Writing Well

Tools of the Trade

Traditionally, poems had a specific rhythm and rhyme, but modern poetry such as free verse doesn't have regular beat, rhyme, or line length. Before you start your poems, let's review the different tools you have to work with: poetic elements and figures of speech. Pick and choose from these elements to create the poem that expresses your soul.

Word Watch

Iambic pentameter is a rhythm scheme with five accents in each line.

Write Angles

Use rhyme to create a musical sound, meaning, and structure in your poems.

Poetic Elements

As with any other skill worth knowing, poetry has its own lingo. Here are some of the most commonly used terms:

Yes, I know I packed a lot in here, but let's just take it slow. First, read the list over a few more times. Then look back at some of the poems I've included in this section, some of your own favorites, and some you've written yourself. See how many of the elements listed here you can find in the poems. Finally, try using some of these elements when you write your own poems.

Figures of Speech

Figurative language, words and expressions not meant to be taken literally, uses words in fresh, new ways to appeal to the imagination. Figures of speech include alliteration, hyperbole, image, metaphor, onomatopoeia, and simile. Let's look at them now:

Remember that figures of speech are usually appropriate in any of the four kinds of writing. The right figure of speech can enhance everything you write—not just poetry.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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