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poetry, helping to structure it.

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Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:53 pm
wunmi says...

I'm finding it difficult to structure my poetry. I know I'm not the only one finding this difficult so I'm asking for help from you the awesome YWS user reading this.
Okay. What is it I'm asking, well...
1. poetry structure advice.
This is what this forum is called. Anything to help poetry flow easily when other people (the writer can read the poem perfectly it makes sense to them ) reads it.
2. Other things like contemporary structure.
If you don't know what I mean about this check out my poem "Once upon a time we both did not know how to spin." poem is kind of still a draft, so sorry if there are some spelling mistakes :mrgreen:
Give examples of other poems like this, say what you like about these poem, what you don't like about them. Give any tips on this too, please.

I think thats all. If there's any other thing that you think would be helpful as advice please add it, and if anyone needs help please just add it to the forum if I can answer it I will if can't I'll ask or someone else might.
Thanks. :D

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Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:29 am
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Aley says...

Hello Wunmi.

I think to start out with I'd like to help with a tour of YWS. The best, and most hidden gem of YWS happens to be right under our noses and can answer nearly all the questions in one go.

The Knowledge Base on Young Writers Society has it's own poetry section, and while not a complete plethora of everything ever needed to know about poetry, it is still an amazing resource. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Secret Treasures in Poetic Devices
Capitalization in Poetry
Original Poetry
Cliches in Poetry
How-To: Iambic Pentameter
Kiss My Assonance - 5 ways to improve your poetry
On Highly Structured Poems
Poetry-Editing Checklist

Okay, so maybe that's more than a few.

Now that I've provided plenty of literature on the vast topics of structure, flow, literary devices, and poetry creation, I'd like to break it down for us.

1. Poetry Structure Advice

Each poem is a bit different when it comes to structure, but one thing is certain between all the structures, it affects the feelings and formality of the poem. While not all poems have structure, many of them, even in free form, actually do have some patterns and familiar things, such as lines and stanzas. Even when doing a prose poem, there can be paragraphs to act as stanzas for separating ideas.

Lines themselves are a big topic: Lines in Poetry They easily change between person to person, and placement on the page of those lines is also something that has started to become more popular as time moves on and poetry on the internet grows.

Lines in general have some resounding things that make them good, or not as good as they could be. That, mainly is due to the fact that emphasis is placed on the beginning and end of a line. While words in general can take such emphasis, that's not always so with closed class words like "a" or "that" which mostly do not belong at the end of a line, however they can appear at the beginning of one easily. This is mostly agreed upon as a change for a poem that can make it stronger. Most of the time, looking at how to get rid of these closed class words also is an agreed upon method to strengthen a poem, but it depends on the flow, and the poem.

When looking at how it flows, as your mandate requires us to speak about, I'd say that in my opinion, the best way to see if something will read well for someone else, is to have someone else read it. Of course, there are other tools, like looking for how long you allow between breaths, checking the meter, determining if it has tongue twisters like peter piper picking pickles packed with pieces which is a tongue twister because of the quick use of stops mixed with long using different areas of the mouth to form things that are rather far away. For instance, g is at the back of the throat, and p is at the front. The alliteration itself is a nightmare for our brains because we want to repeat the last sound, sort of like having someone say Milk ten times and asking them what a cow drinks.

Of course, any particular poem might pretend to be particularly punchy when probably it proceeds with a plethora of grace. It just depends on the poem.

2. Other things like contemporary structure.

While contemporary structure is unique, there is quite a lot like it. There are poems like this: r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-g-r

and concrete poems: Image

and poems that are really really old which typically intended the middle of stanzas sort of like how we indent bibliographies: The Faerie Queene

All of these play on space and area in a poem to give the reader a certain view on something. There are other poems that even shape themselves like waves, and incorporate that rhythm into their words.

Honestly, to me, contemporary poetry just seems to be playing on people's eyes, making them jerk about when they are dragged back across the page for just one word, which often is the wrong word to hold such the seat of honor, sort of like saying

There was once
______________a man
________________who loved his wife
he slaughtered himself

It would be better if it went with the flow of the poem, instead of the visual of the thing.

Of course, sometimes it is done well, and it can add to a poem because it takes up the vast space of a landscape screen, but it's a delicate subject for print or for someone else' screen. For instance, how am I supposed to know for sure if you intended to put "spin" down alone in your poem, or if you intended for it to be up with "You learned to"? There's honestly no way for me to know unless I could see where your paragraphs were, but I can't, because this is the internet.

Well, anyway, it's a good device, but in my opinion, it should be used only when the poem is ready for the end because words and sounds change and you might not want to get rid of something just because it fills up the room, but that's not how poetry is supposed to be. It's supposed to be something that holds weight when read aloud, and something that just uses the precise word and only those words.

I'm a bit of a traditionalist though =/ thoughts?

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Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:29 am
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Meshugenah says...

I'm gonna sneak in real quick (and late!) here:

With structure, it really depends on what you're doing. I find more rigid structures difficult to work with, including sonnets (shakespearian and spenserian both), partly due to the rhyming structure, not necessarily the rhythmic one. So, you have rhythmic structure and rhyme structure, and you can also play with visual structure (like the apple poem Aley included above). Any are legitimate, and can be used to structure your own work. I tend to play more with blank verse and/or free verse, which is is basically the difference between rhythmic but no rhyme (blank) and absolutely no rhyme or rhythm (free).

A note on Spenser's Faerie Queene - I'm not sure about the indentations, but the structure there is reliant on much more than just that. It's written entirely in Spenserian Sonnet, which is 9 lines, with five feet each, save the last which has 6, rhymed ababbcbcc in each stanza.

In terms of making it easier for a reader to read a poem - punctuate, punctuate, punctuate! Use punctuation, because line breaks do *not* connote a pause or a stop or a break of any kind at all (enjambment). They can, but in those cases use punctuation to denote it. Otherwise, your reader runs right through the line, which can be intentional (enjambment), or not, in which case I usually would go for punctuation over not - but, again, it depends on the poem and what you're working with. Some structures will call for lines to be a single coherent thought, and you could be deliberately breaking that convention.

Anyway, I can ramble endlessly about poetry ^^ Does this help at all? I can dig up some examples later, too :)
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Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:18 pm
wunmi says...

Before I do anything, thank you. life has all over the place lately because I'm doing transition year so I'm sorry for not saying it earlier.

"Beneath this mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."
— V for Vendetta