How to write a poem ? My Take
A good poem must be the one which presents its readers an idea or ideas through thought provoking imagery allowing a reader to visualize and understand the subject matter. A poem has to be a poem not prose. It means a poem which is developed through various stanzas in any form/type/structure should use minimum words/sentences to convey its imagery and meaning to its readers. It may be rhythmical or may not be. It may be a short or a long poem. Thoughts in brevity of words/sentences should bring out subtle meaning than meeting the eyes as a poem becomes open to different interpretations by different readers. A poet gets a reader only when one grasps the idea, visualizes the imagery presented, understands the theme, type and structure of the poem. In fact, I feel, a poem should be written for the masses and not for the classes (i.e. for academic purposes).
My experience guides me that a readable poem must have some basic features:-
Topic of the poem and poetic device to be used should be well thought over. Ideas keep creeping up in our minds while observing our surroundings, pondering over the happenings around us or something which shock/enthrall us. A poet being sensitive to these activities feels like jotting down ideas or register those in his/her mind only to be penned later. Wordsworth said, I quote. “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” Unquote. However, these overflowing feelings / ideas need to be refurbished with the richness of language and effective thought presentation in such a way that a reader can read and understand what is said in between the lines.
Presentation should be in simple language, in flowing style and must strictly confine to poetic norms if any of the poetic types like etheree, haiku/senryu , acrostic, sonnet, limerick , etc. is used. Though poems in free verse enjoy liberty of expressing the feelings/emotions freely, yet such poems should not sound like prose ones. The structure of such poems has to be maintained purely in poetic form. Such poems need to have a constant flow of thoughts (rhyming becomes optional) with some sort of mystery around the creation for readers to be curious to read.
Powerful imagery is an essential ingredient for writing a good poem. It is this part which creates an effect in the minds of readers presenting a visual picture in their minds like a sculptor beginning sculpting its creation till its finalization.
Articles, prepositions, adjectives and qualifiers etc. can be used only if these are at all necessary.
Use of proper nouns instead of abstract nouns e.g car, dog, table instead of a vehicle, an animal, the furniture etc. is recommended.
Use of metaphors, similes, pun, personification, hyperbole etc. enhance the beauty of a poem, stir the emotions of a reader and add a value to the imagery of a poem.
Though punctuations don’t seem to be usually a part of the poem, but it can be used to create greater impression while reading or reciting a poem. However out of place punctuations do disturb the rhythm of a poem.
Each and every poem, I feel, expresses some sort of truth and intensity of emotions. Readers should be able to identify with the poet’s thoughts/emotions and feel one while exploring a poem. Poems should present universal truth which may be political, historical, ethical, moral, personal or dealing with contemporary subject.
In the end I quote Dylan Thomas “Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own”
writtern by Tribhawan Kaul