Here are some websites that can help you if you need a little assist in your poetry writing. Remember: there are no actual rules, but sometimes rules and limits help spark creativity. And it can be a lot of fun to play with some of the aspects of poetry writing to see what sorts of things you come up with.
- List of 168 Poetic Forms for Poets – This is a fantastic list by Robert Lee Brewer of various poetic forms, from haiku to acrostic. I’ve found it helpful when I’m not feeling particularly poetic to tackle one of these forms. The structure becomes the important thing. Maybe you’ll find out that you really hate writing sonnets, but you might fall in love with seadnas.
- Syllable Counter – I love using this tool, but it can be a little tricky. I use it to broadly get a poem to have consistency, but if the syllables are important you’ll still want to count them yourself. It doesn’t get everything perfectly correct, especially with contractions. It’s nice to start with though. Line lengths can be misleading.
- Rhyme Zone – I honestly don’t do a lot of rhyming, particularly at the ends of lines. I do use this site quite a bit though. It’s great when playing with a rhyme scheme in a poetic form you are playing with or to find some rhyming words to scatter throughout a poem to give a nice flow. I’ve been fighting against rhyming for a long time, but I think I was failing to see how I could use it in newer ways and now I play with it more often.
- Thesaurus.com – Feeling stuck? Try for a new word. I use this often and primarily early on in writing. I’m wary of synonyms. It’s rare that two words would have the exact same usage in a language. They generally would reduce down to one or each of the words has nuances that could be explored on their own… and that’s the route I tend to take. I have an idea and I look at related words that might pull me in a direction I didn’t expect.
- Wiktionary – Honestly, there are a million and one online dictionaries. I like this one because it is simple, ad free, and includes translations in multiple languages. It also is very comprehensive. I think people misuse dictionaries all the time. It is worth saying, a dictionary is NOT a list of “correct” uses of a word, but a record of how words are used within a language. It can be helpful to know that a niche usage has not yet been widely used enough to be recorded, or that it has become archaic. That isn’t a reason to not use a word, but it is good to know. Looking up a word will show it’s common usage, as we all know, but there isn’t much use in being pedantic about dictionary definitions. Language is fluid. (Sorry, I saw a soapbox and climbed up on it!)
- Wikipedia Random Article – I love choosing a random Wikipedia article and writing about it. It can be a poem or a blog post or whatever, but it is a challenge. There are so many things I know nothing about, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be inspired by something I learn about them. If I’m writing poems, I tend to skip athletes or modern celebrities (I find it hard to be inspired in those cases), but rarely is anything else a complete dead end.
- Artnet – One of my major inspirations in art. I love to pull up a piece of art I love and sit with it for days and let it influence my writing. Sometimes nothing comes of it, but often it feels like it becomes a part of the process. There are a lot of places to look for art to enjoy, including most museums’ websites. If you want to use the work in a publication, scour Wikimedia Commons for images. There’s so much beautiful work in the public domain to inspire you. Make sure you always check the image rights before using work. The art on Artnet is copyrighted. Please don’t steal art.