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Exploring the Craft of Writing Poetry From Around the World

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"There are two men inside the artist,
the poet and the craftsman.
One is born a poet.
One becomes a craftsman. . ."
~ ~ Emile Zola to Cézanne, 16 April, 1860

Poetry stirs the emotions as much by the manner of delivery as the message. The message comes from a poet's experiences, observations, imagination and most importantly, the poet's soul. The manner of delivery or craft comes from a poet's intellect and training. It is magic when soul and intellect work in harmony to touch the reader. Anyone can write a poem, the poet aspires to create the magic beyond the poem, something we call poetry.

We write about what we know, feel, imagine or dream, we either have it or we don't. It is how we write that we can study, develop and fine tune. “All the fun is how you say a thing.” Robert Frost.

I am a student of poetry, not an authority. I began recording the results of my study to help improve my own writing. I've researched the history and evolution of verse to better understand the craft by gathering a good cross section of resources. Several books as well as the internet were used in this quest and I try to use at least three concurring views to confirm my findings. Of course, what we read in a book or on the internet is not always accurate or complete. Often part of a puzzle is found in one source and a second or third part in another. With that in mind, I believe all of the sources used begin with a passion for poetry.

Within this study poetic movements, technique, genre, stanza form, verse form, meter, grammatical and rhetorical devices are separated, categorized and identified as succinctly as possible. To avoid blurring of the lines, I attempt to use precise and sometimes technical language for which a glossary is also provided. Poetry is all about stepping beyond the expected, but a good writer should know the rules before breaking them. In poetry the rules of good writing become tools to be bent, remolded and recreated.

Unfortunately, I am limited to resources written in the English language and a little Spanish but I sometimes use examples in other languages. I may not know what the words say but I can count syllables and I can hear rhyme.

I love it when a poet attempts to write using an ancient frame. It is not only a challenge to the poet's skills but it also connects the reader in a small way to the roots and evolution of language and literature. Variation of established structures happens all of the time even by the masters and stepping outside of the confines of rigid form is common place. Other than when I am specifically writing a poem as an example of a particular structure I believe the content always comes first, the structure second. But when a traditional frame can enrich the content it is a thing of beauty.

Example poems are either provided with the permission of the poet, found in the public domain or were written by me. The material found in the public domain and included within the content of this research is done so on a non-profit basis for educational and discussion purposes only. I believe this qualifies as 'fair use' of copyrighted material as provided for in 17 USC § 107. I sometimes include a stanza from a longer poem in order to demonstrate the frame, particularly if I was unable to contact and secure permission from the poet. Regardless, the author and source is always identified. Also, direct quotes from other sources are credited. If you want to copy my work, you are welcome but please extend me the courtesy of acknowledging where you obtained the information.

I appreciate the gracious acceptance and permissions from the poets I have contacted requesting use of their work. So far, none have refused me. A special thank you to Barbara Hartman and Rex Allen Brewer for assisting me in writing specific example poems and to some of the members of Poetry Magnum Opus, PoetryPatrol and Poetry Connection, Lucy Lu, Brendan Lyons, Phil Wood, Robert Murtaugh, Frank Gibbard, Xiao-zhen, Tõnis Veenpere, Aleksandra, Mike Montreiul, Fred Johnson, Rachel Hommel, Geoffrey Le Voguer, Lawrence Eberhart, Rohit Jain, David Parsley, DC Martinson, Zoe Fitzgerald, Tammi, and Arthur Eckhart who have generously given me permission to include some of their work in these articles. Thanks also to Ike Sarma who continues to challenge me to share this study with precision and clarity. And for all of countless hours of technical support in putting this forum together, THANK YOU SO MUCH TONY! I am grateful to all of the members of Poetry Magnum Opus, the Poetry Patrol and Poetry Connection.net for their support in producing this work. Included in the bibliography are many of the sites and books used in this research.

Herein are identified over 1000 genres, techniques or forms of poetry. I provide a Glossary of Poetic Terms as well as an Alpha Index to all Poetic Genres, Stanza and Verse Forms and grouping of forms by national origin or genre with links. This site contains the results of my research as it develops.

Thanks for reading,

Judi Van Gorder AKA Tinker

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