Fourstep Process To Develop Voice

Before you write your next poem, ask yourself 1. With whom am I speaking Perhaps you are addressing someone specific in the poem. If so, use a voice to suit the occasion as you normally would during heightened moments (when feeling happy, angry, betrayed or some other emotion). Or you may want to address a person who never even makes an appearance in your poem. If so, this person is implied. For example, in The Only Morning My Mother Didn't Worship Her Husband, I'm not addressing my mother but...

Love Note To Strunk

Oh Will, why did we never meet I would've worshipped your pithiness, gone down on my knees before the towering rightness of your ideas, taken the mediocre grades you slapped on my themes without even a see me to hold out hope we might talk privately. I was born too late to breathe your air, paddle your canoe, bear your child, be known as the stylemaster's own and never recant. As you can see, research can be simple. When you come across a passage in one of your favorite (or least favorite)...

Particular Order

Look at the contents page again, and you'll note that this book is arranged in a particular order. We begin with generating ideas for poems and end with the total poem, summarizing key elements in the making of publishable verse. In between those two chapters is the making of a poet, and that usually takes time . . . and patience. This book has three sections. In Journals and Genres, you'll learn how to generate and record ideas for poems. You'll also become familiar with the established genres...

Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late Famous General

His Grace impossible what dead Of old age too, and in his bed And could that mighty warrior fall And so inglorious, after all Well, since he's gone, no matter how, The last loud trump must wake him now And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger, He'd wish to sleep a little longer. And could he be indeed so old As by the newspapers we're told Threescore, I think, is pretty high 'Twas time in conscience he should die. This world he cumbered long enough He burnt his candle to the snuff And that's...

Sense Of The Other Side

Back home at last After seeing my mother Lowered into frozen earth, I couldn't find sleep With wine or even pills, When our calico, as if Called, came to the sofa And did something Never repeated since One soft foot at a time, She climbed on my chest, Looked through the blank Lid of my face, made The faintest cry, then Curled over my heart And slept, so that I could, For three nights in a row Visitations like belief, Unreal, against all odds.

About The Author

Bugeja has published several poetry collections, including Talk (University of Arkansas Press) and Flight From Valhalla (Livingston University Press). His verse has appeared in such publications as Harper's, Poetry, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and Georgia Review. When he is not writing poetry, he is doing journalism. He directs the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University and is the author of Interpersonal Divide The Search for Community in a...

Approach And Perspective

Simply defined, approach means how a poet articulates beliefs or depicts entities or settings within and beyond the natural world. An approach is a strategy and usually involves a device that a poet uses to discuss and or describe the extranatural. It might be a lecture (device) delivered in heaven (setting), or it might be a religious or supernatural figure (device) through whom the poet speaks in a real place like a cafeteria or a surreal one like a wormhole in space (setting). The...

Assuming All Goes Well God Will

How do you know he loved you when he touched you, what a dozen times And you didn't think he loved you only then. It was as if you'd been struck for all of what you call time. But women can watch a world they never made and estimate forces of which they've only heard. Why did he write to you so infrequently Since he loved you it is interesting to consider. One day (you wouldn't know this) he bent mysteriously over the ground for minutes as if to be bent double was what he had expected. He went...

B

Baker, David, 37,39-40,117-118,288-290 Biographies, reading, for research, 11 as lyricist, 236-239 Blue Horse, Charlene, 53-55, 60-61 Borton, Lady, 98-99 Bowen, Kevin, 98-100 Bowers, Neal, 57-59, 134, 136 Bradstreet, Anne, 27-28, 122, 130-131 Bronte, Anne, scanning poetry of, 195 Bronte, Charlotte, 124, 153 Bronte, Emily, 145 scanning work of, 194-195 Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 29, 281-282 Browning, Robert, 29, 120, 196-197, 203204, 250-252 Bugeja, Michael J., poetry by, 8-9, 10, 1415, 94,...

Brainchild I

And interlock our limbs until we come Let the medulla make this child the way It makes the lungs inflate to help us breathe Let us key the lobes of equilibrium And sing about umbilicals, accompany The chamber music of the cranium. Or let the pons compose a symphony Sans a conductor, so we may occupy The seats of all-being and make-believe, Left and right. If we exalt the nuclei, Maybe then we will conceive.

Burial

A1 The stalks of wheat appear to writhe and bow b As funnel clouds descend upon the plain. A The farmer ends his dreaming with a plow. a The sirens in the village always blow, b As if to synchronize his life of pain. A1 The stalks of wheat appear to writhe and bow a Then burst into a thunderclap of crow, b They flap against sky but do not gain. A The farmer ends his dreaming with a plow. a The funnel clouds increase, the shadows grow, b A gust of wind revolves the weathervane. A The stalks of...

Case Study The Private Elegy

In early April two years ago, I wrote in my journal Last night I took my daughter Erin to Ann Rowland's horse farm called Windy Hills. Ann died during the weekend, and I saw her several times leading up to her final hours. Anyway, Erin and I brought her family some bread last night, at twilight. Ann's daughter Andrea gave Erin her high school jacket and some Black Beauty books. Ann's son, Josh, took Erin up to a hilltop rink where he and she rode his prize-winning Paso Fino bareback as in The...

