Writing Poetry

How To Write A Poem: A Beginner’s Guide by Sean O’Neill

I highly recommend this ebook if poetry writing is something that appeals to you. O’Neil breaks down writing poetry in a simple methodology that anyone can apply. These are the tools he suggests and I’ve replied with my own examples to demonstrate the process.

  1. Close your eyes and imagine a location. What do your senses tell you? Write down what comes to mind. The most important part of this exercise is that it does not matter if what you write is perfect. The core to writing is simply beginning.
  2. What do you see?   I see tall branches against a blue sky.
  3. What do I hear? I listen to the rustle of branches and a blue jay squawking.
  4. What do I touch or feel?  I feel the wet cement steps and the breeze in my hair.
  5. What do I taste? I taste a slight bitterness in my coffee.

We’ve gathered a group of impressions with Sean’s instruction. What do we do next?

The next step is to look for similes or metaphors to give our impressions some creativity.

Threadlike branches flutter

 against an achromatic sky

An angry blue jay squawks

 in thunderous dismay.

Another squalling burst

 sends my hair flying

Timing is everything

mine is a like a dropped egg.

In my haste to brush

my hair aside, I drench

me on the concrete steps.

Another missed

bean’s water moment.

I stifle a bitter curse.


From this simple exercise, I have a rough poem that I can tweak or leave as is.

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