Some writers prefer either the lyric or the narrative mode; some work equally well in both.
Two less traditional ways of structuring your line are accentual verse and syllabics.
Whereas strict meter is based on counting stresses and slacks syllables, in accentual verse you count only the number of stresses.
In this seventh installment of my creative writing course, poet Andrew Philip introduces us to the basics of how to write poems.
Andrew has been part of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets since 2002. The previous instalments of this course have focused on fiction, though much of the advice is also relevant to poetry.
Lines that break at the end of a sentence (end-stopped lines) make the reader pause and hold that thought.
Breaks that come in the middle of a sentence or clause drive the pace onward. Till I hear the very ash sigh down among the flowers of brass I’ll breathe, and long past midnight, your last kiss.
In syllabics, you simply count the number of syllables and let the stresses fall where they will.
Here are two tips for preventing yourself from falling into a predictable rhythm: The tanka is a nice little Japanese form that can help you practise both tips.
For more on free verse, read Fiona’s post on How Free is Free Verse?
and for a discussion on the importance of sound, see Joan’s post Are You Listening Carefully?