Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Problems with Form

There’s a song that inspired a poem in me. In my head I know many of the images that I want to include in the poem. I am pretty sure that the poem wants to be in the lyrical mode—or at least wants to be lush and graceful. I tried writing the poem first in free verse, but I just couldn’t write a decent opening after several attempts. Last week I was thinking that the poem might want to be in formal verse, perhaps ballad stanzas or couplets, but my experience with rhyming poetry is that it forces you into a certain level of abstraction and compression. I don’t think this is what the poem wants. I need more room for the specificity of the images. I suppose that I could try blank verse or syllabics. I’m beginning to think now that this poem may in fact want to be a short story, or it could want to be one of those oxymoronic prose poems!


At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Bridget said...

Hi Jerry

How interesting this blog thing is! A journal that you share, where people can talk back. Hmmm. I was thinking of you yesterday because I attended a reading by a Nigerian poet of part of his book length poem. Ogaga Ifowodo, The Oil Lamp. I had reviewed a previous book by him. It's a book length poem about oil company explotation and a huge pipeline fire in the Niger Delta. Ogaga is from Nigeria. Maybe we can read it together. In any case, I was thinking about how much plain, simple, powerful, strong blank verse suits your style.

In other matters, your teacher Fenza has a letter to the editor of the current Poetry magazine, defending the AWP conference against their barbs.

Talk to you soon!


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