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  1. Rodney_Rofferson

    Rodney_Rofferson New Member

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    How do I write a poem?

    Discussion in 'Poetry' started by Rodney_Rofferson, Mar 2, 2018.

    How do I write a poem?




    Here’s the thing… I have a muse. I don’t even know how he looks like, but he’s been urging me to write a poem. I know WHAT to write, but I don’t know HOW. Basically, I’m asking for some guidelines. I want advice from experienced people, like the ones here. You and the others, basically…


    Like, what kind of poem should it be? I’m sure there are multiple types of poem styles that can be done. I just don’t know which would be best for me.


    Just tell me your thoughts on this, please. I don’t really know where or how to start.


    Thanks.
     
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  2. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    I am no literary expert n'or a published poet. But whenever I have written a poem I just write what comes to my mind and put it down on paper.

    I have used poetry in the past when I have been wrestling with anxiety and over worked scenarios, worries etc, thoughts and feelings play havoc with my mind and body.

    Lots of people may disagree but I believe the beauty of poetry is that there are no rules. Unless that is you are doing a specific method of poetry. But by the sounds of things you aren't after that!

    Just put pen to paper.
     
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  3. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    I'd have to respectfully disagree. Poetry without rules is not poetry at all. What makes poetry poetry is the fact that it has structure outside of the structure the English language provides (sentences, paragraphs etc.), not what the content is.

    As for the OP, I started with writing blank verse (un-rhyming iambic pentameter) and I'm still in the process of trying to master that. After I'm finished mastering that I plan to start working on poems that rhyme, and then after I master that I'm going to move on to a different form of poetry, etc. and it seems to be working for me ;) I would also suggest you spend some time studying meter and foot count, as they're two very helpful tools to have while writing poetry.

    (Note: If you like, you can also take a look at free verse, which is poetry where instead of using the pre-defined structures such as meter and feet, you have to create and maintain your own structure.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  4. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    First, thanks for creating a thread in here. There's not enough general poetry discussion on this forum for my liking.

    Second. Pick a form, study that form, read a lot of poetry, then pen a few testers for critique.

    Third: You must genuinely want to learn. If you simply fancy writing a poem, just so you can say you have, and want a quick route to the basics, they're out there. But to write anything of merit you must study the art form. I've studied it, and I'm still no where close to writing anything of real merit.

    Fourth:

     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  5. DeeDee

    DeeDee Active Member

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    you write a poem
    one word at a time
    keep your mind open
    and don't give a damn

    :cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader::cheerleader:

    Read. Imitate. Try things out.
     
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  6. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Why not do what a couple of us are currently doing to exercise the brain's meter muscle, and write a few lines in iambic pentameter?

    That is, a line of five beats or feet which come in the form of stressed syllables (preceded by unstressed: di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM)

    i.e: The iron door will keep the baddies out

    Hearing the stresses is something that takes practice for many people, but the best advice I read is to read the line like a heartbeat, pausing slightly between each syllable (don't forget the monosyllables like 'The'). Iamb always starts on unstressed, followed by stressed so the above line would be read: the / ir/on / door / will / keep / the / bad/dies / out.

    And with the stresses:

    The IRon DOOR will KEEP the BADdies OUT

    Count the bold stresses and you'll see there's five.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  7. nollaig bairead

    nollaig bairead New Member

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    The best explanation of what my teachers failed to teach me at second level and I have struggled on with the past thirty years.
     
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  8. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks, @nollaig bairead. I'm very glad my explanation helped you understand a little better :)

    I'd also like to recommend Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled for further reading. That one book did wonders for my own understanding of poetry in general.
     
  9. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I recommend two books: Sound and Sense by Laurence Perrine and How Does a Poem Mean? by John Ciardi. And Billy Collins has a point when he recommends reading not only contemporary poetry but the classics, which can be found in many anthologies (my favorite is A Treasury of Great Poems, a two-volume work by Louis Untermeyer). You'll find that rhyme or even meter, while important for some effects, don't necessarily define what a poem is.

    Think of it as music. There are many forms that a musical piece can take, and a composer who as an interesting melody has a huge selection of genres to use. But you have to be acquainted well enough with enough of these genres to know which one (or ones! ... there may be more than one) will do the job. A person who listens only to bluegrass or "easy listening" or heavy metal as a very limited palette to work from. So read a lot, write a lot, and see what works for you. Don't be afraid to write a poem a hundred different ways, because each way will teach you something.
     
