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.

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