Many great poems throughout human history are on the topic of heartbreak. Some of them include "Do not Try to Cheat Me with Kiss" by Sylvia Plath, "My Letters! All Dead, Paper, Mute, and White," by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and "Speak!" by William Woods.
A poem is simply the outpouring of your soul set to form. The form of a poem is important because it gives structure to your thoughts.
Poetry used to be far more stylized than it is today. For instance, the Sonnet, which was popular in William Shakespeare’s day, has very rigid rules including exactly 14 lines and a formal “a-b-a-b” rhyme structure and end in a couplet.
Other strictly controlled poetry includes the Japanese Haiku (one line with five syllables, the next with seven syllables, and a final line with five syllables) and the limerick (which usually isn’t appropriate as a heartbroken poem!)
Modern poetry tends toward free verse. Free verse can have rhymed or unrhymed lines and no metrical pattern. What sets free verse apart from prose is that the poems have complex patterns of one sort or another that readers or listeners will perceive to be part of a coherent whole.
While some people can just start writing a heartbroken poem and produce something that captures their feelings, other people need to go through a process. If you are one of the latter, consider this:
1. State your purpose – if your purpose is to “wash that guy (or girl) right out of your hair” you’ve got your purpose.
2. Decide on the form of the poem.
3. Write down your thoughts so that you can organize them in poetical form.
4. Use descriptive images to express your feelings. Unhappiness, despair, or grief is all abstract concepts. Bring them to life by using concrete similes or metaphors.
5. Use poetic devises to make your poem more “poem like.” These can include rhyme, meter assonance, alliteration, and repetition.
6. Put your most powerful statement at the end of your poem.
7. Edit the poem when you finish it. Most great poems are not written in one draft. Get feedback from your friends on how to make it better.
When you are writing your heartbreak poem, you might want to consider listening to music to set the mood. If you had a “couple’s song” or other music that you associate with the relationship, that might help set the stage for writing the poem.
Put the element of surprise into your heartbreak poem. Perhaps end the poem with a resolution to move on. Not only will this make it a good poem, it may also help you to actually move on.
You have to decide whether to share your poem with others or keep it in a journal for yourself. But, don’t toss it out or burn it. The effort you put into a heartbreak poem memorializes your feelings right here and right now. It’s an important chapter in your life. Don’t throw it away.
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