What is a List Poem? Definition, Examples, & How to Write One

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Poetry, as a timeless form of artistic expression, comes in various shapes and sizes. In this blog post, we’ll discuss list poems. These unique compositions weave words into a distinctive structure, providing poets with a creative outlet that is both accessible and profound. Join us on this journey as we explore what list poems are, dissect their anatomy, and learn how to write one.

What is a List Poem?

A list poem is a poetic form that revolves around the simplicity and directness of listing items. It often comprises a series of phrases or sentences, presenting thoughts in a condensed and impactful manner. We’ll delve into the defining characteristics of list poems, exploring their historical significance and examining notable examples that have left an indelible mark on the world of poetry. 

Why Do List Poems Rock?

List poems are known for their simplicity and directness. This makes list poems a great poetic form for those who are beginners at writing poetry

The Parts of a List Poem

Like any other form of poetry, list poems have a distinct but straightforward structure. 

List poems comprise 3 main parts: an introduction, the list, and a conclusion. What is unique about list poems is that the middle section (the list) doesn’t contain the eloquent transitions that poems are often known for. Instead, the list is direct, making this a fun form of poetry to start with or use as a brainstorming tool. 

Misconceptions about List Poems: 

  • List poems do not have to rhyme. 
  • You can choose to number your list poem or not! 
  • List poems can be long or short; you get to decide. 

Examples of List Poems

Let’s analyze a few examples of list poems. From classic works that have withstood the test of time to contemporary pieces by renowned poets, we’ll explore the breadth and depth of list poems. 

1. Because pockets are not a natural right.

2. Because the great majority of women do not want pockets. If they did they would have them.

3. Because whenever women have had pockets they have not used them.

4. Because women are required to carry enough things as it is, without the additional burden of pockets.

5. Because it would make dissension between husband and wife as to whose pockets were to be filled.

6. Because it would destroy man’s chivalry toward woman, if he did not have to carry all her things in his pockets.

7. Because men are men, and women are women. We must not fly in the face of nature.

8. Because pockets have been used by men to carry tobacco, pipes, whiskey flasks, chewing gum and compromising letters. We see no reason to suppose that women would use them more wisely.

I Hear America Singing, by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

How to Write a List Poem

Ready to try your hand at crafting a list poem? 

Follow these four simple steps:

  1. Pick a Topic 
  2. Create a Title. It should speak to what you want to express about your chosen topic. 
  3. List things that convey your thoughts, feelings, or observations about your topic. This should tie into your title. 
  4. Your final line should pack a punch. What do you want your readers to remember most about your list poem? Say it in this conclusion. 

From brainstorming compelling list items to crafting a title that draws readers in, each step is a building block toward creating a list poem that reflects your unique perspective. 

Here’s our list poem: 

I choose the topic of dogs. The title of the poem is going to be: My Dog’s Hobbies. My dog does some silly things, and I am going to use my list poem to highlight them.

My Dog’s Hobbies

Sleeping like a donut.

Waking me up with a nose BOOP.

Dropping toys in her water bowl.

Eating red peppers.

Wrestling with her blanket.

Befriending neighborhood cats.

Eating tomatoes from the garden.

Napping in the dirt like an Egyptian Sphinx

My dog is the best.


As we wrap up our journey into the world of list poems, take a moment to reflect on the key elements we’ve explored. We’ve covered the definition and characteristics of list poems, examined inspiring examples, and provided a roadmap for crafting your own. Whether you’re a seasoned poet or a newcomer to the world of verse, list poems offer a unique way to express your thoughts and emotions.

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