Thursday, 30 August 2012

The difference between amateur and professional poetry?

Recently one of my poems from this blog was given a professional criticsm. Since then, I have struggled with the idea of "weight" in a poem. Which I was told is the difference between amateur and professional poetry. The idea being that the words (nouns and verbs) in a poem should have a density compared with prepositions and adverbs.

I find that the rythm of a line is the foremost criteria of a poem for me. (I love Dr Seuss for example). I have been reading a number of poetry magazines from our local library and the thing that keeps preventing me from enjoying that poetry is that I have to work to: 1) read them and 2) understand them. Some examples are:-

To some extent this resonated with an article in a local, recorded music society newsletter I read only last night. The argument in this article, was that "pop music" was bad because it was enjoyable; and that "classical music" was good because it had limited appeal.

I enjoy some classical music but I have enjoyed a heck of a lot of pop music over the last 50 or so years.

My point, I think, is that heavy is not always good. In fact it can be downright boring. So am I wrong in enjoying poetry because of its rythm rather than a clever use of words and metaphors?
I write songs and poetry in much the same way that I would speak. I do not change my use of words or language in an effort to be clever; is this wrong? Does it make my poetry bad?

This is something which I will have to ponder upon, probably for a long time to come.

One possible outcome of this is that the one-a-day challenge which I set myself is unfortunately becoming a struggle. There may be other reasons, I started with a burst of enthusiasm and this may be waning. I have been busy and may have too many things on. However, I am still detremined to try and keep up with it, if only at a reduced success. As long as I don't feel that I am writing for the sake of numbers I will keep at it.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

My Latest Poem - That Little Black Dress


That little black dress
On the shop window dummy
Attracting the crowds
Out shopping today.

That little black dress
Was so neat and appealing,
It sparkled and shone
In a very fine way.

That little black dress
Donated in charity;
Helping the needy
In so many ways.

That little black dress
A sign of a conscience;
Means so very much
That little black dress, OK
Thanks to saraicat on Flickr for the use of this photo, licenced under creative commons

Not getting on very well with the challenge, not sure why? Very busy and lots of other things going on but I am a little disappointed.
I saw this LBD (not the one in the photo!) in a charity shop whilst waiting for a bus; and it, and what it represented simply begged to be recognised in verse. Gave me my first poem for several days.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

New Haiku for my poem-a-day project

The average for this week is falling short of target. I fell back on this format, as it seems to work for me.
I was having trouble creating poems in longer formats. Lots of ideas, but no real progress towards new poems. very disappointing!

Rain lashed ears of corn
Heads bowed, swaying in the wind
The cold earth waiting.

Dark flowing water
Mirroring  pain in my heart;
Silence hides the hurt.

Old age saps spirit;
Old age consumes memories;
Memories do fade.

Again unsure if these are traditional; subjects, but at least this keeps the average up. Hopefully be back soon with more poems.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Poems written after a visit to The National Space Centre Rocket Tower

Another poem written after visiting the National Space Centre at Leicester.

Blast Off

Standing alongside
That silver rocket,
Power and Grace
Displayed with a spirit.

Man-made, massive,
Four stories high.
Imagine ignition.
Imagine it fly.

Black streak, Blue Streak;
Their names speak to me.
Excitement embodied,
My mind wandered free

Count down commenced
Imagine the tension.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1;
Blast off. Action.

Just watch it go.

In the Rocket Tower at the National Space Centre stands a massive Black Streak Rocket; one of the last designed and built by the UK. It seems to be built out of aluminium and gleams with a silvery colour. It actually stands next to a Thor Able rocket from the USA which is painted, I know which stood out for me. You can stand at the foot of the rockets and look up to see the topmost sections. A lift takes you up four floors so that you can appreciate the whole length of the rockets. They truly are an amazing sight.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Poems written after a visit to The National Space Centre

In fact only one poem so far but I am hoping that a little editing will provide at least two more from this visit. This first poem was inspired by the Drake Equation, created by Dr. Frank Drake to stimulate intellectual curiosity about the universe around us. In effect it sets out to calculate the number of planets with life which may be capable of contacting us.

The equation is usually written:
N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

It looks fearsome but is really quite a simple concept buut does need some enthusiastic guessing to find an answer. I wonder will we ever contact life if it exists "out there". Here is my poem.

Inspired By The Drake Equation

Our Earth alone
Of nine sister planets
Gave birth to life
Or so we think

Stellar cousins
In uncounted numbers
Exist in the void
As we all know

Each of these suns
Planetary potential
Harbouring new life
Or some do think

Distances vast
Need lifetimes of travel
Holding their secrets
Unknown to us

Never to know
Always destined to wonder
Such a difficult call
Or so I think

As I said above there may be one or two more to come from this visit. I was cetainly flooded with ideas but too many conflicting false starts at the moment. Give me a little time and we shall see.

