LESSON III. Write A Poem

LESSON III. Write A Poem

A Lesson by Richard🖌

First, pick a form or style.


III. Write A Poem
Richard W. Jenkins ©2019


   The most important steps in writing a poem are to decide what you want to write about; then, selecting the form or style of poetry you want to compose your poem in that best fits your subject, feelings, idea, thoughts, emotions, etc. From the literally hundreds of poetical forms, there will be a number of correct or suitable forms that best fits to express in any and everything you can conceive of.

   First: To help you successfully accomplish this, browse through the forms below, noting how each is designed to work, giving each one careful consideration before deciding on the form you believe will best suit your poem and your topic.

   Second: After deciding the form you feel will best fit the "way" you wish to express your idea, thought, feeling, emotion, etc; study the chosen form's stipulated details and follow the rules in their exactness.

   The forms displayed below are the "basic", most popular forms of poetry, but there are literally hundreds (even thousands) of poetic  forms, so never be concerned of becoming bored or running out of styles to compose your ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, imagination, creativity, and so forth in.

   They are listed in increasingly complex and challenging order.


"Let's Write"

   But, before you begin, here is a very important admonishment for beginner and experienced, alike: "Whenever learning and composing in a new form, allow yourself to master that form in the exact way it's meant to be before varying it in any manner, so you'll not develop hard to break, bad habits, and become a poorly accomplished poet. And, never hold back and stifle your creativeness or smother your highest potential as an artist, by limiting your efforts to only one, two, or three poetic forms." The more you learn, know, and practice, the more accomplished, skilled, and capable poetess or poet you'll become.

   Remember, the craft of poetry is an art, and every master artist learned the basics of their art before branching out into their own styles.


Prose Poetry

A genre in the poetic spectrum between Prose and Free Verse. It is distinguished

by the poetic characteristics of rhythmic, aural, and syntactically poetic diction,

compression of thought, sustained intensity, and patterned structure, but is set on

the page in a continuous sequence of sentences as in common prose, without line-breaks.

Unlike Common Prose, Poetic Prose is composed in poetic voice, metaphor, and imagery.

Free Verse

Unrhymed poetry without a set meter or count, but must flow.

This is NOT a narrative or Prose form ... must have a poetic voice, spoken with rhythm

and word-flow, and thoughts grouped with appropriate line-breaks and enjambments.

The heart of great Free Verse poetry is metaphor, imagery, and proper line-breaks.

Free Style

Intermittent rhyming poetry without a set meter or count.

This is NOT a narrative or Prose form, and must have poetic voice.

Rhythm and word-flow decide where to place the rhymes

and not always on the line ends, but often interspersed throughout.

Technically, this form is Free Verse with intermittent rhymes.

Rhyming Couplet

Typically, a pair of lines that have the same meter (syllable-counts, but

but are known to vary), and must share the same end rhymes,

allowing them to flow comfortably, appealingly, and harmoniously.

This form is most often displayed together in two or more verses. 


(three line forms)

The Triplet is arguably one of the the most significant poetry forms in use throughout history,

and examples of variations of three line poetry are to be found throughout the world,

from the Celtic forms of Ireland and Wales, to the Muzdawidj of Arabia,

while not forgetting the Sijo of Korea, and the Katuata, Senryu, and Haiku of Japan.

Examples of the Tercet or Triplet

Blues Stanza

A.A.a.  B.B.b   C.C.c,  etc.

Enclosed Triplet

(x denotes no rhyme required)

a.x.a   b.x.b   c.x.c, with no syllable count requirement.

Arabic Mathnawi or Muzdawij

(x denotes no rhyme required)

a.x.a    b.x.b    c.x.c   with even syllable counts in author's choice.

Sicilian Triplet

a.b.a   b.c.b   c.d.c   in Iambic Pentameter.

Haiku & Senryu

The Haiku is "entirely" of a Nature theme, flora, fauna, seasons, earth, universe etc.

The Senryu has a Human theme, and can contain elements of Nature, as-well.

Both of these Japanese forms are composed with a syllable count of 5/7/5,

and are written completely free of rhymes, punctuation, or capitalization.


Four line stanzas/verses of any kind, unrhymed, rhymed, metered, or otherwise.

