabulary by consulting a dictionary or by using online tools. Indeed, there are rhyme dictionaries offered by sites such as Dico des rimes or Rimes Solids.
- Read as many poems as you can, whether they are famous or not. Browse sites like Un jour un poème or Poetica to discover the authors and read their works.
- If you have to write a poem for a project, give yourself at least two weeks of work. You will be able to refine it, have it read and correct it so that it is perfect on the day of its presentation.
- Try to compose your rhymes with words as different as possible. For example, limit the use of adverbs that end with the suffix "ment", to words of the same family or having the same etymology. Your text will only be richer and more impressive.