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A Rudimentary Guide to Writing Poetry

By BlitheAnon
Created: 10th December 2020 05:35:50 AM

  1. Notes: This guide is currently a WIP and will be expanded upon over time.
  2. NEW UPDATE: Added additional techniques to (Literary Techniques and...); Added and completed ‘A Lesson on Meter;’ Added and completed ‘Additional Thoughts for Beginners;’ Added and completed ‘Additional Resources for Poetry’
  3. GOALS: Add poems to (Types of Poetry) section, finish (Literary Techniques and How They're Used) section, establish a Table of Contents, anything else brain? [Not at the moment, no]
  4. --------------------------------
  5. It behooves me to say,
  6. Poetry makes me gay
  7. With a great big smile
  8. A mile wide!
  9. -OP
  10. --------------------------------
  11.  
  12. Ah, poetry, one of the many creative outlets that some indulge in, and one that (You) may wish to participate in. If so, hopefully this guide may be of use to you. I’ll admit that I’m not an expert on the topic of poetry, however, it doesn’t take an expert to understand and explain the basic fundamentals; in a similar vein, anyone can write poetry, including good poetry.
  13.  
  14. Below is a Table of Contents detailing the different sections for ease of access. Those who are new should go in the order presented and skip Section 3 as Section 3 is for reference.
  15. --------------------------------------------
  16. Section 1 - ‘What is Poetry? What’s the Point?’ – Line XXX
  17. Section 2 - ‘Types of Poetry’ – Line XXX
  18. Section 3 - ‘Literary Techniques and How They’re Used’ – Line XXX
  19. Section 4 - ‘A Lesson on Meter’ – Line XXX
  20. Section 5 - ‘Additional Thoughts for Beginners’ – Line XXX
  21. Section 6 - ‘Additional Resources for Poetry’ – Line XXX
  22.  
  23. *************************************
  24. Section 1 - What is Poetry? What’s the Point?
  25. -------------------------------------------------------
  26.  
  27. If you’ve ever read a book that’s pulled at your heartstrings, made you pensive or filled you with awe or wonder, then imagine those feelings as a liquid. Poetry is that liquid, but concentrated, and injected directly in a person’s bloodstream. To put it simply, I’ll reference what Samuel Coleridge spoke long ago:
  28.  
  29. >“Prose = words in their best order; — poetry = the best words in the best order.”
  30.  
  31. Poems can be short, and poems can be long. Poems can rhyme, have rhythm or strict meter, or a lack of these things. Poetry consists of many different styles, but what’s consistent about every poem is that each one has a theme.
  32.  
  33. ‘What’s a theme?’ I hear you cry. Or maybe not. I can’t tell, the ability is beyond me, but in case you don’t know, a theme is a topic or message of a literary piece. Themes differ from morals as not all themes are attempting to teach a virtue, sometimes they state the obvious. ‘War is hell.’ ‘Love is beautiful.’ ‘OP’s a faggot.’ Regardless, poems contain themes, and before a poet writes a poem, they need to think about a topic or message they wish to convey.
  34.  
  35. Poetry is, in essence, the conveyance of a message or idea by making the reader feel something. The purpose of a poem is to make the reader feel and/or think, and if a poet can manage to do that, then they’ve accomplished their goal. The question, however, is how the poet can manage such a thing, but before we tackle literary techniques, we'll first go over...
  36.  
  37. **********************
  38. Section 2 - Types of Poetry
  39. ---------------------------------
  40. May I endeavor to suade
  41. Your thoughts and eyes to poems
  42. Of various types for I
  43. Am sure it will be of use.
  44. -Anonymous
  45. -----------------
  46.  
  47. Poems can come in many different formats, and although a poet may gravitate towards a particular form, it’s still a good idea to know a wide array that’s available to use. Shakespeare and Robert Frost were in love with blank verse. Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes wrote free verse, and so on and so forth, you get the idea. Below include some formats in alphabetical order:
  48.  
