Robert Frost's Inspiration
A Poem Begins
“A poem ... begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a love-sickness.... It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.”
Robert Frost wrote these words in a letter to the poet and anthologist Louis Untermeyer. (Jan.1,1916) The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer (1963).
Writing poetry can be an exhilarating, freeing experience. Poetry lends itself to the expression of hidden, deep, emotional reservoirs just waiting for the poet to explore and the reader to experience. The process of writing a poem can be as satisfying as the finished poem itself. Wrestling, searching, and grasping for the right word creates a certain, exciting tension in the poet's soul. Finding the exact phrase or word leaves the poet with a calm satisfaction.
This Hub focuses on poetry basics.
Robert Frost's poetry has served as inspiration for my writing. I appreciate the simplicity and depth of his poetry. The words he uses make me feel and think. His poetry, like all good poetry, makes me say “aah” and “aha”. This quotation from the letter to Louis Untermeyer gives us insight to Frost’s thoughts and feelings about the words and emotions expressed in his poetry.
Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry
I find that when writing poetry, I need to create a rhythm. The first thing I would suggest is to let the poem flow in a single writing session. Try not to stop. Develop a rhythm. It has to do with meter and also repetition of sounds or rhymes. It has to do with the flow of the poem. I don’t consciously write in iambic pentameter but I hear the beat of the poem in my head when I write it.
- This is what I mean by rhythm in a poet's practice, one of the poetry basics.
Meter is stressed or unstressed syllables or long or short syllables.
Iambic pentameter foot sounds da DUM.
A standard line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM
"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?"
This line is written by Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet (a master of iambic pentameter).
This is the first part of a poem I wrote. It isn’t in iambic pentameter but it has a certain rhythm:
But...I loved you once, I loved you best, I loved you o'er the rest.
I loved you long, I loved you deep, I loved you.
Another aspect of my poetry is that I try to use words, sounds, feelings, and strong verbs--all in a concise manner. Poetry can tell a story but the images need to be dense.
A poet tries to express levels or depth of meaning through words and/or images as it relates to meaning and complexity.
We look for density in poetry--tight, power packed words. Express your idea with power in just a few words. That's what I try to achieve.
In the beginning of this poem, I've tried to communicate in a few words, how a poet writes and what his goals are for writing a poem.
A Poet Strikes
A poet strikes the magic chord,
Writing of his own accord.
Strumming softly, on the heart,
A poet plucks the perfect part.
- This is what I mean by density, one of the poetry basics.
Free verse defined
Free verse is a literary device that can be defined as poetry that is free from limitations of regular meter or rhythm and does not rhyme with fixed forms. However, it still allows poets to use alliteration, rhyme, cadences or rhythms to get the effects that they consider are suitable for the piece.
Much of my poetry would be called free verse. Free verse is poetry can be written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern. When writing free verse, many use long lines, almost in paragraph form. There is nothing wrong with using complete sentences.
“Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.” Robert Frost -- from an address at Milton Academy, Massachusetts, May 17, 1935
Example of a Free Verse Poem
THE GARRET Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are. Come, my friend, and remember that the rich have butlers and no friends, And we have friends and no butlers. Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried. Dawn enters with little feet like a gilded Pavlova And I am near my desire. Nor has life in it aught better Than this hour of clear coolness the hour of waking together. Ezra Pound
Poetry Magazine Cover - 1912
A Poem's Time
I spend varying amount of time on a poem. Some poems begin and end in one, satisfying writing session. Others take days, weeks or even months and years. When the poem gets "stuck" or even if I'm satisfied with it, I usually let it sit. This lets the poem seem fresh when I go back to it-with fresh eyes. Occasionally, if I think it sounds "funny, like weird" or "stilted or awkward”, I'll share the poem with someone for comments. Let the poem flow; get the words out there.
Synonyms and Rhymes
Use synonyms in your poem to adhere to a theme. A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase, for example stick is a synonym of adhere. Synonyms can be found in a thesaurus or in an online dictionary.
I also use a rhyming tool. This can help with creating couplets that move the flow of the poem along. A poem does not have to rhyme to be a poem. I enjoy using rhyme and love the sense of rhythm that results in the poem. I generally use these tools after I have written the poem.
- Synonyms and rhymes are poetry basics.
A Poet's Practice
Anything can inspire a poet. Write from the heart! Add more about your feelings, add more about what you feel about a person, event, nature—anything that inspires you and share why it inspires you. Use the poetry basics.
This is what makes a poet's practice.
© 2013 ajwrites57
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© 2013 AJ Long