Case study writing brown shoes

Rutledge at a writer's conference. She had an individual critique session with me, and instead of bringing a poem, she brought a vignette that contained a rhymed fragment. She had composed a few poems, she said, but thought her prose showed more promise Brown shoes. Looks like a little boy's shoes, they said. I didn't care if it was from my daddy, it was above ridicule and I above humiliation. Me and my daddy didn't care together. I loved my brown shoes, they were kind of a rich...

Chickenegg Question

The answer is simple whatever works for you. Some poets need a title to help clarify or enhance content. Others think a working title one they plan to revise eases stress and eliminates writer's block. And some prefer to compose the poem without a title, worrying about that requirement later. A few do all three, depending on the content- or difficulty of the poem. These poets realize that sometimes the title will come naturally, sometimes not when it doesn't, they use a working title or none at...

D

Dactyl, defined, 191 Daigon, Ruth, 26-27, 241-242 views of, 31, 239-240 Definitions, of end words, for sestina, 300-301 Diaries, using, for research, 11 Dickinson, Emily, 70, 203 Dictionary, rhyming, 205-208 Didactic verse, 55-56 Dodd, Wayne, 92-93 Donne, John, 68, 121, 145 Draft, first, of sestina, 302-304 Dramatic poem, prototypical, 250-252 Dryden, John, 122 Editing. See Revision Elegy, 90-91, 129-134 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 46, 69-70, 104 Encyclopedia, for researching ideas, 10 Ending...

Decide Whether You Want Your Pantoum to Rhyme Scan or Be Free

Because your lines will repeat, your pantoum will sound as if it is rhymed anyway. If you rhyme it, however, you will add another layer of sound so the effect is fuguelike. In music, a fugue is a composition that blends one, two, or more sounds or melody lines. In psychiatry, a fugue can be a symptom of amnesia in which a person has a forgotten and a remembered life or two life lines. Both meanings of fugue are found in the rhymed pantoum, probably the eeriest-sounding poem in the English...

Decide Whether Your Sestina Will Be Metered

Because the sestina contains such a strong pattern, you can compose one without meter. It won't be free verse because the end words of each line repeat and will have a rhymelike effect on the ear. Nonetheless, deciding to meter your sestina is a top priority. If you meter your sestina, you should avoid trimeter and even tetrameter. The repeating end words will start to call attention to themselves in small lines, detracting from your poem's meaning. Pentameter is the meter of choice, but...

Designing Stanza Patterns

Stanza patterns are just that lines with indentations and white space that constitute visually appealing units. These function like regular stanzas, controlling how we read a poem and enhancing content however, they also serve as an element of design on the page. The goal is to please the ear and the eye. Such patterns have been composed since Shakespeare's day. He used them in his songs so they resemble measures of music Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude...

Do the Envoy First

The problem with most attempts at writing sestinas is that few people ever get to reach the envoy. Doing it first accomplishes three things 2. You'll have a sense of direction (what you have to achieve in the poem and where you will have to end). 3. You'll have the scheme of the poem (where you will place each end word in each stanza of the sestina). Using my end words, I came up with this envoy She walks on mist, not water, as she heals When she appears, is Make your peace at Lourdes. Because...

Do the First Draft

Don't worry about composing a perfect sestina on the first go-around. It won't happen. The first draft is important because you'll have a sense of the ultimate success of your sestina you can worry about meter and clarity of end words later. Your goal, simply, is to get a draft using your end words in the prescribed pattern. That is, by far, the most difficult aspect of composing a traditional sestina. They come on wheel or crutch to pray at Lourdes. The millions set up camp along the walks....

Dont Forget to Plug in Repeating Lines in the Following Stanza

This will keep you on track so you don't have to memorize the pattern of a pantoum. For instance, after creating my first stanza, I knew what the first and third lines of my second stanza would be. I also knew that the second and fourth lines would be new, again containing dual functions To haunt us. Say your mantras, make your peace. (Compose second line that also makes transition) Something dies within. Something is released. (Compose fourth line that also propels the poem) I concentrated on...

Driving Past The Nuclear Plant

How often have you heard it tornado rips through trailer court leaving dozens dead, homes demolished. Shoot of straw burrows into pine fence post. Or family killed, dog found barking on roof. So last night as the rain rattled off my hood like rocks, I looked, and there, black in the few hundred feet between storm clouds and ground, the twister dropped. I pulled over, cut the engine, covered my head to wait it out. But no wind roared. The rain let up. When I looked once more, only the reactor's...

Early Brass

When five balding men in long-tailed tuxedos rise to the bright occasion, their brass sacbuts, cornet, and slide trumpet in hand, 0 the chansons and canzoni, the madrigals, the sass they pull out of their bold embouchures Their bravado's a coinage of lieder and light so daft no music could, under sweet heaven, surpass the New York Cornet & Sacbut Ensemble's. Yet last night in the lunchroom of Van Hise School, when my sixth-grade daughter and her oversized trombone all silverware, sour milk,...

Employing A Proper Voice

Consider how Bruce Weigl confronted me in the classroom. He was able to speak to me so directly because he was wearing the mask of teacher and I the mask of student. If he had confronted me in the street or the restroom, the topic of our conversation and his tone of voice would have been inappropriate for the setting. Thus the mask, or role a person plays, influences the type of voice that he or she uses to address somebody in a particular place. On any given day, a person wears several masks 6...

