Saturday, April 1, 2023

Day 1 2023 ~ How to write a Couplet for #NationalPoetryMonth -"30 poems in 30 days"

Yay!! April 1st is the beginning of National Poetry Month!

Welcome to YEAR 11 of my month-long poetry challenge in honor of “National Poetry Month.”

There are many forms of poetry. Too many people claim they cannot write poetry but I beg to differ. That is why I started this challenge, to teach others how to write a variety of poems with easy-to-follow instructions. So far, I have found more than a hundred different poetry “forms” and have featured at least 78 different ones over the years. This challenge is fun and easy – even kids can and do join in.

So, first, since new people seem to join each year, here are some basic things to know, and then the following posts SHOULD be shorter, but I like details so short and brief are relative words for me, but I’ll try!!

I also host a private FB Poetry Month group; if you are interested in that, you will need to contact me and request an “invite” to it. 

Why write poems? Writing poetry causes us to think differently about words. Due to the condensed nature of most poetry, we think carefully about word choice, evaluate each word in order to tell a story, express our emotions, describe a moment, or a memory. It allows us to reveal ourselves in ways we may have never expected. I love this quote I found on Writers Write ~ “Poems act as a filter and help us get to the guts of the matter.”

Most of the poems we will do this month have rather specific rules. This is a good thing. They are a guide and can help you express yourself in the most unexpected ways, but then again, when you write poetry, you can also break the rules if it serves the poem. However, I recommend for the purpose of our time together that you avoid breaking the rules. Following them will teach you a number of different ways to write poetry. You can always break them later, on your own.

Okay, enough of my rambling – let’s get started!! Yay!!

Our first poem this year is rather simple ~ the COUPLET ~ every poet should know how to write a couplet. It is the basis of other poems and it’s only TWO lines of poetry. How easy is that?

Although I’ve seen some that are totally random, the dictionary definition of a “couplet” suggests that they usually consist of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter (syllable count). Although in the spirit of “full disclosure,” they do not need to have the same meter. Gasp! In fact, if you opt for what is called an “unrhymed couplet” they don’t even need ending rhyming words. So, there is a little wiggle room when it comes to couplets.

Try expressing your complete thought in two mid-sized poetic lines. The last words traditionally rhyme. And just for fun, TRY to keep both lines to the same syllable count (meter, basically).

It can be spiritual, silly, romantic or whatever suits your fancy – couplets are great to write for children or with children.

And you can always string a bunch of couplets together to create a longer poem, but for today – just try creating one or more individual 2-line couplets, unless you are bound and determined to make a longer poem.

Just a few more explanations when it comes to couplets: when a couplet can stand alone from the rest of the poem, it is considered independent, and it is called a “closed couplet.” Conversely, a couplet that cannot stand alone without the rest of the poem is an “open couplet.”

Just in case you were wondering, there actually are quite a variety of couplets – if you feel so inclined to research them – here are a few: Heroic Couplet, Unrhymed Couplet, Blank Verse Couplet, Short Couplet, Split Couplet, Qasida, Alexandrine Couplet, Shakespearean Couplet, and Chinese Couplet. No doubt there are more, but that’s a start.

And to simplify things – here is a handy dandy free online syllable counter: (be sure to click "Count Syllables)." Cheers!!

OK, for example, here are a couple of couplets (hee hee) that I wrote; one last year and one two years ago:


I have so many things “on my plate,”

Please forgive me if I’m running late.
                         © 2021 Stephanie Abney


I am such a work in progress,
Some days I do more, others less
                         © 2022 Stephanie Abney


AND, for variety, here are a couple more couplets (one from a participant, used with permission).


My puppy chews on everything
But mostly tugs at my heartstrings.
                               © 2017 Andilyn Jenkins

I know the Lord is mindful of me,
And it makes me happy as can be.
                             © 2011 by Stephanie Abney

Okay – your turn!! You are welcome to share your poems in the comments to this blog post. I hope you will share them online in our FB poetry group. Most people enjoy sharing them on their own FB or IG accounts. I also hope you are keeping them in a journal or a file on your computer. Enjoy!!

PLEASE REMEMBER ~ any poetry found on this blog, written by me, is my personal property and may not be used without my permission, other than sharing it as an example in a lesson or to read it to someone. The same goes for any poems that are shared in the comments of this blog or elsewhere online as a result of this challenge. They are the creative property of the person who writes them. These poems are their original work and no one may use them without their permission. It is understood that they own the copyright to them as soon as they create them and especially once they post them. Thanks so much!

*** Also, if you choose to post your poems on your own blog or elsewhere on social media ~ that’s awesome. But PLEASE don’t just copy and paste my daily instructions, but rather post your poem on your blog or your FB wall or wherever AND LINK BACK TO EACH DAY’S SPECIFIC BLOG POST for others to come here to read the instructions. I’ve spent considerable time researching the poetry forms and writing them up to share with you. Thanks for respecting my work.


Connie Cockrell said...

Hooray! It's April Poetry Month

Today, outside, is full of sun.
It’s time to go and have some fun.

It’s spring you know and that means flowers.
We all just hope there are no mowers!

Theresa Sneed said...

A Tribute to Stephanie: Poet Extraordinaire
by Theresa Sneed

Too many words crammed into my head,
My muse jumps ship and heads straight to bed,
Morning will bring a much better day,
“No,”, my Muse winks, “‘tis not what I say.”
But I’ve a secret Muse doesn’t know,
Words will come, coz Stephanie says so!

Stephanie Abney said...

Connie & Theresa!!

These are great poems!! Cheers!!

Tina Peterson Scott said...

Mine isn't fun, but ...

The word Cancer instills fear
It kicks our prayers in gear.

Unknown said...

Lament in prayer or sing God's praise
For this chance to live in these last days?

Chelle said...

Tell me how to make each moment last
And keep them from growing up too fast.
~ Chelle

Xoxojme said...

Two brother cats have I both black and whitened
One audacious and the other always frightened

Carroll said...

I'm just now doing Day 1--what fun it is!

I’ve got arthritis in my right big toe
I hate to complain, but woe, woe, woe
Now that that’s done, I’ll get on my way
Enjoying life this beautiful day