Image Poem: What are images in a poem? Plus, How to write an image poem.

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Poetry is usually something you learn in language arts during high school so this might be a refresher. ‌An image poem is a poetic form that uses descriptions of visual images to demonstrate a subject or emotion in the English language.‌ Image poetry can often be in narrative form, and its style relies on the flow of the relationships among the images conveyed in the poem. Popular poets who used image poetry in their work include Emily Dickinson, Robert frost, William wordsworth, and shakespeare.


Choose the subject of your poem.‌ The subject can be an emotion, such as joy, or an event, such as a war, or even a person. It might be easiest to begin with a tangible subject so you can practice with real images before moving on to metaphorical imagery.

Pick some images that represent your subject.‌ For a good example, if you are writing a poem about joy, you might want to pick images of children at play or other pictures that represent joy to you. If you are writing your image poem about an event, you may want to choose images from the event, along with pictures that represent the emotion of the event as well and can easily manifest in the reader’s mind.

Decide on your poetic formats‌. You can choose a standard poetic form, or you can decide your own meter or rhyme scheme. Usually, a poet uses meter or rhyme scheme. An image poem is defined by its use of imagery to express the subject of the poem and can be flexible in its form.


Describe your chosen images in a concise and emotional manner within the form you have chosen for your image poem. ‌Its important to use figurative language, sensory details, and personification when writing poetry‌ at this step for different types of imagery such as tactile imagery, gustatory imagery, olfactory imagery, and auditory imagery. At the heart of poetry is communicating a depth of emotion and clarity of visual imagery in a way that is not possible in standard prose. That’s how you activate a reader’s senses for a true sensory experience.

Arrange the image description in an emotionally powerful way.‌ You may find that there is an inherent order in the image descriptions as they relate to each other. Play around with the layout of your poem until you are happy with it.

Relate the image descriptions to each other.‌ If you find that any of the descriptions do not flow into the next image description well, you may decide to add to or rewrite your description to better relate it to the rest of the poetic images. You can also incorporate similes in your creative writing.


Step away from your poem for a day or so, then come back and read it to yourself out loud.‌ Substitute synonyms for words that seem awkward or out of place. If a phrase does not fit well, consider rewriting it or removing it completely. You can also try reading poetry from other authors to help brainstorm ideas.

Part of the writing process can be difficult, If you have image poem writer's block on a computer, try writing with a different instrument, or on different paper. Some people like writing with pencils, some like pens, and some like crayons on construction paper. You can even try writing on a sidewalk with chalk. Do what works for you.

Don't edit yourself too much‌. Let the poem flow freely as it comes to you; there is always time for editing later.

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