How to Write a Hyperbole Poem

Sometimes stories and emotions need to be exaggerated to be told in the most effective way. In poetic terms, this exaggeration is hyperbole, a kind of exaggeration that overstates a characteristic. One of the simplest ways to create such hyperbole is through simile--a comparison using like or as. As one of the major poetic devices, similes can be put into nearly any kind of poem. The trick to using hyperbole effectively in poetry is making comparisons that express your feelings about a topic or person.

Choose a subject for your poem, and decide on the treatment of the topic. For example, if you choose to write about a historic figure, then you should also decide whether you want to praise or criticize that figure.

Make a list of the key points of your selected topic. Most of these points should be the things that you want to exaggerate in your poem.

Create a list of exaggerated images and/or similes to express your key points.

Decide on the poetic form that you want to use for your poem. You can choose any form, but for your poem to be the most effective you should use a form that suits your topic or feeling about that topic. Refer to the "Poets Garret" for a comprehensive list of poetic forms, a link to which is provided with this article.

Write an outline for your poem stanza by stanza or line by line if it is particularly short. In this outline, organize your key points and hyperbole images so that they fit the poetic form that you chose.

Write a draft of your poem based on your outline.

Edit your poem until you are satisfied with the results.

  • Comparing two unlike things is the easiest and most direct way to create hyperbole. An example of this sort of comparison is saying that a weightlifter's arms are as big as hydraulic cranes.
  • Exaggerating different points of your topic will create different effects, especially if you wisely choose what you are using to create your hyperbolic comparisons. For example, if you are trying to make a hyperbolic statement about somebody's swimming, then comparing his swimming to a shark's will make him seem more aggressive than if you compare his swimming to a trout's.
  • Choose your topic's main points to exaggerate wisely. Overuse of hyperbole can diminish its overall effect. If you choose the points to exaggerate wisely, then your poem will be more effective.
About the Author

Nicholas Zacharewicz is the holder of a Master of Arts in English and has had poetry, short fiction and articles published in anthologies, journals, newspapers and online. His writing specializes in Medieval literature and culture, genre fiction, and video games.

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