The Fourth April! Poetry month 2015 is almost here!
Wait! Stop! Read On!
I have been participating in Poetry Month Challenges for three years and this year will make my fourth. Each year in April I have challenged myself to write a poem a day. This has changed over the years and last year I included essays. To Break away from just poems was a challenge but the work I created was very rewarding.
I realize that this is only February and there is a month and a half until April. I need to get a foot up this year due to many changes in my life so I am starting to plan now. This means that I will publish a poem here and there but my presence here on Hubpages may not be noticeable for the next month.
If you are one of the few that needs a Jamie poem kick everyonce and awhile I will be coming on strong starting April.
If you are curious about where I have been and where I am going with my poetry please read on.
Three Years Ago in April.
Most of the poems I wrote for my first Poetry Month Challenge are no longer published on Hubpages. I have moved them over to a slush pile for rewrite or collection.
This was the year I began again. I had been writing poetry for many years and took place in poetry readings and even joined some memorable poetry groups. My creative process was slow and only a few poems were written at a time and many were lost.
My roommate at the time, Thoughtsandwiches for anyone who remembers, started writing wonderful humorous hubs and got me hooked. We both started writing for Hubpages with a gusto and both of us seemed to find ourselves doing rather well.
Thoughtsandwiches has moved on and makes his living as a freelance online writer. I still work in Research Science, but only for a few months more, and write poems more as a hobby than a career.
Anyway, someone introduced to me the National Poetry Month Writing Challenge that required a poem a day. I was excited and put much time and thought into how I was going to tackle this challenge.
I picked up a book on modern poems that used classic forms and opened the book to the beginning of the Appendices. Quickly I worked my way through all the forms until thirty poems were created and published each day that month.
I considered this my first real education in poetry. Granted I have read many poetry anthologies and many poems but I had never really scanned a poem or thought deeply on the uses of different poetic structures.
This was an incredible time and my poetry was starting to blossom. April ended and I found myself thirty poems ahead. I continued to read more on poetic form and decided to do a little research for each poem written afterward.
A crucial lesson was learned. The primary force behind art and poetry is choice and without knowledge ones choices are limited.
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Was there a second year?
My second year took on a whole new outlook. My son Elias was a month away from birth and my wife and I looked into homebirth options for VBAC. We also were looking for a home to buy so we could feel more secure with our growing family.
This was a tiring and rough time. I did not mention that we rented a small house at the foothills of Mt. Rose and had to deal with some extremely difficult weather situations. When it came to poetry I refused to not partake in the Poetry Month Challenge.
This was the year I found a new love in sonnets. I began to write sonnets, (English, Italian, Curtail, Couplet) any type of sonnet I could find. I started a love affair with iambic pentameter, a meter that most frown upon.
This new found love affair with sonnets and iambic pentameter started with a reread of an old Fussel text I had kept next to my bed. I was writing two sonnets a week and quickly filled up a Mead binder.
I was proud of quite a few poems that came out of the challenge that year. Some still remain here on hubpages but most of year two also found its way into a revision stack.
And a Third?
Since I had already challenged myself to thirty poems in thirty days I decided to write poems and essays for my third Poetry Month Challenge.
I started April with an essay on form based on Fussell's book. I truly enjoyed the progress of those thirty hubs and felt that I was pushing the limits and learning so much more.
I have to admit that some of the writing was not the greatest and some could have used a little editorial help but all in all I was proud of my accomplishments.
I want to talk a little about sonnets.
There was a few long poems and a few extras but most of the poems I wrote for the third year were sonnets. I describe in my essay on Fussell how there is a chapter dedicated to the art of the sonnet.
An amazing form, the sonnet, within the fourteen lines of a classical English or Italian sonnet there is a change of ideas, a question and answer period, a purposeful addition of drama, and a multitude of choices to make.
The structure is almost purely mathematical in nature. What? You may ask. Mathematical in nature? Well, the first eight lines are usually two quatrains that delineate the idea that changes, the question to answer, or a lead up to drama.
Then the sonnet ends with a sestet, mostly Petrarchan sonnets end this way but not always. The ending sestet explains the idea in detail, answers the question, opens the drama of the poem.
So where does math fit in? The 4+4 of the dual quatrains give the perfect amount of time to deliver and the sestet can be broken in to 3+3 for a more in depth discussion of ideas, answers, or drama.
Let's look at meter. Iambic Pentameter is the common meter of sonnets. Contemporary poetry seems to frown on the sing song nature of iambic feet, but having a firm grasp on the sound that iambic pentameter creates will help to develop an ear for sound when writing other poems.
Also, I feel that in the past, sonnets were written in iambs primarily but for contemporary poetry it is important to know that the writer has the freedom to play with other sounds and other feet that fit within the pentameter.
When you look at the whole picture. Sonnets contain a wealth of information on how to make drama work within a poetic frame and how to work sound and beat into your poems.
It is time to move on.
Here it comes!
Well this takes us to this year. Once again I plan on writing essays and poetry and hope to publish one a day throughout the month. I am excited and hope to see your comments.
We all need to support all the poets here on Hubpages in April and I hope that everyone will take the time to read some of the wonderful poems.
Here is a list of some of my favorite poets here on Hubpages, if I have left anyone out please let me know:
Gypsy Rose Lee
Shyron E. Shenko
Sara Sarwan Riaz
See you in April!
More by this Author
Poetry Month Challenge # 11
A critical look at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's classic poem "Constantly Risking Absurdity(#15)."
"The name is Bill Burroughs. I am a writer. Let me tell you a few things about my job, what an assignment is like." William S. Burrough from The Adding Machine.