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Project Gutenberg Poetry Bookshelf - Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. For more information about Project Gutenberg, see the Welcome Page.

Poem-a-Day - A daily poetry series publishing new work by contemporary poets.

Poem-a-Day Podcast - A daily digital poetry series 

Poetry Near You - Find poetry readings, workshops, festivals, conferences, literary organizations, and poetry-friendly bookstores, and learn more about poets laureate, in your area.

Essays About Poetry - Browse hundreds of essays, interviews, and articles about poets and poetry.

Texas State Poets Laureate - A historic list of Texas State Poets Laureate.

All About Poetry

Writing Poetry: Some Typical Introductory Tips (by Monty Holcomb)

While there are various styles and different schools of thought on the subject of what constitutes a “poem,” these 5 tips provided below will generally be useful to most beginners in helping them construct better poems.

  1.  Choose a personal experience that affected you in a significant way   Writing about something that you yourself directly experienced or observed that made a significant impact upon you is almost always better than writing about something that you did not directly experience.   For example, while I still could potentially write an excellent poem about an imaginative scenario about how I walked on the moon as an astronaut, in general, a poem about something I experienced in real life will probably be more powerful.   So, for example, instead of trying to write about an imaginary walk on the moon, I decide that I will probably produce a more powerful poem if I try instead to write about a real memory I have.  So, in this case, for my topic, I decide to write about how, years ago, I remember observing how scared my friend Johnny got when he entered this strange room in an abandoned house that we were both exploring as kids.

 

  1.  Describe things viscerally (in a way that can be heard, touched, tasted or smelled) rather than abstractly whenever possible.   For example, instead of saying …

 

“As he went into the room

 Johnny was scared”

 

…you could say instead…

 

“As Johnny entered the room he shivered,

He could hear the rapid pounding in his chest.  

He could hear his frantic breaths”

 

  1. Once you are happy with your descriptions, try to be less wordy and use as few words as you can whenever it is possible.   For example, we could improve what we have refined so far even more.  Instead of…

 

“As Johnny entered the room he shivered,

He could hear the rapid pounding in his chest.  

He could hear his frantic breaths”

 

…you could say instead…

 

“Strange room

Sudden shiver

Rapid pounding

Frantic breaths”

 

  1. Rhyme schemes are optional based on the style you want to convey.  As you can see, what we have so far does not rhyme but it is clearly a poem.

 

“Strange room

Sudden shiver

Rapid pounding

Frantic breaths”

 

Now, notice that if we change it slightly in an attempt to make it rhyme, it has a very different feel.

 

“Strange room

Sudden shivers

Rapid pounding

Breath quivers”

 

Typically the first option will be your stronger one, but there are times when you might prefer to utilize a rhyme scheme.   For example, you might want a rhyme scheme when writing poetic lyrics that are intended for a song.

 

  1. Sometimes, making an analogy to something else can serve as an effective device for you poem.  Usually, the less abstract the analogy, the stronger it is.   For example, instead of saying…

 

“Strange room

Sudden shiver

Rapid pounding

Frantic breaths

Like a hurricane”

 

…you could say instead…

 

“Strange room

Sudden shiver

Rapid pounding

Frantic breaths

Like ocean waves

Smashing the rocks

On a battered shore

Of a deserted land"

 

Hopefully some, if not all of these tips, will be useful to you in helping you write your poetry.   So, as you pursue your writing, good luck in finding your own voice and style in the wide world of poetry. 

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