“Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

Have you ever wanted to write a poem and couldn’t? Have you ever read a poem and didn’t understand anything? What on earth is so difficult about poetry, anyway?

First, what is poetry? Poetry is a literary production that focuses on the beauty of words. After all, what’s the fun of writing “When we love, we are not shaken when we experience problems or feel affected by fear” when we can say “Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds/ Or bends with the remover to remove.”

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This is poetry, explain things with the minimum of words. Work the words, polish them like diamonds. Focus on rhythm, changing even the more natural way of saying things to form rhymes.

Poetry can have a longer narrative. One of the most important poems in history is The Odyssey by Homer. The book tells the story of Ulysses’ return home after the fall of Troy. This poem was all written in Hexameter dactylic (which are composed of six dactylic verses – that is, one long syllable followed by two short ones) and had 12,110 verses! Did you get it? It’s ok, we don’t really understand it either. But knowing the level of difficulty helps to appreciate things, doesn’t it?

Ballads are a more rhythmic form of poetry, like a song, very popular in the 18th century. Because books were very (very) expensive, people sold ballads. These “poems/music” were also strongly metrical, usually containing three stanzas of eight octosyllable verses with crossed rhymes. And it always has a concept that repeats itself, like the chorus of a song.

Sonnets are my favorite! Since the 14th century the sonnets have been there, so it must be to stay, right? Vinícios de Morais is probably our greatest reference in sonnets. They always have 14 verses, but not every 14-verse poem is a sonnet. There are usually ten syllables in each line and rhyming metric. Actually, the word “sonnet” in Italian means “little song” – rhythm is everything.

Today, free verse is what predominates in social networks and poetry books. All poetry that has no metrics is called free verse and came in the 19th century to break with the traditionalism of classical poetry, with Baudelaire and Whitman. Free verse values the natural rhythm of speech and sometimes the form, as in concrete poetry.

So? Does that make you want to write a poem?