I can actually see grass outside, there is (somehow) no snow on the ground, and it’s finally warm outside-
Which, for some reason, means the tone of my poems completely changes. I know this doesn’t only happen to me, as I have read friends’ poems written at different times of the year and the same thing seems to happen. In case this does truly happen to anyone else, how does your tone shift? I notice that, when the weather is warmer, the lines on my poems become more center-justified and a little bit more structured than before. After wondering about this for what seemed like hours but was probably minutes, I tried to figure out what the root cause of my poetry shift could be.
Is it some sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder? No, I have no noticeable behavior changes between the seasons, and I feel no different in Summer versus Winter. Is it the sun finally being out? No, I don’t ever go outside, so the sun and I do not see each other much (sad, I know). I began to think that the answer lies in music.
I know we as a group have talked about the music we listen to while writing, and I thought, “Hey, I listen to different music in warmer weather versus colder weather, maybe that’s it!” So, I tried a small experiment: winter music versus spring music. I noticed that the poems I wrote during the winter music were much more broken apart, with a lot more space permeating the lines than the spring poems. Spring’s lines were more centered and structured.
Just as an example, here’s the kind of music I listen to in the Winter (ignore the obnoxious ads):
And here’s an example of Spring music:
I want someone else to tell me the kinds of music they listen to during the different seasons (if the style of music is different) and if the seasons change their style of writing, too!
Many times, inspiration can be found simply by looking at other people. Sit down somewhere you can people watch. Pay close attention to other people’s outfits, particularly their shoes. What do their shoes say about them? Write a poem based on their shoes: it can be about the shoes themselves, how they are walked in, where they have walked, or many other things. Try to expand on the small details of the shoes without wearing their soles too thin (har har).
Special bonus round: write using only long lines, or at least lines long enough to mirror how far the shoes have walked.
As the posts before have said, share this poem! Staple it to the bottom of your shoes! Staple it to someone else’s shoes (with their consent, of course)! Walk 500 miles and 500 more and staple it to a telephone post – sharing it doesn’t mean you’re not the sole proprietor of your own poem anymore.
If you can’t seem to come up with something shoe related, don’t feel defeet. Try to write about another article of clothing! I am so sorry about all the puns.
The blank page is the most intimidating part of writing, and most of the time I don’t know where I’m going with a poem before I start it. It’s always been difficult for me to start writing a poem. Usually, I’ll use phrases or lines I’ve magpied-together and go from there, but this proves to be difficult when writing on one subject or even person. I tend to string together these pieces and produce something much different than what I set out to do. While this still works as part of my writing process, I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions or examples of how they begin their poems. It could be the style of how you begin your poems, such as looking at a picture or image to inspire your words, or listening to certain songs, etc.
While the exercises certainly work for me in terms of writing a poem of that style, I can never get started on my own. I sometimes look up different exercised online, but doing so makes me feel as if I’m cheating.
I was recently working on a terza rima for one of the exercises when I came to a realization: rhyming is really damn hard. I am terrible at trying to find rhymes for words without making it sound like Dr. Seuss decided to come for a visit. I thought picking a form that involves rhyme would challenge me, and I was right. Most of my anger was directed towards the word “off” which, though it doesn’t seem it, is incredibly hard to rhyme with other words. So, naturally, I turned to the internet for help. This is what it gave me, and I didn’t like any of the words. Eventually, I ended up scrapping the idea of using the word “off” entirely and I gravitated towards another line instead. I’m sort of upset that I didn’t use the line that I wanted, and I can’t help but feeling guilty for giving up on that word. It’s probably just me being bad at rhymes, but can anyone give me any pointers on how to rhyme without either making it sound like a Sesame Street song or a late eighties Will Smith rap? Not that anything is wrong with Will Smith songs, it’s just not what I’m looking for in poetry.
I will admit that I struggled finding a poem to do exercise number 8 with. Having never done anything like this exercise before, I wasn’t sure exactly which direction to take it in. I chose Norwood’s poem, ‘Anyway I Ran at the Tree Again’ and, at first, I tried to reverse the meaning of every word, but ended up with a garbled mess. Returning to the poem, I tried to reverse the meanings of individual lines, but still ended up with something that sounded incomplete. Eventually, I figured out what the heck I was trying to do and I submitted it, but it made me take a different approach to reading the poem than I had before. I read the poem as having a different meaning than the first few times I read it. Also, I began to think about what the poem was implying with its unsaid “Negative Image”. Did anyone else change their perspective on a poem because of this exercise?
Upon reading Hairston’s poem in the reader, I began to wonder how density plays into poetry. I know that I rushed through this poem, particularly because of the lack of spaces or line breaks, but sometimes when the lines sound more dense than they look, I tend to slow down. This is probably because of the simplistic language. The poem was also very aesthetically pleasing, as it sort of lays in a neat box. This is probably also why the violent language caught me so off guard. I’m not quite sure why I sped across this poem, and I was wondering if anyone had any examples of poetry that seems compacted to the eye but, upon reading, seems to speed across the page.
I also thought the violent nature of this poem, particularly with the slashes, worked very well.
I was wondering if anyone had seen poems like this before, as I know that I really haven’t.
(I apologize for the strange title of this post- I wasn’t quite sure if the title was ‘YOUAREMYDAUGHTER’ or if it simply did not have one.)
I find it funny that people are posting about poetry in their childhood, as I was thinking about which poems really stood out to me when I was young. I own every book of Shel Silverstein’s poetry, and I remember reading all of them over and over when I was young. My favorite poem of his was probably “Whatif” from A Light in the Attic. I still, for some reason, have the introduction memorized: Continue reading “Influence on Poetry”
One thing that always made me wonder about poetry is why we were never taught modern poetry in school. My only real exposure to poetry throughout both elementary and high school was much older. Shakespeare, Dickinson, Poe, Frost, and Whitman were the only poets I ever really learned about in English class. I often think that’s why so many people I went to school with dislike poetry – these structured poems bored many of my classmates and must have turned them off from the whole poetry experience. If there were more modern styled poems taught in classes, maybe it would help students find a style of poetry they like.
I tried to figure out why some people don’t like poetry by asking my sister (two years younger than me) what she thought.
“What do you think about poetry?” I texted her.
“I think it’s dumb.” She responded, two hours later. No further explanation was given.
So, my experiment failed. I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe, if schools taught more varied styles of poetry, more people would find a style that they like. Modern poetry seems lost in classes before college levels, and I really think that’s a shame. Sure, plenty of the people I know do like poetry, but I feel like more people would enjoy it if they found a style they really liked.
(I apologize if there are any major typos in this post. My ‘m’ key and my spacebar are both breaking down on me.)