Writing Advice

When composing three line poems, we hope you consider:

  1. Line length
  2. Line Composition
  3. Meter

 


Line Length

Three Line Poetry books are printed in short lines no longer than 40 characters per line.

Check the length of your lines! Your poem should fit in this box.

Line 1:
Line 2:
Line 3:

 


Line Composition

Watch this video for advice on composing three line poems and remember these points:

1. Avoid articles like “a” and “the” … try to make every word count!

2. Don’t submit rhyme.

3. Give each line its own meaning.

 


Meter

You don’t have to compose your poem with meter in mind, but when you do, magical things happen. Three line poems have many of the same elements other poems have. You read about meter in grade school, and again in high school, and maybe even in college…it’s time to put it to use! In English there are several common meters you can work with to develop a scheme for your poem.

As you write your poems, consider which kind of meter each line has: (Great Practice)

iambs: unstressed/stressed (da DUM)
trochees: stressed/unstressed (DUM da)
spondees: stressed/stressed (DUM DUM)
anapests: unstressed/unstressed/stressed (da da DUM)
dactyls: stressed/unstressed/unstressed (DUM da da)

Read the meter of your lines, maybe you can tweak your verses into a beautiful meter. People don’t always think about the meter of a three line poem, but in English, meter is fun and oh so easy to do well. It helps set the cadence of the poem and makes you look awesome. Best of all, with tiny poems it’s easier to arrange types of meters in any style you want.

Want even more complexity? Imagine you are shooting for a meter like this, da DUM DUM da; you can run your meter from one line to the next for a more staggered complexity. If the staggered meter matches the tone of the piece (e.g., a poem about stumbling through life), then the staggered meter adds to the feeling and message of the poem. The running meter (from one line to the next) wows those who are looking at the structure…

da DUM DUM da da DUM
DUM da da DUM DUM
da da DUM DUM da

See the pattern? Or you can go for the beauty of meter-symmetry in your lines. There’s a reason music also uses the word “meter.” It is musical.

Give it a try!

Want to know more? Consider reading the Wiki on meter.