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How to Write Poetry Books

By 9 February 2023March 11th, 2024No Comments

Ever wondered how to write poetry books? Read on, and we will provide you with a guide on how to get started on your poetry writing journey.

Poetry is an incredible art form. Whether you have reams of paper with endless poems that you have written over the years, or a few short lines and a whole swirling mass of ideas, the desire to share your poems is the same. If you want to become a published poet, you will need to ensure that your poetry is the best it can be before you submit your collection for publication. As with many things, you can improve your poetry by working on the techniques and aspects of writing that you find hard, helping you to fine-tune your poems into a published collection.

Tips on How to Start Writing a Poetry Book

The best way to start writing poetry is simply to start. Pick up your pen and notebook, or curl up with your laptop and just begin. However, we have put together some top tips to help you get started on your poetry journey, and continue to develop your writing skills day by day.

Tip #1 Reading widely

When we read, whether we are reading poems or novels, we are expanding our minds, and examining how other writers use language to convey ideas or emotions. We can learn so much about what we like and dislike, what we feel works or not, by reading. Reading opens doors within us, enabling us to see the world from other people’s perspectives.

Tip #2 Write poetry daily

If we do anything every day, we get better at it. The more we practise a musical instrument the better we get, the more we paint, and the more times we ride a bicycle. Writing is no different. The discipline of sitting down to write is important, as it teaches us about perseverance and the agony of staring at a blank piece of paper.

Tip #3 Exploring the craft of writing poetry

Poetry is a craft, and learning about this will help to broaden your understanding.

Tip #4 – Experiment with different forms

You may have heard of a haiku, or a rhyming couplet, but there are many other forms of poetry, from free flow to a villanelle. By trying out different forms, you will challenge yourself and increase your understanding of poetry.

Tip #5 Use imagery

Your words can create a picture in your reader’s mind, through good use of imagery. Evoke the senses, what do you want your reader to see, smell, and feel when they read your poems?

Tip #6 Write from experience

Our personal experiences forge our world-view. By sharing our experiences with others, we draw upon our emotions and reactions. These genuine emotions will often be incredibly powerful.

Tip #7 Connect with other poets

Although writing can be a solitary activity, it is good to meet up with other poets and discuss your work, ask for advice, or learn from each other. Every poet will be different, so joining a poetry group can be very beneficial.

Tip #8 Ask for feedback

Feedback, while nerve-wracking to receive, is extremely important to develop your skill as a poet. If you are part of a poetry group, then this can be an excellent way to receive feedback.

Tip #9 Revise and edit

So you have written a poem, and you love it, each and every word of it. Put it to one side, and come back to it tomorrow. Much of the skill of writing lies in the revisions, working on each word, and each phrase, wondering if there is another way to say this, a better, more powerful way.

Tip #10 Cultivate your poetry collection

Collect poems wherever you go. Whether they are poems you read on the underground that speak to you, or lines you have written on the back of your hand in an elevator, keep everything.

Tip #11 Be consistent

Although writing a book of poems is an art form, approach it in an ordered and consistent manner. Make sure you save everything and keep writing every day. If you are putting together a collection, then be consistent with your work.

Tip #12 Structure the poetry book

A poetry book needs a structure or a theme. It cannot simply be a jumbled poetry collection, it needs to fit together as a whole. Whether the poetry shows changing emotions over time or is focused around a topic such as trains, is your choice, but you need to consider the overall structure of the poetry book, not simply each individual piece of poetry.

Tip #13 Choose a book title

Possibly the hardest thing that you will ever write! Your poetry book title needs to capture the essence of your poetry, it needs to tempt people to pick up your book and open the pages, and it needs to be intriguing, engaging, and thoughtful.

How Many Poems are in a Poetry Book?

Every book of poetry is different, however, commonly a poetry book will have 40 to 70 pages of poetry. This could be anything between 30 and 100 poems, depending on their length. Try not to get too caught up on the quantity, as the quality is far more important. How the poetry fits together, the story that it tells, and the emotions it evokes, are far more important than the quantity. If you only have a shorter collection of poetry, you can always publish a chapbook, which generally has 15 – 50 poems. This can be a good option if you have a concise collection of poetry. ShieldCrest have also produced a compendium of poems written over a long period on different topics.

