An acrostic poem can be written about anything, but this form is a charming mechanism for paying homage to someone or something you love. Six simple guidelines will have you writing polished acrostics in no time.
Six Steps to Writing the Polished Acrostic Poem
1. First, decide on the subject of your poem. Perhaps your true love, a child—or yes, a devoted pet. Use either the first name, middle, last, or the whole kit and
2. Write the name of the object of your affection in a vertical line.
3. Research the name to aid you in planning the kind of pattern you’d like the poem to follow or the images you’d like to include. The letters from the name can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of each line.
4. Think about the form of the poem. Would you like your poem to rhyme? Would you like to up the ante and try your hand at another form, combined with the acrostic? Say, a sonnet?
5. Once you’ve decided on the pattern of your acrostic poem, begin to work on a line or phrase for each letter of your chosen name. In each line, consider the qualities of the subject you’d most like to illustrate. You can embolden or use capital letters so the name will stand out.
6. Read through your lines and revise any that seem to throw off the balance of your poem.
At last, you have a polished tribute. That wasn’t so hard, now was it?
Try It: Acrostic Poetry
Now that you know a little more about what acrostic poetry looks like, it’s time to practice. Did a special someone or something come to your mind as you were reading? You’ve found your subject! Now here’s an extra challenge: Try to write an acrostic poem where the letters of your subject’s name are found in the middle or at the end of your poem.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. It was a fun kick-off to this month’s theme! Here’s an acrostic poem from Rick we enjoyed:
The Moments When We Choose to Play
Is what we see before us real?
Mirage we know is a need expressed,
And mirrors? We know that tale.
Go instead where the earth is dressed
In green, with broad and urgent calls
Not seen, but so conspicuously expressed
Every eye and every ear alert to all
Din and melody, but hidden every perch and nest.
Jaundiced eyes, come here, remove the pall.
Amend your days and nights and what is blessed;
Your imagination waits—let the worldly clatter fall.
—by Rick Maxson, of Imagined Jay
Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland