Novice (New) Poet

1 reply [Last post]
allets's picture
Online
Joined: 2012/08/19

 

Start by not stating the reality negatively. Avoid no, not, ain't, cannot, will not, and absolutely shall not. Avoid archaic language, it does not make it MORE poetic. Sentiment simply sucks. Poetry is a discipline and hopefully, someday, the novice poet will embrace the study needed to attain the goal of becoming an actual poet. Poetry becomes a body part, like toes or hair. It becomes a vital motivation force for the personality; simply stated, you become poetry. It becomes a part of your way of working with words well. 

.

Aim for at least one poetic device in each verse. (see Prosody on Google).  Do the work. Porn, mild or effusive, is not poetry either. Poetry is the attempt to equal in writing what emotion is to human existence. Period. A mouthful, yes, now go spend a lifetime trying to figure out what that means. If it does not talk about humans it is not a part of the humanities. Accept it now or after you have penned your thousandth poem and you can learn it then: Oh! I can relate all my writing to people. Oooooh. 

.

Learn it now. A box is never just a box or a sky air and water and vapor - you are the sky, kick open the box, add drama (action) meaning (say something profound) be topical (contemporary) or historical (old concepts) but be always inside the images you make. Implied human characteristics are fine. Haiku substitutes nature, but  the initial posture is human IN or AS nature. Be the sidewalk, the dirt, I am glass. (damn that's pretty good for a first line, grabs the reader right off.) "I am glass, see through or reflective and unlying."

.

The mixed metaphorical language found in novice poets is easily solved. Say it, say it differently, then say it again. One poem says the main theme that is condensed in the title and summarized in the last lines of the poem. Read my article on adjectives over and over until it sinks in. Read about adverbs and go a bit crazy until something clicks and you start using them in your writing.

.  

In between title and a masterfully great ending is imagery that says the same thing. If you start talking about skin texture, that is the theme (pores, hairs, color, texture, wrinkles, moles etc.) or it is working to the theme, introducing it, delving inside it, and what I call mining the imagery. Somewhere in the first 2-3 lines the theme "skin" of the poem should be stated or implied. The poem is about some THING or PERSON or ANIMAL or state of being or state of matter (why be limited).

.

Exercise: write a list of synonyms (words that mean the same thing) then use them one in each verse - to create a semblance of unity/glue/community) between each section of the poem. Look up each word's definitions and use that in the poem. Look up synonyms, find denotations and connotations for words. Words are the tools of poetry. Example: sun star Sol equal heat sunshine light Earth. Earth's star, warm/hot, yellow/white or clouded obscured hidden shaded. The words to use in the poem are sifted from the definitions of the title words and ending lines words. Like goes with like. DO NOT MIX METAPHORS! :D

.

Study, learn all of its uses: PUNCTUATION. They are guides for how to read the poem and they separate concepts to keep the work from becoming modern art. Jackson Pollock poetry is not the goal, new writer. You want Rembrandt. Some think it clever - personal, mine only, fine, but for the reader - punctuation is absolutely necessary, it is mandated for clarity. it is how what you think is transmitted to the reader as precisely as possible. 

.

Examine the uses of punctuation, pauses and stops, questions and exclamations in a novel. Learn use that way. BUT USE PUNCTUATION. period. Lazy does not equal success, it equals a lifetime of novice status. But other writer do it. Does meaning suffer in those writes or do they blend together into ambiguity? Well, that was my goal to confuse the reader, may be your reply. Okay. Novice. Learn to use the semi colon and colon.

.

The line break substituting as a period works or where a comma should be - yes, but that takes skills beyond those of the new writer. Learn how it is done first before you deconstruct. And deconstruction of grammar is a poet's calling, but not to the point of sacrificing meaning and rhythm. Meaning and flow are paramount to writing better (I don't say well or writing exceptionally). Aim with each new poem to improve. I do. You might try it. Discovery of ways to say are potential waiting to come into your world. 

.

Logic is another fatality or casualty in novice writing. First attempts are great and are encouraged. Do not stop writing, you will get there. I did, you will. Otherwise, you do not grow as a writer. Keep writing. But mixing building a house with walking in a garden full of tulips while flying past Jupiter attempts way too much for the emotional impact to sustain logic. Each of those ideas are too big for one poem and are the themes for three different poems. 3 DIFFERENT POEMS! Skilled poets (those who have done hundreds of hours of work, yes work, experimenting with making their lines unique and in their voice) might be able to pull off mixing metaphors, but the novice usually slaughters the flow, the rhythm, and the theme which ends in a maze of dysfunctional unity and misunderstanding. Clarity is a goal to seek initially. Seek it.

.

Nothing about writing is chipped in stone. But there are sign posts that can be absorbed and followed as a general way of cutting away the chaff to get to the grain inside your head where you emote and ideate. This is why writers in college writing classes are encouraged to keep a journal or write letters to themselves - after 10 thousand words, the boredom alone forces creativity. I wrote the first novel 40 times before I rid myself of simply saying and over time, 50 years, eventually discovered "my voice" my unique way of saying. I know, who plans to be a professional published authority called a writer? I just want to express myself to my mom or boyfriend or grandpa or everyone. That is fine, but eventually you will become frustrated when reading really "great" poetry. How did the writer do that becomes the question for the novice who then abandons writing or digs in and studies prosody. (see Google)

. 

Discipline comes from study. It is unavoidable. Put in the box, you fight your way out because poets resist norm and destroy norm to create that which is "newer" or "fresh expression" that  departs from everything you have ever read. Originality will eventually happen. Copying a form is not the same thing as adopting it as yours, that is theft (plagiarism). Yours evolves from writing haiku, limericks, song lyrics (even rap unfortunately) using banter, humor, pathos, hellishness, evil, joy, ennui, commentary, chiaroscuro, and yes, rhymes (which I try to avoid because: a. already overdone, b. hard to take the time to do precisely - novices get close to what kinda rhymes and keep going. It is hard to hold true to the integrity of the write as artifice that attempts to enter the realm of humanism expressed as emotion when forced to make it rhyme and be a couplet or sonnet. For the attainment of true insanity, research the format for a sestina. I have written two in my lifetime.

. 

Rhyme is very difficult and requires time and a large vocabulary. (See my poem "Medical Limerick"). It took me a week or more to write it and hone it and make it witty and inside the form, rhymed. The brain drains and strains and does the work and sweat happens and killing many lines that refused to work happened to find the theme attached perfectly to a rhyme--is what it took. Having read several thousand novels didn't hurt either and poetry by ton weight helped a little. Mary had that little lamb, assuredly, but Shakespeare and Dickens and Baraka and Whitman, Sanchez and Delaney helped expand the lyrical and emotional dialog as vocabulary.

. 

Once the poem is made logical (makes sense) and the cliches are purged "Oh, My love, I want you to be mine forever and ever and ever and ever," then imagery can be introduced. What is caesura? What is onomatopoeia? How can texture and color enhance the imagery? What is a near rhyme? Example: cool/soul - the vowels (or diphthongs ea,ie,ey,ae,ee) may have to carry the rhyme.

.

Simile and metaphor. Learn them, then write them as exercises. At some point in a poem you are going to call a rose an airplane or compare truly like objects or concepts like: my hand is a sieve or my desks become words. Unlike concepts stretch to locate the comparison that pushes the poem into emotion and away from the simply stated. Dress the poem's lines in words that force new ideation connections - Example: the poet writes on a computer becomes: I used to be a keyboard (simile - she is a keyboard) each key is a paintbrush, (simile) like an idea that wants to paint its place on the canvas (metaphor) like a dream of words speaking in pixels. (metaphor) as a artist lost in a black and white period, the words live as if they were a motif. (metaphor & simile).

.

 

Practice then rewrite and rewrite until something "clicks" in your head that finds the counterpart on the page. Give yourself the freedom to do that and give yourself time to achieve a different plateau, your stage, for saying something. There are millions of writers now because of the computer technology, and the novice can continue to simple say what they feel and share it. Usually, the ideas shared are not unique: or elevated to become unique. Example. Our love is broken like Humpty Dumpty changed to: I am the shards, shattered egg shells below a high wall, considering wholeness and the essence of loss. (it is a transformation, a location of the right imagery or comparative items in interesting relationships to each other that create something original).

.

Originality is a theme in art that has had billions of typed letters associated with attempting to explain it. Let it simply be absorbed that reading, writing, rewriting, exploring word forms and phraseologies lead you there eventually. A skilled writer, just writes, edits lightly, and liking the style, the emotion shared as exactly as possible, the execution, the outcome, the final product, then like Sandburg's fog moves on. A poem is never finished. Watch length, say in two verses what you have attempted in 5-8. Condense and do not repeat lines or words (for a while). Each word has value and is enough to say what is meant. Every word is a heartbeat and keeps the body of the poem alive all by itself. That is why choosing vocabulary is important.

