How Forms Shape a Poem's Content - Suzanne Delaney's Blog

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Suzanne is a Retired Registered Nurse certified in Med/Surg. She began writing poetry  in 1998 as a result from meditation during stress relief classes. Since retiring she has participated in poetry groups both in the Community and on-line. She is originally from Australia, has lived in the Hawaiian Islands for most of her adult life and now lives on the mainland US.  Her poetry is a mixture from all these  places.   In her writing she has explored many forms but finds ease of expression mostly in free verse.  Her poems are included in an Anthology "A Bridge to ALL Nations."with other poets from  Connie's site: Poetry for Thought.

How Forms Shape a Poem's Content

Blog Posted:4/25/2013 9:31:00 PM
This is mainly to share a few interesting views I have encountered about form.

Poetry is sometimes described as an idea looking for a form or a form looking for an idea. Robert Hass in comparing metered poems with Free Verse states:

‘……the metrical poem begins with an assumption of human life which takes place
in a pattern of orderly recurrence with which the poet must come to terms-

Meter organizes accents into an overall pattern and more or less evenly times the lines bringing an organizing influence that allows the story to unfold.

The Free verse poem…begins with an assumption of openness or chaos
in which an order must be discovered.  The basic fact of free verse: each poem is shaped from within.  You’ll often hear a poet say they didn’t know where the poem would end when they began writing it but that it comes to them as a natural act of writing."

I also learned  this from an English professor about writing in Rhymes.

The mind becomes focused on finding the rhymes which tricks the analytic mind into allowing the intuitive mind to come forth.

and  lastly these valuable tips

1. A poem is a record of discovery. Avoid judgements, opinions and attitudes.
2. Allow the reader's heart and mind to open.
    This means don't end by telling. The most succesful poems rise at the finish.
3. Don't reverse syntax. We are tempted often to do this to make a rhyme fit.

4. Active verbs speed image. Adverbs can sound too forced.

5 Avoid abstractions.

6.  Vowel sounds effect the emotional sense
                                 ...'i' sound rises up
                                'e' cuts through tension.
                                'o' brings you down.

When using rhyme consider the emotional effect and choose vowel sounds accordingly.

.....and finally from Leonardo Da Vinci....There are ten attributes of sight....

darkness and brightness,
substance and color,
form and place,
remoteness and nearness,
movement and rest.

Hope you have enjoyed all the little gleanings from my poetry notes.

Wind to your wings, light to your path, dreams to your heart.

Two excellent books I recommend: are

The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes

The Art and Craft of poetry by Michael J Bugeja

which talks on choosing a form for a subject.

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Date: 4/26/2013 11:57:00 PM
I know Suzanne, my rhetoric, framed in verse, certainly bears no comparison to the likes of Freneau, who, in 1775 wrote in rhyme about the need for revolution in America.....I AM NOT for revolution....but, the theft of peoples assets and transfer to global bankers is criminal, and will lead soon to social unrest, I fear....these times require bold words....I am done with "shooting stars" poems, for a while ; ) jimbo
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James Marshall Goff
Date: 4/27/2013 8:30:00 AM
Thanks Su...
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Suzanne Delaney
Date: 4/27/2013 1:02:00 AM
Good for you Jimbo: No this is only meant as a guide and expressing ourselves is certainly an admirable function of writing. I will stop by and visit you tomorrow. Thanks for speaking up in defence of your poetry. This blog was in no way pointed at anyone personally. SuZ
Date: 4/26/2013 9:24:00 AM
Yes, a great free verse description in this one. too bad my free verse always ends up prose, but we all have natural ways of writing! Sounds really do matter in poetry!
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Suzanne Delaney
Date: 4/26/2013 3:26:00 PM
So many fine points to remember. I guess that is why a poem is really never finished and yet sometimes we can so work them to death we lose the magic of the initial inspiration.
Date: 4/26/2013 5:15:00 AM
I love that description of writing free verse, that's exactly how it feels to me - carefully shaping and forging some kind of order from a chaotic jumble of phrases, almost like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle...
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Suzanne Delaney
Date: 4/26/2013 3:23:00 PM
That was why I really wanted to share it. Each point was like an ah ha moment for me. Suz
Date: 4/26/2013 4:41:00 AM
Interesting. I both agree and disagree with every point! LOL! Yes, on discovery and no on discovery. Some of the best poems in the world were written BECAUSE of an opinion which became a discovery or--better yet-- a journey. Same goes for judgement, an off-shoot of raw emotion - hurt, anger, shock and even love. Some of the best books I've read on how to write poetry are actually not how to's, but the finished pieces of poets, known and unknown, historical and modern. I am currently riding the currents of Plath. Oh, how she changed, developed... reading her is like reading three poets, depending on which stage I explore. Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend, Cyndi
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Suzanne Delaney
Date: 4/26/2013 11:54:00 AM
Yes Cyndi Our whole experience is based on judgments I guess what he was meaning is what you expanded on, and to try and leave your poem open for the reader . I am glad you are enjoying Plath. She lived her poetry and then died by it. I know - reading is the most important thing we can do. Cheers, Suz
Date: 4/25/2013 10:47:00 PM
Thanks for this insight, SuZ. Free Verse is the most difficult form to write - it mimics natural speech, but the problem arises when accents clash and my intended "punch line" is lost on those not familiar with colloquial speech. Love, Su
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Suzanne Delaney
Date: 4/26/2013 3:22:00 PM
Glad you enjoyed it,Su Well you know that at least some part of your audience will. Lol

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