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How to Type a Poem


Poetry is a literary form that relies as much on rhythm and presentation as on the words. As a result, the way the words are placed on paper can be as significant as the words themselves. Although there are no hard rules dictating how the words of a poem are set down on paper (each poem is treated by its individual author), there are guidelines to help you determine the most effective ways to type your poem, which can ensure its emotion and message are delivered clearly.

Type your poem according to meter if your poem has a structure based on meter. A foot is the term used to describe a unit of measure in poetry that contains specified syllables. An iambic foot, for instance, contains two syllables per line of poetry, the first unstressed and the second stressed. If you're writing iambic pentameter, you will have five iambic feet per line. Type each line of your poem and end it after five two-syllable feet.

Capitalize the first word of each line of your poem. If the line of poetry ends before a complete sentence, do not put punctuation at the end of the line. Punctuation is typed only when a complete sentence has been written. If that doesn't happen for three lines of your poem, then two lines of poetry will be without punctuation. Do add commas and other marks as they occur in your poem.

Type your poem single spaced, either centered or left-justified. Divide it into stanzas if it is long. A stanza is similar to a paragraph in prose writing. Think of each stanza in this way and create a new stanza with a new thought. Separate stanzas with two spaces.

Type the words of your poem according to focus and rhythm when you are writing a free-form poem rather than a poem based on a specific rhythmic structure. Read your poem aloud and listen for the words that you want stressed. This is how you type the words on paper. If you want a single word to be highlighted, you might type that word on a line of its own. Alternately, you may want to end a line of poetry by typing that particular word as the last word.

Type the words to your poem for form if you want to call attention to its appearance on paper. This is an art form in itself, as the way the words are typed on paper creates an image or emotion through the use of black and white space.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.