How To Write A Love Poem: Give Your Partner Chills

howtowritealovepoemShall I compare thee to a summer’s day? It’s become one of the most widely known and quoted sentiments about love ever known, but it all began with an idea, a sentiment, and someone (in this case, William Shakespeare) expressing those sentiments on paper. While you may not possess the skill of the Bard himself, you can write beautiful, emotional love poetry just by listening to your own inner voice and expressing the way that you feel.

A great place to start when you want to begin writing love poetry is with a creative writing course. While courses like these don’t cover love poetry specifically, they can help you to better understand how to unlock your creativity and to choose the best words to express the way that you feel.

Understanding Poetry

First things first – do you have to understand poetry in order to write poetry? The answer is both yes and no. While you don’t have to have an extensive background in poetry in order to write it effectively, it’s still a good idea to know a little bit about poems before you set out to write one yourself.

One good place to start is with the Romantic poets. Keep in mind that Romantic poetry does not mean romance, although there were some incredible love poems written during this time period. After all, who can read John Keats “Bright Star” without feeling the beauty and the majesty of love? The Romantic poets were the first to embrace imagination and creativity, and as such are a perfect starting point for the poet who wants to learn to understand and eventually write their own love poetry. Consider enrolling in a course for understanding Romantic poetry if you would like to learn more.

Another good place to start is simply by reading some of the best love poems of all time and exploring what makes them so effective. Many of the best love poems were written centuries ago, and yet they still clearly express the feelings and the sentiment people have about love to this very day. Consider the following as you read love poetry and explore creating your own.

  • How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
  • [love is more thicker than forget] by e. e. Cummings
  • To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet
  • A Drinking Song by W. B. Yeats
  • A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

Structuring Your Poem

One of the first things to keep in mind as you begin writing a poem is the way that you want to structure it. There have been many traditional poetic forms used over the years and in many different poetic eras.

The rigid structure of the sonnet, with its iambic pentameter and its strict rhyme scheme, was once the ideal form in which to write a love poem. This is, of course, the poetic structure made most famous by William Shakespeare. Over the years, the sonnet gave way to other poetic forms – the sestina, the triolet, and even the simple haiku.

You can choose among many poetry styles to shape your poem, or you can choose to use free verse, in which there is no rhyme or specific structure to the poem at all. Free verse is the most common style of poetry written today, and it is easier for beginners who may feel constrained by the usage of a specific poetic form.

Using Poetic Imagery

Once you’ve decided on a form, you may consider coming up with some poetic imagery or some ideas that will make up the central idea of the poem you are writing. There are many different ways to use images and metaphors to convey the feeling that you want to express in your poem.

In the famous Shakespeare sonnet, which was written as a poem of love for a friend that Shakespeare held dear, the narrator compares the subject of the love poem to a summer’s day. In this case, the narrator says that the subject of the poem is better than a summer’s day because a beautiful day in summer is fleeting and rare (remember, the poet was based in England!) but his friend’s beauty and warmth is constant.

Some poems use what is called a “conceit” to express the imagery or the metaphor that they have developed. A conceit is a metaphor that is used for the entirety of the poem. Others may combine several different images or metaphors into one poem, and some poets may not use any imagery or metaphors at all, depending instead on alliteration and other tricks of language to give the poem its appeal.

So how do you choose which is best for your poem? It’s simple – think about things that are personal to you (and to your relationship with the person that you are writing the poem for). Remember that love poetry does not have to be happy, and that it is okay to express the hard times and difficulties that you have been through in the poem.

Choosing Your Words

It’s tempting for a beginning poet to pull out every word in their arsenal or to head to the thesaurus to find more interesting words to use in their poetry. However, take a step back. Poems give you a limited amount of space in which to convey the feelings that you want to express, and it is important to choose your words wisely.

Flowery language may look good on paper, but it may not express everything that you feel. Choose words that simply and honestly express your emotions and that clearly convey the imagery, if you have chosen any, you would like to express.

The Process of Writing a Poem

When you’re ready to get started, pick out a form and brainstorm some different images and ideas that you would like to express. For this example, we’ll choose a triolet – a poem of 8 lines that consists of an AB, aA, abAB rhyme structure. (In this case, the capitalized letters indicate that not just rhymes, but entire lines are repeated in the verse).

For imagery, the poet may choose to compare himself and his partner to the sun and the moon – a classic but nonetheless lovely image that has been used by poets for centuries.

If I am the moon, then you are the sun, burning hot and bright,

And I am in darkness except when you shine…

From there, you can pay attention the twists and turns that might occur within the poem. Many people, when writing poetry, forget that there usually has to be some form of movement or development in the poem. It is much like telling a story, except on a much smaller scale.

If I am the moon, then you are the sun, shining hot and bright,

And I wait in darkness for your light to shine my way,

Turning always, for the days when I am covered in your light.

If I am the moon, then you are the sun, burning hot and bright,

And always waiting for the shadows of the night,

While I turn my face toward your light in search of day.

If I am the moon, then you are the sun, shining hot and bright,

And I wait in darkness for your light to shine my way.

So as you can see, writing a love poem can actually be very easy. You just have to know a little bit about poetry and learn how to unleash your own creative spirit to do so. If you’re still a little stumped, check out our Udemy course on overcoming writer’s block for help getting creative. Meanwhile, if you have more poems than you know what to do with, why not publish them? Check out Udemy’s poetry chapbook publishing course to learn how to become a published poet.