Five Themes for Poets (and Other Text-Loving Bloggers)

Whether it’s a haiku or an epic, your words should look great on all screens.

Image by Christian Schnettelker (CC BY 2.0.

Over at The Daily Post, our first poetry-focused Blogging U. course, Writing 201: Poetry, has just entered its second week. It’s been a blast, with hundreds of poets sharing their work, experimenting with new forms, and commenting on their peers’ poems.

After working hard on polishing their elegies, haiku, and ballads, most writers want to make sure their readers can enjoy their work to the fullest. This is where choosing the right theme can play an important role (this is true for non-poets too, of course): you want your posts to be readable, clean, and inviting. Here are some options to consider (as well as a few community favorites).

Illustratr

mint - illustratr

This might sound like an unorthodox choice, given Illustratr‘s natural appeal to visual artists of all types. But its typography, post title styling, and overall crispness makes Illustratr as poem-friendly as it gets. Add a featured image, and you can balance the spare look with a bold dash of color.

Illustratr‘s relative, Writr, is also a favorite theme among the poetry crowd. “The font size is quite big and this works well with poetry,” says the blogger behind This Hideous Heart.

Sela

mint sela

For those who want to create a warm, inviting space without sacrificing readability, Sela — a very recent addition to the Theme Showcase — is a theme worth exploring. Even if you use a number of widgets in your sidebar, the focus is squarely on your words.

Poetry curation site Ars Poetica makes great use of Sela‘s airy look. Blogger Denise chose it because it’s “easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.”

Tonal

mint- tonal

A bold, emphatic post title area coupled with a generous, full-width featured image prepare your reader for what’s to come. Tonal‘s clear font and white background take care of the rest.

Many writers go for some of our other popular minimalist themes — from old favorites like Manifest and Truly Minimal to recent additions like Penscratch.

Cubic

mint-cubic

Created with photobloggers in mind, Cubic is a theme that makes it clear you can paint pictures with your words, too. The gorgeous typography might convince your readers that they’re reading a volume produced by a vintage letterpress, not a webpage.

Another versatile theme that’s become a go-to for many poets is this year’s highly customizable default theme, Twenty Fifteen. It comes recommended by blogger-poets Zen and Pi, Mutafariq Khayalat, and Kavita Panyam.

Minnow

mint minnow
Taking minimalism to a pleasing new height, Minnow‘s stark look directs your visitors’ eyes where you want them: your words. However, with a centrally-located social links menu, the theme also keeps you connected to the world outside your poetry.

To see Minnow in action, head to poetry-heavy blog Devious Bloggery, where poems of various styles and lengths are equally easy to read and savor.

Looking for more ideas for reader- and writer-friendly themes? Here are few more ideas.

Poets, wordsmiths, and minimalists of all stripes: what theme do you use for a clutter-free reading experience? Share your favorites in the comments.

 


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40 Comments

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  1. thesciencegeek

    Thank for this. These look five great themes !

    The Science Geek

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TheReviewingFangirl

    Which themes can use the “read more” tag?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben Huberman

      The “More” tag is available across themes — it’s part of the Post Editor toolbar, and so you can use it regardless of the theme you’re using.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TheReviewingFangirl

        Well, I was playing with it on Twenty Fifteen, and it would show up when I was editing the post, but when I saved the changes and went to the post, it wasn’t there …

        Like

        • Ben Huberman

          The More Tag isn’t supposed to show up when you view your post, but only on your homepage and archive page — this might explain why you don’t see it at work. You can read more about the More Tag here.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. Jim Grey

    I’ve been using Photolia. My text and photos are front and center, right where I want them. I have a header image turned on, but other than all you see is my posts. Crisp and clean.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oceane

    Great samples…I use Elegant Grunge, its pretty basic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. officialgabrielpenn

    Great themes! Sela is my favorite. Are they all free?

    Like

  6. poetrybysheila

    How can I join your poets blog? I have been writing poetry since I was 12 and now at 50 and terminally ill I continue to write, I now add graphics to bring out the emotional inspiration that inspired which ever poem I’m writing.

