The first principle.
If you wait it will fade.
Explore the impulse. This assumes you have both inclination and wherewithal.
The second principle
Know something of it
Then, bin all you know
You won’t get there on rules gone stale in your head
steer by the new & fresh
The third principle
Let it settle then read it out loud
an audience is best
A large part of poetry is analysis of past works. Appreciating the work of others is fine, trundling through the way others have appreciated that work i.e. expressed their views by critique; by its nature is a constraint. Critiquing isn’t the same as creativity but is a step toward staleness. Ultimately, adherence to form stifles appreciation of the new.
7 The Best Kinds of Tragic Plot / 7.2 First Deduction (the Poetics)
It shouldn’t be predictable or too easy
Poetry can have rhythm of stress and sound without rhyme. Even repetition has value.
2 Poetry as a Species of Imitation / 2.1 Medium (the Poetics)
the medium of imitation is rhythm, language and melody
The following notes refer to my first poetry collection: Silt From Distant Lands.
1 Work (October 2010)
2 Desolation (July 2010)
3 As if you were near (October 2010)
4 Stoneyholme (March 2011)
5 Hospital (March 2013)
6 Football (March 2013)
7 Troglodyte (March 2014)
8 Evershade (July 2014)
9 Escaping the Guns of World War One (August 2014)
10 Byzantium Calls (September 2014)
11 Wee Doubter (August 2014)
12 Treasury Estimates (May 2014)
Forced rhythm 1. A world we all know.
Forced rhythm 2 A world where defeat in battle was ruinous for more than the combatants. A time past.
When I finished writing A Guide to First Contact, my all-powerful, but lonely alien, is left to rue her feelings. Part of her thought appears here:
Thirteen years of my young life I lived in a district of Burnley called Stoneyholme
A place: where you could be mugged in broad daylight by people that you knew; where the under-classes were their own worst enemy.
Oppression of the under-classes by the under-classes – a place to escape.
Haiku. For many years I’ve been intested in the East. In pursuit of this I’ve extended my collection of penguin classics, and so come into contact with the work of Bashō, Wang Wei, Li Po & Tu Fu. Back in 2013, Jim, our resident poet suggested we try our hands at Haiku. I did two pieces….
Irwell Writers (based in Bury, named after local river that ends up as part of the Mersey) are responsible for Never Bury Poetry. I was nudged into producing a piece by the club secretary, Jim Taylor. Never Bury Poetry is edited by Jean Sprackland.
This next piece originally started life as Everglade. Several months ago my local library decided to run a poetry competition, themed on Enchanted Forest. Not considering myself a poetry writer, I was in two minds whether to put something up. On the plus side I’d read hundreds of fantasy books which over the years has included a good proportion of twee, melodramatic ramblings. Much fantasy in poetry is a let down. As a rule it’s contrived and even less evocative than what it apes. Poetry in the style of _____. Euchh
So, let the critiquer give it a go!
Human nature is to idolise heroes – but here we have mechanised carnage – the message is how destructive state decisions can be. No heroes; no meaning; the minds of ever so many, irredeemably scarred; the unhinged left to find their own way in the world. War destroys civilised values. It’s awful. This war, mars the fruition of the age of the West. Its horrors are recorded at the very beginning of an age of global communication. Countless people have marked this in film, written word, song; it is commemorated by monument and institution. What more can be said?
I decided to take a step up the hierarchy of life and focus on different facets from a civilisation point of view.
The West called the East Roman Empire, Byzantine; the arab referred to is as Rüm. The Crusader sacking of Constantinople portended the collapse of Golden Age Islam i.e the destructin of the Khwarezmian Empire. Many of the references dwell on this latter point.
A poetry colleague recently told me that polemic was fine. I was horrified at the thought; regardless of my political convictions, it was plain to me that characters and ideas should speak for themselves. Why would I want my characters to be sock puppets? But it’s done. Deploying it requires deft hands – if it’s clumsy¹ I switch off. Being force-fed someone else’s political convictions is neither interesting nor fun. The choice for readers is: can I be bothered to connect?
Until recently my view on this had been ‘I’ll make my own mind up, so why shouldn’t others?’. With the Scottish referendum, new ideas began and I saw opportunity for humour.
At this point I ought to add background. I consider myself English, however that Englishness derives wholly from Scotland. 🙂 I didn’t have a vote in the referendum (I didn’t want one) but the antics of the SNP tempted a poetic retort. For example their attitude on Sterling. I watched the debates and read the papers. News articles multiplied e.g. Scotland should not take on UK debt unless it can keep the pound
I was bred in Burnley where day to day wit is de rigeur and if there’s irony, the harsher, the better. I prefer to soften it.
For the following an SNP doubter decides to grill Salmond. What will Alex answer?
¹ earnest, savage, crude.
In a similar vein… Salmond picks a fight with the UK Treasury.
2) Poetry as a Species of Imitation
5) Plot: Basic Concepts
6) Plot: Species and Components
7) The Best Kinds of Tragic Plot
8) Other Aspects of Tragedy
11) Problems and Solutions
In the main I write SF. I mix-n-match genres to suit the story which by definition can include Romance, History, Philosophy and the Kafka-esque. By inclination the fantasy I do is realistic. I also write Noir and Historical fiction. More on this here: Introduction.