Like the Tercet and Sonnet, there are numerous variations of the quatrain.

Examples of the Quatrain:

Unmetered Quatrain

In 7/10/6/9 syllable counts and an a,b,c,b rhyme scheme.

What soul's naïve appearance 

shall awaken this darkened dormant me, 

and tread the road that leads 

where innocence should not ever be.

Metered Quatrain

In 8/8/8/8 syllable counts and an a,b,a,b rhyme scheme.

What soul's bright, naïve appearance 

shall awaken dark dormant me, 

to tread the road that leads, perchance,

where innocence should never be.


Meter: Iambic Beat

Syllable Counts: 8/6/8/6

Rhyme Scheme: abab, cdcd, etc; (or) abcb, defe, etc.


(a string of quatrains in a certain pattern)

A Quatern is a sixteen line French form, composed in four Quatrains.

It has a Refrain that is in a different place in each Quatrain.

The first line of verse one is the second line of verse two,

third line of verse three, and fourth line of verse four.

A Quatern is composed in eight syllables per line.

It does not require iambics or a rhyme scheme,

these are entirely the author’s choices.


line 2

line 3

line 4

line 5

line 6 (Line 1 REFRAIN)

line 7

line 8

line 9

line 10

line 11 (Line 1 REFRAIN)

line 12

line 13

line 14

line 15

line 16 (Line 1 REFRAIN)


Here's a legitimate challenge for the novice and experienced alike,

an "unrhymed" poem written in iambic meter that consists of

six, six-line stanzas and a final three line stanza (called an envoi),

all unrhymed (except rhymes the word patterns might naturally produce).

The final word in each line of the first stanza becomes the final word in other stanzas

but in a different specified pattern (no word repeats itself in any line).

The final stanza (envoi) uses these words again in a specified way in each line.

Syllable-count is the writer’s choice, but must be the same for each line.

Each letter in the diagram below represents the end "word" of a line,

and each row of letters represents a six-line stanza, as follows:

Stanza 1:

a b c d e f

Stanza 2:

f a e b d c

Stanza 3:

c f d a b e

Stanza 4:

e c b f a d

Stanza 5:

d e a c f b

Stanza 6:

b d f e c a

2-Line Envoi Ending:

Two of the original words are included in each line

of this three line Envoi, with all six words as follows:

bedcfa  or  badcfe

Italian Sestet

A simpler six-line "rhyming" form, with the following rhyme scheme:

a,b,c,a,b,c  d,e,f,d,e,f, etc; all lines written in iambic pentameter.

With at least one, but no limit to numbers of stanzas.


(Little Song)

Undoubtedly, the Sonnet is the most widely recognized form in the world.

Yet, only a small fraction of all poetesses and poets have mastered it.

Though, made famous by Shakespeare, this form is much older.

It has been traced back to the beginning of the middle ages

in Italy, in early 475AD. The first known for his sonnets

is Giacomo da Lentin, who lived in the 13th century.

There are actually four different main Sonnet formats:

Shakespearean, Spenserian, Petrarchan (Italian), and the Kyrielle Sonnet.

Each has a unique rhyme scheme, but ALL are composed in fourteen lines.

Note that the sonnet is traditionally written with no spaces between stanzas,

but modern composers of sonnets often break their verses into three quatrains,

with alternating rhymes and a heroic couplet.

The Petrarchan format has several different possible endings

known as tercets (three line stanzas).

ALL three of the first three Sonnet forms are composed in iambic pentameter:

10-syllables or 5 poetic feet per/line, composed in iambic beat, tempo, or rhythm,

the Kyrielle Sonnet composed in iambic tetrameter: 8-syllables or 4 poetic feet per/line.

Here are the rhyme schemes for the four different Sonnet styles.

English Sonnet






Spensarian Sonnet





Petrarchan Sonnet





[end Tercet variants]

d-c-d / d-d-c / c-d-c

Kyrielle Sonnet
A contemporary form of the Sonnet, created by forming a union

between the traditional Sonnet and the Kyrielle.
A Kyrielle Sonnet consists of 14 lines (three rhyming quatrain stanzas

and a non-rhyming ending couplet).
The Kyrielle Sonnet 
also has a repeating line or phrase as a refrain

(appearing as the last line of each stanza).
Each line of the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of eight iambic syllables

or 4 poetic feet (Iambic Tetrameter).