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  10. PoemNerd212

    PoemNerd212 Active Member

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    @8Bit Bob I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I saw your comment, and I want to respectfully share my opinion and argument on this subject. I actually have to agree more with @OB1 on this, although I don’t really disagree with you either.
    So, you may be right about poetry not being poetry without rules, but this doesn’t just go for poetry. This goes for writing and spoken/written language in general. There are the basic, well defined rules like syntax, semantics, morphology (basically grammar); these make the difference between language and scribbles on paper or bursts of sound just coming out of our mouths. I know you don’t mean these rules, though, based on your next statement:
    So let’s go a little further. Beyond the most basic rules of language are another set of rules. These rules define the different ways you can organize ideas, if I’m correct. They define what a sentence needs to consist of in order to be considered a sentence and not just a fragment of an idea. Then, they can also define what a paragraph must consist of, what an essay, article, and so on need to contain in order to be considered as such. The rules are clear without an extreme amount of variation from what I can tell.

    Now, you say that poetry has its own rules that make it unique in comparison to other forms of writing like prose or books or articles. If that is true, at least to the extent that you claim it is, shouldn’t those rules be as clear and universal as the rules for the examples above are?

    That’s partly why you’re never going to find a universal answer to the question “What makes a poem a poem?” Because there’s so much variation among the different styles of poetry out there. Even with specific types of poems, there’s a lot of variation that occurs over the course of centuries.

    Haikus are an example of that. A lot of the time ,you hear about the 5-7-5 syllable count being the definition of a haiku, but even that has changed. There are a lot of haikus written by legitimate poets that don’t conform to this... I actually read that in general, the main thing that makes a poem a haiku is the brief and sudden nature of its length combined with the poem having themes of nature/daily life and sudden enlightenment. If you ask me, those don’t really seem like rules as much as overall similarities among this form of poetry. Not to mention the content of the poem does seem to matter in this case.

    Another example that always blows me away is a poem by Muhammad Ali: “Me we”. People say this is possibly the shortest poem of all time, but it is a poem. It’s not even clear if it’s “Me. We.” or “Me? Whee!” or some other variation entirely. And yet it’s still considered a poem. It doesn’t even necessary conform to some of the rules of language. The poem only consists of two words, neither of which make proper sentences or even have an agreed upon meaning. But it’s still a poem! Maybe there are rules that this conforms to that I can’t see, but if there are, they don’t seem like they would only apply to poetry. And wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of having those rules in the first place?

    So, this is my point: how can it be true that a poem is only a poem if it abides by certain rules if those rules are neither clear, universal, nor unique to poems? In my opinion, it can’t be true. Not really. Yes, there are bare minimum requirements in order for something to be worthy of the label “poem,” but those are the same requirements that anything needs to have to be considered meaningful, understandable language. My conclusion is that there aren’t really any clear rules that differentiate a poem from another form of writing, and thus, if you call it a poem, it’s a poem...

    ...HOWEVER, calling it a poem doesn’t mean it’s a good poem! THAT is where rules are useful.

    For example, an author who wrote a thousand words on current events can call his work a poem, and he may be right to say it’s a poem. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a shitty, shitty poem, or that it wouldn’t be better as a news article.

    Rules (or poetic norms) are what make some poems better than others. Meter and rhyme scheme, for example, aren’t required in order for a poem to be a poem, but they can really help provide a strong foundation for a poem. Other rules can help a poem be more memorable, meaningful, and effective in fulfilling its purpose, regardless of what that purpose is. They don’t make the difference between a “poem” and a “not-a-poem” but they absolutely can make the difference between an awful poem and something truly great.

    ...So this is what I’ve wanted to say for a while now. I guess I can only say that this is my argument and my opinion on this matter. Obviously it’s not fact, but this explanation of what may or may not define a poem makes the most sense to me. If you have a good argument against this or see a hole in mine, let me know.

    PS: As for the content aspect of poems, I think that if there actually is a way to define something as a poem, content has more of a role in it than you think @8Bit Bob . There are some types of content that are for the most part unique to poetry I believe. When I think of content that I’ve only ever seen in a poem, I think of “Jaberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 9:35 AM
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  11. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    I think you definitely explained it 200% better than I did!

