How to become a successful poet

Essay by mysticasend February 2003

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So you want to be a poet

Alliteration. Rhyme. Haiku. Limerick.

Do you know what any of these terms mean? If not, then you, my friend, are poetically challenged. And no, you're not alone; it's a common complaint.

What on earth, you ask, does poetically challenged mean? Don't bother looking in the dictionary for it, it's a term I made up. It means someone who has trouble creating poetry.

Amateur poetry, of course, usually consists only of rhymes, while the poems created by professionals are quite literally works of art. Poetry can be anywhere between as simple as Roses are red, Violets are blue, But it is said, That I love you, or a Shakespearean work.

If you are poetically challenged in any way, or if you just want a refresher course on the basics of poetry, then this is the guide for you.

Types of poems

Right now, you're probably thinking something along the lines of, "What?! Poetry's Poetry, isn't it?".

Well, you're right, but there are more types of poetry than you could imagine. Limericks, Couplets, Sonnets, Haiku, Ballads; Poetry and poems come in many guises. Even songs (for the most part) are just poetry put to music. Here I will describe to you some of the more popular types of poems, and describe how to create them.

Basic Rhymes

These are one of the most basic poem types in existence. They can be any length, from two lines to five hundred or more. The idea of the rhyme is that the last few syllables a particular pattern of lines rhymes, and so does the next pattern, et cetera. The majority of poems entered in the poetry contest are these. There are lots of variations, and the only general rule is that the cadence, or beat, must...