How to Write a Poem about Yourself

How to Write a Poem about Yourself

Poetry is one of the world's oldest forms of art, and you don't need a creative writing degree to participate. Poetry comes in a variety of genres, subgenres, styles, traditions, and schools. As a beginner, you may be overwhelmed by the numerous options, but you can begin with a subject you know better than anyone else: yourself. In a few simple steps, learn how to write a poem about yourself.


To write a poem about yourself, follow these steps:

Start freewriting. Try a warm-up writing exercise before deciding on a poetic form, rhyme scheme, and literary devices for your own poem. Open your journal or word processor and jot down any thoughts you have about your topic—in this case, yourself and your life. Small writing prompts like the following can help you focus your brainstorming session: What details about yourself have you discovered during this period of introspection? What are your thoughts? What thoughts pass through your mind, and what do they reveal about you? What are your favorite items or memories? What or who do you have feelings for? What are you scared of? Remember that your answers to these questions aren't the first lines of a free verse poem yet (though you may use some of what you've written later), so don't be concerned with word choice.

Assemble, remove, and replace. Examine the material you have after you have free written and made notes about yourself. Allow your creativity to take over by being playful and experimental. Add line breaks and experiment with rhyme. Consider the poem's sound and the ideas that emerge. Remove clichés (overly familiar phrases) to steer your poem in unexpected directions.

Take a break, then do it again. The first draft of your poem is rarely the final product. Allow yourself some distance from the draft so you can look at it again with fresh eyes. Perhaps you'll realize you could turn it into a short story or a prose poem. Because the poem is about you, consider remembering other aspects of yourself or writing about yourself on a different day.



3 Tips for Writing a Poem About Yourself

Investigate various methods for generating new ideas for writing poetry about yourself:

1. Collect new words. Allow powerful words to guide your thoughts. Collect new words that remind you of personal memories of your characteristics using a thesaurus or rhyming dictionary.

2. Experiment with a poetic form. Poetic forms provide structure that can be useful when writing a poem. Try a haiku, a villanelle, or a sonnet for a poem with a limited length.

3. Make use of literary devices. When writing about yourself, style is part of the fun. Choose one literary device to incorporate into your draft and observe how it affects the language. Try using a simile, for example. Similes compare one thing to something completely different. Write a completely arbitrary simile, then read it aloud to see how it sounds. "I am like a melting castle" may seem strange at first, but there may be a kernel of truth there that leads you to your next lines. When you're at a loss for words, try a new random simile.


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