How to Write a Poem in Spanish to Express Your Creative Side
Whenever I tell my students we’re going to study poetry and learn how to write a poem in Spanish, they roll their eyes. But guess what? They end up loving every step of their creative journey!
Today, I would love to teach you! I promise to use simple poetic forms and guide you with easy and straightforward steps. We will be looking at short poems and recipes.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the essential poetry terms in Spanish, and will have learned 5 types of Spanish poems—which you’ll find easy and fun to create.
Are you excited to learn how to write a poem (or five!) in Spanish?
Why Use Poetry to Learn Spanish?
Poems and nursery rhymes are a great way to learn a language. Besides teaching vocabulary, they teach the target language structures with easy-to-remember rhythm and rhyme schemes. Moreover, poetry works the other way around—by writing poetry, you build up your lexicon and improve grammar.
Poems are a great language acquisition tool that are entertaining for all ages. Both young and adult learners can benefit from creative writing so let’s start learning the basics to write a poem in Spanish.
Essential Poetry Vocabulary
The most basic poetry terms, such as “poetry” in Spanish (la poesía), are necessary to give you a foundation for discussing this topic.
Here are some words you may already know or have heard.
Poetry Vocabulary Chart
And here are the definitions of the words above.
El verso – cada una de las líneas en el poema
Verse – each of the lines in the poem
La estrofa – conjunto de versos, como un párrafo en prosa
Stanza – set of verses, same as a paragraph in prose
La rima – identidad de sonido entre verso y verso
Rhyme – corresponding sound between verses
El ritmo – melodía de un poema
Rhythm – melody of a poem
La sílaba – un conjunto de sonidos que se pronuncia en un solo golpe de voz y que forman una palabra
Syllable – a set of sounds that is pronounced in a single blow of voice and that form a word
Now you’re ready to learn how to write a poem in Spanish.
How to Write a Poem in Spanish
A poem is easier to write if you have a set of rules or formatting guidelines.
Let me explain.
If the instructions are simply to “write a poem,” it might be difficult to know where to start. However, with more specific instructions such as “write a poem about life that has 3 verses of 5 syllables in each line,” the task becomes much easier.
Following that line of thought, I’ll show you how to write a poem in Spanish with very specific rules.
It may even feel like doing fill-in-the-blank exercises, which is perfect for beginners!
How to Rhyme
There are great internet tools to help you create a rhyme. The one I very much like to use with my students is rimar.io. It is very simple to use—you just need to write the word you’re looking to rhyme and it will display a list that can be organized by popularity, rhyme level, or part of speech.
How to Count Syllables
The simplest way to count syllables is to start by placing your hand under your chin and then slowly saying a word aloud. You may know how many syllables there are in the word by counting the number of times your chin touched your hand.
Try it with the word gato (cat).
5 Types of Poems in Spanish and How to Write Them
1. Acrostic (Acróstico)
Acróstico (acrostic) is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase when read vertically. This word or phrase is also the theme of the poem. It may or may not rhyme.
- Choose a word.
- Write the word vertically.
- Write a word or phrase in each line that starts with the given letter.
- Make sure all the lines relate to the word or phrase written vertically.
Example: Here’s un acróstico about friendship (amistad):
Amigos que tengo
Míos para siempre
Son parte de mí
Aunque tan lejos
Duermen en mi corazón.
Friends that I have
They are part of me
Although so far
They sleep in my heart.
Can you see how much got lost in translation?
You can translate the meaning but I would need to create a completely new poem to make an acrostic in English with the word “friendship.”
2. Haiku (Haiku)
Haiku is a Japanese type of poem made of three lines that don’t rhyme. The lines have five, seven, and five syllables. Some characteristics of a Haiku are:
- It focuses on nature.
- It includes a seasonal word that indicates the time of the year (snow).
- It uses sensory language (smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste).
- Look around and choose a topic inspired by nature.
- Start writing and stay aware of the number of syllables in each verse.
Line 1: 5 syllables – gives the first part of the image
Line 2: 7 syllables – gives the second part of the image
Line 3: 5 syllables – reveals the surprise relation between these two parts
Hojas del árbol
Cubiertas por la nieve
Se fue un mundo
Covered by snow
A world went away.