  49. ////////////////////
  50. Ballads-
  51. Ballads are poems that narrate a story by typically using rhyming quatrains. The rhyme scheme can be any number of combinations, A B A B for the first stanza and C D C D for the second, or A B C B for the first stanza and D E F E... the major point is that usually the second and fourth lines of each quatrain rhyme.
  52.  
  53. Notable poems that are ballads include...
  54.  
  55. ////////////////////
  56. Blank Verse-
  57. Blank verse is the drill instructor of poetry. You WILL use a set amount of feet in each line. You WILL have some semblance of a pattern regarding stress and unstressed syllables, and YOU WILL NOT, and I repeat, WILL NOT be breaking protocol EXCEPT in the instance in which you intentionally do so, maggot!
  58.  
  59. In all seriousness, blank verse has the strictest form of meter, and when you read blank verse, it’s likely you’ll come across iambic pentameter the most.
  60.  
  61. Notable works that are blank verse include...
  62.  
  63. ////////////////////
  64. Epics-
  65. Epics are long-form stories in poetic form. They’re, well... epic. That’s it, not much else to be said other than acknowledging the poets who undertake such a form have massive cajones.
  66.  
  67. Notable works that are epics include...
  68.  
  69. ////////////////////
  70. Free Verse-
  71. Ok, so imagine you’ve got, like, five kids, right? Now imagine those kids are hopped up on coke. It’s likely those kids are gonna do some crazy shit, right? Running in the street, breaking stuff and having no respect for the law. That’s free verse.
  72.  
  73. Free verse has one rule: TheRe ArE nO Ru3LZZ!?!
  74. The point that I’m getting at is there’s no set rhyme scheme or meter for free verse, so this form is what most beginners dive into usually.
  75.  
  76. Notable works that are free verse include...
  77.  
  78. ////////////////////
  79. Haikus-
  80. ---------------------------------------
  81. If you know haikus
  82. Then you’ll know a special word.
  83. Refrigerator.
  84. -Anonymous
  85. ---------------------------------------
  86.  
  87. Haikus are poems that follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Haikus, fun fact, also originated in Japan.
  88.  
  89. Notable works that are haikus include...
  90.  
  91. ////////////////////
  92. Limerick-
  93. Limericks are short, jaunty poems that consist of solely five lines with a rhyme scheme of A A B B A. Usually limericks consist of anapests, although that’s not always the case.
  94.  
  95. Notable works that are limericks include...
  96.  
  97. ////////////////////
  98. Narrative Poetry-
  99. Narrative poems are poems that tell a story. ‘But wait, isn’t that the same as a ballad?’ Nope, they aren’t the same. Ballads consist of rhyming quatrains or just rhyme schemes, but narrative poems don’t have to follow any kind of strict rules. Think of narrative poems like free verse poems, but poems that tell a story.
  100.  
  101. Notable works that are narrative poems include...
  102.  
  103. ////////////////////
  104. Rhyme Poetry-
  105. Rhyme poems rhyme with a set scheme. As long as the poem rhymes and has a rhyme scheme, then it’s a rhyme poem.
  106.  
  107. Notable works that are rhyme poems include...
  108.  
  109. ////////////////////
  110. Sonnets-
  111. Sonnets are poems that consist of fourteen lines total. Sonnets follow a strict rhyme scheme and can come in different styles. Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets are the ones you’ll likely read, though other styles do exist.
  112.  
  113. Notable works that are sonnets include...
  114.  
  115. ////////////////////
  116. Villanelles-
  117. A villanelle is a poem that has nineteen lines. These poems have five tercets, a quatrain, and an internal rhyme scheme.
  118.  
  119. Notable works that are villanelles include...
  120.  
  121. ////////////////////
  122. Alright, so we know what poetry is, what the point of poetry is, and some different poetic forms. What now? Well, a poem isn’t just about meter and rhyme. If poetry only consisted of meter and rhyme, then there wouldn’t be any flavor, which is why it’s important to know...
  123.  
  124. *********************************************
  125. Section 3 - Literary Techniques and How They’re Used
  126. -------------------------------------------------------------------
  127. In a bundle,
  128. In a basket,
  129. Lay some techniques
  130. Too numerous to carry.
  131. -Anonymous
  132. ---------------------------------
  133.  