Even Such Is Time

These Verses following were made by Sir Walter Raleigh the night before he died and left at the Gate House Even such is Time which takes in trust Our youth, our joys, and all we have, And pays us but with age and dust Who in the dark and silent grave When we have wandered all our ways Shuts up the story of our days. And from which earth and grave and dust The Lord shall raise me up I trust. The Public Eulogy. Such a poem honors a literary or public figure, as do these excerpts from poems by Ben...

February Afternoon

Men heard this roar of parleying starlings, saw, A thousand years ago even as now, Black rooks with white gulls following the plough So that the first are last until a caw Commands that last are first again, a law Which was of old when one, like me, dreamed how A thousand years might dust lie on his brow Yet thus would birds do between hedge and shaw. Time swims before me, making as a day A thousand years, while the broad ploughland oak Roars mill-like and men strike and bear the stroke Of war...

Final words

At this point you should have an Idea File with remaining ideas for poems. (Every poet should have more ideas for poems than he or she has time to compose.) You should have a lighter Work in Progress file and a heavy Old Drafts one. Now it's time to reward yourself. If this is your first time through the text, the good news is that you need a new file Final Drafts. If this is your second or third time, you have such a file already and now will be able to add more poems to it. In...

Flowering Plum

In spring from the black branches of the flowering plum tree the woodthrush issues its routine message of survival. Where does such happiness come from as the neighbors' daughter reads into that singing, in the partial shade of the plum tree, as the mild wind floods her immaculate lap with blossoms, greenish white unraveling dark stains in heavier winds, in summer. This poem's structure is fragile, blossoms afloat in the wind and flooding a girl's lap. To break the lyric into couplets would...

Fluently

My pen-pal cousin used to send me Photographs, heavy in those blue envelopes Stamped par avion. She posed in the sea, Small whitecaps splashing up her sundress. I think I loved her, even when she wrote In that strange tongue so many Ks, Js and Zs My father had to translate. I expected another blue envelope Announcing the birth of her child Instead I get this card, my cousin's picture Printed alongside a cross, heavy with Jesus. I don't call for my father, Scan the inscription full of Ks, Js and...

For All I Knew

Sleepwalkers already were bedded. . . . Generic Titles. These are ones that call attention to form, rather than content, as in Sonnet, Pantoum or Villanelle. (We'll learn about these form poems in later chapters.) Some poets, proud that they can execute a form as difficult as the pantoum, and not wanting readers to overlook that fact, cannot resist using a generic title. Option If you want to call attention to the form of your poem in the title, add a phrase as in, Pantoum for My Side of the...

For Mary Who Was Killed Here Before I Moved In

I have tried on hands and knees To find the dark stain That must be Blood in the hardwood. Rubbing my fingers along the fabric Of her curtains, I want something To be missing or torn. They say it was violent, and happened My neighbor tells me, nodding his head. I think of my father Killing a cat in the barn, a spot Relentlessly left on the floor That never came clean. And the highway that killed My brother glistens still With broken glass suddenly imbedded Under Montana sun. But this is clean....

For You O Democracy

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble, I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon, I will make divine magnetic lands, With the love of comrades, With the life-long love of comrades. I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies, I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other's By the love of comrades, By the manly love of comrades. For you these from me, 0...

Foreword

Hummer Editor, The Georgia Review Of all the mysteries at the core of what this book calls the art and craft of poetry, perhaps the most recalcitrant is the mystery of process. A painter can learn from watching other painters not only how the brush is held and how the paint is mixed, but also through the whole exfoliation of a piece, from sketch (perhaps) to finished painting the rhythm of the arc of a concept. Likewise, a musician observing other musicians learns both theory and...

Form Poems

You have to follow it like a road map and hope it leads you to a destination. In sum, a form poem has a pattern that sets it apart from other types of rhymed poems like the ballad or ode whose lengths or styles vary. The form poems we will discuss in this chapter had their origins in France, typically in the fourteenth century, or were introduced into Europe through France. That means they do not naturally suit the English language. Consequently, these forms...

God Explains Earth To His Angels

They would watch the colors of the sun, birds all around them, animals and insects of all kinds. They would watch the stars and when they came out they would sit with them for hours. Then they began to make things. They began to clear the land, the green earth, the grasses, the trees. They forgot about the sun, the stars, and thought only of what their work could bring. The animals and the birds left them. The insects became angry. I asked about this. They cleared more trees. One can argue that...

How It Works

Her lap full of the best ones, While she empties her apron and sweeps I ate what she and my mother had done Hales's poem employs one significant scene depicting the narrator as a child with her grandmother. Though quite brief, the action has a beginning (My grandmother picks through Snapbeans), a middle (I wait While she empties her apron, etc.) and an end (You'll be eating this stuff Long after I'm gone, she tells me). General Rule The simpler the action, the smaller the poem. Theme...

