Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

AllPoetry: an inclusive platform to improve poetry writing

I started writing poetry during my GCSEs. But the end of my English classes also marked their end because I picked my A levels in science and maths. Poetry, nevertheless, survived in the background in my life. While I still cringe when looking at the lame poetry I wrote in my early teens, the passion for it has survived all these years. I got myself a WordPress blog to post my poetry however I felt like I was lacking the guidance needed to further my skills. Then, I came across AllPoetry on social media and immediately used one of my pre-written poems to create my account.

AllPoetry is indeed a platform for everyone and all forms of poetry. You won’t be judged on your choice of style and can write however you wish. I am fond of traditional complex forms of poetry and try to write poems that require some thought to understand. I have tried installing apps on my phone to read poetry in my free time but my thumb always seems to enjoy tapping Apple News more than anything. Reading others’ poetry on Allpoetry has therefore been the primary source of inspiration to me, much-needed for writing my own.

To publish a poem on AllPoetry, you must make two comments on other recently written poems. The objective is to make sure that in the end everyone ends up with at least one comment on their poem and no one feels left out. I often take this opportunity to put forward my own GCSE-level poetry analysis on how I enjoyed their poem, what impact their use of caesura may have made and how the title sums it all up. It feels amazing to leave a few words of encouragement to other poets out there and find the love and feedback reciprocated.

Through these courses, AllPoetry has taught me that free verse, prose and Instagram poetry aren’t the only forms of poetry out there

AllPoetry offers many different online courses if you want to improve your skills. I have been able to successfully pass all assignments for the beginner level of poetry-writing course and am currently working on my assignments for the intermediate level. 

Through these courses, AllPoetry has taught me that free verse, prose and Instagram poetry aren’t the only forms of poetry out there. Through the courses on AllPoetry and the sheer inspiration from other poets on the platform, I have been able to write ghazals, cinquains, quatrains, Haiku poetry, use refrain lines and syllabic verses, and have been able to keep my memory fresh of all the rhetorical techniques.

Another thing I really like about AllPoetry is the competitions. They are designed by other poets on the website who provide you with their self-assigned rules. You then write a poem based on the rules outlined and your poem gets judged by the host. I have so far won one gold, one silver, one bronze, and four ‘Honourable Winner’ awards during my time on AllPoetry. But like any good scientist, I should tell you all the outcomes and would therefore like to add that there were plenty other competitions I took part in where I won nothing at all. So, don’t worry if you think you’re not born with poetry-writing skills. Writing poems for me has been a journey and your skills develop continually as you write more.

Taking part in the competitions has helped me to try out different styles and push myself to explore previously unknown territories in the domain of poetry

More than the trophies, however, what is special about taking part in these competitions is that they greatly help to improve the flexibility of your writing skills. Often these competitions would give you a bizarre picture as a prompt, tell you to write a poem 20 words long or write one that must rhyme. Taking part in the competitions has helped me to try out different styles and push myself to explore previously unknown territories in the domain of poetry. For example, the poem for which I won gold in a competition was exactly one sentence long and written based on a quote provided by the competition host.

Although I tried very hard to do otherwise, it is obvious that I have been far from modest in my above account of how I have written so many different types of poems and all the competitions I have won. Despite being a science student, having an active and flourishing interest in literature and poetry is something I can never boast enough about. But, regardless of what my dad may have to say, I am not any special kid. I am not the only poet who studies the sciences. My friend who studies chemistry with me also writes poetry in her free time and another friend from the psychology department is on AllPoetry with me.

It pains me to learn how some people feel that poetry is dying. Being on AllPoetry makes me feel as though I am on a whole different planet of only poets. There are people from different countries and cultures, of different backgrounds and ages and yet we are all brought together by our one love for putting our hearts on paper.

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