Friday, January 20, 2006

More Mepoetics: Just Another Rhymin’ Simon Says

Revisiting some formalist poets in order to give Greg Perry some examples of contemporary poetry I thought he would like given his propensity towards the formal, I realized I really do like the stuff. I just wish sometimes it could be a bit more experimental. Or playful maybe. Lighten up in some ways. Address the important things in other ways. Jump that fault which opened in the mid-sixties. I’m not thinking it has to go all the way towards avant, but somewhere left of Kennedy and Frost (it was forty-five years ago today) might be nice.

So I decided to write a somewhat strict sonnet (see yesterday’s post for the scene of the crime), something I hadn’t done in some time. But playful. The metrics of course aren’t much different than things I’ve been writing recently. The rhyme is, though. Rhyme can lead you to some awkward syntax if you’re not careful. Especially if you’re attempting a conversational tone. Like a poem I’ve recently read on another blog (OK, it’s here. I once was impetus for an encyclical from the Bemsha See pontificating that criticism amongst bloggers was in his opinion taboo because god knows there’s bigger fish to fry elsewhere but as I think on it now I believe that’s ill-advised and in fact blogs won’t be more than sales and marketing devices until some real critical back and forth begins on one another's poems and not just their diarrhea of poetics [and to fess up even more, the impetus was a tirade on a poem by Paul Guest in Slate which I believed was quite, well, not good, but later deleted said criticism because of aforementioned blogger guilt]). Things get shoehorned into tight places. In other places, extraneous words fill the metrical gaps. Uncomfortable turns are taken.

But rhyme can also bring you to unexpected places if you go carefully with the flow. Yes, I’m guilty of using a rhyming dictionary (my formalista stripes are being stripped as I write that). I’ll review its choices and let my intuition choose a word that connects with the train of thought being developed within the poem. I try not to force things. I try to let my instinct guide the flow of the poem to that next rhyme. Not being strictly conversational helps of course. But then again, I like the creative leaps of association that I’m forced to take to get to that next rhyme. If I let my subconscious do the jumping.

I know, it’s only pooretry but I like it.

mepoetics are very sporadic posts in which I talk mostly to myself about a poem I recently wrote and why how etc. for future self-reference but eavesdroppers are more than welcome but then again this post is less me than most...

1 comment:

Michael Snider said...

Greg, I'm utterly shocked that you found any infelicities in a first draft from me.