What is Good Poetry
So what is good poetry? The question is too abstract to be answered in a few lines or paragraphs. It is quite a subjective matter to talk about. That’s because what good poetry may mean to you may not be that meaningful for someone else. Some great work of literature that you might have been forced to read in your literature lessons might not sound that important to you. You might go through hundreds of poems before you find one that touches your hearts or connects. While your best friend might have not stopped praising the very first poem from the lot. So whether a poem is good or bad is difficult to decide unless you read them and until you find them good.
It is impossible to please everyone. No matter how beautifully a poem has been written, there will be someone somewhere who would not like it. That doesn’t imply that the poem is bad, it simply means that not everything appeals to everyone’s tastes. Taste is again a subjective thing. However, keeping aside our personal tastes, likes, and affinities, there are certain objective aspects of what can be called good poetry. Let’s uncover these aspects one after the other.
Every Poem is a good Poem.
Yes, you heard that right. If you are reading something that has been put up in a readable form of poetry, it is already a good job done. The act of writing a poem in itself is a great value addition even if it does not appeal to the readers or finds a place in any publication. People resort to poetry in an attempt to escape some harsh realities and situations of life. Poetry is often a source of solace to the broken heart, a medium of meaningful expression of all the anguish, pain and frustration of the writer. It is best expressed when it is expressed as a poem. Poetry is undoubtedly the most beautiful form of expression.
Though just penning down a poem is a job well done, it is still half done. The reason being a beautiful mind and its creations are to be appreciated always. If you are writing a poem that is meant to be shared with the world, it is bound to undergo scrutiny, criticism and finally some appreciation if you are talented enough. Every poet wants his/her work to be appreciated and valued. And fortunately for all you poets out there, there are some basic guidelines that you can follow to increase your chances of producing good hugely appealing poems for your audiences.
Let’s try and give you a detailed breakdown of these guidelines.
Making of a good poetry; the guidelines.
According to the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, while prose is an arrangement of words in the best order, poetry is an arrangement of the best words in the best order. While a Novelist can get away with some out of the context and lame expressions here and there, a poet cannot do that. A poet has a much bigger task in hand, to create a much greater impact and impression while using too few words. While writing a poem, there are many other things a poet needs to be wary of. However, the best art forms are derived by breaking the stereotypes and defying the norms laid down by conventional wisdom. And as such, all writing advice and allied guidelines are pure guidelines and are in no way a stringent plan or roadmap one must follow to write poetry. You may have your own writing style and may succeed write from the first poem you write. So the guidelines below do not guarantee that you will create a great poem if you follow these but you will definitely benefit from them. Let’s list them down for you:
Rhyme and Rhythm
One of the peculiar features of poetry is that it is written in a certain rhythm and with a specific musicality. It is not always necessary for the poems to rhyme, but it should not lack the essential rhythm and meter. The rhythm is the soul of the poetry that puts life into it and differentiates it from ordinary prose. It should in its musical and rhythmic manner, be able to tell its readers the stories the poet intends to tell. And in the process create an impact that lasts a lifetime.
Choice of Words
We talked about a novelist and poet. Remember that you are writing poetry and not a novel. A novelist can use a sea of words and can still get away with unimpressive expressions while keeping the readers engaged in the story. But for the poet, the words in itself are the building blocks of his story. The difference between a successful poem and a not so successful one can just be the choice of words. Like a painter selects the best of colors and shades to paint a memorable picture, like a sculptor uses the best clay to make his mesmerizing sculptures, the poet has to use the best words in the best of orders to create everlasting poetries. So choose your words wisely. Good words are worth it.
Create Vivid Images
The poetry is an art to create a vivid image or the idea of your subject into the minds of the readers using very few words or sentences. Let the poetry come alive in front of their eyes while they read it. Let your expressions be so strong that they can literally picturise the scene rather than feeling like being told a bed-time story. Use expressions to create those powerful images that would make an impact. Images that will be etched in the minds of your readers forever.
Keep them short and simple
It is very easy to fall into the temptation of writing on and on in an attempt of trying to prove your point or matching the points of your storyline or idea, it is always advisable to keep the lengths of your poems as short as they can be. A poem is perceived by the general audience as a short literary piece that they can read without investing too much of their time. And they would expect the same from your poetry as well. Hence, it is highly recommended that you keep your poetry short and simple without dragging it too much.
Provide an emotional touch
You will win loyal readers of your poetry if you were able to connect with them from an emotional perspective. Poetry readers are generally too emotional and often the ones in search of some truth and meaning. If your poetry was able to connect to them at an emotional level, it will make them feel how you might have felt while writing it down or in that described situation. Adding an emotional touch lets the readers relate to the writer and the real feelings that led to the creation of the beautiful poem they are reading.
While writing the poem, make sure that you are not giving every little detail of everything. Give subtle cues and let the imagination of your readers run wild. Focus on the plot and the underlying thought more than providing explicit details. Tell them about your amazing though, give indications of what it was like and let their imaginations play and paint a picture of the way they like. Let them experience your poem through their imaginations and make your poem their own.
Read poetry; loads of it.
Apart from the above, make sure you are reading all kinds of poetry to get a hang and idea of how they are being written since times immemorial. Read poetry so that you can tell what would be perfect and what would sound lame. The more poetry you read, the better it is for you, for your own creations.
Some Instances of Good Poetry
Now that you have a fair idea of what a good poem looks like, it would be easier to provide some examples of the best poetry ever created. These are some timeless classics that just captivates the readers every time they read them. There have been literary legends like William Wordsworth, Shakespeare, and Robert Frost and many others that have created some masterpieces that were well ahead of their times and stand so apt even today. Some of these are so powerful that as soon as one sets reading, they are immediately transported into that time and space that they describe. Follow the link for some of the best poems that were ever written:
To conclude, though there is no definition of good or bad poetry, there sure are methods one can adopt to create the best of poems. A poem need not be in a rhyming sequence but they must be in a soulful rhythm that makes it a poem. Along with other things, it should be able to connect and relate to the readers and create an impact that lasts even ages after their poets cease to exist. Best poems are the ones that live on as a legacy of their great writers.