.

I hope this helps. It is difficult to emerge from simple lines gleaned from all those songs and nursery rhymes and clichés and sayings. Rework them. Example: I love you so much it hurts. To: Pain is not supposed to replace you when you leave the room. (the feeling described, reworked, a bit differently, from another angle). or: I yearn for your touch. To: It is the longing as wanting and desire in the wish to touch the sweat. 

.

Okay, not great poetry, but the direction is in there to twist it and torture the concepts into something newer, yours, and ENTERTAINING. The path is a multiple road forked with many directions. I offer a few. My hope is that, as a new artist, you will chose one and travel it to the end that leads to your unique way of saying (writing down) human emotion.

.

Now, that the entity called poem makes sense logically, has punctuation, and no negatives (life reaches for the positivity of existence and continuity) with all the clichés reworked or removed, you are ready to revise your writing habits.

.

A good ending nails the entire write: refers back to the title, summarizes the entire poem and makes a statement – the emotion lives inside the imagery and it is still a prose poem (without rhymes tacked on as an afterthought). Ideas are to be transformed into pictures and lines that contain and ARE emotion. That is the goal of poetry. That is the ARTIFICE, the invitation that elevates the reader to join the experience. You can not just tell the reader the drama, you have to create it, enact it, and express it using selective vocabulary. i.e., passion is good, descriptive emotional word (over-used though). Excoriant is fabulous. "excoriant" is not a word - but it estimates the emotion better. (excoriation - a harsh criticism). You learn to live inside language, inside the need for definitions, the need for a new grammar.

.

Poets expand their vocabulary: I learn new words all the time and use them or turn them into emotional units of imagery. It is a smeltering down, a condensation, a merging of the senses with rhythm and logical “weaving” of symbols as comparisons close to the vibrations released from the initial idea “I love you like this” which says it, but there is an avoidance of the music in the voice. Instead: “I want you to love me like this” says more than all the love letters ever written.

.
Novice writers will not study prosody (the tools of poetry) but it is advised. I hope you will read my folder on English: it explores all of the above and tells you how to write all of the above. Studying poetry is needed here and a little prosody goes a long way (years). Then you can evolve. Poets never go dry, they get tired, exhausted, mentally limboed. Dry? The world is full of ideas and images and folks to write about. A new poet can not go dry. It is a function: wringing all the life giving water out of the brain's synapses. Brain sweat will do that. In the novice poet to not be able to write means it is time to study prosody (see Google).
.
This got long. Hope it does not offend. If your response is: "I'm not doing any of that!" You are wrong. Once anything is put in your brain, unless you have deficiencies and can't remember and recall, it is in there and will eventually come out in some form or other. That is the magic of studying poetry. Just the suggestion that you use punctuation will make you look at uses and artistic formats of commas and dashes, ellipses, quote marks, and brackets, colons and semi-colons, and the phenomenal period when you read something in the future. 

.

VOICE: You have to discover your own voice. Your own set of unique imagery as spoken. You have to see it and react to it, not just say it undramatically. Centering all the lines is not going to improve the content. Triple spacing is silly. Spreading the poem all over the page loses the reader unless it is exquisite writing or artistically clever. Tone is best made consistent throughout a poem. Talking about death is slower, fun is fast, joy is full of fun words. Tone, the general flavor of the phrases that declare this is the way this should be read and felt. Tone. If you write using single and double syllable words only, try 3-5 syllable words - change it up to manipulate tone and give it a series of beats. Simply makes it more interesting. Change tenses, a whole new gear of writing happens. Your voice is the way you form words in your head before you speak. Easy. I doubt the word "thou" or "thence" or "thinketh" is in the composition processes of your brain's manufactory.

.

Good luck novice writer. The veterans are sitting back reading this and laughing-gut critically thinking: Naw that ain't it. This is not the only way to get there. This enhances instruction and gives you possible directions for exploration. It's all good. This is only one place to start. Just start.

.

allets

03-28-19

1036A

.

What is your favorite element of style?

 

 

 

 

allets's picture
Online
Joined: 2012/08/19
Note: Proofing

I relocated this to word and found about 14 misspelled words. It's hard being a writer who can not spell. :D slc