Poetry is something that many people struggle with. There’s so many ways you can write it and I like to call it “the expression with no boundaries”. You’ve got haiku, free verse, lyrical, ballad, limerick and sonnets. Each method has benefits and drawbacks and can be used to show an emotion or tell a story in a specific way best suited to it. I advise if you are a beginner of poetry to read poems of all types and see what you enjoy the most. Then try it out with your ideas and see if it is compatible with your trails of thought. I have an opinion that each poet is particularly talented with writing a certain type of poetry. This is not to say that they won’t be good at other types, just that one type is their forte (like Shakespeare was with sonnets). This is why leaving your options open at the beginning is vitally important for your progress as a poet.
I began writing poetry about two years ago. It came to light as I listened to music with catchy beats. Pink Floyd’s album, The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon helped me format words in my head in such a way where it actually had rhythm as you read it. I began writing my own lyrics for instrumentals of songs like Eminem’s Rock Bottom and Mob deep‘s Shook Ones. The rap beats made it easier than any other music to create stanzas of words that sounded good, and by the end I had a variety of lyrical verses to go with them.
As time went on, I was opened into a whole new world of poetry. Writing my own lyrics to songs only seemed to be the surface of a very large iceberg. Exactly twelve months ago I wrote my first poem, The Solemn Crackhead. It originated from a collection of lyrics I wrote for instrumental beats. I spent weeks putting them together into a sort of ballad/ sonnet. I wanted to create my own mark within the world of poetry so I purposely mixed up the rhyme scheme my own way. I wanted to express through this the confusion and pain that the crackhead had gone through in his life. I stuck to rhyme, sonnets and ballads in my future writings and with every poem, the meaning and the flow got more interesting and complex. After all, poetry is all about practice. The more you write, the more you discover.
Then I attempted free verse for the first time which opened yet another door. Free verse is brilliant because it allow you to tell a story however you choose without being limited having to rhyme; it is known as the poetry of no rules. This means you can use more than a handful of words in your poem. It also means you can lengthen or shorten the lines whenever and allows you to emphasize phrases or words that can send a strong message to the reader. The flow in free verse poems depends on the natural rhyme of speech rather than using a rhyming meter. It’s all about how the previous line goes on to the next through a stream of consciousness, the eloquence of descriptions and well used metaphors that create a vivid image for the reader.
This is not to say rhyming poetry should be ignored. It can get the reader into the flow of the poem much quicker and drive the message home more effectively. While you may be sometimes limited by the rhyming, it can create the sound of undeniable beauty when read out loud. The lines, as an effect of the rhyme, will be better remembered by the listeners/ readers because patterns of the words in their head. This creates a sense of communication between poet and listener. That is why it was used in the ancient Greek times for spoken word and is something to consider when you write poetry. However, you shouldn’t just use rhyming in your poem to make it look pretty. In fact, the rhyme can be used to express a certain artistic message and open the audience up to a new insight they were previously unaware of.
Another thing that will help your poetry to develop is to read other poetry. There’s so much influence out there and the more you see, the greater amount of methods you will know about for your own work. This allows you to be diverse and avoid repetition in your poetry. It’s no good practicing and spending your time coming up with ideas for a poem when you lack knowledge of methods and techniques that will show those ideas in the most creative and original way.