Friday, June 24, 2005

The Logic of Astrometry

Warning: you are entering a shop talk zone. But I need to blog about the making of my poems more often. For me, if not for you my occasional reader. So please bear with me. Feel free to bug out, or even better, comment.

Yesterday’s poem began as a strict tetrameter operation of eight lines in two stanzas. Let’s face it, the poem is but a banal observation of the summer solstice and love in general, and more of an extended metaphor than any kind of critical examination. Influenced by Creelely lately and his short but holistic lines (see my comments on his poem ‘Wait’ on Loren’s post), as well as Timothy Murphy and his strict iambs, I thought the poem might break into dimeter fairly well. And it did.

Of course, the lines were now a bit random, and needed some work to justify the breaks and their actual existence as separate entities. While working this, I loosened up the meter a bit. And that was my epiphany.

Looking at the lines as tetrameter, but loosening them up in dimeter, allows for a poem with a rhythmic feel, a free verse look, and a brevity, that to me, is refreshing. It also allows for some creative synergy of line to meaning (I particularly liked “suffers some passionate” which is a dactyl line that, I think, nicely reverses the rhythm of the poem as the hangover mirrors inebriation, and extends the dimeter to six syllables [the stanza slowly reverts back to iambic in the next two lines, like a hangover slowly recedes the day after {of course, I wouldn’t know about this, but I hear things}]).

I’m sure this bastardized form will satisfy few but myself. It’s not formal enough for formalists, avant enough for postmodernists, or free enough for that 'middlebrow' group inbetween. But it’s only Son Rivers and I like it. So, I may be playing with this form for some time.

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