Tag Archives: The Breakdown Poem

The Breakdown Poem

Poetry was something that didn’t come naturally. I wasn’t interested in writing it, much less reading it. Somehow or another I’ve come to love poetry as well as writing it. I have and continue to write on a range of subjects. With each piece I try to make it different, especially when writing on the same subject. However, I realize that I do favor certain words, phrases and images in my poetry within each subject.

Because of these favoritisms I sometimes like to breakdown the elements of a particular poem I have in mind to write. Breaking down a poem helps me to: see each part individually, focus on the message and/or image I want to convey, decide which parts to elevate and how to elevate them, and critically think about the poem as a whole.

Doing this also forces me to think about my word choice and decide if I should use a synonym versus the actual word or create my own using imagery instead. I try to show rather than tell in my poetry. Showing instead of telling is something I read a lot about on writing novels and short stories. I try to make the same balance in my poetry.

Dissecting the poem before writing it helps me to find the words and phrases that will help me to show instead of tell. I find that certain words spark an image. If those imagery words can be joined with words that trigger the senses, I think it strikes the right tone for the poet. I’m not a student of poetry in the formal sense so this is pretty much my observation from my own experience in self-study, writing, and opinion.

Why am I writing about this you ask?

Because I have a Valentine’s Day poem waiting to be posted. I used this method for the piece that will appear on the 14th. I’ve also used this breakdown method in the past to help others write their own poem.

This breakdown method is a great way for the poet to focus their thoughts and map a way from beginning to end of a poem. Again, my opinion and it works for me. There’s no structured way to break the poem down. It’s basically just jotting down notes and connecting similar ideas to one another. It’s in the associations and connections of this information where I find my poem.

What works for you?