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Is your writing influenced by your emotions?


tonyv
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Is your writing influenced by your emotions?  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. Is your writing influenced by your emotions?

    • Usually. I must have an emotional connection to my writing.
      5
    • Sometimes. I'm versatile, and I enjoy writing about many different subjects.
      2
    • Never. I approach the craft of writing objectively and scientifically.
      0


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I was reading about American songwriter DIANE WARREN (click on her name to read an article about her). She has written much of the songs for many of today's most popular musicians, TV shows, and movies. Her success in itself is noteworthy, but that which I find completely fascinating is the following statement about her (from the article in the above link):

Most of Warren's songs deal with romantic themes. In spite of that, she has never been married and says she has never been in love and does not enjoy dating.
Peruse the list of her songs in the linked article; you will probably recognize many of them. Okay, I admit that I don't like many of them -- they are not to my taste -- but I acknowledge that very many people do like them, and that the songs are competent. For me, it is completely mind-blowing that so many of the love songs played on the radio, purchased, and hummed by people every day were written by someone seemingly detached from the themes of the songs themselves.

 

For me, writing poetry usually starts out as a catharsis, like keeping a diary. Of course, I understand the difference between a diary entry and a poem, but my inspiration is usually derived from some emotional experience of my own. And though my poems start out this way, they often develop into something different; they don't always reflect my emotions or portray events exactly the way they happened. When this happens as part of my poetry-writing process, I usually become detached and try to write a quality poem for the reader, and I'm pleased if I succeed in writing a poem that borders on competent ... even if the poem is not a true snapshot of my emotional state. After all, when I go back and read the poem, I will recall from where the inspiration came, and the poem will be meaningful for me in that regard. Nevertheless, for me the inspiration is usually derived from an emotive state. Thus, I will put myself in the first category of the poll and answer that usually my writing is influenced by my emotions, and that (for now) I must have an emotional connection to my writing. Perhaps, I could be a better and more prolific writer if I tried writing in a detached way and about things to which I don't have an emotional connection. I'll have to try. Where do you fit in?

 

Tony

 

______________________________

Pictures of Diane Warren are HERE

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

A most fascinating peep into what moves and shakes a person's craft, you've given us :)

 

The point you make about how the writing process involves a certain distancing from the original emotions and impulse is a very good one. As a reader of your work over a few moons, I can see how this happens. This moving from the particular to the general or universal is certainly crucial for a piece of writing to speak to the reader, I think.

 

I'm not quite sure where in the first 2 options I would fit? I'm certainly not versatile but instinctively a certain displacement of my own voice is my first choice of writing. Yes, there's an emotional connection with the themes/issues which I write about and fundamentally, a writer cannot begin from a tabula rasa, so to speak. One's experiences, social, cultural and personal, provide the raw material, for the writing. In this sense, an emotional link is vital for writing for me.

 

However, although I run the ridicule of sounding "coy", I must say that writing in the first person has been a huge step for me. When I first began to write and post in a public forum, the BBC's Get Writing site ( which was later closed down), all my pieces (mainly short stories) were about people, outside myself (in a manner of speaking) and one of the criticisms about this kind of writing was that the reader did not get a sense of the emotions and feelings of the characters - the characters were complex but without an access to their interior. South Asian writers like VS Naipaul, RK Narayan, Rabindranath Tagore etc use a similar technique of a muted voice and where the nuanced interactions, settings, all build up the character's psychological make-up. Needless to say, my writing is not of their calibre but, your central motif of emotional link, Tony, is quite a testing point for someone like myself, who intuitively followed the less defined Asian voice.

 

Reading, reviewing and experimenting with a first person narrative in both poems and prose in a public forum has certainly opened my horizons. I remember particularly works of billydo (Mike), badger11, CadenzRime, Mikey51 on Writers Dock, all of whom use the first person voice to great effect. My first instinct is not a first person narrative but I can see how complexities of emotions and thoughts can be articulated in this mode.

