How to write a love poem: From start to finish in 13 steps
He's the one who makes your heart flutter; she's the one with the smile that makes you fall in love.
And you want to make your special person feel loved and show how much you care about them and your relationship. What can be a better gift than writing a short and sweet love poem for them to show your admiration?
So, you must be thinking about how to write a love poem.
Writing a good love poem isn't always easy. It takes deep thoughts, care, and patience—not to mention the challenge of putting your feelings about someone into words.
We've got you if you feel nervous about writing poetry (or want some extra help). Our tips will help you write a fantastic love poem for your sweetheart because we think everyone deserves the chance to express their love with poetry.
How to write a love poem in 13 steps
If you think about it, there's something super romantic about taking the time to write a poem just for your sweetie. It's like putting flowers in their lunch bag or leaving them a voicemail just to say hi! It's an extra step that says, "I'm thinking of you," and we all know that means a lot.
A love poem is a great way to express your feelings for someone, especially if you're unsure exactly what to say.
So without further ado, here are some tips for how to write a love poem:
1. Devour some classic poems
Before you start writing your love poem, you must understand what makes a good one. Reading some classic examples of the genre is the easiest way to do this.
Gather insights and comprehension about how they were written, what they talk about, and the overall tone. They can spark some ideas for your poem. And, if a particular style or tone catches your eye (or ear?), try to mimic it in your work.
The goal here is to figure out what makes a good love poem work—and then replicate or steal those tricks like an artist! Some of the best love poems are:
- Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
- How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
- To A Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Or you can take inspiration from more contemporary love poems like:
- Romantics by Lisel Mueller
- Hey You by Adrian Blevins
- It Is Here by Harold Pinter
Who knows, you might pen something as sensational as these lines:
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
__(Every Day You Play by Pablo Neruda)
2. Brainstorm different ideas
Once you've got some inspiration from other poems, brainstorm what kind of things might inspire you in your own writing.
For example, maybe a particular person has been on your mind lately. Or maybe there's an image or idea that won't leave you alone—a metaphor or picture that keeps popping up in different contexts? That could be something worth exploring in a poem!
You don't have to write everything down right away. Instead, try jotting down notes as ideas come to you.
Also, think about the tone of the poem. Do you want it to be funny? Serious? Sad? Are there any specific people or events in mind? Write them down, so everything is fresh in your mind when you begin writing your poem.
3. Think of your subject
Now that you've got some ideas about where inspiration might come from and what topics you want to write about, let's narrow down the specifics: who or what is this poem for? How do you feel about them? What does their name sound like when spoken aloud?
Remember that a love poem isn't always about your romantic love. It could express your passion, hope, lost love, or inner peace. Even if it's about a person, the tone does not have to be sincere, divine, or passionate.
Romantic love expressions can be fun, lighthearted, and utterly mundane too. Take the poem Having a Coke with You by Frank O'Hara, where the poet considers having a coke with his partner more fun than going to exotic places.
Instead of writing about the person, you can focus on an experience shared with them or a particular moment of feeling closeness, pride, joy, amusement, or serenity.
You can relate to it by reading the poem Having a Coke with You. It's all about expressing the poet's feelings about sharing a specific experience with the person he loves.
4. Choose the suitable poetic forms
If you're a lover of love poems, you know that not all of them are created equal. While some feature rhyme and rhythm, others might be more free-form.
Odes, sonnets, limericks and haikus are some examples of the various poetic forms. You can choose among them by considering the kind of message you want to convey.
For example, the sonnet as a love poem structure is very popular because of Shakespeare's famous poem Sonnet 18.
Sonnets have 14 lines and can feature any prevalent rhyming scheme. The last two lines are exciting because they offer a twist with a rhyming couplet.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
__(Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare)
An ode is a poem with a structured rhyme pattern and metre. They are often written in an elevated style and begin with an invocation in the first line, followed by a description of the object of the love, and then a statement about the feelings or thoughts of the speaker.
Limericks and haikus are suitable for keeping things short and sweet. It can be an acrostic too, where the first letter of each line spells out your beloved's name or a word that has special meaning to both of you.
All poetic forms have a unique tone and vibe. You can write it in free verse or rhyming couplets or use an iambic pentameter pattern (like Shakespeare). The choice is yours.
However, following a style is not mandatory because you can write a free-form poem, which can still be fantastic if done correctly.
5. Express your personal feelings
There are many different ways you can go about writing love poems. Still, the poem should be personal and heartfelt if you want your beloved to appreciate the effort. It'll show that they mean more than just another person on this planet.
Figure out exactly what your feelings are. What do you like about this person? What makes them unique? How does their presence make you feel? Find answers to these questions, and you will know how to communicate these feelings in your poem.
