ONE PAGE STAGE: POETRY HOW TO

Here is jack’s one paragraph or so guide to creating poetry. 

Beware authorities. If you find yourself in that setting try to stick around a bit for comedy’s sake. 

Don’t try to rhyme if you haven’t a gift for it. Robert Frost (most widely known US poet) though, said, “poetry without rhyme is like tennis without a net.” I suppose a dozen kinds of rhyme exist. I think my favorite is found in Emily Dickinson. She will have a stanza (say four lines) She will have a solid clear pure rhyme in every line but one. Say the last line. It may be a half rhyme: a different consonant, a short vowel,something that makes the line a little different from the rest. So one must ask, “why is that line different?” It is different e.g. to accent meaning. Perhaps like an exclamation point in punctuation. 

I love the hiphop technique of repeating a rhyme sound until it is about to scorch into monotony.

Robert Pinsky, was US poet laureate about a decade ago. He said, “there are no rules.” Some assume that removes responsibility. Rather it increases it. He is saying you can do anything you want with poetry. But, you must make it work. 

For me poetry is best thought of as jazz. That is one of the reasons I think poetry is best when performed aloud. It IS performance. Some really great poets fail in delivery. Not loud enough, poor pitch, poor enunciation, poor timing, well read, flat. The current poet laureate of San Luis Obispo, Jerry Douglas Smith, is notable for his ability to capture dialect. In one of his poems you hear the poet dialing through the radio driving along a road. Different dialects, language accents, attitude. Each voice connects to the overall poem in a vital way. 

Whatever language techniques, poetic devices, word coinage, meanings twists, ah hahs, paintings drawn, are fair game. Here is how you know a poem is good. As you deliver, check the faces of the audience members. When they are smiling, nodding, on the edge of their seats, crying, laughing, laughing and crying, ole, bravo: that is a good poem. No feeling is as great to a poet as clearly discernable audience reaction. That is true sometimes even when they are throwing tomatoes or eggs. Love every smatter, kid. You have the experience of a life time. Twist of thought will come into a vibrant poetry creation session. When you get a good one and perform it, try to play it as a kayaker plays the rapids in swift moving water. Have no fear. You may drown. No problem. You are a poet. Eternally.

In the next node of my stream I will put up a poem called BLUE HAIRED POETRY. I don’t often let this one go out running around. Some myopic people might think it is stereotypical. They may be correct. And they may be right, as it were.

Why West Weng Instead of West Wing

westweng500teststrip

Why did I choose the word ‘weng’ instead of ‘wing’ for my FB blurb ‘West Weng’?

Obviously I needed a ‘close to WING’ word to approximate and distance the blurb to and from TV’s West Wing. ‘Weng’ probably popped into my head from having heard it and words that are close to it in sound in German language countries. It no doubt stuck on the aspirative thorn of a language thorn bush.

It is a powerful little four letter word, especially in Bavaria. You know, of course, that the language of the German state of Bavaria (Bayern) is not German but, rather Bavarian (Bayerish). It means few: more than one, but not as many as usual or as expected. Better than nothing but functionable.

Words live in names and names live in words. In the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland to the west of Bavaria is a city named Wengen. I think no one knows why it is called Wengen. Like many villages and cities in Europe but especially in the alps, Wengen has been there a while. I have assumed the name of the village came from someone among the first ones who went there or lived there.

I mention Wengen, the village, because it was also probably the reason it came to mind when I coined ‘West Weng’. But, now that I have mentioned it, I shall explain why Wengen sticks in my head. It is, like the word ‘weng’, better than nothing because that little bit is the beginning of a great adventure.

Wengen sits above the long east west Bernese valley that runs along the north side the alps, essentially from Bern to Zurich. On the north side the valley is an incredible long, well formed waterfall which you can see from the other side the valley at about 3000 feet high in the little village of Wengen.

Looking southwest from Wengen and upwards one can see three of the most beautiful and impressive mountains in the world. They are the Jungfrau, the Wetterhorn, and the Eiger (Eiger from the Greek ‘akros’ meaning sharp.
From Wengen one can take a very unusual short train up the long steep path through those mountains and along the massif. Along the rail on the level, horizontal, track of the mile high wall of mountain, one can occasionally look out the window of the train through windows in the and see the village of Wengen far below.

At the end of the ride is an ice carved cave. A rather common occurrence in the high mountains of the alps are ice rivers which over the centuries by contracting and expanding formed long caves which are likely to end abruptly on the solid sheet of immense wall of a mountain.

At the end of the Wengen train rail is a perpetually freezing cave where ice sculpture have sat for decades. One of them is the author of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. He lived near there and was beloved of the Swiss.

When you descend to Wengen and leave the train you can choose a manner of descent to the valley that, as far as I know, is only available at Wengen. You can take the paraglider taxi. Don your helmet, bundle up, and belt yourself into the harness in front of the pilot and descend to the valley with nothing under your feet but cold mountain air.

I have drifted away from the orignal theme perhaps to illustrate the definition of ‘weng’. You got a little info about Wengen. More than enough but sufficient. Well, no. Let’s add that Wengen has been seen a great deal in film and travel picture of Switzerland. The first time I saw it was in the Clint Eastwood movie, THE EIGER SANCTION. And you can follow Eastwood’s incredible climb to the peak in a really exciting action film.

The composite pic I use for the blurb shows an eagle eye. Through the center of the eye one can see the White House. A short distance from the ring of the eye the suburb of the eye graduates into general underwing and there strung between leading edge wing feathers and the following edge wing feathers is the verbiage of the day.

I have another reason for liking and using the word ‘weng’ for what would be ‘wing’. Id est, the word ‘weng’ has a number of meanings in addition to the slang word ‘weng’ which means “good looking.” As one might guess the Chinese really take wing on weng. Look at them.
1. zhu rén weng = master (of one’s own destiny etc)
2. wèng = pottery container for water, wine etc
3. weng = elderly man, father, father-in-law
4. neck feathers of an old bird
5. bù dao weng = roly-poly toy, tilting doll, tumbler
6. fù weng = rich person, millionaire, billionaire
7. lao weng = old man
8. weng (onomatapeic) = buzz, hum, drone
9. bái tóu weng = root of Chinese pulsatilla or pasqueflower
10. Dà fù weng = Monopoly game
11. zuì weng = wine-lover, drinker, toper, drunkard

So with all those variables, seems to me weng becomes a good word to be a place holder as zero is in math. That is, it can be a word that is real good for the occasion at hand.

So, welcome to West Weng!

I hope you enjoy our West Weng blurb for its keeping West Wing alive, for its meaningful quotes, lessons in life, and point you to good writing.