Home Uncategorized The 9 Rules of Poetry: Everything You Need to Know

The 9 Rules of Poetry: Everything You Need to Know

flat world poetry day illustration

There are many rules that govern poetry. Some people believe that there are no rules, and that is true to an extent. However, there are some basics that all poems should follow. In this blog post, we will discuss the nine most important rules of poetry. These rules will help you create well-written poems that evoke emotion in your readers. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What are the rules for poetry?

rules of poetry

The answer is simple: there are no rules. Poetry is an art form that is meant to be expressive and personal. However, there are a few guidelines that can help you get started if you’re feeling stuck.

What are you trying to say with your poem? Who will be reading it? When you know your audience, you can tailor your poem to speak to them directly. This will make your poetry more effective and impactful.

That being said, there are still some general guidelines that can help you when you’re first starting.

Here are nine guidelines for poetry:

1. Know your audience

Poetry is a very intimate art form. You are sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with someone else, so it’s important to know who your audience is. Are you writing for yourself? For a friend? For a loved one? Or for the world at large?

2. Choose your words carefully

Poetry is a medium for self-expression. Every word you choose should add something to the poem, so be selective in your vocabulary. Choose words that are evocative and paint a picture in the reader’s mind, so don’t be afraid to use language that is powerful and emotive. This will help your poem pack a punch and resonate with your reader.

3. Pay attention to form

Poetry comes in many different forms, from sonnets to free verse. Each form has its own rules, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your poem. What is the message you’re trying to communicate? What form will best help you express that message?

4. Use literary devices

Literary devices like metaphors, similes, and personification can enhance your poem and make it more interesting to read. They can also help you to get your point across more effectively.

5. Be concise

Poems are often short for a reason – they need to be direct and to the point. This doesn’t mean that your poem can’t be complex or layered, but it should be able to be understood quickly and easily.

6. Create a rhythm

The rhythm of your poem is important for two reasons. Firstly, it can help to create a musicality that makes your poem more enjoyable to read aloud. Secondly, it can help to emphasize the meaning of your words and add another layer of emotion to the poem.

7. Tell a story

A good poem should be able to tell a story. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. What is the narrative of your poem? What are you trying to say with it?

8. Evoke emotion

Your poem should be able to evoke emotion in the reader. What feeling are you trying to communicate? Sadness? Joy? Anger? Love? Whatever it is, make sure that your poem speaks to the heart as well as the mind.

9. Use imagery

A good poem should paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Use descriptive language to transport your reader into the world of your poetry.

What are the benefits of writing poems?

candid shot charming pretty girl mixed race appearance smiling while writing down poems

Poetry can be a form of cathartic release, helping you express emotions and thoughts that might be difficult to communicate in any other way. It can also be a form of self-care, providing an outlet for your creative expression and offering a respite from the demands of everyday life.

Writing poems brings benefits to both the mental and emotional state of a person. It can be used as a form of self-expression, helping to deal with anxieties, boost confidence, and improve moods. Additionally, it can help to promote imagination and creativity.

Forms of poems

render ink pen writes poetry old paper

There are many different types of poems, each with its own rules. The most common form is the sonnet, which consists of 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme. Other popular forms include haikus, villanelles, and sestinas.


There are fourteen lines in a sonnet, which are divided into two sections, the octave, and the sestet. The octave is eight lines long and follows a rhyme scheme of ABABCB. The sestet is six lines long and can have any rhyme scheme you want, as long as it doesn’t rhyme with the octave.

The most common type of sonnet is the Shakespearean sonnet, which has a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG. This means that in each stanza, the first, second, and third lines rhyme with each other, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth lines rhyme with each other.


A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that is often associated with the seasons. It consists of three lines, with the first and third lines having five syllables and the middle line having seven syllables. While the haiku is traditionally about nature, modern haikus can be about any subject.

Here are a few examples of haikus:

The snow falls gently

On the trees and on the ground

A winter wonderland

In the heat of summer

I long for the cool breeze of autumn

To bring me relief

When writing a haiku, keep in mind that each line should have a different focus. The first and third lines should introduce the subject, while the middle line should provide more information or a shift in focus. Additionally, haikus typically do not rhyme.

If you’re looking to write a haiku of your own, start by brainstorming some potential subjects. Once you’ve decided on a topic, think about what you want to say about it. What are the different aspects of your subject that you want to highlight?

Once you have a general idea, start working on fitting everything into the three lines of the haiku. Keep in mind the syllable count for each line as you’re writing. If you get stuck, try reading some examples of haikus for inspiration.