How To Compose A Character Study

Review the chapter on lyric verse, paying special attention to lyrics about basic topics (moments, objects, living things, concepts and experiences). If the living thing is a person and you focus on him or her intensely funneling tones of voice and viewpoint through that person you also are composing a character study. But the transition from the lyric to the dramatic mode can be much richer than that. All you have to do is 1. Imagine the person who would be intensely interested in a specific...

How to Designate Rhyme

Rhyme schemes are cast in italicized codes, like this one for a Shakespearean fourteen-line sonnet abab cdcd efef gg. To decipher that code, you need to know these basics To indicate rhyme, designate the last word of each line with a letter of the alphabet. Lines whose last words share the same rhyme also share the same letter. For instance, this quick poem would be shown as aa Let the words at the end of a line Take letters that you should assign To add a new rhyme, use the next letter of the...

How to Scan

The word scan means analyze a poem to determine its meter. If you have never scanned before, follow this method 1. Read the lines of a poem aloud a number of times until you can feel or sense a rhythm. 2. Mark the unaccented ( ) and accented ( ' ) stresses of each word in the poem. 3. Identify the sound(s) employed most often in the poem. 4. Mark off each sound with the symbol (I ) to designate feet per line. (Consult the section below to identify the various types.) 5. Combine the name of the...

Am

I am yet what I am, none cares or knows My friends forsake me like a memory lost I am the self-consumer of my woes They rise and vanish in oblivion's host Like shadows in love-frenzied stifled throes And yet I am, and live like vapours tost Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life or joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems Even the dearest that I love the best, Are strange nay, rather, stranger than the rest. I...

Am A Parcel Of Vain Strivings Tied

I am a parcel of vain strivings tied By a chance bond together, Dangling this way and that, their links Were made so loose and wide, Methinks, For milder weather. A bunch of violets without their roots, And sorrel intermixed, Encircled by a wisp of straw Once coiled about their shoots, The law By which I'm fixed. A nosegay which Time clutched from out Those fair Elysian fields, With weeds and broken stems, in haste, Doth make the rabble rout That waste The day he yields. And here I bloom for a...

Ideas

The most important element of any poem is not its structure, rhyme, meter, line or language. It's the idea. That word does not mean content or topic. You can write about a tree just for the sake of writing about a tree and end up with doggerel, a nonsense poem that does not enlighten or entertain anyone. Poems that lack ideas merely state the obvious they bore us. Ones that contain ideas, however, unify our thoughts or feelings. They shape how we perceive the world and excite us with images of...

Ideas About Nature and the Environment

Ideas for nature and environmental poems surround you literally no matter where you live. The first step is to concentrate on objects and images that you normally overlook in your everyday activities. Once your perception has sharpened, your perspective how you opt to view nature and the environment should develop and help you generate ideas. Try these exercises 1. Go outdoors to your favorite spot or just wander until you arrive at a place. Stop and observe all its natural characteristics...

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe To you from failing hands we throw The torch be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. The Protest. Social activist and...

Info

Photographs, heavy in those blue envelopes Stamped par avion. She posed in the sea, Small whitecaps splashing up her sundress. I think I loved her, even when she wrote In that strange tongue so many Ks, Js and Zs My father had to translate. 2. I expected another blue envelope Announcing the birth of her child Instead I get this card, my cousin's picture Printed alongside a cross, heavy with Jesus. I don't call for my father, Scan the inscription full of Ks, Js and Zs At once making terrible...

Introduction

If you are just starting out as a poet, you should make a trip to the stationery store, the bookshop and the nearest library. Enjoy the aroma of a fresh ream of paper, the feel of a pen in your hand and the power of a library card in your pocket. A working poet also needs notebooks, pads, pencils, pens, a ream of 20 percent bond paper, business envelopes (Nos. 9 and 10), manila envelopes (9 X 12), file folders, stamps, postal scale, a typewriter or computer, ribbons, correction tape or fluid,...

Invocation

Till the sun falls Below that tree line And light stops Coloring stained glass, I want to talk With the Virgin Mother Who the saints say Always listens. I won't Worry about my wife Who waits outside The mountain chapel. She has a pastel sky For company, though She must share it With tourists at the peak Season. She refuses To share her grief With you and the stone Jesus, cold at your breast. Our child was colder, Even in the red Sunset that was a gift In the birthing room Sculpted forever To...

Iv

Inside the hemispheres of ecstasy A brainchild is easier to achieve. Let us link up the parts and prophesy Maybe then Will we conceive 1. For best results, pick a topic that can be analyzed in three parts (one per stanza) and then summed up or concluded in the envoy. 2. Consider end words that yield lots of rhymes because the ballade only operates on three through twenty eight lines. 3. Pick rhyme words that enhance the topic or suggest lines in keeping with the topic. Don't be afraid to slant...

Jenny Kissed Me

Jumping from the chair she sat in Time, you thief, who love to get Sweets into your list, put that in Say I'm weary, say I'm sad, Say that health and wealth have missed me, Say I'm growing old, but add, Jenny kissed me. The Reconciliation. A reconciliation poem marks the end of an estrangement or a spat between lovers, as this excerpt from a poem by Robert Browning illustrates Strive nor weep All be as before, Love, Only sleep Love Token. This type accompanies a token of affection or a gift, as...

