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How to Write a Two-Stanza Poem


Stanzas in poetry are the equivalent of paragraphs in prose. Some examples of famous two-stanza poetry include "To My Quick Ear" and "Heaven is What" by Emily Dickinson and "Romance" by Edgar Allan Poe. Two-stanza poems can be written about any subject using any meter or rhyme scheme. Find out how you can write a two-stanza poem that will capture and convey your subject matter to readers and have them reading your words again and again.

Define your subject. It can be something you'll express with literal language or figurative language. You might even combine the two. Think about how you'll structure the piece. A stanza, like a paragraph, is a group of lines in poetry, rhymed or unrhymed, that focus on a specific idea. The stanza can be any number of lines in length, so long as there is a single focus and you start a new stanza when you switch focus. A blank line should separate stanzas in a poem.

Use variations on a theme. The first stanza may consist of six lines that use the seasons as an analogy for the beginning of life and the second stanza could use the seasons as an analogy for life coming to an end. You're using the same material but creating a different effect.

Try writing contradictions. Write one stanza that expresses or describes something in a positive light and the second stanza contradicting what you wrote in the firs. A good example would be to write about the joys of love in the first stanza and the heartbreak you suffered a the hands of another in the second stanza.

Use the "call and answer" method. This is where you present a question in the first stanza and answer it in the second.

Vary your rhyme schemes. One stanza may consist of five lines that rhyme ABABC, meaning the first and third lines rhyme and the second and fourth lines rhyme, with an additional line that rhymes with none of the others. The second stanza could consist of the same pattern or might be six lines. You might try writing two six-line stanzas rhyming ABABCC. It's fun trying different rhyme schemes and stanza lengths to see what you can come up with. Just remember, each new stanza should express a different focus or thought process. Write the text of each stanza so the definition between them is clear.

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.