5 Ways to Improve Your Poetry and Spark New Ideas (Plus Lists of Poetic Forms and Canadian Poetry Publishers)


Refining and defining your poetry is a life-long pursuit and a never-ending learning process. Actively working to improve your writing will bring you ever-closer to the kind of literary art you want to create.

Here are 5 ways to improve your poetry and spark new ideas:

1. Write in Every Possible Poetic Form

Stretch your literary wings by writing in forms you might not normally use. There are options for every taste, some will come naturally to you and others will present distinct challenges. Each will provide a new perspective to your writing and will require you to push yourself. It can also spark a new love for a poetic form.

Poets.org has a great list of poetic forms and techniques with backgrounds, explanations, and examples.

2. Write Collaborative Poetry

Do you have a friend who also likes to write? Try writing together to gain new ideas, perspective, and to try something different. Use various styles of writing poems together.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have one of you write the beginning of a poem and have the other finish it.
  • Alternate writing lines and/or words.
  • Have one of you write a complete poem and the other then write a second poem that is a response to the first.

3. Rewrite Your Favourite Poems

Your favourite poems are your favourite for a reason. Find a few poems that you admire – for their technique, style, theme, etc. – and try writing your own that mimics it. You can rewrite each line in your own words or you can rewrite the entire poem in your personal style. Make it your own. 

4. Join a Poetry Group 

Find a group that will share your love of poetry where you can discuss the  you read, attend readings together, and critique each other’s work. Support through community are always valuable when it comes to creativity.

5. Read Poetry!!!

This one might seem simple and obvious, but it’s honestly one of the best things you can do to improve your own work. Read poetry books, read journals and online publications. Read poetry that you like and poetry that you don’t like. Examine what other poets are doing. Think about their ideas, techniques, and the choices they make. Use what you learn to enhance your own work.

Try subscribing to Poets.org’s Poem-A-Day for a new poem in your inbox each and every day.

You can find Canadian poetry books here or check out this list of (just a few!) Canadian poetry publishers:

Do you want even more?

For a daily dose of artistic inspiration, you should check out Your Daily Muse (Creative Prompts) from Canada Arts Connect Magazine.

* Image by Chris Greene.

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