Before writing a poem, there are three simple, obvious things to consider (assuming reader has no poetry writing experience):
1) Which poetry style will you use, if any?
2) What will you be writing about (content, subject)?
3) Who is your audience (friend, lover, mother, class)?
Having an answer to these questions will make your writing process run smooth. By having a poetry style such as a rhyme, sonnet, haiku, ballad, etc., it allows a blueprint for you to follow. Therefore, keep a few poems of the style you are considering and write your poems adapting to that style with your own content. You can also write a free verse poem which does not follow any specific rules.
The content of your poem is what you will be writing about. What will your poem be about? If you are writing a poem to your boyfriend/girlfriend you may write about how much you love your partner or how much he/she has hurt you. Contents are endless, whatever you think of, you can write about. I find that writing about something that reflects yourself, makes for a more enjoyable writing session for the writer and produces a deeper and more intimate poem.
Great poetry consists of great metaphors and similes. A metaphor is a figure of speech used to represent something else to which it would not literally be applicable. Metaphors compare unlike things as seen in the following simple examples:
Love is a red rose.
His home is my castle.
The sky is an endless sea.
A simile is a figure of speech use to compare unlike things by using the words, "like" or "as." By using the same examples above, we can turn the metaphors into similes:
Love is like a red rose.
His home is like a castle.
The sky is as an endless sea.
In some instances, using a metaphor form will make an expression feel more profound, it also expresses a stronger claim because it gives extra emphasis and intensity to the expression. For example:
His heart is like a stone. <---- simile
His heart is a stone. <----metaphor
Now which of the above expressions make the stronger claim: the metaphor. Also, remember to use metaphors and similes that are appropriate to your poem or expression. For example, if you are trying to write about a woman who blushes when she sees her crush, you can write, "Her cheeks were red as apples," not "Her cheeks were red as blood."
If you analyze the three steps above as you write your poem, you will find constructing a poem can be simplified.
A great poem requires revision after revision. Some of the greatest poets, after years, still went back to revise their poems, even after being published. This means do not be afraid to change things around or even discard the poem entirely and start from scratch, using a different poetry style. I’ve done this many times to my own work. Remember, a great poem is not written within a single session, it takes time and extreme effort.
For example, my poem, "Annette and the Path to Samurai" which I wrote at age 14 was originally entitled, "Path to my Love." The original poem was a free verse poem. However, after much revision, I decided to make it a rhyme poem. Instead of the lover being just a lover, I decided to make the lover a samurai warrior and I also gave the woman a name. Using Japanese themes, in the poem I talked about the mountains of Mount Takao which is located in Japan. I talked about the path having cherry blossoms instead of just flowers and herbs. I talked about the samurai warrior being too loyal for war to love. In the original poem, there was no dialogue but in the final poem I added a little dialogue to highlight the relationship between the couple. ADVICE: When you write, consider applying other things into the poem which relate to it. For example, if you write about the sunset, consider the sky, the sun rays, the clouds, the mountains, etc. In "Annette and the Path to Samurai," because a samurai is of Japanese descent, the poem took place on an actual mountain in Japan, where cherry blossoms flourish and the poem also incorporated the ways of the samurai.