How to Write a Poem: The Tapestry

Updated November 15, 2010

Poems can be the simplest or the most complex forms of writing. Sensitive and creative to a fault generally the themes burrow their way up from deep down in our gut. They can be born from unsettling personal emotions where the nuances may not seek to make its unwinding easy for the reader. Or it could be so simple and magical a child’s eyes could widen and dance entertained with laughter and delight.

Most often poems are riddled with conflict a play on words and the juxtaposition of opposites. A union of thoughts diametrically opposed but when combine pictorially give the reader the full range conceptually of imagery without bounds.

The beginning without a doubt should engage the readers’ interest. Often filled and routed in mystery it opens a door an invitation to enter, a hook that pleasantly pulls the mind forward in an effort to architecturally erect a living realm.

The below insert asks the question, “How will they know you?” This is the opening salvo, the hook if you will. The reader should pause to contemplate the query.


By the time the middle is reached a pattern has been developed. Perhaps there is the echo of the rhyme that keeps one entranced. There is no rule that says a poem has to rhyme but above all they should have rhythm. To induce a dance of the mind, it should be lyrical and often times have the allure to be put to music. Repetition of certain words or phrases often helps in this regard. The technical term is iambic pentameter. Its use is classics and removes the stress from the reading.

With this second insert the tempo of the poem should be established. The reader should be comfortably enclosed and soulfully connected. So the question is asked again. "How will they know you?" and followed by what has now become an anticipated answer.

The ending is the most difficult. The writer is looking for the wow factor some lasting a moving response joy, sadness, agreement a lingering effect that keeps the reader or listeners in the moment. Above all the finality should impart some experience and encourage participation to partake at least one more time, to call for the encore.

Finally with the ending the title of the poem appears. By now there is the obvious repetition of certain phrases. While at the same time an effort is made not to repeat rhyming words. The hope here is to encourage the reader to halt and reflect, are any specific images called to mind. Do the title and the lyrics compliment each other? Does the reader feel reward? Did the reading justify the readers’ time? During this reflective moment does the reader feel they missed something and feel the need to read the piece again?