math w/ a feeling

There is a math to poetry: a counting of lines, a REcounting of memories, an arithmetic of the heart (no pun intended).

I despise math.

Whenever we learn about and discuss iambs and stresses and syllables, it feels like I’m playing around with a currency that is foreign to me. I focus on the visceral, the obvious, the sound of a piece…and content…but when it comes to lines, I still have a really hard time with parsing them out and making some sort of numerical sense to it.

I’ve been toying with numbers of lines in a stanza, line length, line placement…but usually I go by how I FEEL rather than what makes sense (not surprising, this is how I go about nearly everything in life). If one stanza FEELS like it needs 5 lines and the next needs only 4, should I craft another line for the sake of mathematical sense and consistency or should I throw caution to the wind when it comes to form?

I tend to go with the latter. How do you know what kind of form your poem should take? Do you tend toward logic or feeling in this regard?

(Also, I’ve been on a family-stress-induced Thanksgiving bender for a solid 3 days so don’t mind my incoherence).

 

One Reply to “math w/ a feeling”

  1. Hi Grace,
    I completely understand where you’re coming from.
    I typically base my poems on the feelings that I get, too, rather than canonical patterns. Considering that poetry is a form of art, I think that this is a perfectly fine way of going about writing your poems. In other words, I think you should continue to write what makes you happy, because if you’re not happy writing it or it is not serving a purpose for you, there is no point in writing it. If you are looking for a challenge, or to step out of your comfort zone, then by all means try writing a poem based on iambic pentameter, ect, but do not force yourself to because you feel pressure by the writing community to do so.

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