The Micro Poem – What is it and why should you write it?

woman walking in nature thinking about micro poems

At Lore we love to publish micro poetry collections or individual micro poems on our poetry blog. Usually, I will post some on our social media channels, or publish a collection of MP here on Lore for people to enjoy.

So, I thought it is time to delve into what MP is for me, why I love writingit, and why you should consider writing it – no matter if you are a new poet or a veteran poet!

RELATED: 101 Unique Word Prompts For Imaginative Writing

I strongly believe that MP has a lot to teach us as writers, and in some ways, in particularly hard to produce. Unlike other forms of poetry, there is a word limit, and this can be hard to get the hang of initially. But that is all part of why it is so beneficial to write.

What Is A Micro Poem?

Micro poetry (MP), short poetry, short-form poetry, whatever you like to call it, is a form of poetry that generally falls under 25 words in length. MP is also a fairly new phenomenon, and the term is widely considered to have been coined by W. G. Sebald in 2004. 

Normally, micro poems are free verse and are good candidates for posting on social media sites such as Twitter, but not all MPs are free verse. Poets that indulge in micro poetry creation will often apply more traditional poetic forms to the new(ish) concept; making it more difficult as they do so. Some poets even like to publish chapbooks of strictly MP – they see it as a challenge and in some cases – their best work.

But, why should you write Micro poetry?

It improves your vocabulary.

This is the big selling point of micro poetry for me. With this type of poetry, it is very difficult to take a long-winded, roundabout way to make your point or tell your story with your poem. While most MP is free verse, and MP works best with free verse, it is a fine line to walk. 

What you’ll tend to find is that MP doesn’t really fit many other poetic structures as other poetic structures require longer verses to forge your rhymes or parallels. This, again, is what can make MP so difficult to get into at first.

It can be very tempting to get carried away and flesh out your poem – and this is only natural for writers! We want to grow as writers and poets, and develop our musings, and this usually means using more language to convey how we feel, or the story we are wanting to tell. But the key in micro poetry is using succinct language over more language.

This can be a hard thing to accomplish – especially for people just finding their poetic footing.

But having to use more succinct language, and less language, means that you need to improve your vocabulary to match these goals. It can teach you new words, archaic words, rare words, and words you never even thought existed.

For me, indulging in writing MP opened my eyes to a whole new way of writing and a vast new array of vocabulary to use.

micro poetry Doesn’t Need To Take A Lot Of Time

In today’s modern age with so many things to do, so much work to complete, and so many hobbies to pour time into – finding a hobby that doesn’t take up much of your time is a godsend. And this is another thing I love about micro poetry.

Just finished your lunch and got a spare 20 minutes? Close down your social media and pull out a notepad (either on your phone or a literal notepad). Take in your surroundings, assess how you feel in the now, and begin to write.

MP is great for those times where you have a spare moment and you don’t know how best to use it. It’s simple; you can muse it! Even if you jot down some ideas on what your next MP might be about, MP is great for using up those spare minutes.

In the beginning, it might be difficult for you to forge a micro poem in 10 or 20 minutes, but don’t get disheartened. Writing MP is a skill like any other and just because you are a well-versed writer or free verse poet, doesn’t mean you’ll pick up writing micro poems straight away. It can take some adjustment.

Nobody is saying the version you write in those 10 or 20 minutes will be the completed work, but it serves as a starting point from which you can refine.

But after you begin to carve out your niche, what you like to write MP about, and what is ‘easy’ for you – stick with it! Some people love to write about romance, others about nature, others about death; there is no one correct way to write MP or one ultimate way to decide what to write about.

Choose something you want to write about and run with it – no matter how mundane or boring you might think it is to others (because chances are it won’t be). Not that others should have an impact on what you write, but you get what I mean!

A Final Musing

It may not be for everyone and that is something you need to remember going into this. But I recommend that you at least give it a try. I was -at first – very reluctant to give it a shot. I didn’t know if it was going to be for me, or how I would develop personally from it but writing micro poetry has unlocked so many new facets of writing for me!

It is absolutely worth a shot, even if you find out it isn’t for you.

FAQs About micro poems

What is a micro poem?

While we covered this very briefly above about what micro poetry is defined as here on Lore, other definitions exist. Generally, micro poetry is characterized by being very brief in length but can also be defined as a poem that can fit into the limits of modern messaging tools. For example, into a text message, Twitter post, or Instagram post.

How many lines is a micro poem?

In theory, a micro poem can have dozens of very short lines but usually a micro poem has around 3-4 lines to form it’s full length.

How many words is a micro poem?

When it comes to the overall length of a micro poem, on Lore, we give a number of around 25 words. However, with some words being longer than others, a more accurate way to describe the length of a micro poem is through character count. The general consensus on character count is that a micro poem should be no longer than 140 characters long.

Continue reading on lore

Interested in reading more? Why not take a look at: