Tag Archives: eye rhyme

What is Poetry?

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Inspiration has flown out of the window this past week or two. The river of ideas which was flowing into my new poetry collection has suffered days of drought and all I see is crazed terracotta. The occasional light shower creates a few shoots from seeds blown in on life’s breeze, but they shrivel into twisted black threads.
Advice at this point usually boils down to ‘Write, just write.’ That’s all very well, but what’s the point of spewing out poppycock? I believe the thinking behind the advice is that the random assortment of words spread over the page will somehow get rearranged into an attractive collection of stimulating sonnets and thought-provoking villanelles. A bit like a potter turns a blob of clay into a beautiful vase, or a painter creates a fabulous picture from worms of coloured oil on his palette. It doesn’t work like that with me. I end up with lines that rhyme, with mathematically correct metre, and stressed syllables creating accurate iambs. That’s poetry, isn’t it, you may ask. Not for me it isn’t.
Rhymes come two a penny. Look at the zillions of greetings cards on the market. The rhymes can make you giggle, make you sigh, make you hoot, sometimes make you cry. But they get thrown away with the cards. Do you remember them? Do they change your life? Do you feel what was in the mind of the creator when the rhymes were written?
Poetry surely is more than rhythm and style. Doesn’t it have to be sensual? Make your heart miss a beat? Take you to a beautiful place and leave you there even after you have stopped reading? Nod your head as you empathise with the writer’s emotions? OK, this is getting a bit yawn-provoking, but you know what I mean: There is surely a difference between rhymes and poetry. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it is restrained. But a difference there is.
So, is my new collection anything more than an assortment of lines where the end words rhyme? I just had a look at those written so far. Yes, some are a bit clinical, especially the couple of pantoums where it seems more work went into the structure than it did the turn of phrase. Some are a bit mathematical, like the chocolate cupcake one shaped like a… cupcake. And some are amusing with no purpose other than to raise a titter or two. As for the others, I read them again and they evoked a range of sentiments inside me. But of course that isn’t the point. I know full well what I meant when I wrote them, what I was feeling, the symbolism, the background. The point is, will the words mean anything to the reader?
I’m not going to find out just yet though, because I want forty poems for the collection and still have five to go. And inspiration has flown out of the window.
Which is where I was when I started writing this blog entry!

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A363, Advanced Creative Writing, Eventful Week 25!

My poetry assignment TMA05 came back this week, with an OK result.  Tutor comments were very useful on the whole, although places where I’d tried to include some of the stuff we’d learned like eye-rhymes (yes, I know the words don’t actually rhyme, but they look as though they should) don’t seem to have been well-received, interpretation of a few lines seemed more difficult than I thought, and there was modest disagreement on whether certain lines scanned correctly (how do you pronounce behemoth?).  But apart from the disastrous TMA02, my marks are, at least, consistent and I shall learn a great deal from the advice.

Also, the final assignment, TMA06 went off on Wednesday.  I’m pleased I posted it to the TGF, although only one student decided to pass comment and some of that was quite helpful.  I wish our group forums had been more popular.  Hopefully the tutor will like the way I’ve styled the life writing piece, otherwise it’ll be a case of starting again and only four weeks or so to go!  If you’re curious, I have a central thread which is written using first person stream of consciousness, following the protagonist as she makes her way to where she ends her life.  This thread generates flashbacks to some of the life events which have led her to take this drastic action.  I think it works, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  The story is basically true, but is fictionalised (I wasn’t there one hundred years ago!) to fill in the gaps.

I asked the OU if they’d send me some old assignment questions from E301, but they responded that they didn’t do that.  Mind you, they did send me some on E300 and E303 last year, and even sent the last assignment booklet for the English MA just a few weeks ago!  Never mind.  I’ve decided not to go for the essay-intensive Art of English, and to wait for English Grammar in Context to come around next February.  That means I might even have time to tackle NaNoWriMo this year!

It’s also a big birthday week!  A close pal’s yesterday, my wife’s today, mine tomorrow and another close friend’s on Tuesday.  Much exchanging of birthday cards has been going on!  I know it’s a cliche and awful grammar, but the years don’t half pass by quicker the older you get, do they not?

Two years to the OAP…Tally Ho!

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