 

I'm still learning.

 

 

Thank you for a great thread and I look forward to reading about other perspectives.

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Lovely topic Tony. I will jump here with my phylosophy of writing :) and sure I am going to vote too :)

 

thank you for this so useful and interesting topic ;)

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Hey to me emotion is everything in writing poetry! Without it I have nothing! Thats the reason I have not written or posted in months. You know me! I write on almost any subject and any style of poetry. Form, free verse. adult. political. erotic, adult humor, you name it! :D For me I have to feel something for there to be something to say, otherwise it is just empty words. Like husks of corn. The promise of great flavor but no substance. Oh god you've got me started now! I better shut up! :D

Great topic by the way.

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This is a great subject and it interesting to see how each of us approaches writing. I don't need an emotional connection to begin the process of writing but I do need an emotional connection to finish it. Does that make sense? Let me try to explain.

 

I can begin writing simply inspired by the sound of a word, or a rhyme combination or some other detatched objective. I need have no connection with the initial inspiration. However to complete the process the poem must become mine. I often become connected to a poem as it develops.

 

I have never had a problem with writing from the first person, my problem is to get rid of the first person.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Yes I agree that this is great topic. My writing is usual connected with my emotions. It happens to me to get some emotional flux and my hand to start writing. And after that I see what I wrote. I'm not always expressing in a first person, and doesn't mean that I always I write about me, but yes it comes from my emotional world. Most of my poems are written on that way, and most of the poems are from my dark mood and emotional euphoria. Most beautiful poems what I wrote are from the real emotionally down atmosphere. When I am sad, hurt, down, my hear and hand are blocking and then comes the poems by them self. I am just messenger of my heart and something makes the hand to write. Usually that happens at nights, often I was writing in dark, sometimes I have not watching were on the paper next to me I write.

But I can say that happened to me to sit and write poem too. Without some reason or high emotional mood. But I think even that it comes from something before. because just like that to sit and to say without to feel that I should do that, let's write a poem - I can write , yes, but it will not be attractive for the reader and for me too. I need concentration for doing all of this because I said, if I'm in soooo furious mood, I just feel the poem in me and I can't express, I see just white or black blind hangings and after that the poem comes alone - using me.

 

So I think I am in the first category from those options.

But I think even my thoughts are like this, sometimes is good to just write, doesn't mater is that a real poem or just words on paper, because some day that words could be a big inspiration.

Oh I must say about long time using inspiration when I needed relaxing and writing and when I wanted to broke that block - sometimes from unknown reasons. I was using and still I have some, some candles who was burning and I was changing the color of the candles and put on same place, and then the wax in color , and all those figures are taking me in other world where the poetry exist and that helps me to call my feelings and writing muses.

 

I think I said enough. That is me.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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I agree, Golden. It's unlikely that a writer could begin from a blank slate, because he comes to the task with all of his social, cultural, and other experiences, and (unless one is an android) therein lies an emotional connection.

 

The point you make about the Asian voice is fascinating. Perhaps due to my occidental mindset (and/or inexperience as a writer), I have the exact opposite challenge. Namely, I have to consciously strive to limit my use of the first person. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can't get around it, and it shows up in my writing, albeit less often than if I paid no attention to it whatsoever. Your mention of how the referenced Asian writers' use a "muted voice" technique where " ... the nuanced interactions, settings, all build up the character's psychological make-up," leads me to contemplate the following: if there is indeed a gamut of Western writing that minimizes the use of the first person (and there is -- likely that writing considered by many to be "good" writing), why is it often so challenging for beginning Western writers (like myself) to do the same? Perhaps, because of cultural differences (e.g. etiquette, upbringing, etc.) good writing comes more naturally to Asian writers. Or maybe I miss the point altogether, I don't know ...

 

As to where you fit into the poll, only you can answer that. Perhaps I muddied the waters by introducing the word "versatile" into the second option of a topic about emotional connection to inspiration. Certainly, one who is in the first category can also be versatile. Please disregard that word, when pondering which category best describes you. I'm still learning, too.

