Monday, 15 February 2010

Line Endings and the Dance

It seems as if this term all the conceptions and ideas that I had of how to make a poem good are being turned on their head. For instance I had come to understand that you should try not to end a line on a weak word (for example and, in, the etc.) but then last week our lecturer said in the poetry workshop that it CAN be OK to end on a weak word as long as the word that follows it on the next line is a strong one. To give an example we were looking at a poem about the countryside and the poet had ended some lines with words like 'as' and 'in' - but this was OK because the following words were 'owls' and 'time' which are strong words. It made me stop and think again about my own writing style - it seems that as soon as I begin to think that I might be beginning to know what I am doing everything changes and I am forced to re-examine the way I do things and why I do them.

I am still not writing as much as I would like but at least I am writing a little bit - although some of it is coming directly out of the things that are happening in my personal life, which is only to be expected I suppose but it means I don't necessarily want to share it with the world just yet (if ever).

I am enjoying the poetry workshops immensely though (and not just because they are a distraction from everything else that is going on). Last week the lecturer said two things in particular that have stayed with me: the first was that as poets (or indeed writers) we should write about "things that come to us and haunt us indirectly," and the other was that "a good poem can be reduced to the steps of a dance." I really liked these two ideas - the first because it seemed so lovely and I think that she is right and that by and large those are the things that I try and write about. When I try and write about other things (things that I think that I "ought" to be writing about perhaps) my writing is nowhere near so successful and feels false and laboured. The second idea I just love because it is such a good analogy.

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