  134. The heart and soul of poetry lies in the use of literary techniques; without them, poems would be cold to the touch, without breath and, most importantly, a drag to read. When a poet writes a good poem, they use their arsenal of techniques to the best of their ability to enhance the reader’s experience. In understanding the numerous techniques at their disposal, a poet can better convey the message they’re attempting to communicate.
  135.  
  136. The techniques below are in alphabetical order, but I will list here some of the techniques that are commonly used: ((WIP))
  137.  
  138. ////////////////////
  139. Alliteration-
  140. Alliteration is the sound of a consonant at the start of a word that’s repeated in a sentence. An example of this is:
  141.  
  142. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  143. >The pale, purple pony politely pranced around prominently,
  144. >Exuding exquisite excellence elegantly.
  145. -Anonymous
  146. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  147.  
  148. ‘P’ale, ‘P’urple, ‘P’ony...
  149. ‘EX’uding, ‘EX’quisite ‘EX’cellence... you get the gist of it.
  150.  
  151. The ‘pa’ sound is repeated, including the ‘x’ sound. Alliteration can be quite the wonderful thing.
  152. This technique can be used for a variety of reasons, but from what I’ve found, it lengthens the line and leaves the reader wondering what comes after all the repeating sounds.
  153.  
  154. ////////////////////
  155. Assonance-
  156. Haha, ass... anyways, assonance is essentially alliteration, however, it deals with vowels, and not necessarily at the start of each word. They can be in the same line, or in different lines. An example of this is:
  157.  
  158. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  159. >The fillies heard a sound and found
  160. >Upon the ground a bunny bound atop a mound.
  161. -Anonymous
  162. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  163. ***Note that assonance in poems don’t always rhyme, as is the case with ‘BAttered’ and ‘BAlance.’
  164.  
  165. ‘[s]OUnd,’ ‘fOUnd,’ ‘grOUnd,’ ‘bOUnd’ and ‘mOUnd.’
  166.  
  167. As you might’ve heard, the short example above all had the common sound of ‘ow’ among the highlighted words, that’s assonance at work.
  168. This technique provides a pleasant sound to the ear; it’s musical and feels good to listen to and adds onto the listening quality of the poem.
  169.  
  170. ////////////////////
  171. Consonance-
  172. Consonance, the inverted, redheaded step-child of alliteration. What do I mean? I’ll tell you; it’s the repeating sound of consonants with one caveat: it repeats at the end of each word. Yep, I know. Clever, huh? Also, they can be in the same or different lines. An example of this is:
  173.  
  174. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  175. >Clutching his sweaty mammaries, he clambers forward.
  176. >Eager of the chance to encase his pony wife, he leaves.
  177. -Anonymous
  178. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  179.  
  180. ‘S’ sounds... ‘s’ sounds galore at the end of ‘mammarieS,’ ‘clamberS,’ ‘chanCE,’ ‘encaSE,’ ‘hiS’ and ‘leaveS.’
  181.  
  182. This technique is similar to assonance as they both increase the listening quality of the poem.
  183.  
  184. ////////////////////
  185. Onomatopoeia-
  186. Onomatopoeia is the imitation of a sound. Words such as ‘bang,’ ‘pow’ and the ‘ticking’ of a clock represent this technique.
  187.  
  188. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  189. >The pans clattered and clanged against the floor
  190. >Finishing with a final bang.
  191. -Anonymous
  192. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  193.  
  194. That’s it, there’s no real use for it other than to provide a better description or image to the reader. It’s simple and effective, but it shouldn’t be overused.
  195.  
  196. ////////////////////
  197. Repetition-
  198. I shouldn’t have to repeat myself, young’in. I shouldn’t have to do anything!
  199. Ok, repetition is repetitious, however, there are different kinds of repetition. Interesting, I know.
  200.  
  201. First off are ANAPHORAS, words or phrases repeated at the beginning of each line.
  202.  
  203. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  204. >He shouted from the hills.
  205. >He shouted to the heavens.
  206. >He shouted at each pony he came across.