 

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Hey to me emotion is everything in writing poetry! Without it I have nothing! Thats the reason I have not written or posted in months. You know me! I write on almost any subject and any style of poetry. Form, free verse. adult. political. erotic, adult humor, you name it! :D For me I have to feel something for there to be something to say, otherwise it is just empty words. Like husks of corn. The promise of great flavor but no substance. Oh god you've got me started now! I better shut up! :D

Great topic by the way.

 

Hear, hear! I know what you mean, Fader. I find that whenever I've tried to write without any emotional inspiration, I always drivel banality. As you say, empty words. Point well taken ...

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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I don't need an emotional connection to begin the process of writing but I do need an emotional connection to finish it. Does that make sense? Let me try to explain.

 

I can begin writing simply inspired by the sound of a word, or a rhyme combination or some other detatched objective. I need have no connection with the initial inspiration. However to complete the process the poem must become mine. I often become connected to a poem as it develops.

 

Fascinating, Tinker! This seems like a technique one could consciously try: start aloof, then form an attachment. I never considered it, and I might just try it!

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Yes I agree that this is great topic. My writing is usual connected with my emotions. It happens to me to get some emotional flux and my hand to start writing. And after that I see what I wrote. I'm not always expressing in a first person, and doesn't mean that I always I write about me, but yes it comes from my emotional world. Most of my poems are written on that way, and most of the poems are from my dark mood and emotional euphoria. Most beautiful poems what I wrote are from the real emotionally down atmosphere. When I am sad, hurt, down, my hear and hand are blocking and then comes the poems by them self. I am just messenger of my heart and something makes the hand to write. Usually that happens at nights, often I was writing in dark, sometimes I have not watching were on the paper next to me I write.

But I can say that happened to me to sit and write poem too. Without some reason or high emotional mood. But I think even that it comes from something before. because just like that to sit and to say without to feel that I should do that, let's write a poem - I can write , yes, but it will not be attractive for the reader and for me too. I need concentration for doing all of this because I said, if I'm in soooo furious mood, I just feel the poem in me and I can't express, I see just white or black blind hangings and after that the poem comes alone - using me.

 

So I think I am in the first category from those options.

But I think even my thoughts are like this, sometimes is good to just write, doesn't mater is that a real poem or just words on paper, because some day that words could be a big inspiration.

Oh I must say about long time using inspiration when I needed relaxing and writing and when I wanted to broke that block - sometimes from unknown reasons. I was using and still I have some, some candles who was burning and I was changing the color of the candles and put on same place, and then the wax in color , and all those figures are taking me in other world where the poetry exist and that helps me to call my feelings and writing muses.

 

I think I said enough. That is me.

 

Aleksandra

 

Aleksandre, for me, it's mind-blowing how you can almost instinctively produce a poem drawn from your emotional world, yet the poem won't necessarily be directly "about" you or in the first person. And you make a sound point, where you note that even when you do write a poem without an immediate emotional/inspirational connection, usually there is some emotional connection to something from before.

 

When you say, "... doesn't mater is that a real poem or just words on paper, because some day that words could be a big inspiration," it validates your other point of the emotion and inspiration coming from a time before. I do the same when I scribble in my notebooks. Sometimes I go back and look, and I'm able to derive inspiration and compose a poem from the words and ideas which themselves (as written in the notebook) are meaningless. I also like your candle idea :) ... I'll have to try it!

 

You have a sharp mind and a good eye for art. It's much better than mine, and you know I adore it.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Ah Tony :). thank you for you beautiful words. The candle idea you should try it yes. And your eye for art, is so beautiful so don't be so modest ;)

 

Aleksandra :)

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hi again Tony,

 

Thank you for your considered reply.

