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Poetry Writing Tips: How to Finish a Poem

If you’re a poet, you can understand the struggle of writing an ending. You want it to be perfect. You want your readers to think about it long after they’ve read it, and a key to that is creating a powerful, impactful conclusion. That’s one of the reasons why so many poets struggle to draft the ending.

Leaving a poem unfinished is a very common occurrence among the poetry community. Your creativity is always active, and your imagination is always one step ahead of you, meaning you may have the tendency to jump from poem to poem without tying up the loose ends. If you can relate, we’re here to help you focus your attention on one poem at a time and write a meaningful ending before moving on to your next work.

The most important part of finishing a poem lies in the beginning stages of the writing process.

To begin, you want to keep in mind why you’re writing this poem. Defining your goal ahead of time will be like using a GPS. Your goal will help guide your words. Once you’ve decided on the main purpose of your poem, begin writing with this goal at the forefront.

When writing a poem, you need a source of inspiration. When it comes to poetry, being as specific as possible with your inspiration will help you focus your attention on the work itself. For instance, you could write a poem about your favorite coffee shop. You’ll describe the sights, sounds and smells, the baristas, and the location. Essentially, you’ll immerse yourself into the atmosphere and capture your observations with your written word.

Once you’ve decided on a topic, utilizing a poetry meter may be of benefit to you. What’s a poetry meter? It’s essentially a way of measuring a line of poetry that’s based on the rhythm of the words and the pattern of the beats. This is commonly referred to as a foot. Each foot contains a certain number of syllables (usually two or three) that are either stressed or unstressed. A poetry meter is great for poets who are writing sonnets, for example.

Next, we want to encourage you to not be so hard on yourself and your work. While you might agonize over a line of your poem or contemplate how you’re ever going to finish your work, take a step back, remove all external influences and simply write what comes to you. After all, poetry is open to interpretation, and your readers will have their own experience with your words. This means that one piece can have many, many meanings based on the people who read your poem. So don’t let the fear that people won’t “get you” inhibit your creativity.

Finally, work outside of your comfort zone. We often have a tendency once we’ve mastered something to stick with it because it’s what we know. However, creating the same style of poetry over and over again won’t help you grow as a poet. It will feel awkward at first, and you may even feel completely lost. But push past the adversity and try a new form of poetry. Perhaps the ending you’re seeking is at the end of another type of poem.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2017

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