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Writing craft

Poetry Basics: Organizing the Poem I

DonnBusPhotos-007a2x3      Hello. I'm Donn Taylor, here again to talk more about poetry writing and ways to achieve the "higher voltage" that distinguishes poetry from most prose. We've talked about putting strong words in emphatic places, use of images, and a little bit about figurative language. Reserving that last for further treatment later, today we'll begin looking at ways to organize a poem. Those ways are infinite, or course, so we'll confine ourselves to some of the most common. Today, only one.

      First, some generalizations: In narrative poetry, the structure of the story becomes the structure of the poem. That leaves us lyric poetry: that is, poetry that expresses the poet's thoughts or emotions. (We hope those will be significant enough to interest the reader.) I like to compare a short poem to a paragraph: it has a main idea that may be stated or unstated, and everything in the poem points to or develops that one idea. (There are, of course, impressionistic poems that don’t follow that principle.)

Categories
Writing craft

Basics in Poetry Writing: Figurative Language I

DonnBusPhotos-007a2x3

    Hello. I'm DonnTaylor, writing again about the basic elements of poetry writing. In previous blog sessions we've mentioned the late Lawrence Perrine's statement that poetry speaks "in higher voltage" with greater compression of meaning than most prose. We've also spoken of placing strong words in the emphatic positions of the poetic line, and we've discussed the necessity of using strong images. Now we move to one of the most important elements that achieve compression of meaning, often with striking effect: figurative language. In this session we'll look at personification, simile, and metaphor. We'll cover other figures later.