Acrostic poems can range from a simple introductory poetry assignment for children to sophisticated works conveying intricate ideas. To write an acrostic poem, you must choose a theme, such as "Halloween," "friendship" or "soccer." You then write a poem using the letters of your theme as a framework. Your poem can range from a few words describing your theme to a more complex series of ideas that is nearly indistinguishable from a more traditional poem.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Determine a theme word for your acrostic poem. Your theme word will be the subject of your poem. Possible theme words include emotions, names, hobbies, events, holidays or even simple nouns such as food names or articles of clothing.
Write your theme vertically in capital letters on a sheet of paper in pencil, putting one word on each line of the paper. For instance, if you were writing a poem about New York, you would write:
Brainstorm words and phrases related to your theme. These can be synonyms for your theme or words that come to mind when you think of it. For instance, if writing a New York poem, you might write words and phrases such as "Big Apple," "Times Square," "Ellis Island," "Bring me your poor," "Frank Sinatra," "Broadway" and "Start spreading the news."
Write a poem, beginning each line with a letter from your theme. For instance, in a poem about New York, the first line would begin with "N," the second with "E," the third with "W" and so on. Do not worry about rhyme or rhythm, as you do not need to use these elements in an acrostic unless you want to. Although children typically write short, simple acrostics of only one or two words per letter, you can write a more complex acrostic by writing it as you would any other poem, breaking up complete sentences over several lines and creating lines of several words.
Consult your list of brainstormed words or a thesaurus if you get stuck and don't know how to begin a sentence with a certain letter. You may find a synonym for a word you like that begins with the correct letter, or your brainstormed list might give you an idea for your next line.
Tips and warnings
- Be flexible. Like any other form of poetry except free verse, the format of acrostic poems may force you to sacrifice a word or line you love in order to stay true to the form. Just like a sonnet writer might have to change a beloved line to put it in iambic pentameter, you might have to tweak your favourite line to make it begin with "K" instead of "Y."
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