    Thank Sincerely for any advice, Sheila

    >

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ben Huberman

      While the poetry course we offered at The Daily Post is about to end on Friday, there are many other blogging events geared towards writers of all stripes, including poets. You can browse our listings here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. astronautul

    The Publish Theme ? You forgout that. And many more, if you think about it. The poetry is important. Not the “paper” .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. apayneproduction

    Nice pic!

    Like

  9. eclecticoddsnsods

    I think i like the sela, but i am definitely not starting another blog lol x

    Like

  10. Adel Landman Steyn

    I loved Tonal, although I do not currently use it for any of my sites. Of the themes listed above, it is my favourite.
    I also adopted Sela onto one of my test sites on the first day it came out. I highly recommend trying it.
    I briefly tried Cubic and “got over it” quite quickly. While it can be a really beautiful theme, it is very high maintenance. You need to find the “perfect” image for every post, otherwise it simply looks shabby.
    Great post, Ben!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. INCOMESCO / Jesi

    Great stuff, , great themes indeed. I actually like media one where visitors can view posts in brief so that they can choose the topic/post. I think to long to scroll down to search the favourite post seems a bit clumsy. That’s why I have been using Expound . The United Theme is also available but it shows only headings. If excerpt is shown it would be fantastic. Any idea ! please, I am eager to hear that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben Huberman

      Thanks for the comments! I should clarify that the United theme isn’t currently available in the WordPress.com Theme Showcase (though it is for self-hosted bloggers using the WordPress software).

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennifer L. Post

    I’m pretty fond of my Yoko theme, but Sela also looks really nice. I think I will save it in case I find myself needing a change. ^-^

    Like

  13. Chez @ Chez Moi

    I agree with some of the others that Sela looks very appealing. I am tempted! But I am still enjoying my current theme, Moka (in its standard blog format, not sticky posts) for its white space and discrete widgets.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. eclecticoddsnsods

    Thank you for doing all this hard work.

    Like

  15. Thelema

    Thanks for this post ! My blog is a specific poetry blog and that was very useful !
    I’m using “Penscratch”, which works perfectly🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. William J. Hudson

    Greetings Ben,
    You inspired me to try a new blog.
    Have considered this for sometime.
    Unsure if this is the final theme.
    https://wordsmithunited.wordpress.com/
    Thank you!
    William

    Liked by 2 people

  17. INCOMESCO / Jesi

    Beautiful Themes indeed. I am playing with Motif and Eden whether they look pretty good. Due to grid, first and full width page they can offer multiple uses. But I am not pretty sure my eyes are on right spot.

    Like

  18. fantasyflurry

    Hi, I am a young artist/writer. I am currently writing a book and I will be posting small sections of it on my blog and would appreciate some constructive feedback. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. elementsprose

    Can others share their poetry?How to do so?

    Like

  20. Kavita Panyam

    Lovely post, Ben! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hadley Hideousheart

    Thanks for quoting my blog as an example. Ops…now I’d better stick to this theme!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Sandra Conner

    Sorry, that comment was supposed to say I LOVE Illustratr. (Accidentally hit the “post” button). I used Illustratr for quite a while, and then I decided to check out a different theme. (I get bored easily.) But I do appreciate the themes that have the nice clean, bold text. The only negative (and it is minor) with Illustratr is the size of the title. Personally, I’d like it to be a little smaller. Sometimes I just created a header photo with a smaller title on it. But I do think it’s one of WordPress’ best themes.

    Like

  23. Tyler Ramage

    I use Sela for my blog at chaseandtyler.wordpress.com and it is wonderful. Clean, simple, yet robust.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Swav

    Very clean and minimalistic…🙂

    Like

  25. Pastor Karen Webb

    Where can I take up classes to advance my writing, l write poetry,and drama, with inspirations. I have a large creative spot

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      We occasionally offer writing-focused blogging courses at The Daily Post‘s Blogging U. While we just wrapped the most recent one (on poetry), it’ll be a good idea to stay tuned to our announcements and updates there.

      Like

  26. qaisarh

    I like this.

    Like

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