How to Write Poetry That People Will Actually Want to Read

Many people have a general misconception about poetry.

Sometimes, people who call themselves poets are just people who create a jumble of words that have no relation with each other. And in other cases, there are people who think poems are long, tedious bits of hogwash that have meaningless meanings.

If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry to say that YOU ARE UTTERLY MISTAKEN.

Poetry is a feeling. It does magic that nothing else can do and can express simple things with unmatchable beauty.

So, you think you can do it? You think you can add something to the expansive poetic universe? I’m here to tell you NOT how to cook up a soggy soup of words, but how to write poetry which people will actually want to read. Buckle up, this is going to be a bumpy ride!


The PBT method

The PBT Method i.e the Poem Before Title method is an effective way to write striking poetry. As the name suggests, people who follow the PBT Method write the poem before deciding the title. That doesn’t mean that the poet is completely unaware of what he/she is writing about.
When I write, I notice that the best titles come after the entire thing is drafted. The next time you write something, try this method and see if you find better titles after you finish.

Unapparent titling

In some poems, the title doesn’t explain much about the content. For example, in my poem Frogs, the title engulfs the reader in an illusion that the poem is about croaky, cold-blooded amphibians. But in reality, the poem gives a brief on sorrow.
Unapparent titles can be both good things and bad things. Sometimes, if the title is dull [like mine], people can tend to ignore the actually good content. But if it has an attention-drawing title [unlike mine], the reader can be left pondering “Hey, that title actually makes sense.”

Descriptions

Sometimes, describing can be a challenging task. Overloading a poem with adjectives is NOT a good thing, but adding an unobvious characteristic to a description can spark a reader’s interest. Take The Tyger by William Blake for an instance.

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Of course, tigers don’t burn. Everyone knows that. But still, it adds a majestic curve to the entire reading process.

Paradoxes

Paradoxes are statements which seem contradictory to each other and give an awkward feeling at first glance. But they are really pretty things to add to a poem since they express our sentences in interest-provoking ways. Here’s an excerpt from Christina Rosetti’s poem, Spring Quiet.
Can you spot the paradox?

Here the sun shineth most shadily
Here is heard an echo
Of the far off sea
Though far off it be.

After a moment of thought, we realize that statement is actually true. That’s the hidden beauty of paradoxes.

Some Brilliant Poetry

Here are three poems which top my charts at the moment.

If- by Rudyard Kipling

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter by J.R.R Tolkein

My World Within by Erin Hanson


Those were my opinions of things that make the time we spend reading a poem worthwhile.

What other things do you enjoy reading in a poem?
Does the PBT method work for you?
Did you spot the paradox?

See you in the comments!

~Mukta

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3 thoughts on “How to Write Poetry That People Will Actually Want to Read

  1. Ah, sometimes I title poems before I write them, but most of the time, I do the PBT method. And the paradox was THAT THE SUN SHINES, BUT IT SAYS IT SHINES “SHADILY”. Great post, Mukta!

    Like

  2. I always use the PBT method! It’s my “holy grail” whenever I sit down to write poetry. I really liked this post – it’s really informative! 🙂 ❤

    Aqsa ❤

    Like

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