  207. -Anonymous
  208. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  209.  
  210. And then we have the opposite of anaphoras: EPISTROPHES, words or phrases repeated at the end of each line.
  211.  
  212. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  213. In my dreams, she came from nowhere.
  214. In my thoughts, she came from nowhere.
  215. Even at breakfast, she came from nowhere!
  216. Please. Make. Lyra. Stop!
  217. -Anonymous
  218. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  219.  
  220. The idea of repeating oneself is to ‘hammer home’ the message you’re getting at. It isn’t just a one and done thing, it’s important, and the reader will know that. Oh, and be careful not to use this technique too much as it can be obnoxious to read all the time.
  221.  
  222. ////////////////////
  223. Rhyme-
  224. Ah rhyme. At times I’ll rhyme for the fun of it, but if I do it too much, people will see it as a crime and expel from their stomachs chyme and limes will rain from the heavens and leave... zime? No, that won’t work, dammit...
  225.  
  226. On a serious note, rhyming is something that can enhance a poem’s sound and make it sing-songy, but there’s a big ‘however’ as not all poems should or need to rhyme. What I will say is that if you do intend to rhyme, and I don’t mean a random, coincidental rhyme in the middle of a poem, then a poet should be consistent with it by maintaining the rhyme scheme present.
  227. Also, there are different types of rhymes.
  228.  
  229. END RHYMES
  230. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  231. >These are the ones that people think of,
  232. >And they can be as sweet as a dove.
  233. -Anonymous
  234. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  235.  
  236. NEAR/SLANT RHYMES
  237. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  238. >The same consonant or vowel sound, I’ll say,
  239. >Though the rhymes appear to not be the same.
  240. -Anonymous
  241. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  242. ***They don’t rhyme exactly, so think of consonance or assonance.
  243.  
  244. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  245. IDENTICAL RHYME
  246. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  247. >I saw a homophone upon the saw table,
  248. >So I edged near to grab it from the table.
  249. -Anonymous
  250. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  251. ***Identical rhymes can include both homophones as well as the repeating of the same word.
  252.  
  253. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  254. AND INTERNAL RHYME
  255. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  256. >If you have half a mind, then you may find,
  257. >That there is internal rhyme in the line above.
  258. -Anonymous
  259. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  260.  
  261. Oh, and a note on rhyming: if you’re new to writing poetry, I highly, highly encourage you to not rhyme; I suggest this not because I’m some crotchety asshole, but because if you begin writing poetry by rhyming, then finding a suitable rhyme may be all that you focus on which, in turn, can detract from the quality of your poem. Start with getting the basics down and work your way up. Rhyming is not something a poet can do easily while making the poem both coherent and pleasant.
  262.  
  263. NOTE TO SELF::: ALPHABETIZE THE ONES BELOW
  264.  
  265. ////////////////////
  266. Allusion-
  267. Allusion is a reference, and it can be a reference about anything, but usually it’s of something with some form of significance.
  268.  
  269. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  270. >Tentatively, she reached for the apple with a hoof,
  271. >And as she bit into it, her pupils dilated, her mind racing
  272. >With thoughts never imagined before.
  273. -Anonymous
  274. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  275.  
  276. If you couldn’t tell, the short example above alludes to the apple Eve ate in the book of Genesis. It’s not the best example, I know, but you get the point.
  277.  
  278. The reason why a poet may use an allusion or allusions is to better convey what they mean by framing it with a reference.
  279.  
  280. ////////////////////
  281. Analogy-
  282. Analogy is like juxtaposition, however, it deals in situations or events, not characters or things.
  283.  
  284. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  285. >The words he spoke pierced her mind
  286. >As a cactus’ spines poking through paper.
  287. -Anonymous
  288. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  289.  
  290. Analogies lend themselves well to better describing the situation, enhancing the imagery the poet is attempting to establish.
  291.  
  292. ////////////////////
  293. Oxymoron-
  294. Two words, combined in one phrase, that ultimately contradict one another. Sound familiar? It should, although oxymorons differ from paradoxes as paradoxes are statements that can reveal truths whereas oxymorons do not.
