Writing a poem is all about observing the world within you or around you. You can write about anything from love to the rusty gate at the old farm. As long as you are enjoying it or finding it releases something from inside you, you're on the right track.
Just follow the following steps:
1. Read and listen to poetry. Whether someone who has never seen a sonnet nor heard haiku can truly be a poet is an open question. It is almost certain, though, that any poet who has been published or who has garnered any following enhanced their skills by reading or listening to good poetry, even if they later scoffed at conventional notions of what was "good." "Good" poems fall into two categories: those that are recognized as classics and those that you like. Poems typically being short, there is no reason not to explore plenty of both.
2. Learn about modern poetry. You may remember rhyming poetry from textbooks. That is an old style. Modern poetry does not usually rhyme at the end of lines. Search the Internet for a list of poet laureates. Read the poetry written by the current poets on that list to see what is popular today--especially if you are interested in publication of your poetry.
3.Original manuscript of Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith." The revisions on the page give us an idea of how the poem evolved.
Find a spark. A poem may be born as a snippet of verse, maybe just a line or two that seems to come out of nowhere. That's what's usually called inspiration, and once you have that beginning you simply need to flesh it out, to build the rest of the poem around it. At other times you may want to write about a specific thing or idea. If this is the case, do a little planning. Write down all the words and phrases that come to mind when you think of that idea. Allow yourself to put all your ideas into words. It may sound difficult, but do not be afraid to voice your exact feelings. Emotions are what make poems, and if you lie about your emotions it can be easily sensed in the poem. Write them down as quickly as possible, and when you're done, go through the list and look for connections or certain items that get your creative juices flowing.
4. Think about what you want to achieve with your poem. Perhaps you want to write a poem to express your love for your boyfriend or girlfriend; perhaps you want to commemorate a tragic event; or maybe you just want to get an "A" in your poetry class. Think about why you are writing your poem and who your intended audience is, and then proceed in your writing accordingly.
5. Decide what poetry style suits your subject. If you see "Winter icicles / plummeting like Enron stock..." perhaps you've got a haiku in your head. As a poet, you have a wide variety of set forms to choose from: limericks, sonnets, villanelles ... the list goes on and on. You may also choose to abandon form altogether and write your poem in free verse. While the choice may not always be as obvious as the example above, the best form for the poem will usually manifest itself during your writing.
6. Listen to your poem. While many people today have been exposed to poetry only in written form, poetry was predominantly an aural art for thousands of years, and the sound of a poem is still important. As you write and edit your poem, read it aloud and listen to how it sounds.
7. Write down your thoughts as they come to you. Don't edit as you write, or do edit as you write - the choice is yours. However, you should try both methods at least a couple times to see what works best for you.
8. Choose the right words. It's been said that if a novel is "words in the best order," then a poem is "the best words in the best order." Think of the words you use as building blocks of different sizes and shapes. Some words will fit together perfectly, and some won't. You want to keep working at your poem until you have built a strong structure of words. Use only those words that are necessary, those that enhance the meaning of the poem. Choose your words carefully. The differences between similar sounding words or synonyms can lead to interesting word play.
9. Use concrete imagery and vivid descriptions.
* Love, hate, happiness: these are all abstract concepts. Many, maybe all, poems are, deep down, about emotions and other abstractions, but it's hard to build a strong poem using only abstractions - it's just not interesting. The key, then, is to replace or enhance abstractions with concrete images, things that you can appreciate with your senses: a rose, a shark, or a crackling fire, for example. The concept of the objective correlative may be useful. An objective correlative is an object, several objects, or a series of events (all concrete things) that evoke the emotion or idea of the poem.
* Really powerful poetry not only uses concrete images; it also describes them vividly. Show your readers and listeners what you're talking about--help them to experience the imagery of the poem. Put in some "sensory" handles. These are words that describe the things that you hear, see, taste, touch, and smell, so that the reader can identify with their own experience. Give some examples rather than purely mental/intellectual descriptions. For example: "He made a loud sound" versus "He made a loud sound like a hippo eating 100 stale pecan pies with metal teeth".
10. Use poetic devices to enhance your poem's beauty and meaning. The most well known poetic device is rhyme. Rhyme can add suspense to your lines, enhance your meaning, or make the poem more cohesive. It can also make it prettier. Don't overuse rhyme. It's a crime. In fact you don't have to use rhyme at all. Other poetic devices include meter, metaphor, assonance, alliteration, and repetition. If you don't know what these are, you may want to look in a poetry book or search the internet. Poetic devices can make a poem or, if they bring too much attention to themselves, they can ruin it.
11. Save your most powerful message or insight for the end of your poem. The last line is to a poem what a punch line is to a joke--something that evokes an emotional response. Give the reader something to think about, something to dwell on after reading your poem. Resist the urge to explain it; let the reader become engaged with the poem in developing an understanding of your experience or message.
12. Edit your poem. When the basic poem is written, set it aside for awhile and then read the poem out loud to yourself. Go through it and balance the choice of words with the rhythm. Take out unnecessary words and replace imagery that isn't working. Some people edit a poem all at once, while others come back to it again and again over time. Don't be afraid to rewrite if some part of the poem is not working. Sometimes you just can't fix something that essentially doesn't work.
13. Get opinions. It can be hard to critique your own work, so after you've done an initial edit, try to get some friends or a poetry group (there are plenty online) to look at your poem for you. You may not like all their suggestions, and you don't have to take any of them, but you might find some insight that will make your poem better. Feedback is good. Pass your poem around, and ask your friends to critique your work. Tell them to be honest, even if it's painful. Filter their responses or ignore them altogether and edit as you see fit.
* Do you find that you never feel inspired when you sit down to write a poem? It's a common problem, and you can solve it by carrying a notebook with you everywhere in which you can jot down poem ideas as they come to you. Then, when you're ready to write, just get out the notebook and find an idea that catches your fancy.
* You might want to listen to soothing music or look at pictures to calm and inspire you.
* Don't forget that surprise makes art (writing) extra special. If you're going to drag out the tired old rose metaphor in a love poem, put your own twist on it.
* Don't give up. You'll probably find that your poems become better and easier to write as you write more of them.
* Poems can make a great gift.
* Keep all of your poetry in a book whether you like it or not. In the future, you might be able to salvage some of the throwaways or publish your best work.
* Avoid cliches or overused images. "The world is your oyster," is neither a brilliant nor an original observation.
* If you are writing a poem to be sent to a newspaper or a family-friendly magazine, choose your words and topic with care. You don't want the paper to censor your original work or reject it because of profanity.
* Avoid sharing your work with people who do not appreciate poetry. This is a mistake that can discourage you from being a poet. It is often difficult to explain that you are just trying your hand at something new. The best thing to do is ask someone you know who will support you (who also happens to appreciate the art of the written word) to kindly critique you.
* To guard against plagiarism, do what you can to reinforce your copyrights to your work. One way to do this is to make a copy of your work, seal it into an envelope, place a stamp on it, and mail it back to yourself. When you receive it in the mail, don't open it. The un-opened envelope can provide additional evidence that you are the copyright holder should it ever be in question, although it is not guaranteed to prove it in court.
* If you have too much imagery, it can actually hurt your poem. "Explosively radiating sunshine slammed through my window" is just over the top.
* If you want others to read your poetry, ask yourself "If somebody else showed me this, would I like it?" If the answer is "no," edit the poem some more.
* If you're simply brimming with ideas and inspiration, don't try to fit it all into one poem. You'll have the chance to write more in the future.