 

Yes, I'm fascinated by both yours and Tink's posts about trying to "limit" the use of "the first person". I hope I'm not derailing your thread but your response as also Tink's made me wonder about the use of the first person.

 

The first person voice works quite well in Proust, who is openly narcissistic and one cannot imagine his works having that same effect and power any other way. Sartre and Anais Nin are two writers whose self absorbed style does not work (for me,I hasten to add). The other extreme of this pervading first person is the Deconstruction stance where the writer's voice is eliminated and the "text" is woven out of innumerable other "texts", with no final meaning or intention.

 

In the case of Asian writers, two contemporary ones _ Kiran Desai and Rohinton Mistry - both write of Indians caught up in the political, social, economic strands of contemporary India. Mistry, who is a Parsi, writes with an intimacy of knowledge and emotional intensity that cannot but have come from his own experiences as a Parsi living in Bombay, and how this community copes with political upheavals - the 19702 Indira Gandhi Emergency Rule ( one of political terror and dictatorship) and the radical Hindu fundamentalists' sweep of Indian politics in the late 1990s - the race riots and destruction of the Barbri Mosque and its aftermath in which thousands of Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu fundamentalists. Yet Mistry's voice is subtle, muted and all that the reader is aware of is the mesh of lives of the characters.

 

I'm not sure if "good writing" comes "naturally" to Asians. Like you said, cultural, social and up bringing certainly influence the writer's perspective and voice. There are many fine Western writers - Conrad, Joyce, Beckett - who have a much more nuanced although unmistakable author's presence in their works.

 

Perhaps the point Dr. Suzuki made about "ego" and Zen Buddhism has some relevance here? He cites Wordsworth as an example of occidental literary practice in which the "ego" dominates. These are not the examples Suzuki gave, but perhaps we could illustrate this point - in the Daffodils, the opening line :

 

"I wander'd lonely as a cloud""

 

Wordsworth personifies "nature" - nature is absorbed into his person and voice ( Suzuki's point about 'ego" ridden) Again, in his other poem, Upon West Minster Bridge, the poem pivots on this line:

 

"Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep"

 

In contrast Suzuki observes, Basho evokes similar rapture in nature and solitude, in haiku, where the writer's voice and presence are muted. To use two haiku by Basho ( not examples used by Suzuki):

 

with a warbler

for a soul, it sleeps peacefully

this mountain willow

 

And:

 

All along this road

not a single soul - only

autumn evening comes.

 

 

 

Not sure if any of this makes sense? But can I just conclude that including "versatile" in the second option of your poll gives many writers here a chance to pin point their writing style and tenor. There are always others like myself who fall through the loop. So no need for apologies, my friend.

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Hi, Reminded by Tony in another thread, I picked up my copy of the book A Poet's Guide to Poetry by Mary Kenzie and was glancing through it. In the introduction Kenzie gives an introduction exercise to the poets, for beginning as well as experienced writers.

 

She says to write a 20 lines or more of Blank Verse (iambic pentameter without rhyme and with occasional enjambment. ) You are use the three-part organization of the poems by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Larkin, Nemerov, and Gunn (1. describe a scene 2. write a meditation from something experienced by the speaker which was triggered by the scene and lastly 3. return to the intial scene with a sense of resolution or understanding, the poem should return to the place it began, which has been implicitely altered by the meditation and resultant insight. )

 

I can't say that this is how I always write a poem, but I can say it is sometimes... A scene in which I have no attachment can inspire a poem, but as the poem grows I must bring in my own experience to connect to the scene and then there is insight. So the inspiration need not initially touch my emotions but as it grows an emotional connection is brought about.

 

Anyway after saying all of that, I believe BALANCE is key to successful writing. Being open to exploring images and experiences which are outside of yourself, but at the same time connecting those images with your own emotions. If you don't feel it, your reader won't feel it.

 

As far as the "I" in poetry, I think Western cultures, especially the American culture are more ego driven than Eastern cultures. That is a pretty broad statement and maybe I should qualify it by saying that I believe my culture (American) is ego driven and I don't always see that coming out of other cultures.