  295.  
  296. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  297. >There he stood, studious yet stupid
  298. >As he stared at her soft, rugged fur.
  299. -Anonymous
  300. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  301.  
  302. Angelic demons, healthy invalids, something being horribly wonderful or disgustingly tasteful...
  303. What do oxymorons do? They help to provide clarity for what a poet is meaning to communicate. It can be, at times, illogical, but it can work to a poet’s benefit.
  304.  
  305. ////////////////////
  306. Paradox-
  307. A paradox is a contradiction in a statement that can sometimes reveal a truth.
  308.  
  309. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  310. >’All that I know is that I know nothing’ she said,
  311. >Lying on the grass and gazing at the stars.
  312. -Anonymous
  313. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  314.  
  315. Paradoxes can be great as it can show certain truths by pairing it with something that can be perceived as potentially nonsensical. If you’ve ever head of ‘less is more’ or ‘I am nobody,’ then you may know the power that paradoxes can have.
  316.  
  317. NOTE TO SELF::: ? = MIGHT/MIGHT NOT ADD, FINISH TECHNIQUES
  318.  
  319. ////////////////////
  320. Personification-
  321. ‘Objects can’t move, talk or listen!’ But, and just bear with me here, what if they could? Have you felt a ladder walk? Seen a branch wave? That’s what personification does, and no, you aren’t insane. Or maybe you are?
  322.  
  323. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  324. >The wind howled, screaming past her exposed ears
  325. >And ran across her withers, forcing her hair to stand at attention.
  326. -Anonymous
  327. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  328.  
  329. Personification is, in my opinion, a fantastic literary device as it breathes life into the inanimate or natural world by giving it human characteristics. It’s wonderful to use, but as with anything, too much of it can make your piece dull, annoying or unfun to read.
  330.  
  331. ////////////////////
  332. Pun-
  333. A play on words in the sense that they sound or look the same, yet have different meanings. Need. I. Say. More? If you don’t know this device, I envy you, or maybe not.
  334.  
  335. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  336. >Dude, this is totally not awesome. I’m bored!
  337. >Uh, sugarcube, you don’t look like no board.
  338. -Anonymous
  339. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  340.  
  341. If you have puns in your poem, I dub thee a dad poet. Oh, and these aren’t used that often, even to the point of never being used. Simply put, if you use this in a serious poem, you should probably rethink your choice, and if you use this in a not-so-serious poem, then... have at it?
  342.  
  343. ////////////////////
  344. Hyperbole-
  345. OH MY GOD, PANIC! PANIC! THIS IS DEFCON I, IT’S A MAJOR EMERGENCY. ANON SAID A SWEAR! I REPEAT, ANON SAID A SWEAR!
  346.  
  347. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  348. >’Oh sweet Celestia!’ Twilight cried, clutching her book with a slightly bent page.
  349. >’It was an accident,’ Spike said, trying to console his devastated friend.
  350. -Anonymous
  351. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  352.  
  353. Spilled milk isn’t just spilled milk, it’s the end of the world. Using a spoon instead of a fork for pasta salad and chicken isn’t a ‘preference,’ it’s a tragedy. And don’t get me started on hoof holding, ‘cause that shit ain’t lewd, it’s an affront to common decency and anyone who partakes in such debauchery is a degenerate.
  354.  
  355. Hyperbole has the potential to be great if used right, but you should aim to not overuse this. Remember, a hyperbole is a tool, and if you misuse it, it won’t just ruin someone’s day, it’ll destroy them.
  356.  
  357. ////////////////////
  358. Colloquialism-
  359. I ain’t gonna lie, hoss, but them there critters’ll make you wish you had a pardner with you. Colloquialism is somewhat strange as it’s not the dialect of a region, it’s the common words or phrases used.
  360.  
  361. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  362. >”Sugarcube, ah ain’t gonna ask ya again, ya hear? So whatcha want?”
  363. >”Well, umm... oh, nevermind,” Fluttershy squeaked, crawling away.
  364. -Anonymous
  365. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  366.  
