Anyone can write poetry;
Only some do it well.
And others fail—initially, at any rate.
Some idea of its genesis may be of help.
A poem – any piece of literature – is
The result of a combination
Of the Idea and the Act.
It stems invariably from authenticity—
Of perception and or experience.
The Idea has the potential
And the prospect of a seed, of an egg.
A poem is a process by which
A raw emotion turns
Into an appropriate feeling:
The raw, in other words, gets cooked.
Fury, for instance, may poetically transform into
Lacerating irony or Vitriolic satire.
You are, in this process,
Guided by your taste and temperament.
Your muse at work.
Another transformation takes place, too,
When two apparently unrelated phenomena
Come to be linked by analogy,
To make perceptions clear,
As in the case above—
Where the poetic process is likened
To the culinary process—
The ‘raw’ getting ‘cooked,’
It’s an echo, too,
Of an earlier anthropological text—
Authored by Claude Lévis-Strauss.
As such, it’s determined
By your background and brought-up,
Your likes and dislikes.
And so may differ from person to person.
What happens, however, is this:
The new is related to the familiar,
The unknown to the known.
That’s indeed the job of a figure (of speech):
A simile or metaphor or metonym does it.
The medium of poetry is something like
The cooking medium.
Once cooked, you hardly see the medium in the dish.
You can, however, smell and taste it,
And that makes all the difference.
Likewise, the poem is a delicate blend
Of the medium and the message.
Style is the offshoot of the medium.
It serves a rhetorical purpose
And is also a mark of sophistication.
It bears indeed your stamp and signature.
Learning by doing is the how of style.
Of course, practice makes perfect.
Yet there’s no limit to perfection.
It’s a lifelong pursuit—
As it was for Bhartrhari and Bharati
Or Kannadasan and Vairmuthu
Or Shakespeare and Shaw.
The tips, recipes, and the rules
(say, of rhyme or rhythm)
On how to make a poem
Are more or less like
The tips on how to make love,
Which are all thrown to the wind
Once passion or the muse takes over.
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in't!”
Copyright © Ram R. V. | Year Posted 2017