The following are the basic rules of haiku:

  • A haiku is a three-lined poem with seventeen syllables, written in a five-seven-five pattern.
  • The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables.
  • Haikus are traditionally about nature, but modern haikus can be about any subject.
  • Each line should have a different focus. The first and third lines should introduce the subject, while the middle line provides more information or a shift in focus.
  • Haikus typically do not rhyme.


The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is derived from Italian folk songs called villaneschi.

There are only two stanzas in a villanelle, and each stanza has five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the succeeding stanzas as a refrain, forming a couplet at the end of each stanza. The final quatrain consists of the two refrains, rhyming with each other, followed by the last line of the poem, which rhymes with the first line of the opening tercet.

Here is the villanelle form, using Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” as an example:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at the close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


There are six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a three-line envoi. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varying order as the last words of the succeeding stanzas, and appear together in the final three-line envoi. There are thus thirty-nine end-words, and these end-words must be distributed among the lines of the envoi as follows:

  • line one: one end-word
  • line two: two end-words
  • line three: three end-words

The envoi is structurally and thematically distinct from the six stanzas that precede it. It often introduces a changed perspective or new idea.

There are numerous variations of the sestina, including the addition of internal rhymes, and the use of quatrains or octaves in place of stanzas. Other variations change the form of the envoi or the number and order of end-words. All these variations, however, maintain the basic structure of the sestina.

While the sestina may seem like a daunting form at first, it is actually quite straightforward once you understand its basic rules and requirements. And like all forms of poetry, it can be a great way to flex your creative muscles and explore new ideas and perspectives.

What is an example of an acrostic poem?

An acrostic poem is a type of poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase. The word or phrase can be a name, a place, a thing, or an idea.

For example, the following acrostic poem spells out the word “poetry”:

Passionate words flowing from my mind

Overwhelm the paper with their rhyme

Eagerly, I write what I feel inside

The moment is mine to make it right

Yielding to the power of the pen.

What is an example of a concrete poem?

A concrete poem is a type of poem in which the words are arranged in a way that reflects the subject matter of the poem. Concrete poems can be about any subject, and they can take on any shape or form.

For example, the following concrete poem is shaped like a tree:

Tall and strong, I stand tall

Reaching for the sky, I branches spread

Eager to catch the sun, my leaves rustle in the wind

Filling the air with my fresh scent.

You can find me in the forest, or in your backyard

Everywhere I am, I bring life.

What is an example of a ghazal?

A ghazal is a type of poem that originated in Persia. Ghazals are usually written in pairs, with each poem addressing a different subject.

Ghazals typically have the following poems :

They are written in quatrains (a stanza consisting of four lines)

  • The first and third lines of each quatrain rhyme with each other, while the second and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
  • The last line of each poem (the “radif”) is the same in both poems, and it rhymes with the first line of the second poem.

Here is an example of a ghazal:

I long for your touch, but you are far away

The distance between us is like the stars in the sky

I close my eyes and I can see you

But when I open them, you’re gone.

Every night I pray that you’ll come to me

In my dreams I am holding you tight

I wake up alone, but I know that one day

We’ll be together, and everything will be all right.

What is a clerihew poem example?

A clerihew is a short, humorous poem consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming pattern. The rhyming pattern for a clerihew is AABB, with the first line usually ending in the person’s name that the poem is about.

Here is an example of a clerihew poem:

There once was a man named Simon

Whose nose was quite large and slim-on

He liked to pick fights

With people much shorter than him.

But when he got punched, his nose would bend-in!

As you can see, clerihew poems are meant to be funny and light-hearted. They are often used to poke fun at famous people or historical figures.

Tips to keep in mind when writing your poems

helpful tips

If you are a beginner poet, the following tips will help you better understand how to structure your poems.

  • Get inspired. The best poems come from a place of passion and inspiration. Whether it’s nature, love, or loss, find a subject that stirs something inside of you.
  • Be concise. A poem doesn’t have to be long to be effective. In fact, some of the best poems are short and sweet.
  • Use strong language. Poetry is a great way to explore your use of language. Play with words and try to find new and interesting ways to describe your subject.
  • Be honest. The best poems are those that come from a place of honesty and authenticity. Write about what you know and feel, and don’t worry about being perfect.
  • Take your time. A poem is not something that can be rushed. Give yourself time to explore your subject and find the right words to express what you’re feeling.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Once you’ve written the first draft, go back and edit it mercilessly. Cut out anything that isn’t absolutely essential to the poem.
  • Share your work. The best way to improve as a poet is to share your work with others. Get feedback from friends, family, or fellow poets and use it to make your work even better.


So, there you have it! The nine most important rules of poetry. Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to writing beautiful, emotionally charged poems that your readers will love. Are there any other poetic rules that you find especially helpful?

Let us know in the comments below!

You might also like:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here