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This article isn’t going to help you write good poetry. I’m not going to teach that. What I am going to do is tell you why you should explore the world of poetry and how it can benefit your other forms of writing. 

1. Helps With Literary Devices

Poetry is a condensed collection of literary devices used to evoke a specific emotion. Writing poetry allows you to use these devices in short succession. Practising these technics can bring your other projects to a higher level.

Using tools like imagery, alliteration, metre, rhythm and metaphor can be an excellent way to add interest to your novel in short bursts. When you start to actively consider what using specific words can evoke. It’s easier to justify bringing those techniques into your work.

Having a place to practice using literary devices can help with pacing, scenes, world-building, and character description to name just a few. 

2. Shows The Importance of Words

A novel is roughly 50,000 words, a short story, 2,000, flash fiction is 300 a poem is maybe 50 words. 

When you have a lower word count to work with, every word becomes an essential piece of the puzzle. Entire mythologies have been condensed into poems and have just as much impact and power as a piece with more words. 

Let’s look at a poem for an example of this.

The Kraken 

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Using some literary devices and constraints, Tennyson creates a haunting, ominous poem in which every word is carefully chosen. 

The poem is unsettling because it slightly deviates from a traditional Petrarchan Sonnet. The fifteenth line is unnerving because the poem is supposed to stop on the fourteenth. The rhyme scheme also changes for the last four lines, disrupting the flow of the poem and unnerving the reader. 

It’s clever and something that even those who are not very familiar with poetry will feel, even if they don’t understand why they might be unnerved. 

It’s a great case study and if you have some time I’d recommend you look at an analysis of this poem because it’s honestly brilliantly crafted. 

3. It’s Fun

Okay, time to break from the seriousness, I’m a bit worried that I’ve lost some of you with that last point. 

Writing poetry is seriously fun. Trying to make interesting connections and paint a unique picture either as a free verse poem or by using constraints can be a great downtime activity. I’ll sometimes write a poem as a warm-up before a session. 

4. It’s A Break From Fiction

Sometimes writing a story can become a bit monotonous. I like to explore my feelings with poetry when I’m feeling overwhelmed or bored by my piece. It offers a little bit of relief while still being in the world of writing. 

I’ve sometimes tried to write poetry from a character perspective or to condense my novel into a verse or two. 

Again this is a great way to practice concise and specific wording. 

5. It’s A Powerful Medium

More people are reading poetry now. There has been a resurgence thanks to the rising popularity of Instagram poetry. This means that the medium is accessible to a large amount of readers. 

Poetry is for everyone, which is why I think everyone should dabble in the form. It could help you express yourself with a perhaps surprising amount of accuracy.

Whether you want to dabble in spoken word or haiku, there is probably a poetic form that will fit your needs like a glove. 

Being able to express yourself in a new form is a great way to learn about yourself as a writer. 

As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf.