Normally I write poetry as a form of catharsis or social action, usually to be spoken. I have some poetry that I would never intend to perform. I started thinking about submitting some of the pieces that I consider “reading poetry” into competitions or other sources for publication. After comparing some published pieces to my works, I realized that much of the published poetry had a very different sound and vibe than I am used to delivering.
I began reading a book titled Creating Poetry by John Drury. Creating Poetry explores the fundamentals of poetry, providing descriptions and examples of all poetic terms including prose, verse, iambic pentameter, sonnets, and more; formalities I don’t usually consider when writing.
While reading, I recalled my experiences with sonnets- senior year of high school, theatre class. Each senior had to pick a Shakespearian sonnet to memorize. We completed a million and one activities with our sonnets. I enjoyed learning my sonnet and finding the beauty in each word as well as becoming familiar with the format.
In Creating Poetry, Drury lists hundreds of exercises one can do to learn to create poetry in the numerous styles described. I was a bit overwhelmed thinking about the formalities of this art form, some of which I have taken for granted. Although one should not become obsessed with following the rules of poetry, I think that if I say I am a poet, I should know (most of) them.
I would hate to be in a room full of poets and they begin tossing around poetry terms, and my self-proclaimed self could not add to the discussion. I would also hate for someone who admires my poetry, written and spoken, to begin asking questions about form and I could not provide any concrete information.
Talents are not necessarily taught, therefore presenting a challenge when one seeks to become a master of their craft or talent. I have written poetry long before it was taught to me. I think it is important to know the rules of whatever “game” you play, so I am committed to re-teaching myself some of the basics.
What do you think? Is it important to know the formalities of your talents or can you push forward without knowing them?
By the way, I decided to play with a rhyme scheme using a topic I would not usually write about (the type of suggested activities in Creating Poetry). Can you identify the pattern below using letters or numbers? For example, ABAB or 123, 456, 123.
Find What You Are Looking For
Runny nose turned stuffy
I’m even having trouble breathing through my mouth
Chest filled with air
Throat hard to clear
Where is the poetry in my being ill?
Nyquil tastes sucky
Spraying Lysol to keep germs from spreading through the house
Boyfriend handles me with care
He might catch my cold I fear
Why no poetry in my being ill?
Ahheeem, is the sound I keep making
I’m no good at just resting
Eyes heavy, he said my face looked swollen
Yeah…..That’s really what a girl wants to hear
Even when I’m sick, I still want to be the finest thing near
No poetry in my being ill!
No milk, means no baking
Need to workout, trying to keep a schedule rolling
On my deathbed, still worried about the plump of my rear
Toward losing 25 pounds, I still steer
Looking for the poetry in my being ill…..