I write fairly decent poetry. It’s better than my prose anyway. Therefore I have the audacity to set out some poetry rules. Here goes.

  1. Poetry does NOT have to rhyme. Even if you write lyrical poetry. I’d go as far as to say rhymes can make your poem sound phony. (Been there.)
  2. There are NO limits to the length of a poem. It can be three lines or three hundred lines, whatever works for that particular piece.
  3. You ARE allowed to use made-up words.

But that’s fairly vague. The rules above tell you nothing about how to write a poem. Therefore I shall add some hacks I use personally.

  1. Strong emotions create the best pieces, so if you notice you’re exceptionally happy or exceptionally depressed, open a word file and see what comes out of you.
  2. Good music is great for getting into the right mindset; for example, Hans Zimmer brings out poems about love and Linkin Park makes me create poetry about regret.
  3. If you have to write a poem but nothing comes out, pick a song you like and rewrite it using the tempo and the mood; for example, Snuff by Slipknot is a good start.

And as a final note: it’s always a good bet to try and be as honest as you can be. The raw and coarse pieces are often the best.