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Easy as A-B-C: How to write acrostic poetry

Acrostic poetry is easy and fun to write, although it can also take plenty of creativity. The best acrostic poets employ theme and language skillfully to paint word pictures and to communicate ideas clearly and colorfully.

Acrostic poetry offers a simple start for aspiring poets. (Yes, you probably tried a few of these as a kid in school.)

Find your key words,
Underline them, or put them in bold.
Now add your lines.
Copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson 

Poets may experiment with a countless variety of acrostic forms. Here are three of my own favorites.

Basic acrostic poetry

This is the simplest form and a great starting point for beginning poets and students to try. Simply pick a word, write the letters of that word in a vertical column, and build the poem thematically from there.

Here is an example of a traditional acrostic poem I wrote (and copyrighted).

Perhaps you have a wonderful idea to share,
Or you may dream in colors mankind has never seen.
Everyone else has no idea
That you live in vibrancy unknown.
Revealing your vision can shake the world
You simply must put it into words.
Copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson 

These are a few additional examples of basic acrostic poems:

Alphabet acrostic poetry

This form of verse is a little trickier. Each alphabet acrostic poem contains 26 lines, and each line begins with a different letter of the alphabet (in sequence).

Here’s an original (and copyrighted) example I have written and published.

Acrostic poetry is fun to write,
Because nearly anyone
Can do it.
Describing acrostic poetry is simple.
Everyone knows the alphabet.
Finding ways to start each line is tricky.
Good writers will reach for great words.
How many lines will the poem have?
In most cases, alphabet acrostics have 26,
Just one line for each letter.
Keeping the words straight,
Lined up in neat columns,
Makes all the difference.
Now others can read the alphabet
Only by looking at the first letters.
Poetry is fun, if you know how.
Quite a few people enjoy
Reading and writing creative verse.
Simply putting pen to paper
Takes ideas and insight..
Understanding poetry
Very often is trickier.
When we take time to ponder it
eXamining imagery, poetry may
Yield something of beauty.
Zooming in on truth.
Copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson

Rhymed acrostic poetry

This type of acrostic poetry is even more complex. Essentially, it follows the basic format for acrostic poetry, but the lines are metered and rhymed.

Take a look at this original (and copyrighted) example:

Regarding an A-B-C poem,
Have echoes in mind, if you know ‘em.
Your lines, they may flow.
Most readers will know
Each stanza contains there its own gem.
Copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson 

This example, actually is a rhymed acrostic limerick poem, using the standard five-line limerick format. Check out two more  rhymed acrostic limericks: Maybe Mercy Mends a Mess and Un Reve Peut-Etre (A Dream, Perhaps?).

Here are a few more examples of rhymed acrostic poems:

Occasionally, acrostic poems feature highlighted letters midway through their lines, or even at the tail end of them. Others may jumble these highlighted letters for creative effect.

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