Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Works for me

Greg and Leslie have written about their poetry "rules." I liked reading theirs. I'm not sure I really have rules, though I can generalize, somewhat, about what works or doesn't work for me.

First: endings. I rarely, if ever, know where a poem will end, which may be why so many of my poems end not with bangs but whimpers. Sometimes they don't end as much as they stop. But I confess that I think that's okay. If, in a sense, my poem takes the reader somewhere, I prefer not to announce that we've arrived.

Sound is important to me, as I've said here before. And texture. I like to use the syntax of the English sentence, working with breath and line endings for tension. So, an easy, colloquial speech, but not flatness. A mix of diction -- good crunchy words, but not arcane or archaic usage.

I lean to the lyric. Narrative elements are often present, but in most poems, they are subjugated to the lyrical impulse. The experience or the experiment is more important than the story.

I am very much one of the humankind of whom Eliot noted cannot bear too much reality.


Leslie said...

"good crunchy words" -I love that! Plus I'm with you on the axis of reality.

Jarod K. Anderson said...

I often feel as though my poems simply “stop” rather than end. It concerns me that ending on a low note makes a poem feel top-heavy. But, if there’s a way to fix this tendency I haven’t discovered it.

Diane K. Martin said...

Jarod, I guess it depends on the poem, but are you so sure it's a tendency you want to fix? I confess I often prefer a low-key ending.

Jarod K. Anderson said...

I suppose the impetus for abandoning my low-key endings is founded more on a common trend I observe among those that give me feedback rather than my own desire for change. I'll have to ponder the pros and cons I suppose.
Thanks for the help.