  367. Examples include pop and soft drinks when referring to soda, the ubiquitous ‘y’all’ of the south and ‘ope’ for the mid-west in the United States and, of course, Australia and Britain’s ‘cunt.’
  368. If you have a poem that’s meant to be from a certain region, inserting some colloquialisms can aid in injecting some charm into your poem; that, and maybe some authenticity.
  369.  
  370. ////////////////////
  371. Metaphor-
  372. Extended Methaphor-
  373.  
  374. ////////////////////
  375. Imagery-
  376.  
  377. ////////////////////
  378. Irony-
  379. Dramatic Irony-
  380. Situational Irony-
  381. Verbal Irony-
  382.  
  383. ////////////////////
  384. Isocolon-
  385.  
  386. ////////////////////
  387. Juxtaposition-
  388.  
  389. ////////////////////
  390. Malapropism-
  391.  
  392. ////////////////////
  393. Mood-
  394.  
  395. ////////////////////
  396. Motif-
  397.  
  398. ////////////////////
  399. Polysyndeton-
  400.  
  401. ////////////////////
  402. Simile-
  403.  
  404. ////////////////////
  405. Symbolism-
  406.  
  407. ////////////////////
  408. Synecdoche-?
  409.  
  410. ////////////////////
  411. Metonymy-?
  412.  
  413. ////////////////////
  414. Tautology-
  415.  
  416. ////////////////////
  417. Tmesis-
  418.  
  419. ////////////////////
  420. Tone-
  421.  
  422. ////////////////////
  423. Zoomorphism-
  424.  
  425. ////////////////////
  426. Asyndeton-
  427. Hmm, how do I put this... ok. So you know what conjunctions are? For, but, yet, so, or and nor? Okay, well now you don’t. Don’t use them, they don’t exist, and not for nothing, either. Asyndenton has a purpose.
  428.  
  429. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  430. >’You should’ve seen me, I was killing it, wrecking it, destroying it!’
  431. >’Is there an ‘and’ in there?’ ‘Pfft, I’m not an egghead like you, Twi.’
  432. -Anonymous
  433. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  434.  
  435. Asyndenton’s used to enhance the rhythm of a poem and to emphasize the point being made. If you’ve heard the line ‘I came, I saw, I conquered,’ then you know of asyndentons. Needless to say, they’re nice to use when used appropriately, but more often than not, you’ll find that you’ll rarely, if ever, use it.
  436.  
  437. *************************
  438. Section 4 - A Lesson on Meter
  439. -------------------------------------
  440.  
  441. Alright, so I’m gonna do my best to simplify meter without boring you because there’s a lot to cover.
  442.  
  443. First off, we’ll focus on how a poem is structured. Every poem has stanzas, and stanzas, in essence, are a group or block of lines that look like a misshapen paragraph. Below are three stanzas:
  444.  
  445. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  446. Hello, hello, great big world!
  447. I’m stanza number one, and I’m a couplet!
  448.  
  449. But now I’ve changed,
  450. And I’ve grown,
  451. And the second stanza’s now a tercet!
  452.  
  453. But wait, there’s more,
  454. For now there isn’t two
  455. Nor three lines
  456. But four in the third stanza, for I’m a quatrain!
  457. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  458.  
  459. Each ‘block’ is an individual stanza, and stanzas can come in many different sizes. You’ll usually hear the words ‘couplet,’ ‘tercet’ and ‘quatrain’ thrown around occasionally. As in the example above, couplets are stanzas with two lines, tercets are stanzas with three, and quatrains have four. Simple enough, right?
  460. Ok, so we’ve gotten the basics on structure, but now we have to go over STRESS and no, it’s not anxiety stress, but syllable stress.
  461.  
  462. Every word contains syllables, and every word also has some form of ‘stress’ attached to them. In poetry, we usually highlight the amount of syllables in each line through ‘feet,’ and each ‘foot’ usually consists of two syllables (I say usually as some feet contain three). There are many different kinds of feet with each one describing a different variation of stress.
  463. I won’t beat around the bush any longer, so we’ll just jump into it.
  464.  
