Tips on how to write a love poem

by PaulGoodman67

I give some help and guidance on writing love poetry, aimed at inexperienced poetry writers.

The tradition of using poetry to woo a prospective romantic partner, or to demonstrate affection for a current lover goes back to the ancients.

It is a great way for modern partnerships to sustain themselves when the couple is apart.

It can also serve as a way show tenderness on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s day, or as a way of keeping the flame of love burning.

Sing from the heart

A love poem, more than many other styles, should have passion and a degree of directness (in other words, it shouldn’t usually be obscure). In my experience, an amateur poem from the heart which is personal in nature will often have more power than a well-crafted poem that lacks emotion in this genre, so don’t feel too self-conscious about the technical quality when writing a love poem, even if you are only a poetry beginner. This advice is especially valid if the poem is intended for private, rather than a public reading.


A love poem is almost always written in one of two perspectives. Either they are often written directly from the perspective of the writer, using the first person (“I” and “My”). For instance: “I never knew what love was, until I met you…” Alternatively, a love poem can be in the second person singular, this is when a poem is written as if directly addressing the recipient (“you”). “You are more beautiful than a Summer day, your eyes sparkle like stars…)

Structure and Rhyme

There are numerous structures for a love poem that you could use. If you are writing a rhyming poem, then you will have to decide upon the rhyming scheme that you wish to employ and structure your poem very strictly. There are numerous traditional forms that you can use for a love poem, one example being a sonnet. Another simple structure is to write in a rhyming couplets - this is often how many people will attempt to write a poem, but it can be difficult to find rhymes that don't sound contrived, or overused. If you are unsure about which approach to take, I personally would recommend trying to write a love poem that is loose in structure and doesn't rhyme.


I personally would stay clear of overt sexual references, unless you specifically intend to make it into an erotic poem. Although there are no strict rules, in general a love poem can be very sensuous, but shouldn’t be too sexual. Any sexuality is usually best implied, rather than expressed overtly - although, as always, it is the individual poet’s choice at the end of the day.

Where to start if you are struggling to get going?

Here are some suggestions for how to begin writing your love poem.

As with all creative writing, it is best not to allow yourself to become self-conscious when you start writing, just put down as many words as you can to begin with – this will just be a first draft that no one besides yourself will see, you can come back to your writer later and improve it.

  1. Write a description of your loved one. You can write it as a ordinary prose if you want. Think of attributes such as eyes? Hair? Lips? How they laugh? And other characteristics?
  2. Write about how your loved one makes you feel – does your heart skip a beat? Do they make you feel nervous? Excited? Warm? Comfortable?Wine and flowers
  3. Once you have written down at least a few hundred words, you will need to do some editing – what that means essentially, is picking out the best bits and rejecting the worst. If you have time to spare, it is best to leave the poem for at least a few days, preferably longer, between your first draft and editing - that way you come back to it with a fresh eye, but it is not essential.
  4. Other edits you might want to consider, other than just deleting the weak lines, are to strengthen the verbs that you use, and also to keep the descriptive words (adjectives and adverbs) to the minimum that you can get away with. Sometimes it also makes the poem better if you choose an over-arching theme or metaphor that you can fasten the poem around. Natural themes, such as the sea, clouds, mountains, trees, flowers, can work well with love poems.
  5. Next you will need to decide to put the line breaks in your poem. One easy method of doing this is to read your poem aloud (reading aloud is good practice for editing too!) and put the breaks where you naturally tend to pause.

My poem is finished - now what?

My advice would be to leave it for a month or so, if you have time. This often isn't possible if you are writing the love poem for a specific event such as a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine's Day - but the advantage of going away from a piece of writing is that when you do come back to it, it is with a fresh eye and you may find ways to tweak it and make it better. At some point, you will have to let your poem go out into the big wide world, of course, but before then don't be afraid to try different things out.

Updated: 02/12/2013, PaulGoodman67
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