My Writing Process: How to Write a 10-Line Poem

For the past eight weeks we have been looking at various 10-line poems, studying forms that were invented by fellow poets and teachers. Today I would like to showcase one of these forms, the Ercil, a decastich created by James Gray in honor of Arkansas poet Ercil Brown. And in particular, I’m going to show you by way of a video demonstration the process I went through to write one of my Ercils, namely, “Carolina Wren.”


Did this video demonstration help you at all? I’d love to find your feedback below.

6 Replies to “My Writing Process: How to Write a 10-Line Poem”

    1. Thank you. I’ll have to admit my practice runs were easier than the real thing. I was nervous. 🙂 But it was fun, and I hope it helped someone. I noticed that there are several “how to write poetry” videos on YouTube.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Kudos to you for trying something new! The teacher in me is so happy that you’ve asked for a critique. 🙂 I’ll send you an email, but it may take a day or two.

      In the meantime, here is another link to an article you may find useful. In this one I define a good many technical terms used in poetry. In particular, I explain what a metrical foot is and how to identify the different ones (iambic, trochaic, etc.).

      In a nutshell, to count feet, you count only the stressed syllables. In other words, read the line out loud, exaggerating the stresses, and the strong ones indicate the syllables. There are different patterns of stressed and unstressed, but every foot has only 1 stressed syllable (with 2 exceptions).

      Oh, yes, I watched my video again after sharing the link with you, and realized that I made a mistake in my poem. One of my lines was trochaic, but the ercil form calls for iambic. Basically, I started the line with a stressed syllable, when I should have started with an unstressed. In general, it’s okay to mix them up a bit because it makes the poem more closely resemble conversation. But for a demonstration, I should have used iambic throughout. Oh, well. 🙂


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