Now it’s your turn!
3. Limerick (Poema Gracioso)
This is a fixed form of five lines with an AABBA rhyme scheme. It means that the first, second, and fifth verses will rhyme. The third verse will rhyme with the fourth one. A limerick is a poema gracioso (funny poem). Remember that you can use rimar.io to find rhyming words.
- Start with Había una vez… (Once there was a…) and add a noun to refer to a person followed by the name of his or her place of origin.
- In the second verse, write the characteristics of that person.
- Skip the third and fourth verses, and write some rhyming words in the fifth verse of your limerick.
- Now, think of a funny short story to tell about that person and complete your limerick.
Había un chico de Honduras
Que siempre vendía pinturas
Las hacía a mano
Siempre muy temprano
Y decía que eran esculturas.
There was a boy from Honduras
Who always sold paintings
He made them by hand
Very early in the morning
And he said they were sculptures.
4. Cinquain (Cincuán)
Cincuán, a cinquain in English, is a five line poem with a structured format where the lines do not rhyme with each other. It was invented in the 20th century by the American poet Adelaide Cropsey. Some cinquains have a determined number of syllables in each line, and others use specific parts of speech in each line. Today, we will work with the latter.
A cincuán is a poem that begins with one main word. You may want to surf the web for specific parts of speech that are related to this base word.Try Inspirassion to search for the connotations of specific words.
- Write a noun in the first line.
- Write two adjectives that describe that noun.
- Write three verbs in the gerund form (-ando, -iendo, -yendo).
- Write a four-word phrase.
- Write a synonym for the noun in the first line.
Remember to write it in the center of the page. It should look like a rhombus.
Poderoso y bello
Llegando, yendo, callando
Está siempre por ahí
Powerful and beautiful
Arriving, going, quietening
It’s always there
Can you try writing a cincuán about love using the pair amor – cariño (amor – affection)?
5. Diamond (Diamante)
A diamante (diamond) poem is made of seven lines arranged in a diamond-like form. It’s a bit more challenging than the cincuán.This poem does not have rhymes either.
There are two types of diamante poems: a synonym diamante poem and an antonym diamante poem. Today, I’ll teach you how to write an antonym diamante poem—using two nouns with opposite meanings.
- First line: Write a noun for which you know the antonym (this will go in the seventh or last line).
- Second line: Write two adjectives that describe the noun from the first line.
- Third line: Write three verbs in the gerund form (-ando, -iendo, -yendo) that describe the noun from the first line.
- Fourth line: Write four nouns—two that describe the noun from the first line followed by another two that describe the noun’s antonym. This is your poem’s transition line.
- Fifth line: Write three verbs in the gerund form (-ando, -iendo, -yendo) that describe the noun from the last line.
- Sixth line: Write two adjectives that describe the noun from the last line.
- Seventh line: Write the antonym for the noun you wrote in the first line.
Calentando, quemando, destruyendo
Brasas, llamas, gotas, cascadas
Cayendo, humedeciendo, avivando
Heating, burning, destroying
Embers, flames, drops, waterfalls
Falling, dampening, reviving
Can you try to write a diamante poem with the following pairs?
- montaña – valle (mountain – valley)
- sonrisa – lágrima (smile – tear)
- niño – niña (boy – girl)
Practice Your Spanish With a Native Speaker!
How do you feel about writing a poem in Spanish now? Learning how to write poetry may not be such a hard thing to do after all, right?
Of course it may not be absolutely necessary to know how to write a poem in Spanish to learn the language—unless it is required in a World Languages exam! However, being able to read and write poems in a foreign language speaks a lot about your language skills. What is more, all forms of creative writing, including writing poetry in any of the suggested styles included above, will keep you on the fast track to fluency.
Maybe you’re already a poetry enthusiast and on your way to becoming a translator! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators are among the top five fastest growing occupations, and opportunities are still expected to increase by 46% between 2021 and 2022.
If you want to show off or deepen your creative writing skills in Spanish, you may want to try our one-on-one personalized classes. Sign up for a free class with one of our exceptional, Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala and practice writing poems in Spanish today!
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