Writing a List Poem: A List with a Twist

A list poem is just that, a list of items, ideas, or people. The list is usually placed in the middle of the poem, and most end with a surprise, ” a list with a twist”.  But can a list be poetic? Of course!

Just follow these rules
  1. Start with an idea and title: Things I did on my vacation, things at a funeral, attributes of a friend, things that make me happy, lies I tell myself, etc. Your poem can be written for adults to read or for children to read. Anything goes!
  2. Write an introductory line or stanza to set up what the list is all about. Then start your list.
  3. When making your list, think about how the items uniquely come together. What makes this list worth writing? Put a unique spin on it.
  4. Your poem can rhyme but it doesn’t have to. In fact, this is a good poetic form for poets who like free verse.
  5. End the poem with a line that surprises the reader…the “twist” to the list.
               beginning (introduction)                 
               ending (twist or surprise)

Below is a list poem I wrote for a children’s poetry book I’m working on. Notice how the beginning lines introduce the reader to the subject of the poem and gives a hint of what might happen. Where the boy keeps his treasures is the twist to the list.


Want to give it a try? Feel free to leave your list poem in the comments below (scroll way down). For those of you who would like to share or comment anonymously, I’ve created settings to allow you to do so. Simply reply without signing into your WordPress account.

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2 thoughts on “Writing a List Poem: A List with a Twist

  1. Squirrley

    I’m running up and down a tree
    People think I’m nuts
    But it’s the cargo I’m carrying
    I’m crazy
    Trying to set up enough food to be free
    Sit around all winter so I don’t need you to bother me
    People think I’m nuts
    Just the cargo I carry

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