Acrostic Poetry: Definition, Examples, Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. What is Acrostic Poetry?
  2. How to Identify Acrostic Poetry
  3. Examples of Acrostic Poetry
  4. How to Write Acrostic Poetry
  5. Tips for Writing Acrostic Poetry

Imagine you could weave words in a way that not only conveys a message horizontally but also vertically. Sounds intriguing, right? Welcome to the fascinating world of acrostic poetry. Think of it as a literary scavenger hunt, where the first letter of each line combines to spell out a word or phrase— adding a whole new dimension to your poem. This blog walks you through the definition of acrostic poetry, its examples, and some nifty tips to get your creative juices flowing.

What is Acrostic Poetry?

Let's start with the basics: the definition of acrostic. An acrostic is a type of poem where the first, last, or other selected letters in each line, when read vertically from top to bottom, spell out a word or phrase. This word or phrase usually serves as a theme or subject of the poem. Now that we have the definition of acrostic sorted out, let's move on to its history and usage.

History of Acrostic Poetry

The art of acrostic poems dates back thousands of years. Ancient Greek and Hebrew cultures often used acrostic poetry, especially in religious texts. For instance, the Hebrew Psalms include many acrostics that use the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order.

Usage of Acrostic Poetry

Acrostic poetry isn't just a thing of the past. It's a popular form of expression even today — used in various scenarios ranging from classroom teaching tools to intricate pieces of literature. They serve as a fun and creative way to emphasize the main idea or theme of the poem. They're also used as mnemonic devices, helping readers remember key points.

Components of Acrostic Poetry

  • Word or Phrase: The chosen word or phrase sets the theme for the acrostic poem. It's usually selected for its significance to the poet or the poem's topic.
  • Lines: Each line of the poem begins with a letter from the selected word or phrase. For example, if "love" is the chosen word, the poem will have four lines, each starting with L, O, V, and E, respectively.
  • Theme: The lines of the poem should relate back to the word or phrase and its meaning. So, if "love" is your chosen word, the lines might describe what love means to you.

Understanding these components will give you a clearer picture of what acrostic poetry entails. Now, you're ready to delve deeper into this fascinating literary form.

How to Identify Acrostic Poetry

Now that you understand the definition of acrostic poetry, you might be wondering how to identify this form in a sea of other poetic styles. Don't worry. Acrostic poetry has a way of standing out, making it easier for you to recognize. Let's dive into a few pointers that will help you spot an acrostic poem in no time.

Look at the First Letters

The easiest way to identify acrostic poetry is by looking at the first letters of each line. When you read these letters vertically from top to bottom, they should spell out a word or phrase. This is the backbone of acrostic poetry and a clear signal that you are dealing with this unique form.

Check the Last Letters

While the most common form of acrostic poetry uses the first letters of each line, some acrostic poems use the last letters instead. If you find a word or phrase in the last letters of each line when read vertically, congratulations — you've found yourself an acrostic poem!

Find a Central Theme

Remember that the word or phrase formed by the first or last letters is not there just for show. It usually serves as the central theme or message of the poem. So, if you notice a poem where all lines seem to revolve around a specific topic, it might be an acrostic poem.

Identifying acrostic poetry is like solving a word puzzle, adding a layer of fun to your poetry reading experience. Once you've mastered these techniques, you'll be spotting acrostic poetry like a pro!

Examples of Acrostic Poetry

There's no better way to understand the definition of acrostic poetry than by exploring some examples. The beauty of acrostic poems is that they can be about anything and still carry a deep message. Let's dive into a few examples that shine a light on the magic of acrostic poetry.

A Classic Example: 'Mother'

Here's a simple acrostic poem where the first letters of each line spell out the word 'Mother':

Mysterious and gentle,Often the first face we see.Tirelessly caring,Helping us to be.Every child's first love,Radiating warmth and peace.

Notice how each line represents a trait or action associated with a mother, reinforcing the central theme of the poem.

A Twist with Last Letters: 'Friend'

Now, let's look at an acrostic poem that uses the last letters of each line to spell out the word 'Friend':

A shoulder to cry oN,Someone who never says gooDbye,Who is always there to lenD a hand,When you're down, lifts you higH,Never leaves you alone in the enD,Always there, a real frienD.

In this poem, the word 'Friend' is spelled out using the last letters of each line, adding a delightful twist to the acrostic form.

These examples show how the acrostic form can be used to create meaningful and engaging poetry. With a bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless!

How to Write Acrostic Poetry

Alright, you've seen some examples, and you're ready to jump in and start creating your own acrostic poems. Excellent! Let's go through a step-by-step guide on how you can write your own masterpiece.

Pick Your Word

The first step is choosing your word, the backbone of your acrostic poem. This could be a name, a theme, or something that holds a special meaning for you. Remember, this word will shape your poem, so choose wisely!


Next, brainstorm words or phrases that relate to your chosen word. If your word is 'Sun', think about what comes to mind when you think of the sun - warmth, light, sunrise, sunset. Jot down anything that comes to mind. This will form the basis of your poem.

Write Your Poem

Now, let's get those creative juices flowing. Start writing your poem. Use your brainstormed words or phrases to start each line of your poem. Remember, the first (or last) letter of each line should spell out your chosen word. Don't worry about making it perfect on the first try, just let your ideas flow.

Writing acrostic poetry is a fun and creative way to express your thoughts and emotions. It might seem tricky at first, but with practice, you'll be crafting beautiful acrostic poems in no time!

Tips for Writing Acrostic Poetry

Alright, now that we've covered the basics of how to write an acrostic poem, let's delve into some handy tips to take your writing to the next level. Remember, writing is a craft that gets better with practice and a bit of guidance.

Keep It Simple

Don't feel pressured to use big words or complex phrases. Sometimes, the simplest words can be the most powerful. It's about expressing your thoughts and emotions, not showing off your vocabulary!

Use Imagery

Appeal to the senses! Painting a picture in the reader's mind can make your poem more captivating. Instead of saying "I love the sun," you could say, "I love the warm hug of the sun on a chilly morning."

Revise and Edit

Don't be shy to make changes. The first draft is just that, a first draft. Read your poem out loud, make tweaks, and polish until you're satisfied with every line.

Have Fun!

Most importantly, enjoy the process. Don't stress too much about creating a perfect poem. Have fun with it, play around with words and phrases, and let your creativity shine.

Writing acrostic poetry is a beautiful way to express yourself, and these tips should make the process even more enjoyable. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your pen or open your laptop and start creating!

If you enjoyed learning about acrostic poetry and want to explore more creative writing techniques, check out the workshop 'Writing From Memory - Part 2' by Charlie Brogan. This workshop will help you delve deeper into writing from personal experiences and memories, allowing you to further expand your poetic horizons.