 

Here in the US the individual, self reliance, self made achievements are the most honored. Even our government which we call democratic (majority rule) is not really democratic but is a republic to give less populated states equal voice with those with those states with larger populations. From the beginning we built into our Constitution rights for the individual. (I am not so naive to believe that we adhere to all of the ideals all of the time, but they remain and are revered as the ideals for which we strive. ) We believe we have the right to speak out, step up, be heard and we do. But the other side of the coin of being the self reliant individual is that we can easily become self centered.)

 

My struggle is to maintain a balance. I am a product of my environment, I am proud of my accomplishments as an individual, I by nature begin with my own agenda. Though, I would never be that ugly American who poked gl at the holy procession in her country, I do recognize the rights of other individuals as well as my own. But I find can sometimes cross that line from self reliance to self centeredness and it plays out in my poetry.

 

I love the discipline of Eastern poetry. I am particularly drawn to Japanese form because the emotion is drawn from the image. It is for the most part egoless. That is the beauty of it. The philosophy of Zen to be enlightened to become one with all (that is way oversimplified but you get what I am saying) often is infused in the poetry of the East. If the poet is one with all, then the reader becomes a part of the poem. I love this concept.

 

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Thank you again, Golden, for all the additional helpful thoughts. The point you make about the possibility of writing well in the first person is well-taken.

 

I had to Wiki Proust and Sartre. Anais Nin is familiar to me only to the extent that I have one book by Tristine Rainer, called The New Diary, which contains a preface by Nin, who (to my understanding) was a diarist. That book itself is really just about using the diary as a cathartic tool.

 

The examples you gave are excellent. When compared, the Wordsworth and Basho lines essentially convey the same feeling, that of loneliness or solitude, albeit in different ways. I especially like the first Wordsworth line and the second Haiku.

 

For the purposes of our discussion pertaining to the use of the first person in Western versus Asian writing, in addition to the ostensible environmental factors (like culture and upbringing), we might recognize that the different languages themselves (being products and reflections of the various cultures) might come with their own in-grained freedoms and limitations. Vocabularies could differ; one language might have ten different words for "table," while another might only have a few. I don't know. It's just another thought ...

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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I agree, Tinker, balance is the key. As you point out, even if we start a poem about something to which we have no attachment, we inevitably bring to it our own experiences and ideals. This is probably unavoidable.

 

We know that a diary entry causes the diarist to feel something, whereas a poem must cause the reader to experience or feel something. I like how you have taken and augmented that principle where you say,

 

If you don't feel it, your reader won't feel it.

 

 

As for our form of government, I agree: our country is certainly not a democracy; it is a constitutional republic. Democracy=mob rules. Under our constitution, a million people can't lawfully "vote away" the rights of one individual.

 

Thanks for all the the additional, most valuable thoughts.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

hi everyone, tony:

 

im glad i stumbled onto this subject post. i know ive heard of at least 20 of these songs if not more by diane warren. that said. my poetry is fueled by my emotions. i know i could not write without feelings in my writings. my writings i feel would be meaningless without mood, feelings, and mostly emotions. many times love songs and theme songs fuel my poetry, thanks for a great topic tony. im sad so few people have commented on this post/subject.

 

victor

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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hi everyone, tony:

 

im glad i stumbled onto this subject post. i know ive heard of at least 20 of these songs if not more by diane warren. that said. my poetry is fueled by my emotions. i know i could not write without feelings in my writings. my writings i feel would be meaningless without mood, feelings, and mostly emotions. many times love songs and theme songs fuel my poetry, thanks for a great topic tony. im sad so few people have commented on this post/subject.

