The AVBOB Poetry Competition | Poetry Writing | Top Tips for Writing Quality Poems

Top Tips for Writing Quality Poems

It is said that there is a story within each of us, and one can easily say the same about poems. While some of us are natural-born poets, others can expand their horizons by practising the art of poetry writing. Poetry is a vast genre in the literary world, and there are no hard and fast rules dictating what poetry should mean, or even look like.

Poetry writing is largely about personal preference and style. Nonetheless, following some tried-and-tested conventions and structures can help you convey your thoughts in meaningful and powerful ways. If the poetry bug has bitten and you are ready to try your hand at this age-old art, it might be worth exploring these handy tips.

Read, Read, and Read Some More

One of the best ways to improve your poetry writing skills is by getting acquainted with the works of other poets and learning about innovative ways in which they use symbolism, metaphors, and rhyme to convey a unique narrative. The world of revered poetry and writing can and will expand your mind, spark your imagination, and ignite newfound inspiration.

Fortunately, there are many free online platforms that offer an array of inspiring works by poets from all walks of life. One such platform is our very own literary library, which currently contains over 15 000 poems exploring themes of hope, love, death, and birth.

Consider Poetic Devices

Another effective way to enhance your poetry writing skills is to study popular poetic devices. Immerse yourself in the world of alliteration, explore the miraculous wonders of mixed metaphors, or enjoy the lingering tension achieved by enjambement. Poetic devices help poets deliver memorable poems in meaningful and effective ways.

Poetic devices also make poems more evocative, conjuring powerful meaning and imagery. While poetry writing is certainly about creativity, these structures can support writers in their delivery of narratives in original ways. What would you like to say, and how exactly would you like to say it? Express yourself by determining how the literary devices will make your poetry pop. Unique poetry that captures the mind and soul requires the reader’s involvement and motivates them to further investigate and establish a personal connection with your poem.

Put Pen to Paper

If you have never written a poem before, this step might seem intimidating. However, the best way to channel those creative juices is to simply put pen to paper. Undeniably, your first few attempts might not always feel successful, but practising remains an important part of the process. Writing aside, choosing an interesting topic or idea might be the hardest part of the initial writing process. It is best to always focus on topics and ideas that are personal to you, and ones that only you can write.

Once you’ve written a poem or two and would like to get a ‘feel’ for them, simply read them out loud. By reciting your poem in front of a mirror or even a friend or family member, you can best gauge whether your poem might speak to a bigger audience. This process can also assist in determining whether the poem’s rhythm, length and message are living up to your expectations.

Connect to the World of Literature

Immerse yourself in the writing community by joining poetry groups and exchanging works with other writers or by attending live poetry recitals. A bit of initiative and dedication will result in unparalleled inspiration and the opportunity to network with other aspiring writers. In turn, this will expose you to various poetry competitions, book launches, and literary events to broaden your horizons.

Explore the Magic of Our Library for Inspiration

If you’re ready to start exploring the world of poetry, be sure to visit our extensive poetry library that offers local poems in South Africa’s 11 official languages. The library is a great starting point to familiarise yourself with the many wonderful examples that consider unique concepts and ideas, writing styles, and poetic devices. They form the building blocks of proactive poetry writing practices.

We also have an array of poetry anthologies available for purchase. These can assist any aspiring poet to learn and even acquire some much-needed writing skills and habits (and they make for excellent coffee table books!).

Be sure to visit our videos page and get first-hand feedback, insights and advice from our previous competition winners.