So, you need to write some poetry quickly, but you don’t have a lot of practice or experience. What do you do? Well, I thought that I’d give you a few quick tips that can help you to make something that may just about pass for a poem.
I should probably point out that this article is aimed people who have no interest in writing more than one or two poems to impress someone. If you want to learn how to write poetry properly, then you probably shouldn’t read this article.
But, remember, you might be able to fool a few people into thinking that you’re a poet if you follow the tips in this article – but don’t expect to fool other poets.
Anyway, let’s get started:
1) Don’t rhyme: This is a classic beginners’ mistake and it’s one of the easiest ways to tell that someone hasn’t had that much experience with poetry. I am, of course, talking about trying to make your poem rhyme when it shouldn’t.
Trying to shoehorn a rhyme scheme into your poem when you don’t actually need one will not only annoy your audience, but it will also waste your time too.
Repeat after me. Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme.
Yes, there is quite a lot of well-written rhyming poetry out there. Rhyming can be a great way to both enhance your poem and to give it more rhythm, but it’s a totally optional thing. And, since learning how and when to rhyme properly can take a bit of practice – it’s probably best to save it for later.
If you really must add a rhyme to your poem, then just make sure that only two or four lines of your poem rhyme. But don’t waste too much time thinking of a rhyme.
2) Line breaks: One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to make something that resembles a poem quickly is to either write a very short story or to write down some random thoughts that you’ve had and then just add some random line breaks to it. This is basically cheating, but it can be a good way to come up with a poem quickly.
Ideally, each line of your poem should be roughly the same length – but it’s ok to make each line a slightly different length.
For example, here’s a very corny old joke: “Did you hear about the mathematician with constipation? He worked it out with a pencil.”
Now, if I want to make this old joke look more like a poem, all I have to do is to think of a suitably pretentious title and add some line breaks to it. Like this:
“Blocked Logic” – A poem
Did you hear about
He worked it out
with a pencil.
Just remember to come up with your own ideas for these types of poems. I used a copy of an old joke as an easy example, but you should never copy someone else’s work and call it your own poetry. Not only is it bad form, it’s also very easy to detect. So, don’t do it!
3) Fake haiku: Writing real haiku poems is one of the most challenging things that a poet can do. After all, you have to meticulously count the number of syllables in each line and stick to the “rules” as closely as possible.
However, unless you’re showing your poem to an experienced poet or someone who has read a lot of haiku poems before, then these kinds of poems are extremely easy to fake.
All you need to do is to write three short lines. The first and the second lines should be a description of something and the last line should either be a profound thought, a totally different description or something random.
As long as the middle line is slightly longer than the first and last lines, it will (to the uninformed anyway) look like a haiku. Here’s an example of what I mean:
A leaf drifts,
on a sirocco wind.
Life is short.
Technically speaking, this isn’t a real haiku (since the syllable count is something like 4, 6, 5). But it certainly looks like one…
4) Total randomness: As the name suggests, one of the quickest ways to write fake poetry is to just write a bunch of random words or sentences and arrange them in a way that looks like a poem.
If anyone asks you about it, just tell them that it’s “avant-garde” poetry or that it’s “cut-up” poetry.
Seriously, just let your imagination go wild and come up with something totally random. Like this:
a perfect ovoid,
palm tree sap,
lost in cartoons
of Spanish dubloons.
There are infinite nebulae
in my bellybutton fluff.
Lost languages scream
for more whipped cream.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