Thursday, 10 June 2010

An experiment with form

Unusually for me, over the last week, I have been overtaken by a strong urge to write in form. I am not exactly resistant to writing in form, it's just that I don't do it very often and I feel that I don't do it very well.  My attempts usually seem laboured and unnatural nothing like the poems that Seamus Heaney and Don Paterson write that make writing in form seem so effortless and natural.

My tutor said a really interesting thing today though, which really echoes what I have been thinking.  She said that you shouldn't set out to write in form - for example thinking "right today I am going to write a villanelle." She said start writing and if the subject matter suits it then the form will come.I see now that my mistake with my previous attempts at form was that I chose the form first and tried to make it fit the subject matter (or make the subject matter fit it). This time the form came because I felt it suited the subject matter. I have been writing about rivers and I felt that the sestina would be the perfect form to reflect the river, its repetitions echoing the musicality of the water.

I am not saying that I am there yet - the poem still needs a lot of work, but it seems to be working...

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