Use the first and last line of the first quatrain as the ending couplet.

This, also, reinforces the refrain within the poem.

The two end line Rhyme Scheme choices for the Kyrielle Sonnet are explained as follows:

The UPPERCASE rhyme letters are repeat refrain lines, and the lower case are simple rhymes.

NOTE: a,b,c,d lines rhyme with their appropriate lowercase "and" UPPERCASE counterparts.





Presenting or Displaying Your Poem

   Now that you've selected your form and worked hard to make it just the way you want it, it's the right time to decide how you want to present/display your poem; aligned left, center, or even right, the font, font size, and color you feel will best represent the mood and mind's-eye feel of your poem.

   Do you want a softened ambiance in italics, strong and bold in plain block letters, or a gentler serif font, and you might want a picture or illustration above your poem to introduce it and help set the mood for your readers' pleasure and enjoyment.

   A lot of things go into producing and displaying your poem before it's properly prepared and ready to present to your readers. I know, after all your hard work, you take considerable pride in your poetic effort, wanting it to be the best it can be to represent You, the artist, because the quality of your work is your signature, it represents You, your pride, your character, your ethic, and shows how much you care about impressing and satisfying your readers and fans … it's only normal that you should.

   Remember this though, no amount of presentation is going to turn a poorly-written poem into a masterpiece … that takes, study, learning, the development of understanding, and much keen observation before it becomes reality.

   As the experienced and accomplished veterans say, "Composing excellent poetry is not for sissies, slackers, or wannabes; you get out whatever you put in … nothing more, nothing less!"


Enjoy learning, practicing, and challenging yourself at every opportunity.

This is the only way to become proficient and accomplished at poetry.

If you're a novice, resist attempting the more challenging forms

till you've gotten your poet's legs under you and christened

 your favorite pen in the ink 'n parchment of true poetry.

Above all else, "ENJOY YOUR WRITING!"

And, by all means, share anything with me

you'd like to, whether it is questions

debate, argument, or otherwise!

Please, share your thoughts and leave feedback, as this is
the only way I know if I've done poorly or well, and
I need your input to learn and grow from.
Thank you for reading my lessons.
(Don't forget to check out
my Blogs on poetry.)
Anything else you'd
like lessons on?
Let me know.


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Posted 3 Months Ago

Just when I thought I had a full list of the different forms you've now added more! This gives me search material. But I take what you wrote to heart. Master the form first. I will

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Posted 2 Years Ago

Debate and argument...😇😇. I’ll see what I can do!!!

No quite seriously, this is amazing work. I am learning so much just reading your courses. The main thing I learned was that poetry is music, and to use my voice or inner ear while writing. I do that instinctively, but never knew why.

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Posted 2 Years Ago

Hi, Hamish!
Thank you for reading this lesson on poetry.
True, poetry is an endlessly complex art … one can never learn it all.
Learning the forms of poetry properly indoctrinates and educates, honing one's skills and teaching a true craft.
It, also, separates the hopeful pretenders from the artists, and both can be easily recognized simply by reading them.
Poetry, on any truly meaningful and impacting level, requires study, practice, and the development of depth and understanding before composing powerful and impressive works is possible.
If one is serious about learning poetry, they should first read recognized and noted poets, and become familiar with what the art of poetry is all about in its finished form. Then, and only then, dig in, start learning, and give it your best shot … poetry, after-all, is a lifetime challenge of endlessly wondrous accomplishments and rewards.
I hope you choose the road most productive to your highest poetical success, by learning and reaping the incomparable rewards in one day realizing how amazing reaching your poetic potential really feels.

Good writing to ya, Hamish!
If you need a hand along the way, I'm always around. : )

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Posted 2 Years Ago

I never realised it could be so complex

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Posted 2 Years Ago

Brightly encouraging words, Mary : )
I'd say you've got it just about right!

It is so nice to see you here and to receive your meaningful comment. ⁓ Richard 🍃

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Posted 3 Years Ago

Another words Study from the great poets.
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Added on April 27, 2019
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