5 Tips for Writing Letter Poetry

The modern millennial might say that emails are the new letters—that letters are an old-fashioned and outdated form of communication—but there's something respectable about letters that makes them a really powerful format for creative writing. Maybe you have something pressing to say or maybe you can't think of anything at all; either way, writing letter poetry is a simple way to stretch your writer's muscle and express yourself.

  1. What is it? A letter is a form of communication from one thing to another. A letter poem takes the idea of formal letters and applies the magic of poetic devices to them. The one general rule is that the letter has to be addressed to someone or something. The brilliance of creative writing is that the letter can be written to anyone or anything as the options for subjects are endless!
  2. Why Write a Letter? Letters are really good tools for closure. They are special in that, unlike a back and forth conversation, the speaker gets the chance to say everything that they need to before getting a reply. You can write letters to your fears, letters addressed to your insecurities, letters to someone from the past who you've never expressed your feelings towards, etc. Letters are a great way of checking in with yourself and seeing how you feel about someone or something, without them ever having to be seen by anyone else. Writing letters for the sake of writing them, rather than for the sake of having them be read, changes the function of a letter: the letter is no longer about communicating with the other object or person, but rather it is about communicating with yourself. Maybe you didn't know you forgave someone who hurt you until you were given the space and motive to write about it.
  3. Where to Start? The first place to start in writing a letter is picking the subject that the letter is speaking to. The subject could be something abstract like an emotion, something tangible like an object in the room around you, or systemic like the government or immigration patrol. Letters can be addressed to political figures or forms of injustice, or they can focus on a more personal issue like a relative who passed away of the first person to break your heart. Don't stress about the content of the letter at first; just start with "Dear..." and let your heart worry about the rest. And just like any email you'd send, don't forget to sign it.
  4. Share your work. Always be sure to upload your amazing letter poetry on PowerPoetry so that the whole world can read your letter poetry (even if that letter is to pizza). Be creative-- you might be surprised at just how cathartic writing a letter like this can be.
  5. Letter Prompts. Here are some popular suggestions and ideas for letter poetry (Power Poets LOVE writing letter poems):
  • Write a letter to your future child
  • Write a letter giving advice to your past self
  • Write a letter to your government
  • Write a letter to an inanimate object or abstract concept
  • Write a letter to your favorite food
  • Write a letter to the president
  • Write a letter to someone you haven't forgiven
  • Write a letter to your biggest fear
  • Write a letter to yourself in the voice of someone else
  • Write a letter about global warming/write a letter to the earth
  • Write an apology tor something you haven't forgiven yourself for

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