  465. IAMBS-
  466. No, I’m not talking about dog food. Iambs are feet that contain an unstressed syllable (usually denoted by u or x) and a stressed syllable (usually denoted by /).
  467. A couple examples of an iamb would be:
  468.  
  469. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  470.  x     /         x    /       x   /
  471. preDICT    aWAY   toDAY
  472. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  473.  
  474. Of course, a poem isn’t just a couple of words, so we’ll string together something that’s in iambic pentameter (penta means five, and when it’s combined with meter, it means five feet or five iambs).
  475.  
  476. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  477.   x       /      x       /      x     /          x         /         x   /
  478. just TAKE the TIME to HEAR my WORDS anON
  479. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  480.  
  481. I know this is strange, but do this for me: clap your hands or tap a finger to your leg or desk to the DUMs as you say daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM. That’s how stress and unstressed syllables should sound, with the ‘da’ being light, unstressed, and DUM being heavy and having more emphasis (ergo, being stressed).
  482.  
  483. Most poems have a kind of rhythm to them, and that rhythm is typically iambic or trochaic since it usually alternates with stressed and unstressed syllables. Of course, that brings us to:
  484.  
  485. TROCHEES-
  486. Trochees are essentially the inverse of iambs as they start with a stressed syllable and end with an unstressed syllable.
  487. A couple examples of trochees would be:
  488.  
  489. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  490.    /     x        /         x        /        x
  491. DOUble   HOLDing     SHATter
  492. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  493.  
  494. Now we’ll see something in trochaic pentameter.
  495.  
  496. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  497.    /      x          /        x     /         x         /       x     /    x
  498. MAKing SWEETS is NOT real GREAT, it’s AWful.
  499. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  500.  
  501. You’ll likely find trochees in iambic pentameter such as with Shakespeare’s works when it deviates from the norm. Of course, there are other feet that exist, such as:
  502.  
  503. PYRRHICS-
  504. Pyrrhics are feet with two unstressed syllables. So if I were to join two unstressed words together, it’d form a pyrrhic.
  505.  
  506. You’ll find an example of a pyrrhic in the line below:
  507.  
  508. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  509. x  /    x       /      x        /      x    x    x        /
  510. if I could FLY real HIGH as few birds DO
  511. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  512.  
  513. It’s likely you won’t find any poems with an entire line of pyrrhics, however, pyrrhics do exist and are occasionally found in poems, but always keep in mind that each foot isn’t an accident, it has a purpose, and that purpose is to vary the meter, and another foot that helps to vary meter includes:
  514.  
  515. SPONDEES-
  516. Spondees are the opposite of pyrrhics, so instead of two unstressed syllables, it’s two stressed syllables.
  517.  
  518. You’ll find an example of a spondee in the line below:
  519.  
  520. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  521.  /    x      /       x        /       x      /      x    /       /
  522. IN the DISTance YOU will FIND a SKYLINE
  523. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  524.  
  525. Same thing with pyrrhics, spondees are used to vary a poem’s meter. Now, I’ll share with you some:
  526.  
  527. TRISYLLABLES-
  528. At this point, you understand what I’m getting at with stress, so I’m not gonna provide examples for the following, but I’ll throw them out there so that you’re aware they exist.
  529.  
  530. TRIBRACH – ( x – x – x )
  531.  
  532. DACTYL –  ( / – x – x)
  533.  
  534. AMPHIBRACH – ( x – / – x)
  535.  
  536. ANAPEST – ( x – x – / )
  537.  
  538. BACCHIUS – ( x – / – / )
  539.  
  540. ANTIBACCHIUS – ( / – / – x )
  541.  
  542. CRETIC – ( / – x – / )
  543.  
  544. MOLOSSUS – ( / – / – / )
  545.  
  546. With all that said, I’ll briefly cover what meter can do.
  547.  
  548. Meter is used to provide euphony (pleasant sounds) and cacophony (jarring sounds) to a piece, and the variation of it helps to support the poet’s craft.
  549.  
