The only thing harder than starting a poem is ending one. My students and other new writers often make the mistake of ending a poem the way one might end an essay – with a conclusion; something along the lines of,  “And that’s what I think about that.” On the other side are those who just stop writing, rather than write an ending.

Here are a few of my thoughts on crafting a satisfying ending for a poem:

·         Don’t tie it up with a bow (a pretty little flourish that adds neither meaning nor emotion) and especially don’t tie it up with a bow so tight that it strangles all the life out of the poem.

·         Think of the last line of a poem not so much as an ending but as a doorway. The reader should be able to walk through the ending into a world of imagination, emotion, thought or wonderment.

·         When you think you’re finished, look at your second to last line. Often that’s your best ending.

Endings are on my mind as today was my last day as the Poetry Lady. I have taken a new job and am leaving my poetry lessons, my poetry students, and alas, this poetry blog behind.

In saying goodbye to my students over the past few weeks I offered them the opportunity to give me poetry assignments of their own. The results are posted on our poetry blog.

In order to have to avoid coming up with the perfect ending for this entry, my last, I will sign off with these lines from Robert Frost.


You’re searching…
For things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings.
Ends and beginnings – there are no such things.
There are only middles.

~Robert Frost,

“In the Home Stretch”

Keep Writing J

3 thoughts on “Endings

  1. I will miss the poetry lady.
    But I don’t think its too easy to leave her behind.
    Thankfully, she already lives on.
    Thanks for many inspiring posts, and good luck with your new middle!

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