Artwork to inspire poetry: Hand holding an apple

Hand holding an apple

Above is an artwork of a hand holding an apple.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Picking fruit. A poet could examine things like an individual picking fruit from their own tree, or they could look at something like farm labor.

  • A person handing a piece of fruit to someone else. This idea could be applied to many contexts.  As an example, a poet could write about someone handing someone else a piece of fruit at a food pantry.

  • Someone looking at an apple. A poet could examine different things the person might be thinking about.  An example might be the color of the apple reminds the person of something.

  • A person about to do something with an apple. They might be making an apple pie or they might be turning it into juice.

  • A person with a disability. An example might be writing about a person that has trouble using their hand, and holding things, like an apple, might be part of the therapy they are going through.  As another example, a poet might write about a person who lost the use of their hand and finally regained the ability to hold something, like an apple.  A poet could write about that moment.

Here is an example poem:

After staring at the apple,
for ten minutes,
he gave up.

looks so easy,
in the movies.


Poetry essay: Some benefits to writing poetry

If you like reading poetry but don’t write it as much as you’d like, here are some benefits to writing poetry that will hopefully inspire you to write more.  If you already write a lot of poetry, the list below will let you in on some of the benefits you are gaining.


Poetry is good for expression.  This might be what people think about when they think about a benefit of writing poetry.  Poetry is a way for a person to express themselves.

Poetry can be a different form of expression from other kinds of writing or talking because of its style.

With poetry, a person doesn’t have to be direct.  They can use symbolism and metaphor to express something they are feeling, without revealing too much of themselves.

Also, with poetry, a person can lead in to something.  They can gradually build to an idea and present it in the way they want.  This could be different than other styles of writing where a lead in might take away from the main idea.

Poetry can also be good for expression because it doesn’t have to tell a whole story.  Poetry can just focus on a scene.  Poetry can just be the middle, without having a beginning or an end.  This can be good if a person wants to express a moment in time without describing what happened before and after it.

Improved writing

Writing poetry can help a person write better.  You can learn new words and word combinations.  You might discover different metaphors and analogies for things.  You might learn more about syllables, rhyme, and the way words sound.  Poetry can be a good exercise for writing in general.

A vehicle for learning

Poetry can help a person learn about other things.  Think, for example, if you were going to write poetry about something you cared about, but didn’t have too much knowledge of.  It might be a disease, a current event, a social issue, or something else.  To write poetry about the subject, you might start by doing some research.  You might read about the subject, watch programs about it, or talk to people.  In doing so, you would learn ideas and terminology that you could use in your poetry.  In addition, you would also be learning about the subject more generally.  You would be getting better informed.  This information could have a number of benefits for you.  For example, if you learned about a disease, you might become more empathetic to those who have it.


Poetry can be a tool for interaction.  On one level, it could be one way interaction.  You could write poetry simply for others to read.  If you take it a step further, you could have two way interactions.

You might have a poetry blog.  You could post poetry for others to read, read poetry from others, and have conversations via comments.

You might go to poetry events.  It could be a reading or something with an author.  You could interact with others there.

You might join a poetry group.  You could share the poetry you wrote and listen to others.  You could have discussions about different poems.

A break

Poetry can be a way to take a break.  It can be a way to take your mind off of whatever it is on and focus on something else.  A break might help a person feel more relaxed and when they go back to what they were doing, they might be able to focus on it more.  Sometimes, when a person stops focusing on something, and pays attention to something else, they can come up with ideas for the first thing.

A start for short fiction writing

If you read the sets that are on, you might notice that some of the poems and short stories are connected in a direct way (in each set they are connected in some way).  Some of the short stories are longer versions of the poems that are with them.

A poem can be a way to start a short story.  As mentioned above, a poem can be way to express a scene.  It can be a way to show a moment in time.  It can be the middle, without the beginning or end.

Sometimes when a person writes fiction, the middle is what they think of first.  They know the heart of the story.  They know the main point and impact.  This part can be what they express in poetry.

Once that part is expressed, a person could fill it out more.  They could take the poem they wrote and write it in longer language.  They could turn the poem into the middle of a story.

Once the middle of the story is developed, the person can then focus on the beginning and the end.  They’ve developed the main part, and then they can focus on what is around it.

Poetry used this way can be a start for more developed stories.

Experimental Poetry Form: pennies, nickels, and a dime

Today’s experimental poetry form is called pennies, nickels, and a dime.