  550. If the meter of a poem is consistent (such as with iambic pentameter), then the rhythm will be the same and can produce something that’s nice to listen to; when combined with, say, consonance (repeating consonant sounds at the end of a word), assonance (repeating vowel sounds) or rhyme, then the previously pleasant effect can become even more pleasant to listen to.
  551.  
  552. That said, if you maintain consistent meter and/or a rhyme scheme that may or may not include consonance or assonance, and then abruptly change it, then the pleasant sound of the poem will halt and indicate a change. If you’ve ever been shopping for Pony Pony in an aisle and someone abruptly comes up from behind you and screams ‘WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PONY, MINES [Insert pony here]!?!’ then you’ll understand what I mean. It causes you to pay attention because there’s something wrong, there’s something different. Thankfully, this is poetry, and having the reader’s attention from switching up your meter can be a good thing depending on why you’re doing it.
  553.  
  554. So let me ask you a question: would you scream in horror if you spot a speck of dirt on someone’s shirt or when you see a monster plowing through a crowd of people? Which would be more appropriate? The point that I’m getting at is that screaming (switching up the meter) isn’t always the answer. If you vary the meter in a random spot, it’s gonna sound off and not in a good way. Take the time to listen to what you’ve written and ask yourself ‘does this sound wrong’ and ‘is this a place where I want the reader to pay attention?’
  555.  
  556. Oh, and finally an interesting note: it’s contrary to popular belief, but blank verse that’s in iambic pentameter isn’t all in iambic pentameter.  Things in iambic pentameter are usually iambic and have five feet, but it CAN vary, and that’s a good thing. A perfect example would be a famous line in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ (the ‘x’ in the parentheses represents an extra syllable).
  557.  
  558.   x   /    x     /     x   /         /       x   x      /      (x)
  559. ‘to BE or NOT to BE | THAT is the QUEStion’
  560.  
  561. There’s a couple of things to understand here, and that’s the inverse (the trochee) after the caesura  which leads into an iamb and the feminine ending (the extra ‘x’). Take the time to read the line again. Go ahead, do it. Now, did anything sound wrong? Probably not, and the reason being is that inverses work rather well in creative works and usually don’t produce cacophony, but euphony. Moreover, the feminine end is light, and if the next line were to continue with an inverse (trochee) or an iamb, it probably wouldn’t sound off or wrong. It’d likely sound natural, pleasant even.
  562.  
  563. *************************************
  564. Section 5 - Additional Thoughts for Beginners
  565. -------------------------------------------------------
  566.  
  567. There’s a lot that goes into making poetry, and it can make anyone feel overwhelmed, but you shouldn’t. You don’t have to memorize every literary technique nor follow any set pattern. As I’ve said at the beginning, the point of poetry is to share emotion, and in sharing that emotion, it can spread a message.
  568.  
  569. If you want to write poetry, I recommend you start with free verse, and I highly recommend that you don’t rhyme. Learn to walk by getting symbolism and metaphor down before you run and start challenging yourself with strict meter, rhyming and more. Also, to get better at poetry, it's the same as how you get better at prose: read. Search online for 'famous poets' and read their works. Find a poet you could describe as your favorite, watch videos and read texts that analyze those poems and eventually start analyzing some poems yourself. Doing this helps, I'm not kidding.
  570.  
  571. And one last thing to note: everyone has to start somewhere. This is true for any creative outlet. Take a look at your favorite content creators and ask yourself if they were making whatever they were making as kids. Probably not, and it’s because we’re all shit at the start. Don’t be too hard on yourself as it does nothing to help you improve.
  572.  
  573. ***********************************
  574. Section 6 - Additional Resources for Poetry
  575. ----------------------------------------------------
  576.  
  577. There’s a fair amount of good resources for poetry; some of them are listed below:
  578.  
  579. Dictionaries and Thesauruses (Physical or Digital)
  580.         This is for finding new words to use and what they mean (obviously)
  581.         This is good for helping you find a rhyme for that one word you’re having troubles with, just make sure you’re choosing a word that fits your poem’s context
Guide Poetry

The Noniventures, Chapter 2

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The Noniventures, Chapter 1

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Pony Poetry

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A Rudimentary Guide to Writing Poetry

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