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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

One writer’s break: poetry

Well, poetry doesn’t appear to be something most writers seem to choose to write unless they must but it does have it’s place in my toolbox.

Perhaps because I’m totally deaf, perhaps because I’m stubborn, or maybe just because of music’s siren song but when I write I usually try to incorporate music into my writing in some form.  For me, writing poetry is a way of writing the music I hear.  It’s a way of capturing the rhythm of an internal music, using words to evoke not only the imagery, but more importantly the flow, the rhythm, and the dynamics of my music.

Yes, I write a lot of poetry.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  I have no idea, because for the most part I haven’t shared it outside my immediate family unless I wrote it specifically for someone else.  I’ve only recently begun posting my poetry online for others to read and comment on.  And as a result of doing that, I’v been challenged to write a sestina, of all things.  I thought it would be easy, but it’s very definitely not easy to write one of those the way I want to do it.  For my first attempt I wound up with a seven stanza poem that’s most definitely not a sestina.  Free-form poetry doesn’t appeal to me as it does not seem to evoke that internal music I “hear” when reading a good poem so I can’t use it as a form for the sestina.  My definition of good means to me a free-form poem is a cacophony.  So, my sestina has to follow not only the rules of writing a sestina, but also conform to the structure that I see as necessary.  This means that writing poetry can be a very good exercise of the mind, will, skill, and discipline.  Never mind knowledge.  I mention this because it illustrates the focus and concentration necessary.

So, why do I say poetry has a place in my toolbox as opposed to being my preferred writing format?

The reason I bring it up here isn’t to discuss writing poetry, but a way of using poetry writing as a tool.  When I am actually working on my stories, if I forget to feed the muse and she wanders off to one of you for a while instead of hanging around, I can lure her back with poetry.

Often when I get stuck or just can’t seem to make any real progress on a story I’m working on or I lose interest in the story I’m writing, I find that if I leave off the story and start writing poetry I come away from that poetry writing rejuvenated.  It may take only one poem, say a haiku or even an epic poem, or it may take several.  The thing is, it seems to give my mind a break from what has become the job of writing and to get the creative juices flowing again.  The poetry I write as a result naturally still has to meet my requirements and so demands my full attention.  As this poetry does not focus on or belong to the writing I was doing, the mental exercises resulting from writing unrelated poetry effectively takes my mind completely off what I was working on, giving me a true break.  For me, this allows my brain to properly re-boot into the mode needed to resume writing that story when I return to it.  Mentally having completely dropped everything related to the work that was giving me so much trouble, I return to it with a renewed perspective.  Often I find that what was blocking me before is no longer a block, my mind readily finds a solution and words are once again flowing into that story.  Ideas that I’d not thought of come into being, storylines appear that I’d not seen before, characters seem to have new aspects to them that had been hidden before, and the story seems fresh again.

All this happens because I use poetry to completely refocus my mind, writing, and creativity onto something totally different from what I was working on.  Poetry is thus not only something I enjoy writing but it’s a way to hone my wordsmithing and to give myself a true break from the job of writing.  Not only that, but while doing it, I’m still doing what writers do — writing.  Not just writing, but writing stuff I can provide to my readers.

So, yes, writing poetry belongs not only in my credits but also in my toolbox.

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