How to Write a Poem: 3 Steps to Creating Your First Draft | Madison White | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

How to Write a Poem: 3 Steps to Creating Your First Draft

teacher avatar Madison White, Poet and Writer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Choosing a topic


    • 3.

      Exercise 1: List Poem


    • 4.

      Exercise 2: Cut-Up Poem


    • 5.

      Exercise 3: Free-write


    • 6.

      Forming your first draft


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Looking to stretch your creative writing skills, but unsure of where to start?

Whether you're a seasoned poet or someone just jumping into the genre, this class will equip you with 3 key exercises that will help you generate creative material and begin forming a first draft. All you need is a pen and paper to get started, or if you're digitally inclined, a laptop!

In this class, you will learn:

- 3 different techniques to create material

- Tips and tricks that will move you towards an actual first draft

- Helpful information about poetic practice 

If you would like to check out my published poetry and creative blog, you can visit my website, Madison White Writes.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Madison White

Poet and Writer

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: hello and welcome toe. How to write a poem? Three steps to creating your first draft. Today I am gonna go over three different exercises that you can use on their own or in combination with each other That will help you write the first draft of a poem. After we finished these, I'm going to go over some tips and tricks that will help you create your poem into something that's ready for energy. My name is Madison White, and I'm a poet and writer. I found my own poetry published and online journals like Final Poetry and The Carter for View amongst many others. I also have my own website called Madison White Rights. My post block posts writing, editing and creating. I hope that you find these exercises valuable and inspiring. Let's get started 2. Choosing a topic: our first lesson today is going to be about choosing a topic and choosing some keywords that we can use our exercises for. And now these words or phrases can be anything that you want to write about. You're just going to need about 3 to 5 of them. Some of you might already house awards in mind that you want to write a poem about, or you could just have a general theme. Well, it's OK to have some abstract mounds and your keyword list. I also want you to shoot for some concrete announces. Well, what I mean by abstract his words like love, sorrow or faith, which aren't really things that you can grab onto and imagine. Whereas concrete mounds are things that you can see around you, words like coffee table or Mustang convertible. Try and have a good mix of both. And if you can't think of any that you like, try and steer more towards the concrete Now inside, it's gonna be easier to think of ideas when you have things that you can imagine in your head. When you have 3 to 5 key words in your head, you can either remember them for exercises. Or you can go ahead and write them down in a list to make sure that you got them right When you're ready, then we're gonna move on into you. Exercise one. 3. Exercise 1: List Poem: So for our exercise one we're going to be creating a list poem, and a list poem is going to take those 3 to 5 keywords that we used earlier, and we're going to expand on them. So the first step is to either download the printable worksheets or you can write them on your own sheet of paper. Just make sure you leave enough space between the words, preferably about 5 to 10 lines in between. Once you've written down your keywords, I want you to set a timer for one minute. I want you to look at one of your keywords and for one minute write down all the words that you associate with that things like words that sound the same. Look the same exist in the same setting or words that just pop into your head. When you think about it, it doesn't matter. Just make sure that you're writing consistently for that whole one minute. Now pause this video and complete that exercise, and when you finished it, repeat it with the other keywords and then come back to me. You should have completed 3 to 5 list poems by now. I hope you found the exercise fund. Maybe it was a little bit challenging. Now, what I want used to is look over all of those poems and circle the words that you find really interesting. The words that sound interesting or evoke a certain sense of mystery to you doesn't really matter what your reasoning in just go through and circle the ones that you really like. This is gonna come in handy later when we're forming our Riopelle of draft. Once you're done circling those words, then it's time to move on to our next exercise. 4. Exercise 2: Cut-Up Poem: Our next exercise involves making a cut a poem to start. You should download the exercise to work. She from the resource is tab in the project. And once you've done that, you can either print it off or you can type in it on the document. Now, remember your keywords. From before you're gonna need them again. I want you to take those keywords and start to write them as of the beginning of metaphors . So, for example, if one of my words was tornado on the left hand blank, I would write a tornado is. And then on the right hand side, I would finish that thought. But don't do that part just yet. I want you to fill out all of the left side first using your keywords. Now, depending on how many keywords you have, you might have to think of a few more. If you're really stuck, you can use abstract words like the world is blank or love is blank and those should work. Justus. Fine. Try and do as many as you can. And Philip the whole sheet. It's going to give you better results. Once you filled out the left side. Now we get to start filling out the corresponding statements