Journals and Genres

In this section you will learn how to conceive ideas for poems based on life experience, research and familiarity with traditional genres of poetry. In the first chapter you also will learn how poets use journals to keep track of their ideas. As you conceive and record your ideas, resist the urge to write first drafts. This is a time for observation, contemplation and discovery talents that make for superior poets and that take time to perfect. When you have finished exercises in this section...

Know the Pattern

The villanelle uses two rhymes (designated by a and b), five tercets and one ending quatrain (or five three-line stanzas and one four-line stanza), and two repeating lines (designated by I1 and A the first and third lines of the first tercet, which repeat alternately as the third line of each following tercet and, finally, as the ending two lines). Thus, the form A*b A2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 A2. If you are having difficulty visualizing the pattern, check this villanelle that I composed...

L

Landor, Walter Savage, 158-159 Lawrence, D.H., 29-30, 204 Letters, published, for research, 11 Lieberman, Laurence, 170-173 Line first, importance of, 151-152 in Italian Shakespearean sonnet, 288-290 last, importance of, 157-158 middle of, breaks in, 167-168 Line length, 154-157 Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 181, 216, basics of, 31-34 types of, 27-30 Lovelace, Richard, 28, 87, 122 Lowell, James Russell, 125 Loydell, Rupert M., 49-50 Lyric poetry

Let Rhyme Work for

If you are composing a light-verse villanelle, consider multisyllabic words especially with falling (light stress) endings baloney spumoni matrimony. Villanelles about serious subjects usually employ monosyllabic (hard stress) end words bow plow how. Villanelles using a combination of falling multisyllabic and rising monosyllabic rhymes also are excellent if you are composing satire. (See Ron Wallace's State Poetry Day in the mini anthology.) Study all your rhyme and near-rhyme words. Then make...

Level

Reread the sections titled Approach and Perspective and Extranatural Ideas and generate five ideas for poems, at least one based on each of the methods of Kevin Bezner, Martha Whitmore Hickman, David Citino and Karen Joy Fowler. Don't feel compelled to agree with the perspectives. Simply conceive your own and note the various approaches. Afterward, return to the poet whose methods have intrigued you most and generate another five ideas for extranatural poems. 2. After you have generated your...

Level One

Here's the answer to the scansion of Emerson's poem By the rude bridge th t arched the flood, iTh ir flag t Ap- rll' s breeze unfurled, H re once the mb t- tied farm- ers stood And fired tKe sKot heard round th world. The above excerpt of Concord Hymn has thirteen iambs, one pyrrhic, one spondee and one anapest. Emerson uses four feet per line. If you combine the sound with the feet, you should have identified his meter as iambic tetrameter. 2. Select the best drafts of three poems from your...

Level three

Read your journal entries from the Level One and Two exercises. Select two similar ideas from your Idea File. (Two lyric ideas involving a concept, say.) Do the Level One, Exercise Two again with one idea, composing a prose poem first and then revising it into structured free verse. Do the Level Two exercise again with the other idea, composing structured free verse first and then revising it into a prose poem. Discuss the methods of composition one more time and decide which one you prefer and...

Level Two

By now you should have done several of the exercises recommended earlier in this chapter (listening to everyday conversations, analyzing poems for voice in magazines and books, keeping lists of words, etc.). If not, do them now. 2. Choose three ideas from your Idea File that feature weak or vague settings. For instance, in your updated list of highs, lows and turning points, you might have described coming to terms with childhood (high), feeling like a failure (low) or deciding to become more...

Levels Two And Three

Look at the list of highs, lows and turning points that you created in the previous exercise when you last went through this text. Has any new experience happened that should appear in a revised list If so, update. Then go through the list again and come up with new incidents for new entries and other incidents for old ones. You'll have at least ten more ideas. Record them as before. 2. Do the library exercise again, coming up with ten more ideas based on research of new listings in reference...

Love Perspectives

Stephen Corey, who has published several collections of verse and helps edit The Georgia Review, is known for his varied and sustained voice, particularly in love poems. The two reprinted here underscore important points about the genre. One is a love poem and the other an erotic one. Erotic poetry falls under the category of love with the emphasis, of course, on the physical act rather than the concept or felt emotion. In Corey's love poem, words exchanged between lovers have enhanced meaning...

Love Primer

Using the right tone of voice to express love is an important aspect of mastering the genre. You'll become more familiar with the mechanical aspects of voice in chapter eight, but for now, think of it simply as the sound you hear on the page when you read a poem. According to Ruth Daigon, who has published and edited dozens of love poems, For beginning poets, love poetry is synonymous with a passionate outpouring, a singing, a saying, a surrender to the emotion. They feel that to restrain or...

Many And No Breaks

The more stanzas you use, the greater their pull on lines, as if white space is a force of poetic gravity. Some poems require that force to hold the structure together. Other poems seem weightless, fragile, unable to withstand any breaks. Let's consider the two types and their effects. This is the ending of An Abandoned Farm in the West, a poem in unrhymed couplets from Lower-Class Heresy (University of Illinois, 1987) by T.R. Hummer, who has edited The Kenyon Review and New England Review She...