You need to be vulnerable to craft words that come from your heart. Exposing your emotions to someone else means letting your guards down. So, the words won't sound honest or genuine if you hold up your feelings. A great example is:
Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we’ve got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
What you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
__(Come, And Be My Baby by Maya Angelou)
6. Don't sound corny
Love can make you feel like your self-esteem is on a roller coaster that goes up and down so often you're dizzy. It's all over your head, but sometimes it's not even in there at all.
Such emotional turbulence can make you write down cliches like "love is like a rainbow" or "you had me at hello."
Cliches are not necessarily bad (just overused) but can be very off-putting. Write from your heart and soul, and don't try so hard that it sounds fake or forced. To avoid stereotypes, focus on an experience that you share between yourselves. It could be your love for movie trivia or football games.
Angelina Weld Grimké's El Beso features some excellent examples of avoiding hackneyed phrases. Check the first few lines:
Snare of the shine of your teeth,
Your provocative laughter,
The gloom of your hair;
Lure of you, eye and lip;
7. Use humour and wit
If you are not an emotional person by nature, don't worry. Humour and wit will work just fine. Being overly sentimental can make your poem sound sappy, which you may want to avoid at any cost.
Write about the funny moments you experienced together. Even if it sounds silly, it will bring a smile to your partner's face.
Take your cues from John Cooper Clarke's I Wanna be Yours. The poet wants to be his lover's vacuum cleaner, coffee pot, and raincoat, among several other things.
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours…
8. Make abundant use of sensory words
Why do you want to write love poetry? You want to express your emotions in a way that resonates with the person you're writing to, right?
A sensory word evokes an emotional response from the readers. Words like ‘hot’, ‘cold’, ‘stealing kisses’, ‘vibrant’, ‘gentle’, etc., have strong associations with feelings, and they make the readers feel something extra.
Since you want to create an emotional appeal with your poem, these words will help you get that job done.
9. Use creative figures of speech
Figurative language elements are an essential part of love poetry. You will see great uses of metaphors, similes, and imagery in the majority of famous love poems.
However, don't use the most common symbolic and decorative words. Instead of using tired cliches like "my love is like a red rose" or "you set my heart on fire," use creative figures of speech to make your message more personal and relatable.
See these examples to get a better idea:
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
__(She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron)
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship is like the holly-tree —
__(Love and Friendship by Emily Brontë)
10. Hyperboles can be a good option
Hyperboles are exaggerations that add some humour and playfulness to your work. But avoid banal phrases at all costs. They make hyperbolic language cheesy at best and desperate at worst, making your message come across as less sincere than it is.
Try to find ways of expressing yourself that don't sound so desperate. Read the poetry of the metaphysical poets, including John Donne and Andrew Marvell, known for introducing hyperboles and conceits in their poems.
She's all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
__(The Sun Rising by John Donne)
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
__(To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell)
11. Read the first draft to yourself
Read the poem out loud to yourself while thinking about the object of your affection. It should help you express what you're feeling more clearly.
Recite slowly and try to hear each line individually. Find out if any unnatural words or parts don't make sense.
Edit if necessary, so the poem does not sound like a jumble of words strung together by accident.
12. Ask for feedback from others
Is there someone you know who can offer constructive criticism about the poem? They could be a friend, family member, or a colleague.
They will bring a different perspective (minus all the emotions), helping you identify any points that need more explanation or clarification.
13. Do the final editing
Once you've gotten feedback, edit your poem until it's ready. Reread the poem, fix any mistakes, and smooth out any awkward passages.
The goal here is not to make any drastic changes that alter the poem's meaning. Just do some minor tweaks and fix grammar and spelling errors.
FAQs about How to write a love poem
How do love poems start?
There's no steadfast rule about how you should start the poem. You can begin by jotting down your true feelings about your lover. Write down whatever comes to your mind when you think about that person, so it feels like it's coming directly from your heart.
How do I start to write a poem?
Whenever you're feeling inspired, try writing down your thoughts or feelings while looking at your partner. Then, read through what you've written aloud and see if anything resonates with them. If so, polish the words and rearrange the structure if it seems out of place.
What is a short love poem?
A short poem primarily consists of less than or equal to 9 lines. So, a short love poem will feature only a few short stanzas. These poems are suitable for anniversaries, Valentine's Day, birthdays, or any other occasions that warrant expressing intimate feelings.
How do you write a beautiful poem?
Again, you don't need to follow hard and fast rules to write a beautiful poem. It will help if you follow the tips mentioned in this article. Don't forget to read a lot of poetry and practice a lot. If you are into creative writing, asking for feedback from others will hone your skill.