How to Write Blank Verse Poetry
  • 4-minute read
  • 13th March 2023

How to Write Blank Verse Poetry

Ever heard of blank verse? It’s poetry that doesn’t rhyme but follows a regular meter. Many famous plays and songs follow the rules of blank verse. If you’re interested in learning about this popular style of poetry, you’ve come to the right place.

Where Did Blank Verse Poetry Come From?

During the Italian Renaissance, unrhymed poetry started to appear in literature. As the style grew in popularity, famous playwrights eventually picked it up in the 1550s, and it became the standard poetry form for many English writers, including William Shakespeare.

Over time, blank verse poetry has become more loose and flexible. Most commonly, though, it follows iambic pentameter, a traditional, rising meter with lines that contain 10 syllables. Here’s an example from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Belike for want of rain, which I could well

Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes.

Tips for Writing Blank Verse Poetry

Although blank verse doesn’t have as many rules as traditional forms of poetry, it’s not the same as free verse, which eliminates rhythm and rhyming schemes completely. To write beautiful blank verse poetry, follow our tips below.

1.   Follow a Consistent Meter

Meter consists of two components: the number of syllables in a line and the pattern of emphasis on those syllables. When a poem follows an iambic pentameter, the pattern begins with an unstressed syllable, and the next syllable is stressed. This pattern repeats five times per line, resulting in 10 syllables.

See if you can hear the pattern in another example from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The emphasis is on the underlined syllables in bold:

Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword,

and won thy love, doing thee injuries.

Although iambic pentameter is the most common, you can use other meters. Trochee blank verse, for example, places the stressed syllable first and follows it with an unstressed syllable.

2.   Use Alliteration, Consonance, and Assonance

Blank verse is unrhymed, but matching certain sounds in your writing can make it flow more smoothly and sound more pleasing. To see these techniques in action, we’ll use another line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Alliteration involves repeating consonants at the beginning of words:

How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

Consonance means repeating consonants inside words:

How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

And assonance refers to repeating vowel sounds:

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How now, my love? Why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

3.   Use Imagery and Descriptive Language

Writers often use blank verse for longer poems because there is no limit to the number of lines. So take advantage of the unlimited space and include lots of detail to entice your reader.

Using words that appeal to the five senses (i.e., sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) will bring your words to life and paint a vivid scene.

Mixing Meters and Styles of Poetry

When writing poetry, do you need to keep the style and meter consistent throughout? Not necessarily. In shorter poems, keeping things consistent is best. For longer poems and plays, though, using a mix of rhyming and unrhyming lines and following a variety of meter patterns can add richness and depth.

The key to making this technique work is to follow an overarching pattern. Don’t jump from blank verse to free verse within a short space. Use a variety of styles to differentiate between tones and themes.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare often uses rhyming poetry for the lovers’ conversations and blank verse for the more noble characters. Furthermore, trochaic verse distinguishes the fairies’ dialogue. This clever mix of styles and meters adds life and character to the interactions in the play.


Blank verse is the most common form of poetry. If you’d like to try your hand at it, remember to follow a meter and take advantage of writing techniques such as alliteration, consonance, assonance, and imagery.

And although our experts aren’t all poets, we’ll be happy to check your work for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and flow. Submit a free sample today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between blank verse and free verse poetry?

Free verse doesn’t rhyme or use a meter. Blank verse doesn’t rhyme either, but it does follow a meter.

What are the rules for blank verse poetry?

To write blank verse poetry, you need to follow a meter (a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables).

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