There is one thing which stands out for me from this, it does not have any rhymes! This is something new for me; either the reading of modern poetry is affecting me or the experience with Haiku has left me feeling a little freer with my poetry. Time will tell if I lapse to my roots and start rhyming again, although I am sure that I will.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My First Haiku - and more

I wrote this post a while ago, but it never got published,, staying in draft. I have now published it as written so it is somewhat out of sequence.

I have been toying with new formal poetry forms and this is such a popular form that I though I ought to try it out.

Poems arise from words
And words will live forever
Forget me not

The Haiku is of course a japanese form, which has three lines with 5 / 7 / 5 syllables to give a total count of 17 syllables. Otherwise there are no rules. I believe that the original subject of this form of poetry was nature or natures effects.

Red flowers abound
In a battle field of old
Blood colours the earth

I find this such a "deep" form, in that the words must take on such a lot of meaning. I really think that this could have a major influence on my poetry. Up until now my style has been almost conversational withou much though for these deeper meanings. I have tried one or two abstract poems (or something along those lines ) but this I think will have ultimately more effect on my thinking about poetry and hence on the poems I write.

Inspiration grows
Poetry brings new thinking
I improve my skills

I am not sure that these are any good but I am creating them in real time as I write this post - it was originally only supposed to be about my first Haiku.

Light fades with sunset
Hail the coming of the night
Now wild creatures rest

Now this is getting silly, I think it is time that I stopped and took stock of exactly what it means to write Haiku. But I have one question, "Does Haiku have a title?"

The Clerihew - another poetry form

 Well if I have to say so myself, writing poetry to a different format seems to have released a torrent of new ideas.

I decided to try another form and see if the change did me some good creatively. Which one I wondered. The answer was presented in a new Squidoo Lens on the subject of The Clerihew, I came across whilst browsing. It is a humerous or whimsical format a format invented by a Edmund Clerihew bently. Basically it is a four line poem, with a rhyming sceme of AABB but no metre or syllable count restrictions, the lines often having irregular length.

It is often biographical; written about a person, and the first line should contain, or consist solely of that persons name.

So, my first two examples are from the world of pop music:-

You'll be aware that Mick Jagger
Despite his wrinkles has a swagger
But looks are deceiving
Just look at the attention he is receiving

and the second uses the cockney rhyming slang, Hank Marvin = Starvin'

Starvin' Hank Marvin
Gets my feet tappin'
He's my guitar Hero
All others rate zero

And this one in honour of the olympics

Consider Sir Roger Bannister
Raised to knighthood from just a mister
In championship style
He ran a four minute mile

I will be looking hard at other forms to widen the scope of the poetry I am writing. The discipline seems to work for me.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Haiku Poetry - A New Challenge

Although I was finding a poem-a-day was a drifting, it was not the lack of ideas. The number of Haiku, written in one day, below shows this I bellieve. Maybe the challenge was just running out of steam after a few weeks. Miss one day and it is easier to miss another. As the missed days mount up it becomes easier to miss yet more. A form of procrastination perhaps?

Or perhaps it was finding the time? I was creating Haiku in very short breaks or whilst walking along. I found it easy to remember the three lines and write them down in my notebook in seconds. Whereas, longer poems need to be recorded and edited more fully; sometimes several times before considering an initial posting.

Maybe it is a compounding of both reasons.

Or maybe I am analysing things too much?

What ever the cause, I need to find the time each day to write. I have been writing poems in my notebook as I go – on the fly as it were. Maybe I should be capturing ideas and use them later at a time set aside for the poem. At least this way there is no excuse for procrastination. If the notes don’t work, then use some of the many prompts I have been collecting in the last post.

Whatever, here are eleven Haiku which I wrote yesterday. I have been toying with this poetry form for three days and they do seem to come particularly easily. Of course whilst enjoying writing I am unsure about wether I am staying true to the themes and "rules" of Haiku, see Haiku Heights  a blog giving weekly prompts for Haiku (what else?) and gives a definition and rules for various Haiku (?) forms.

One question; Should Haiku be titled?

Warm sun, bright blue sky;
Holiday season arrives.
Sad; my work begins.

Happy tree gives shade,
Relief from the burning sun
Rest awhile; give thanks

Silver trunk grows straight
Whispering leaves, wind blown
Silver birch grows tall

Relax time passes
Your turn will come, learn, enjoy

Harsh words cause real pain.
Take care speak gently my friend,
For pain brings harsh words

A gate stands open
Will you enter discover
Its destination

Mysteries abound
Dark forces intent on harm
Meditate; stay calm

Original art
Born within the artist’s mind

Existence is now
What came before is unknown
Accept and believe.

Faster, faster still
Rushing getting nowhere fast
Slowdown, relax, live

Modernity rules
Excuses many faux pas
Give me the old days

Hope that you enjoyed reading these and if so please come back as I intend to carry on creating these little poems. You can also read more about my challenge ( a poem-a-day) on my Squidoo website, A Poem-a-day. Thanks for getting this far.

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