How Many Pages is Good Poetry?

Have you ever wondered how many pages in a poetry book there should be? Or wondered “How many poems do you need for a poetry book?”. Poetry is not judged by its length, but by its depth. Some pieces of poetry are far more powerful for their brevity. Three beautiful lines can be perfect, without needing elaboration or expansion. While a long poem could tell a magical story. There is no right length for a piece of poetry. If you are following a poetry format, such as a sonnet, with 14 lines, then you will need to keep to that structure, but otherwise, just keep writing what works.

How Long Should a Poem Be?

Unless you are writing a certain style of poem such as a sonnet or a haiku, which must be a certain number of lines and syllables, then there are no restraints on the length of your poem. The famous Ernest Hemingway story about his challenge to write a story in six words shows that substance is not connected to volume. So, your poem can be as long or as short as you wish.

Does a Poetry Book Have Chapters?

A book of poetry does not have chapters like a conventional novel, however, you can section your book of poetry, if it helps the flow. Perhaps you are writing a book of poetry called “Cascading Colours” and your poetry is about different colours and their corresponding emotions. You may want to split your book of poetry into sections or chapters so that each colour is within its own chapter. Other poetry books simply flow seamlessly throughout the collection. There are no rules that you must adhere to, create a poetry collection that works for you and your reader.

What is the Format of a Poetry Book?

The format of your book of poetry should be reflective of the content. Some people choose to have a simple, stark design so that the words speak for themselves, whilst other people want illustrations that fit with the poetry to highlight or emphasise the themes or emotions. Working with professional designers and formatters will help to ensure that your book of poetry is in the best format to showcase your work.

What to Avoid in Writing a Poem?

Whilst poetry gives you the space to express yourself, it is important to avoid a few pitfalls. The first one is the cliché – “read between the lines” or “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” One of the keys to poetry is to be original, if you think of the cliché, then spend time thinking about another way to explain that same feeling or emotion. So rather than “reading between lines”, you may say “gleaned from a convoluted collection of words.” Avoid melodrama, yes poetry is emotional, but often less is more. Don’t overuse similes or metaphors, they are excellent tools as part of your writer’s toolbox, but don’t overuse them or labour the point. Don’t force the rhyme. Rhyming poetry is fantastic, but only if the rhyme is genuine. Keep rewriting, and keep playing with rhyming words till you have a flowing, natural rhyme.

Rules for Writing a Poem

There are no definite rules for writing poems, other than structure rules. Good writing is the key to creating a good collection of poems. Poems that are written with emotion, with a story, with a point, poems that are written to inspire, to touch, to make people pause. These are the poems that stay with people after they have read them.

Can Poetry Be Plagiarised?

Yes, poetry can be plagiarised, and you can check that your own work isn’t a copy of someone else’s poem. There are websites that allow you to check whether a poem has been plagiarised.

How Much Money Does a Poet Make?

Don’t write poetry for money, write poems because you love writing and because you want to share your poems with others. You can make money from writing poetry, but it is hard. Research shows that only 13.7% of authors make all their income from writing.

Final Thoughts

Poetry is a wonderful medium. Poetry books are an important part of our work here at ShieldCrest. Poetry can convey things that a novel can’t. Poetry can be dipped into during brief moments of respite throughout our busy days. A book of poetry in your bag can give you strength, laughter, or serenity. Sharing your poetry with others is an incredible aim to have, and we are here to help you achieve that. Whether you have been assembling your collection of poetry for many years, or have just started writing, then we are here to help you to take the next step. Poetry can give readers doorways to their emotions, and bring them to tears, or laughter. Your poetry may help a new mum get through a bad day, or bring a smile to the face of a lonely elderly person. Poetry has a unique power that should be shared. If you are ready to submit your poetry manuscript to our experienced UK poetry publishing team, we are ready and waiting to read it.

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