Poetry…no rhyme or reason.

Writing Tutorial

Poetry...no rhyme or reason.

Intro

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet
and so are you.

Now THAT’S a poem!
It rhymes and gets right to the point. All poetry should be like that, right? Well, I have a feeling that many of the greatest poets would disagree, vehemently. But there are many that begin their journey with the art of poetry by following a rhyme scheme, then find it hard to break free from that initial form. It gives the majority of pieces written a childlike quality that might not be intended, in fact it might actually detract from the message of the words themselves. So, what do we do? How can we break free from the binds that rhyme?

Sample Problem

When you are in the habit of rhyming, you fall into an ingrained rhythm without realizing, counting without counting, producing end rhymes and near rhymes as natural as breathing. “So, if it comes naturally why mess with it?” Because eventually the subject will not submit to the rhyme and the poet will start to force the words to conform. Which, inevitably, creates a poem that reads about as smooth as a dirt road after a heavy rain. Which is why it is always good to know another way to approach poetry.

Solution

Most people see poetry as a set of rules that must be followed and that is true if you choose to write based upon certain forms. But for the most part, the best poems come out of an experience that overwhelms you. It is a true emotional snapshot, when you choose to sit and wait in that moment, capturing everything you’ve seen and felt.

Take, for example, a window behind your desk. You might occasionally look up to watch a car pass before looking back down at your laptop. On this particular occasion, the window is open, the breeze brings the scent of jasmine in and looking up, a trash truck stops to pick up your neighbors garbage can. While staring at the can being lifted, you notice movement farther back. Shifting your gaze, you see that neighbors mother, feather-white hair a halo, sitting at the front window, watching you watching her and she waves. The simple bittersweet beauty of that one moment is poetry. It doesn’t need flowery language, it doesn’t need to rhyme. It just needs to be put to paper. Just describe what you’ve seen and what you’ve felt. Leave emotion words out, trust that the moment will be weight enough to carry its own message, leave its own imprint.

It’s easy to rhyme. But allow beautiful, heartbreaking, frightening or sorrowful moments to stand on their own. Life IS poetry. Write it down and forget it for several months. Fresh eyes give you perspective and allow you to appreciate the snapshots you’ve taken.

Happy writing!



About The Author

Poetry-understanding The Basics And Beyond
Student Poetry Director for the West Florida Literary Federation. Escambia County Student Poetry Contest Director. Finalist for Poet Laureate of Northwest Florida. Gulf Coast Authors Vice President. Author of seven books, one of which has hit #1 on Amazon four times. I have taught poetry and creativ...
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