Five pennies are equivalent to one nickel and two nickels are equivalent to one dime.  This idea is the basis of the form.

The form has four stanzas.

The first stanza is the penny stanza.  It has five lines.  Each line has one syllable.

The second stanza is the nickel stanza.  It has one line.  That one line has five syllables.

The third stanza is the two nickel stanza.  It has two lines.  Each line has five syllables.

The fourth stanza is the dime stanza.  It has one line.  That one line has ten syllables.

The idea is that the stanzas are related the same way the coins are related.

Here is an example poem:


Sitting by the bed,

in the hospital,
watching the lights glow.

They might look pretty but for the reason.

Poetry topic idea: crying

Today’s poetry topic idea is crying.  The idea of crying can be worked into poetry in many different ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Crying from sadness. This is the most obvious idea.  A poet could examine any number of sad situations and the crying that happens with them.

  • Crying from happiness. This is somewhat of the opposite of the idea above.  A poet could examine the idea of overwhelming emotion.

  • Crying from pain. The idea here would be to examine crying that has a physical cause as opposed to an emotional one.

  • Crying from laughter. Sometimes people laugh so hard they cry.  This idea could be examined.

  • Crying from fear. Sometimes people cry when they are scared of something.  A poet could examine this idea.

  • Crying from something in the eyes. The idea would be to examine the idea of tears flowing without emotion or necessarily pain (but maybe discomfort).

  • Someone else crying. The above ideas might be applied to the poet.  A poet might think of themselves crying from one of the causes.  With this idea, a poet would write about observing someone else crying.  They could look at the emotion felt seeing someone else experience emotion, pain, or discomfort.

Here is a poem using the idea of crying:


after the doctor spoke

Poem with an explanation: building castles

building castles
not knowing
they are made of sand


This poem is about doing something without the realization that it will be undone.  This idea could apply to many situations.  As an example, imagine someone starts a business.  They spend a great deal of effort setting it up.  They make it exactly how they want.  In a year though, the business the fails.  The person thought they were building something that would last.  Instead, they built something that disappeared.

This particular poem was based off of the idea of weight loss.  Sometimes when a person loses weight, they keep it off for a while, but they gain it back.  When the person lost the weight they thought it was permanent.  Instead, things went back to the way they were.  This idea was represented symbolically by the idea of person building what they thought was a stone castle, but it turned out to be a sand castle.  A sand castle is a temporary structure that will quickly disappear.

The idea of the poem is to contrast the idea of perceived permanence, with the reality of temporariness.

Poetry essay: Understanding poetry better

Sometimes poetry can be hard to understand.  You can read through a poem, and have no idea what it means.  What can you do about this?  How can you better understand poetry?  Here are some steps you can take:

Read it again

For a specific poem you are having trouble understanding, try reading it again.  Read it more than twice.  Read it five or six times.  Try reading it line by line while pausing to think about what each line means.  You might try writing out the meaning as you go and then reading over that when you are done.

Write poetry

One way to better understand poetry you read, is by writing poetry.  By working with words, metaphors, symbols, rhymes, and so forth, you can gain a better understanding of them.  This understanding can help you when you read poems that are difficult to understand.  If you are looking for poetry topic ideas, check out the category on this blog.  There are dozens of poetry ideas that you can use as prompts for writing poetry.

Read explained poems

One way to better understand poetry in general, is to read what different poems mean.  By reading interpretations of poems, you can get better at interpreting them yourself.  You can read poems with explanations on this blog and you can find them in Understanding: poems with explanations.

Discuss poetry

If you talk through poems that you are having trouble understanding with others, it can help you to figure out what the poems mean.  The people you talk to might see things you don’t or understand symbols that you missed.  By going through the discussion you can learn from other perspectives.  You can also learn by explaining what you know about poems that you read.

Read more poems

One way to better understand poetry is to read more poems.  The more poems you read, the more times you see things.  You will see particular metaphors, symbols, ideas, forms, words, and so forth more.  By encountering more poems you can come into contact with more poetry elements.  This can help you when you try to understand difficult poems.  You can find a number of poems on this blog.

Listen to poems

Tone of voice matters.  How words are spoken matters.  Sometimes a poem can sound obscure until you hear the author read it.  When you hear the author read a poem, by listening to their style, pauses, inflection, and so forth, the poem can gain new meaning.  You can get better insight into what the poet is trying to say.  Look for opportunities to listen to poetry.  You might go to readings, find videos online, or listen to audio books.