 

victor

 

I agree with you Victor, this post deserve more. That is our fluid about our writing poetry so it's interesting to talk on this subject. Thanks Vic for bringing up this topic.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Hi everyone,

 

Looking at the other posts it's starkly obvious that I'm no poetic scholar. That said, here's my short take on the subject. I think it would be hard to write a meaningful poem without some emotional connection to it. Emotions can range, of course, from sadness, hate, anger, fear, love, and happiness. And emotion can be construed as inspiration. The best poem I ever wrote was during a period of high inspiration. I can't put words to describe that feeling, but when I read it now it make's everything else I've written seem poor in comparison. And it's surely true that many of the contributed poetry here comes from deep inside the writer.

 

It seems nothing can get the poetic juices flowing like lost love. Or found love. Or something to do with the close human relationship and often the result is heartwretching and sad. I have a couple of poems that lean that way but I've never shared them. I seldom write sad because I seldom feel sad. Much of my inspiration comes from something I've read, or music, or experience. Some of the poems I write include, good grief, rhyme. This may be because some of my poems are written as songs. And some become songs long after they were written. Others, of course, remain poems. Still, all in all, I like to write rhyme.

 

Form poetry is another matter. Those who can write a moving Villanelle or Tersa Rima are incredible, and I much envy them. Lastly, I logged on to this thread last night and felt inspired to add something because there was dissapointment expressed at the lack of participation to this interesting topic. Though I hardly participate, I feel an emotional connection to this board, and that says something about the poets here. --- Til Sover

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  • 1 year later...

There are only three basic 'things' we can share/communicate by speech or writing: knowledge, belief and emotion.

 

Each of these can be'broken down' into specifics, but that is not necessary, if we can hope to not overcomplicate things, an easy thing to do.

 

Few communications are purely on one of these abstracts, and a major portion contains all three because that is what we are.

 

Poetry can be held to do that, but emotion should dominate. It is important for a poem to have content, a solid core, no matter how small, anchored in reality. What makes poems special is that the content is condensed as much as is possible to let the emotion/feelin(s) that drive it be clearly notable.

 

That is why poetry requires the writer to pay close attention to vocabulary. Nouns and verbs can be regarded as the bones connected by conjunctions, prepositions and pronouns. Adfjectives and adverbs are needed, but the wrong matches are likely to detract rather than to add color and grace w/o which we have plain prose. It is significant that articles are adjectives as well and their proper use is important.

 

Thus, why I do write about anythingf, emotion is what makes me want to write.

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Hi, Reminded by Tony in another thread, I picked up my copy of the book A Poet's Guide to Poetry by Mary Kenzie and was glancing through it. In the introduction Kenzie gives an introduction exercise to the poets, for beginning as well as experienced writers.

 

She says to write a 20 lines or more of Blank Verse

- - Easy to say, but writing blanc verse is the more difficult endeavour, for one does not have the crutch of rhyme, which, at least for me, helps to find a rhythm/cadence and smooth flow. I can do prose more eeasily than that, though I'd rather not. Any real experience or observation can trigger a corresponding reaction/emotion from me.

 

You are {to} use the three-part organization of the poems by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Larkin, Nemerov, and Gunn (1. describe a scene 2. write a meditation from something experienced by the speaker which was triggered by the scene and lastly 3. return to the intial scene with a sense of resolution or understanding, the poem should return to the place it began, which has been implicitely altered by the meditation and resultant insight. )

- - Describing a scene can take too much space, but the idea of returning to the trigger has much merit.

 

As far as the "I" in poetry, I think Western cultures, especially the American culture are more ego driven than Eastern cultures. That is a pretty broad statement and maybe I should qualify it by saying that I believe my culture (American) is ego driven and I don't always see that coming out of other cultures.

- - My take is that (from the point of having multi-lingual insight :@@ ) there amazingly few truely poetic valid translations, and that renders such poems in a somewhat mysterious charming way which we cannot duplicate and cannot melp but admire/idolize.

 

~~Tink

 

Interesting thoughts, but there is more than I can offer some valid thought for. I have chosen to insert some for the most pertinent-to-our-craft comments.

Edited by waxwings
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