Writing Free Verse Poems – 4

At the heart of every good poem is language. You can use simple, ordinary language in inventive ways. When the right words combine, they frequently make meanings beyond the words themselves.

When you sit down to write a poem, you have the power of the words at your fingertips. If you work at a poem, you can share your feelings with your readers. You can share how you see the world. And, if you write well, your readers will be touched by your gift.

A free verse poem is a poem that is free of a set rhythm and rhyme.
List Poems are a great place to start when you want to write free verse poems.

Things That Go Away and Come Back Again

The sun, the moon, the stars
Bad weather
The seasons
Good luck
List poems do not all have one – word lines.

Below is another example of a list poem:

How to Get Out of Homework

I’m feeling sick
Look at what the dog’s doing
Five more minutes
That’s a beautiful necklace
Oh, just a little longer
I’m feeling sleepy
Was that the phone?
After dinner?
A cat’s outside
I’m hungry
I don’t feel like it.

As you’ve seen writing a good list poem is more difficult than merely writing a list. You start by making a list of anything you can think of that’s related to your subject. If you are writing about a few of your favourite things, brainstorm a list of your favourite things. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that might be telling you, “This poem will never work.” Write down whatever comes to mind. Take your time with your list. You might think you are finished, but if you let the list rest for a few days, you will definitely come up with other items to add to it.

When you have a good, long list, read it over carefully. Think about the order in which you want to list your favourite things. Read your draft out loud. How does it sound? Have you placed words together that start with the same consonant? Perhaps some words have the same vowel sounds. What sort of rhythm does your poem have? Short lines will give it a more hurried feel than long lines. Try to find the best word for what you want to say. Remember: Don’t settle for a good word when a little work and thought will give you the right word.

Now write your own list poem on one, three or four or all of these subjects.

My grandmother’s house
Lucky things
What to do if…
Things I like about my friends
My mistakes
When I’m alone I…