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The Basic Elements of a Poem


Poems are the end result of the literary process of writing poetry. The word poetry is also used as the collective noun for a collection of poems, and may have a singular or plural verb agreement.

I have reached the conclusion that however long or short a poem is these three main elements need to be present in order to woo the reader:

1. An opening statement which engages the interest of the reader;

2. Developing the plot: this might employ poetic devices such as a pivotal phrase to steer the readers’ attention in the direction you wish it to go;

3. The conclusion, i.e. the reason why the poem was penned.

Poetry (especially the shorter poetry forms) teaches one to be more succinct in the expression of thought and argument, for example, an ABC poem. Some poetry forms, for example, Carpe diem, can be viewed as a debate, whereby a conundrum is posed and a solution proposed.

Each poem should tantalise the senses and provoke thought and, therefore, the participation of the reader when he mulls over the contents of the poem. Getting feedback from your readers is valuable in helping you to hone your skill. Similar to not hearing a nagging woman after a while, use your words to influence and not to scold—you have a captive audience so use it to your best advantage.

We don’t always remember the exact words of a poem, but we do remember the impression it had made on us; the feelings it had evoked. It might take a while for a poet to find his own distinctive voice: his unmistakable turn of phrase or the topics which he is passionate about. By employing the various poetic devices at your disposal, you will soon find your own rhythm. When you write poetry you leave a part of yourself behind, like a fingerprint, for all to witness.


1. Do not leave the readers in any doubt as to what thought/message you wish to convey,

2. Leave the readers with a sense that they can identify with the poem,

3. And lastly, do not dictate to the readers what they must think—leave them in a pensive mood.


Copyright © Suzette Richards 2018

Author: Suzette Richards
I’m a retired bookkeeper – born and raised in Cape Town; now living in the Highveld region. I’m passionate about writing. Since 2012, I have joined a number of online poetry sites where. I was nominated as one of the Best Poets (past or present) on World Poetry Day, 21 March 2013, in Dazed, a UK magazine. I designed the new poetry form, ©Suzette Prime in 2012, which is listed on
My External Website (External Website Opens in New Window)


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