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Hello. I'm Donn Taylor, here again to talk 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. On my last blog we began talking about ways to organize a poem. Those ways are infinite, of course, so we'll confine ourselves to some of the most common, and we'll deal only with lyric poetry (poetry that expresses the poet's thoughts or emotions). As before, I 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.

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      Hello. I'm Donn Taylor, here again to talk 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. On my last blog we began talking about ways to organize a poem. Those ways are infinite, of course, so we'll confine ourselves to some of the most common, and we'll deal only with lyric poetry (poetry that expresses the poet's thoughts or emotions). As before, I 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.

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    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.

 

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                  Donn Taylor

    In my last poetry blog we talked about finding strong words and putting them in emphatic positions in the poetic line. The end of the line is most emphatic; the beginning, next-most emphatic. Now we go on to specific kinds of strong words.
    As Lawrence Perrine wrote, poetry speaks in "higher voltage" than prose. One essential means of achieving that higher voltage is the effective use of images—words or phrases that appeal to one of the five senses. Why important? Because everything we know about the world we live in comes to us through one or more of the five senses. When we appeal to these senses in writing, we imitate the learning method our readers have used all their lives. Images are not only attractive in their own right: they are essential to gaining reader interest.

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DonnBusPhotos-007a2x3     Hello. I'm Donn Taylor. Last month I encouraged aspiring poets to write good-quality poetry that can be understood by ordinary readers. This month we begin on basic elements that can make that poetry good.

    Ideally, poetry is more compact, more intense than prose. As the late Lawrence Perrine put it, poetry speaks in "higher voltage." William Baer says further that poetry emphasizes the line, the sound of words, and compression of meaning. All of these things are true, but accomplishing them is achieved only by attention to even the smallest elements. Oscar Wilde famously said he'd worked all day on a poem, putting in a comma in the morning and taking it out in the afternoon. A manuscript by Dylan Thomas includes his marginal note, "forty-two prepositions." So to achieve that "higher voltage," we have to begin with words, the building blocks of poetry. For most of us, this means taking a new look at things we already know.

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