This week: Dare to Say I Write PoemsEdited by: Kate Writes 2020
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"...the writing of poems....
the call of overhearing music that is not yet made."
Mary Kinzie, in A Poet's Guide to Poetry
"The question is not what you look at, but what you see."
Welcome to this week's edition of the Writing.Com Poetry Newsletter
What is a Poem?
One Answer = A poem is a form of verse that alludes to, but does not tell, what it is. That's the purpose of prose (or in verse, a metaphor perchance). Maybe an article or a class lesson will tell you what to do, but a poem shows what can be. Yes, the old 'show' vs. 'tell' ~ poetry shows the image or idea envisioned by the writer of the poem.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
"An Essay on Criticism," Alexander Pope
Poetry is the lyrical rendition of the rhythm of sight, sound, touch, taste; of living, seen through the eyes of a poet and consigned to paper and laptop and keyboard until it can be read aloud. Yes, all poetry needs to be read aloud, to savor the rhythm in the words, and revive the images the poet conscribed to the pages of a book or computer.
Poetry is a verbal snapshot of an 'otherworld,' - conveying an image of a time, a place, an event, real or created by the Muse Poetic. Reading aloud, tasting the words, continues the creative conversation, and makes the 'otherworld' real and dynamic for both the poet and the reader/speaker in an immediate way that straight prose very rarely does.
Reading aloud, poetry is meant to be spoken, a conversation between the poet and listener/reader, who each imparts his/her perception upon the images the words convey. In this way, the reader/speaker leaves his/her physical surroundings for a moment and enters the 'otherworld' of the poet. It can be as short as a 17-syllable (or less) haiku or an epic.
Then why are we afraid to admit we write poetry ~ come on, how many of us, when asked what we do, answer with "write poems" or "write poetry." Poetry today is so dynamic ~ we can choose to express the art of poetry with myriad craftsman's tools ~ forms of expression, in patterns lyric, rhythmic, a-rhythmic, which we personalize. Consider the crafting of a poem as an exercise in controlled abandon. Just like jumping into the pool or creek or stream. You may test the water with your toes but ultimately, you're going in.
And, once you're in, you swim ~ survival demands that you do so. You pull yourself along, one stroke at a time, be it in butterfly or dogpaddle style; be it on your back, your side, front kick, you swim. You find the form and adapt it to your own physical and creative ability, craftsmanship, artistry. Your dogpaddle or front crawl will not be exactly the same as another's. Your poem, with your own knowledge of words and your own perception of a time, place, idea, event, is likewise unique. You begin with your art, your vision, then craft it with the tools at hand, words, iambs, couplets, pauses, to weave a poem that recalls and reveals and engages the idea or image or place or person.
Learning the forms, the patterns, is fun. Think of the first time you pounded a nail into a piece or wood and, whether you nailed it to something or just made a cool hole, it was something you made in that moment with tools at hand. Once made, you could saw off some of the wood, or remove the nail and place a sliver in the hole. Once you write the image, the first line(s) of your poem, you do likewise, and craft it to reveal and create your art.
Crafting lyric words to reveal the rhythm of your art ~ hmm, perhaps that's another way to describe poetry. Making use of the tools at hand to create a lyric image that's unique to the moment, revealing and creating.
Consider making use of some awesome tools gathered for sharing in our Community ~ engage the craft and weave your art ~ try some of these tools and we look forward to reading aloud (yes, one fixed rule I hold for poetry = read all poems aloud!) and hearing, seeing, sensing and tasting the art you create. Don't be afraid if your nails aren't all straight, you've heard of 'poetic license.' Claim your craftsmanship and you own the 'license.'
Have fun with the words, the images ~ the tools ~ and you will no longer fear saying "I write poems."
Kate Writes 2020
Read (aloud) some poetry crafted by fellow writers, these snapshots in words, that await interaction with your poet's discerning eye, and ear, and touch - then image and craft one of your own
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Now, that toolbox I mentioned ~ see "INDEX - Poetry Forms/Researching Poetry" for starters. Write back and share some of your lyric designs and images in verse
Until we next meet, fear not the words or the tools of the craft ~ engage in the art and say with pride and joy,
"I Write Poems!"
Kate Writes 2020
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