Meter

I fell in love with poetry because of meter. When I was a boy, my mother read lyrics by the great English poets to lull me to sleep at night. She had been given an anthology of immortal poems by her eighth grade teacher and cherished the book. By the time I was in the eighth grade, I had read every poem in the collection. Included was The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe, a stanza of which is quoted below. I would read the poem chant is a better word with my nine-year-old sister Lori, and soon this...

Michael J Bugeja

In memory of our first two children, guardian angels of my daughter Erin Marie and my son Shane Michael, for whom this book is dedicated The Art and Craft of Poetry. Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Bugeja. Manufactured in the United States of America. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote...

Mini Anthology of Sequence Poems

Not the moth-worn clouds moving left, back-lit by some moon, but lightning with luminous yellow borders less boundary than tease. Go ahead for the hell of it off the side, windows down, nose down to the unlucky cushion of oak and pine. I'm tired. I imagine I'm going home. The morning surrenders, finally, its storm. Across the road a man hammers the door back in place and calls for his wife. They've lived here long enough to know what a house can take. Now there's everything to learn from...

Miss Intensity Meets The Holy Ghost

It was January 11, 1988 (because I thought I want to remember this, even though I didn't tell a soul, they'd think I was like those crazy UFO people in The National Enquirer), and I was wandering around the edge of one of my winning-the-lottery dreams, (the one where I would get the money to fix my teeth and get the calluses off my heels, some and a Thallium stress test because my heart beats too fast and I'd postpone my trip to Paris for six months so I could have plastic surgery at a spa in...

Miss Intensity Thinks About Her Name

Centuries ago at EST, when I waved my hand, praying the Trainer would choose me as lost as my friend Helen who got married and now her name isn't in the phone book anymore for the Birth Process because he was teaching all 300 of us, simultaneously, to get in touch with our bodies and the Self (I'd heard it was like being reborn, alive again, assertive, experiencing wailing Oh Moon of Alabama in the tub, charging that fringy sequin dress, *This excerpt originally was from a larger poem that was...

Missing

They mean more than the medals, The spit-shined Marine portraits Dotting her mantel letters, Undated and timeless in their talk About love and coming home. She forges On the envelope her name and address As he would write it, in a font Slanted toward future. His letters arrive Like poems, the lines saying nothing the heart behind this sentence beats another day. Again She will send off his last, the paper Dog-eared by sorters and caught Once in rain that bled his words blue. She takes it to the...

Most Of Us

In another age I would've married a sorry woman from my small village, had too many children, broken my back with my hands, and come home drunk. I would've died early from diseases, having suffered humiliation aftef humiliation, my heart twisting at the sight of a coin, while our hated king lived far off on a hill. I would've believed in anything that was given, been on my knees to anything with a singular face. I would not have been as I am, one who believes in himself and nothing else, to...

Mowing

There was never a sound beside the wood but one, And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground. What was it it whispered I knew not well myself Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun, Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound And that was why it whispered and did not speak. It was no dream of the gift of idle hours, Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows, Not without...

Mrs Wei On Patriotism

Here many people over-exercise their right to free speech. Everywhere bumper stickers shout at me Have you hugged your child today I brake for animals, Honk if you love Jesus We support our troops Say No to drugs I am for America But when they want us all to chant slogans and tie yellow ribbons to our houses, I plant my feet and say No. whose roots know the earth which gives it sustenance. It is not a hair ribbon Poems like Whitman's For You O Democracy are based on visions of what a country...

Mrs Wei Wants To Believe The First Amendment

That letter telling your President he is wrong, please don't mail it I am so afraid for you. Back home, such forthrightness will drag you to jail, your family will have to hide their name. Or worse, a noose on the raintree, only the wind to keep your ghost company. Speaking out is like flying a kite, a banner for police to track you down. In my country, we have learned to fly kites under the bed. Just don't tell me about the issues. I can see the pale spider-belly head of the newborn who lies...

Music

I cannot hold a note in my hand, Though the singer does in her throat. I cannot hold a grace note On lined paper and hear it, Though the singer waves Her sheet music like a flag. But I can hold the makers Of music, the singer by the palm, The silver of flute or piccolo, Buff nickle keys of a clarinet. If I breathe on them, I can See my own image in the maker. ' It's true. I can stroke The pipework of sax and trombone, Tip a chalice of trumpet, sort The pots of horn, cornet to tuba. I find...

My Heart Leaps Up

A rainbow in the sky So was it when my life began So is it now I am a man So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die The Child is father of the Man . . . Human Encountering Nature. Simply, the poet suddenly beholds an element or aspect of nature as if for the first time, with keen perception. Here's another excerpt from a famous Wordsworth poem I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils Beside the lake,...

No Strings

We keep finding on our doorstep Rattles too big for the post box. They arrive with offers from a company No parent can refuse, clean diapers Being next to God. The Ivory Snow mother Thinks so in baby magazines on trial Subscription. And if we don't want The bedtime books, we still get to keep The Disney mobile. It hangs above the crib Littered with coupons for free formula, Gerber, Johnson's no more tears shampoo. We send for everything. They don't know that After the stillborn, somebody forgot...

Norfolk

The sun shines on your face as waves splash on the beach. People use rope to pull sailboats in, standing on the sand. You can hear birds in the sky, even in the rain. I've done my best to compose the above poem in a good form, but with poor imagery, to emphasize that weakness. The sun shines. People pull rope. They stand on sand. You can hear birds in the sky. I also included an interesting last line even in the rain to hint at an epiphany. But when one thinks about that statement, its truth is...

