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The Rules For Writing Poetry

Before I begin, I ‘d like to stress this: writing poetry is and should remain a way to liberate, enrich and sharpen the mind. Poetry does, however, need a guiding hand and the mind behind it should know the limits of writing to write well. Yes, there are limits, but those limits should only serve to push the imagination.

  • Limit Yourself

This is rule one – limit yourself to push past your limitations. In my case, my trouble is with the plot and setting of a story-driven poem. My advice for those with this issue would be to write in prose, limiting each sentence based on rhyme, rhythm, meter, tone of voice; every aspect of writing that makes a poem a poem should limit what makes your writing a work of prose. The reason this might be effective is that you’d already be in the mindset to write a poem which is based on a story by writing it in prose.

  • Recommendations

If, when writing poetry, imagery and meaning are your issue, I recommend this – introduce a third factor to your mix. I always go to an experience I had, but you could just as easily draw inspiration from emotion itself. I avoid writing about emotion as it becomes a matter of showing versus telling. Rule number two is: Dance around your subject. Talk about your subject without mentioning it. This rule should help you write more descriptive poetry. With this technique in mind, focus on writing meaningful poetry. When you want to write something meaningful, it would help if you wrote about something meaningful to you.

My third rule is for those that have trouble with form and style. Form is about your use of devices such as meter and rhyme, while style is more focused on how you manipulate those devices to suit you. I recommend finding three of your favorite poets to develop your style, and two of your favorite forms. They should each coalesce into a uniform and harmonic style. My other piece of advice is simply to read as much as you can. Read more about this here: https://readyourselfpoetry.com/tips-for-beginner-poets/


Improving your writing is about placing rules where you find yourself creatively stuck. It might not to make sense to say “If you’re stuck, make yourself more stuck”; what I’m trying to say is, when you’re stuck, find a tool to free yourself. As I said, poetry is a way to liberate, enrich and sharpen the mind. Placing restrictions on yourself is a great way to do that.


Yes, contrary to what this article is about, there are no rules. Except for the rules you make for yourself!

Thank you for reading!










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