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Poetry

How to start your poems

Writing poems can be tough and tricky for most writers, especially if they’re just starting to write.  While the whole process of writing good poetry is challenging, the most critical part of a poem is the opening line, the hook. This is what pulls the reader in and keeps them engage in your works. In fact, this is the same for all types of writing: songs, novels, short stories. The purpose of the hook is to make sure your reader keeps reading your poem.

You may do this by creating a vivid image in the readers’ mind, truly setting the scene of the poem. If you’re writing a narrative poem, you could start by introducing a character, or the setting the poem is in, or the purpose. Whatever you may choose to start with, all poems should start with a hook, to keep your readers glued and ensure they don’t stop after the first line.

Although there are a variety of ways to start a poem, you must make sure that the reader is engaged and you have their attention. Here are some examples of poems with ambiguous but interesting opening lines.

  • “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked” from ‘Howl’ by Allen Ginsberg
  • “I have gone out, a possessed witch” from ‘Her Kind’, written by Anne Sexton
  • “He came home. Said nothing.” From ‘Going Home’ by Wislawa Szymborska (Polish translation)
  • “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth

All four of these examples show how to create ambiguity and some form of suspense for the reader to be interested in your story.

Here are some tips to give a perfect start to your poems:

  • Decide what type of poems you want to write

    Different forms of poems need different techniques to write the opening line and the rest of the poem. An example of this can be Haiku: a short poem in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, ultimately totalling seventeen syllables. Therefore, you need to pay particular attention to your choice of words and the number of syllables. Compare this to a free verse poem, which doesn’t have many limitations and allows you to express your idea and share your story without needing to worry about the meter or syllable count etc. This is why knowing the type of poem you are writing is crucial to its development.

  • Brainstorm

    It can be helpful to write all your ideas down on a piece of paper, not worrying about the technicalities of your poetry. You could place your poem inspiration, be it a picture or a phrase, in the centre of the page and write whatever you feel, without stopping. Even if it does not particularly help you with this poem, it is a very useful and effective exercise that can give ideas for other projects, stories or poems.

  • Use personal experiences to write poems

    The best way to write anything is to use something you have experienced or understand personally. This gives you authenticity to your poetry and you are most likely find it easier to write in more detail.  This will make it unique to yourself and therefore, make a more interesting read.

  • Read your first line out loud

    If you’re having trouble writing your opening line, try reading it out loud and see if it sounds right. The best opening lines in poetry sound as beautiful out loud as they do to read. There are a variety of literary devices you can use to enhance the sound of your poems such as assonance or meter.

You can use these tips to write your next poem. And make sure you share it on WriteSome app with its writer community.

Any form of writing can be hard to do without the correct help and guidance, especially if you are just starting in your writing career. Thankfully, WriteSome’s writer community is here to help you become a better writer. Download the WriteSome app today and start writing your heart out.

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