How to Write a List Poem

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. – Carl Sandburg

Today let’s make poetry using our grocery lists. No, actually I am not kidding.

Today I would like to share with you a kind of poem called a list poem, sometimes called a catalog poem.

Basically this is a poem that lists things: people, things, places, thoughts, whatever. It’s a poem that can be used in many different ways. It’s fun, and as an extra bonus you can use them to make shopping lists!

Many of the poems that are written in this form today are American, but that does not mean anything really since this poem was used by the Greeks and also versions of it are used in many books of the Bible.

So usually the first line, or lines, are not part of the actual list, instead they introduce the reader to the topic of the list poem. Then the middle lines are the actual list. The final line, or lines, are also not part of the list, they complete it, make so that it is more than just an ordinary list. The list can rhyme if you want it to, but it does not have to. This is a very flexible poem.

Just like any other poem figuring out what it is going to be about is the place to start. When you are figuring out what you are going to write about keep in mind that this is going to be a list, it is going to need to be a wider subject range than is often the case in poems. Today I’m going to write about magic, more particularly fantasy creatures.

Once you have a subject it is a good idea to start writing the list part. They can be single words or they can be phrases, it just depends on what you feel like doing. So here is a part of my list:
Dragons breathing fire
Mischievous, beautiful fairies
Mysterious unicorns
So that’s a part of my list, in reality, I’m completing the list before I’m going on to write the beginning and the end.

So once you get the list part written, write a beginning that introduces your subject and a closing that completes it in some way.

Here is my poem. As you can see I decided not to make it rhyming.

Magical World

A world apart from our own
Magic is a part of it
Dragons breathing fire
Dwarves shaping gold
Mischievous, beautiful fairies
Mysterious unicorns
Graceful Elves in the in forests
Goblins hiding in darkness
So different and yet so close

List poems are poems that can be used in many different ways. They are fun and very simple to do. If you were looking for a poem to do with kids this could be a good option. Or if you just want to try a simple and fun poem this is a great one for that!

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