This week: Taking on the Bard...Edited by: ember_rain
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My newsletters, on any topic,tend to come from personal experience and observational understanding. This newsletter will be no different. Won't you join me as we explore what life and education have to teach us about Poetry?
Hi All, I am ember_rain and I am thrilled to be allowed to followStormy Lady and warriormom 's awesome newsletters. Here's hoping, I can follow their act.
Love him, or hate him, think he was a pen name for a collaborating group of writers in a pub in England, or believe he was a real man with a real talent, when it comes to poetry you cannot avoid Shakespeare. Yet, as I scrolled through the archives for this newsletter, I couldn't help but notice that, though we have talked about Sonnets in the past as a way to show romance, we haven't discussed Shakespeare. I would say it is safe to say that no one thinks about his work because:
1.) He is taught in every high school and secondary school across the US and most likely in every country around the globe that has an established education system.
2.) His style of writing is seen as difficult by most people.
The first poem I ever wrote was a sonnet. I thought my 7th grade reading teacher was nuts. We weren't just doing poems; we were doing Shakespeare! I was nearly in tears by the time I got home. Lucky for me, my mother's minor was in English Lit. She sat me down and we worked on the poem. It turned out to not be a romantic poem (I was only 13 after all) but a funny poem about how stupid I thought it was to have to write a sonnet when I hadn't even learned how to write an acrostic. To this day, I wish my teacher hadn't kept that poem. I would love to have it now to share with my own children. She kept it, or so she said, as an example of creativity for future classes. I wasn't sure I believed it then, and I am not sure I believe it now.
Writing that poem did something for me that no other poem after it has ever done. It sent me looking for more ways to write poetry. Without that first attempt at writing something so complicated, I would have never gone on to write the poetry that saved me from myself in my later years in high school when everything was crazy, and the world I was living in was a far cry from the one I had always known. My safety net gone, the only thing I had was my poetry.
Though I didn't stick solely to Sonnets, you can see the style's influence in my free form poetry. My free form will always be four lines to a stanza, divided up into stanzas, with an attempt at an ABAB rhyme pattern.
My grandfather use to say, "Worthy doing is hard doing." That is what that first sonnet was to me: a hard poem to write, whose lessons never left me.
Poetry to me is all about learning about self and growing through the knowledge your poetry reveals to you. That is what Shakespeare did for me. It's why I cried so hard when I realized the box of books that contained his complete works was somehow left behind after a move. I'm not sure I ever cracked the spine on it. What I do know was that seeing it on my bookshelf reminded me of how hard that first poem was and just how much I owe to Shakespeare, my 7th grade reading teacher, and a silly sonnet about how stupid it was to have to write a sonnet.
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What some of you said about the last two newsletters!
monty31802 said: "Thank you for a fine newsletter. As always I learn from your pick of poets, this one Louise Bogan"
Jack-check out 7YS said: "Thanks for telling us about the ideanary! Did not know about it! A great tool for the WDC community!"
Winnie Kay said: "Well said, Pat. Throwing words together to force a rhyme or rhythm is not poetry. I'm new to the art of poetry, but I love the ordered structure of traditional poetry. You have clearly explained that making that extra effort to choose the perfect word to fit the syllabic count, stress factor, rhyme pattern, and theme of your poem creates a well choreographed dance."
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