How To Structure A Poem: Step By Step Tips To Help You

Do you want to know how the structure of a poem is? read this article step by step to understand how to structure a poem. In the end, you will be able write a good poem in a perfect structure.

What Is A Poem And What Does A Structure Do?

A poem is the voice of emotion because it speaks on behalf of the heart. The structure of a poem creates the rhythm, which allows also the reader to move swiftly when reciting it. Have you ever read a poem that was so bland that the poem’s main idea became unidentifiable? It happens, so when a poem is that plain, chances are that the author paid little attention to its structure when writing.

The structure of a poem is the general organization of the poem. This therefore, includes the stanzas, lines, form among others. A poem must be a description of a scene, or a narrative conveyed in a lyrical arrangement of words. So, to make this possible, poets use a systematic structure of rhythm and stanza to establish the flow of words.

The Structure Of a Poem is Developed By;

  • The Stanzas
  • The line length
  • Form
  • Consistency

The Stanzas

A stanza is an important unit in poetry since it creates different dynamics and concepts in a poem. Remember all stanzas within a poem serve a specific purpose. A stanza can be structured according to rhyming patterns and syllabic beats to create rhythmic poetry. Therefore, stanzas can either be;

  • Octave– This is a representation of a stanza with eight lines.
  • Septet– this is a representation of seven lines in a stanza.
  • Sestet– A stanza with a total of six lines.
  • Quintain – This is a stanza comprising of five lines.
  • Quatrain -This is a stanza comprising of four lines.

Stanzas are the building blocks of a poem. They also carry the central ideas of the poem. Also, the stanza makes the reader focus on multiple ideas created within its context. Similarly, stanzas are the same as the paragraph in an article.

The stanza you choose will determine how long your poem becomes. Poets thus use stanzas to elaborate on their ideas because they are more intensive to capture various ideas.

The Length Of Lines

Depending on the poet’s preference, a poem can utilize a variety of structures mentioned above, which are determinants of a rhythmic poem. Of course, for poets using lines, they should consider

  • The type of poem– Examples of poems include; Sonnet, Epics, blank verse, etc. A sonnet poem follows the standard rules of poetry that restrict the use of numerous lines. Lines in this poem can only reach a maximum of 14 lines. Therefore, a poet must fit all their ideas within the sentence lines. On the other hand, a free verse gives the poet the fee freedom of using short and long lines, and this gives them the liberty of expressing their ideas anyhow.
  • The type of poetic line- Example short or long lines.

The line lengths are significant in a poem since they direct the reader on how to recite the poem. Poems written with short lines make the person reciting the poem recite faster than a person reciting lengthier lines. On the other hand, Long lines slow the pace of how a poem is recited. Before a poem is written, the poet needs to incorporate appropriate line breaks that give the reciter a breather between lines.

Poetic lines are a technique used to divide the poem into units.  A set of these lines are the ones that create a Stanza. Lines are important because they determine the type of poem a writer ends up with.


Poems vary in terms of the number of lines, scheme, rhyme, or metrical pattern. We distinguish poems by determining their form. A poem can either be;

  • Firstly, a narrative poem – This is a poem that depicts a narrative. It resembles the plotline in an actual story. One can identify this poem in terms of its conflicting characters, climax, and rising actions.
  • Secondly, a lyric Poem– this is a poem that expresses strong emotions concerning a particular idea. An example is any love song, you know. They are mostly lyrical.
  • Thirdly, descriptive poem– This type of poem expresses all the dynamic’s in the narrator’s environment. Poets writing descriptive poems utilize various elaborate imageries and similes to cultivate introspective poetry.


Consistency is a typical writing standard. A poet must systematically express their ideas to avoid clichés.  Similarly, to maintain the consistency of the poem, one should consider using metaphors and similes to connect ideas. Also, avoiding sentimentality is a unique strategy that eradicates division or a split in a poem.

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We can describe the structure of a poem in terms of Stress, Foot, and Meter.

Stress is the continuous use of specific syllables to emphasize its importance in the poem. As such, most used words in poems are metaphoric, and their symbols reveal a more in-depth explanation of the ideas in the poem.  Therefore, we stress majority of them to signify the emphasis given to that word.

A foot represents a combination of emphasized and non-emphasized words in the same line of a poem. Then the meter measures the distance between the lines in a poem. Like in mathematics, poems also utilize specific measurements, which define how they are identified and categorized. For instance, a line with 8 lines is represented as an octameter, which is the same as an octave in a poem with 8 stanzas.

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You can choose from a wide array of essays and research papers we have on this online platform. Our articles address the most frequently asked questions on poetry, such as

  • Structure of a poem
  • Themes evident in a poem
  • Literary devices used in a poem
  • Figurative languages used in a poem
  • All types of poetry available
  • Rules for crafting a poem
  • Characterization in the poem
  • Rhyming Stanzas, among others.

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While most poets believe that a poem is to be read, we have a contrasting opinion that it should be felt. It is something for the ears made for the heart.  That feeling of emotion is what defines a poem. If it is descriptive, it must showcase an intensive analysis of the subject matter. Analyzing everything in poetry can prove to be hard.

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