Not Only The Eskimos

We have only one noun but as many different kinds the grainy snow of the Puritans and snow of soft, fat flakes, guerrilla snow, which comes in the night and changes the world by morning, rabbinical snow, a permanent skullcap on the highest mountains, snow that blows in like the Lone Ranger, riding hard from out of the West, when you can't find your house, your street, though you are not in a dream or a science fiction movie, snow that tastes good to the sun when it licks black tree limbs,...

Notebook All Levels

Each time you go through this text at Level One, Two and Three, review the eighteen types of occasional verse and five types of elegies and select ones in which you have a personal stake. For some types, like the public or personal tragedy, that may change from year to year. Also, friends, relatives and loved ones along with public figures may pass away in the interim and can be eulogized. In any case, come up with ten ideas based on the occasional and elegy prototypes (or combine elements of...

Notebook Level One

Evaluate drafts of poems in your Work in Progress file that seem suited to the lyric mode. Revise them according to precepts learned in this chapter. 2. Review the basic lyric forms discussed in this chapter and select suitable ideas from your Idea File. Then follow the appropriate methods of composition and compose first drafts. After each draft, describe in your journal how the method of composition helped or did not help you come up with a lyric.

Now

Out of your whole life give but a moment All of your life that has gone before, All to come after it, so you ignore, So you make perfect the present, condense, In a rapture of rage, for perfection's endowment, Thought and feeling and soul and sense Merged in a moment which gives me at last You around me for once, you beneath me, above me Me sure that despite of time future, time past, This tick of our life-time's one moment you love me How long such suspension may linger Ah, Sweet The moment...

Occasion Poetry

This is the catchall category of the text. After reading chapters on love, nature, extranatural, war and political poetry, you should have read many poems that cross borders. For instance, a love poem may speak of the soul and be set in nature. War poetry can have an environmental theme while protesting government policies. However, behind all such poems was an occasion, an incident or a memory that inspired or angered the writer and that may or may not even be mentioned on the page. When we...

Of Sitting Bear

Hoka hey, Lakotas, Sioux warriors used to shout before riding into battle It's a good day to die. Comanche braves must have said it Now the Comanches I don't miss much, and the Plains Indian may not have been or ride the surface of the earth, but I say to majce a man, old and sick and huddled with his teeth, until at last the manacles slide and attacks and attacks the guarding soldiers he knew, a bad day for Sitting Bear to be captured, but a good day to die. First of all, the above account is...

On The Edge

Yes, I lived on the edge of Mother Earth Then, but ran my toes through her green hair. Still, my heart lives within her heart and beats With a similar yet quicker music. And I too, remember that spring of laughter. The music of love that fell like water from a Cliff, spread like a child's perfect hoop. My heart a gold and black polka dotted skirt Flared over toes in spiked heels that brushed That precarious edge. Remember that hot, humid afternoon that honored Elders at Ghost Hawk Park, and the...

On The Extinction Of The Venetian Republic

Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee And was the safeguard of the west the worth Of Venice did not fall below her birth, Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty. . . . The Birth-of-State Poem. This brand of poem marks the birth of a government or reign. Here's an excerpt by an unknown author chronicling the birth of the United States There was a tumult in the city In the quaint old Quaker town, And the streets were rife with people Pacing restless up and down Where they whispered each to...

One Dream

Every morning, that I wake before you to watch your eyes tremble and awkwardly blossom. The casual remoteness of your body still startles me in the grainy light that lies between us. How your dreams must hold you, their amorous and fascinating figures the populations inside your vast cities, the quiet voices spinning kisses to keep you. These must be, because you sleep and dream in a lovely game. Only your eyes are telling, their lids pressing out a Morse code at uncertain intervals, cautious...

One For The Road

And holds to the blown landscape of November is no testament to will or strength, because the car stands over it at night, keeping frost away, upper leaves dark where they brush the black transmission. No reason to make anything of this I park where I've always parked. Anyway, what would be the point in playing such a game, with winter holding trump If I idle the motor for a while before turning in, it's for an easier start in the morning. I don't kid myself about what I can do to help this...

Our Lives Are Like Pantoums

Something dies within and is released. Make your mantras, say your piece You are worthless, dear. Something dies within and is released. Let your goodness go To waste on all those one-night stands And learn to deepen pain of lovers. You remember lines To waste on all those one-night stands You're a real letdown. If you're nothing, you have nothing to lose If you're nothing, you have nothing to lose. The metered pantoum still conveys a sense of control, each line repeating according to a beat....

P

Pantoum, 305-312 Patterns, rhyming, 208-210 Peak experience, defined, 7 Perspective and approach, 72-73 and perception, 47-52 See also Viewpoint Peterson, Jim, 229, 231-232 views of, about narrative poetry, 216-217 Petrarchan sonnet. See Italian sonnet Poe, Edgar Allan, 188 Poet as eyewitness, 92, 95-99 as observer of nature, 47-48 as reader, importance of, 3 as visionary, 92-95 materials for, 1 Poetry reading, importance of, 3 subgenres of, 27-30, 43-46, 68-70, 8692, 104-105, 120-125 types of....

