Originality in Poetry

| Posted in Poetry.

rock_poemPoetry requires originality, just like any other type of writing. This has to extend to every aspect of your poem. The techniques you use will, in all probability, not be original. So, you have to find some other way to stand out.

Here’re some tips to help you tap into your creative well.

Read a lot

Read plenty of poetry. One way to figure out if you’re being original is to be read a lot of other poems. If you do, you’ll be familiar with most forms of writing, and it should be easy to spot whether you’ve copied someone’s style or if you’ve got something that sounds unique.

An original comparison

The best place to start with is the metaphor and all its variants. The metaphor is a kind of comparison but it achieves the comparison with the use of the words ‘like’ and ‘as’. What you realize as you read more metaphors is that you probably will never find another poet using it exactly the same way. The consequence is that if you apply your mind to it, you can come up with an original metaphorical construction. It’s pretty easy to look up the different kinds of metaphors there are, so once you start looking you’ll find the one that suits your purposes.

What kind of rhythm do you want?

The metre of the poem can only have so many variations. You just have to settle on where you want place the stressed syllables. Always remember that a good vocabulary helps, because you need to be conscious of the syllables which can and can’t be stressed in each word. If you try to use words by putting the stress on the weak syllable, readers won’t necessarily pick it up when they read it.

Rhyming – plenty of research

The rhyme scheme is something you need to sort out before you even begin to write the poem. If you want a rhyme scheme, that is. If you decide to use rhyme, you need to research the different types. Remember that the meaning of the poem comes first, then the rhyme, so let the overall idea of the poem influence your decision of a rhyme scheme.

Watch your mouth

Seriously, you need to take note of the tone in which you write; it’s one of the first things readers will notice when reading your poem. If you end up following the style of some famous poet, experienced readers will pick it up pretty quickly. The tone is what runs throughout the poem, so if that isn’t original your poem is pretty much ruined. Check what other poets write and then write your own poem and compare it. If you’re satisfied it sounds different to every poem you’ve read then you’re definitely on the right track.

The big picture

As you will see, the originality of your poem will influence how much readers will appreciate. If it’s original, an experienced reader will immediately notice its depth. An original poem is always appreciated because of the amount of work that went into it.


Written by David Hendricks

Image credit: shortsands, via stock.xchng


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