to the right thes convey be whatever you want, you can make them as literal or is metaphorical is possible. I recommend that you try and do a good mix of both. For example, I could say the tornado is a swirling funnel of air. Or I could say a tornado is a disappointment that blows through you in both of those would work just fine. So now pastas, video and finish up all of your metaphor sentences. Hopefully be completed all of your sentences. And now comes the fun cut apart. So I want you to cut along all of those lines so that you're separating the left from the right and all of them from each other. I want you to keep them in different piles left and right, mix them up and then you're going to repair them together, not in their original pairs, but completely at random. This should give you some really interesting answers. You might get some silly sentences, but you also might get some that are kind of evocative and interesting and unique. You can repeat this mixing impairing as often as you like I recommend that you write down the sentences that you like, so that you can remember them later on. And once you're finished with this, we're going to use this material to move into our final exercise. 5. Exercise 3: Free-write: Now we get to move into the really fun part of writing, which is what I call a free right. This is where we get to use the results of our former exercises as inspiration to begin writing the draft of a poem. So before we start, look over the words that you circled from your list poem and look over the sentences that you made from your cut up poem. If you have any that you really love, you can go ahead and write down a starter sentence to kind of get your juices flowing. Then when you're ready and you got a blank sheet of paper, I want you to set a timer for three minutes. Rule of the free right is that you have to be riding the entire time, and this means that there are no ums and ahhs about what's coming out. It's just gonna be random. Whatever comes into your head, don't worry about making it good. That's why we have editing like Iran. Even if you're just riding the word cats over and over and over again, that's okay to hopefully something good will come after that. Also, feel free to glance back at your inspiration during your free right. I find that's really useful when I might get off track or off topic. Are you ready? When you have your materials ready to go, pause this video. Set your timer for three minutes and do your for you, right? I hope that you free right went well. And maybe you came up with an interesting sentences and phrases that are gonna be wonderful for your poem draft later on. Remember that what you had in mind at the beginning might not be exactly what you ended up with during the free right and during the exercises. And that's totally okay. Poetry is all about surprises, and I often end up surprising myself with what I end up writing. Of course, you welcome to do as many free rights as you like. If you think they're gonna get you some better material in the next section, I'll be going over some tips that will help you take that free right and make it into a wonderful first draft 6. Forming your first draft: Now that you've finished your free right, I want you to have it in front of you and ask yourself some questions. Have any certain themes started to emerge there, a certain narrative going on? Does the poem have a certain energy about it? That's connecting parts of it? Do any of these lines or sentences catch my intention? And out of what I've written, what do I find to be the most surprising? Now? Go through an underlying circle or highlight the sentences, phrases or lines that you like the best on that you want, including your draft. Then you'll need a new document. This could be a page in Microsoft Word, which is what I like to form my poems on. Or it could be something that you hand right. I usually try and take all the sentences that I like. Inform them into one continuous paragraph. Once I've done that, I'll go through and make line breaks to kind of form it into a poetic shape. Of course, you don't have to do it this way. You can start with mine breaks and then change it back. You can try and make your lines break at natural points or in strange places to achieve different effects. Try switching around the order of the lines to to see if certain words or phrases work better at the beginning or the end or in the middle. Remember, this is your first draft, and it isn't going to be perfect. Whatever you come up with is always something that you can work on. And for some people, editing starts right away. For others, editing takes a long time, and they wait at least a few days before returning to that piece. 7. Project : you probably figured out what our project is by now. What I want you to do is take a picture or take a screenshot of one of the exercises that you performed. That way we can see your process. I'd also love it if you post a picture or screenshot of your first draft of the poem. If you're comfortable with sharing it or if you go on to edit it even more, you can share that as well. Tell us what you thought about exercises. If you have a favorite, what you liked what you disliked. And if you're planning on doing this again, this is the end of our lesson. I hope that you've learned something valuable and hopefully created a first drop that you feel you can edit and make into something amazing. If you end up posting a picture on our project, I'm really, really excited to see it and maybe even give you more tips and tricks on how to make it even better. 8. Final Thoughts : today we went over three different exercises to help us create a first draft. We did a list poem, We did a kind of poem and we did a free right. We also went over a few different ways to go about forming these thoughts into a really first draft. It's been a pleasure in teaching you all, and I hope you had a wonderful time and happy writing in the future.