Patriotics

Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy, out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river. America, it's hard to get your attention politely. America, the beautiful night is about to blow up and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops is shaking hands, dribbling chaw across his sweaty shirt, and pointing cars across the courthouse grass to park. It's the Big One one more time, July the 4th, our country's perfect holiday, so direct a metaphor for war...

Pick a Subject That Melds With the Form

Many sestinas fail because the poet uses this complex form to express any old idea. If you like formal poetry, you should know that each form was meant to convey different moods or subject matter. In the case of the sestina, the topic has to be inherently repetitious. For instance, the last two sestinas I have written and published depicted A trip north along Interstate 29 in the Midwest, chronicling a family trip in which the same road signs, diners, smells, cities, animals, and other...

Pick Your End Words Carefully

Since these words are going to appear in your sestina so often, you want them to have special qualities. First, the end words should be common enough to serve different sentences. (For instance, you won't get too far with consequently, which is apt to grate on the ear or call attention to itself after the second use.) Second, the words should have different meanings or work in different ways (as a noun, verb and adjective, as in the word fast, for example). Now the English language can help...

Platonic Love

Can that for true love pass When a fair woman courts her glass Something unlike must in love's likeness be His wonder is one and variety. For he whose soul nought but a soul can move Does a new Narcissus prove, And his own image love. . . . The Obstacle. A poem about any person, object or thing that prevents one lover from reaching another. In Richard Lovelace's case, the obstacle was a jail cell, as stated in the title and last stanza from To Althea, from Prison Stone walls do not a prison...

Poems Here And Elsewhere

I have researched thousands of poems for this book and selected the best. By best I mean ones that illustrate specific points rather than qualify as the greatest in the canon. The latter is a matter of taste, and my list of the greatest poems is bound to differ from someone else's. In each chapter, however, you will find plenty of examples from the works of past and present writers. This is meant to give you perspective. You can see how a genre of poetry began, developed and evolved through the...

Poet As Observer

If nature appears sullied, perhaps you are only viewing it as sullied or perhaps someone or something has caused it to appear so in your eyes. The nature poet is, in part, a chronicler of the outdoors and, in part, an interpreter of what is sensed or experienced. The poet uses perception to chronicle nature and perspective to interpret it (more on both concepts later). For now, let's focus on a basic requirement to write keen nature poetry concentration. When I began writing poetry,...

Political Poetry

As I write, poets in other lands are in prison because they composed verse with political content that angered or frightened their leaders. These are brave men and women, willing to risk their lives to express their political beliefs. In most countries in Europe and North America, the right to compose political poetry is protected by laws and constitutions, so we tend to take this freedom for granted. Few, if any of us, will ever write a political poem that prompts the FBI to investigate our...

Preparing to write the sequence

Outline each section of your sequence in your journal. If you rough out the poem first, you'll save time by identifying weak spots and eliminating or adding parts as needed. Finally, with overview of the sequence, you can move or rearrange parts to enhance theme or add clout to message. For example, in a six-part villanelle sequence (a combination of symbolic and dramatic groupings), I researched passages in the Bible relating to trees in general and the fig tree in particular. I found several...

Ready To Kill

Ten minutes now I have been looking at this. I have gone by here before and wondered about it. This is a bronze memorial of a famous general Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver on him. I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory hand, the fireman and the teamster, Have all been remembered with bronze memorials, Shaping them on the job of getting all of us Something to eat and something to wear, When...

Remembering New London

On March 18, 1937, 293 children, teachers and visitors were killed as the richest rural school in the world at New London, Texas, exploded from the ignition of natural gas, which had seeped up from the ground and accumulated in the walls. Even as we sat in our third-wing last classroom peering out at the mantis-like structures plunging into the soil, gritty and black, rising again with jaws drenched in the thrilling crude, those fifteen minutes mattered to us more then the bell would scatter us...

Researching Ideas

Incident My one-year-old son Shane was under a tangle of morning glories on our outdoor deck, when a ladybug alighted on his arm. He marveled at its bright red wingcase that looked like a round piece of candy. I beamed at the sight, proud my son was learning about the beauty of nature. Then, without warning, Shane popped the bug into his mouth, giggling as it slid down his throat. I knew immediately that I would base a poem on this incident. (All poets must learn to observe life closely, ready...

Revising your poems

Take out drafts of poems and follow this step-by-step method to revise your work 1. Lay drafts of each poem on a flat surface. Read them sequentially, from first draft to last, and choose the best draft. Usually (but not always) the last draft will be the most effective because you knew your poem intimately when you composed this version. In any case, put aside your most effective draft. 2. Review every word and line of your lesser drafts. Occasionally you'll find better passages in these...

Rewrite and Polish the Offending Line

When you are as deep as I was in a traditional pantoum, you don't want a clunky line to scrap the entire effort. Fve known poets who have come within one word of completing a pantoum, only to abandon the effort because a line wouldn't serve two stanzas. When that happens, throw out the entire line. Don't try to save it no matter how brilliant your images or extended your metaphors. Kill it, or it will kill your pantoum. When you consider lines to replace it, focus again on ones that break well...