Tips for Writing Free Verse Poetry

I’ve been in a poetic frame of mind lately–partly due to my poem, “Reaching for the Stars” in this month’s HIGHLIGHTS magazine, but also because I’ve been working on a classroom project to help some 5th graders explore poetry.

“Reaching for the Stars” is written in Free Verse Poetry. This is one of the easiest types of poetry to write. Why?
  • It sounds more like regular speech.
  • There is no set length to lines.
  • There is no rhyme or meter or counting of syllables.
  • It lends itself to any subject matter–serious or silly.

Tips for Writing Free Verse Poetry:

  • Remember to use rich words (juicy nouns, powerful verbs, original phrases)
  • Create unique similes and metaphors that make an instant connection with your readers
  • Appeal to all five senses
  • Orchestrate a lyrical flow to your poem with your word choices and placement
  • Speed it up or slow it down with the length of your lines and of your words
  • Use line breaks to punctuate your poem
  • Evoke a mood with your poem
  • Stop when you’re stuck. Take a walk, shoot some hoops, let your mind float free and that’s when you’ll discover just the word or the idea you needed.                                                 

One of my favorite poetry how-to books is from Scholastic publishers. It’s called HOW TO WRITE POETRY by Paul B. Janeczko. You can find this book at your independent bookstore or library. 

I hope these tips for writing Free Verse Poetry make you want to grab your pen and give it a try. 

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