    At school, I don't recall ever been taught the many different so called "rules" of Poetry. In my mind and if I interpret what you were saying, the aforementioned rules are more like rules of a game. The rules of a game apply to that particular game and will not apply to another. Therefore these aren't universal laws like the laws of physics.

    Whenever I have written a poem, (I haven't for yonks) it has always been words that come to my head, that are affected by my thoughts, feelings, passions and whatever I want to get across. When I write, I always read it and feel whether there is a beat to it, if not I readjust. If I want rhyme in my poem I ensure that the correct beat rhymes. If it doesn't read well then I rewrite.

    My opinion is; A poem is a collection of words that reflect or tries to elicit an emotion from the author to the reader. After all, this is what ART is!!

    Therefore to the original poster, I stand by my original post. Start out by just putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper and arrange them into beat like structure, you can't go far wrong.

    Whether it is a good poem or not is left to the reader I am afraid!
     
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  12. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    @PoemNerd212 thanks for the respectful and well thought out reply! I always enjoy it when my opinion is challenged :)

    In my opinion, no. The great thing about poetry is that there are so many different types of it, so you can choose which type you want to write, and which rules to follow (or if you're writing free verse, which rules to make ;))

    Yes, but if you wrote a poem like this, you would most likely use other poetic "rules" in it as well. You wouldn't just write some sentences, put some line breaks in and call it a haiku (or maybe you would, but I wouldn't :p)

    I would give these poems the same amount of respect I give modern art (which if you haven't seen my posts on modern art, is not much). I can see where the artist may be coming from, trying to express a feeling in as little time as possible, but I still can't give it much respect when other poets work so hard to craft a metrically perfect, well written, good sounding poem.

    It does, in my opinion. Just because you don't have to use every single "rule" in every single poem doesn't mean there aren't clear rules that are unique to poems. Meter, rhyme scheme, line breaks, stanzas, etc. are all poetic "rules" that are not used in prose.

    Again, in my opinion, the structure outside of the basics of the English language makes it a poem. As I said above, I wouldn't write a poem by writing prose and putting line breaks in it. Even in free verse, you have to make a structure (or "rules") and follow it, or risk the poem falling apart.

    I agree, there are many poems that other people praise and love that I do not enjoy. Perhaps I just don't understand enough about poetry to enjoy their genius, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't enjoy them :)

    As you said, no one's stopping him from calling it a poem, but in my opinion it wouldn't truly be one.

    Okay, so if I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that poems that use poetic "rules" are generally better then poems that don't have them. If this is true (and please tell me if it's not), why would the "awful" poems be called poems at all? If most/all poems that don't use any poetic "rules" are bad, why would anyone write a poem without "rules"?

    I agree, there are definitely some types of content that you will only find in poems, such as the example you have given (which is an awesome poem btw :D)

    Again, I thank you for the respectful and insightful post @PoemNerd212! I always enjoy attempting to defend my position, as it honestly opens my eyes and makes me think on why I have the opinion I do. It's also great to see other's opinions on the subject :)

    My apologies @OB1, but I don't see how this description couldn't be applied to prose just as well as it could be applied to poetry.
     
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  13. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    It does!!!

    My point is that if the author calls it a poem, then its a poem. Might not be a good poem, but its a poem. Just like If I drew a stick man I'd call it a picture, might be a crap picture.

    When people say that you have to stick to the rules in this context it's great for literary academics, however I have been struck and moved by poetry of some form of another that neither sticks to any sort of obvious rules, mind you I am not for one to analyses them in this way. I see poetry for what it is, its a form of art, and art is there to elicit a response of emotion. If you want to make a poem that sticks to the rules, go for it, still might not be a good poem, but it is a poem!

    I guess if I was to boil my ranting down I'd say for a starter of 10 (and this after all is what the OP was asking for), pick up a pen and paper and write your thoughts and feelings down. Practice and then if you want go deeper and want to look into the academics of stanzas, beats etc. Then do your research, ask the appropriate and specific questions and practice more!
     
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  14. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    Again, I'd have to respectfully disagree. If I wrote a short story, for example, I (in my opinion), could not call that a poem. It does not use any form of poetic structure, and therefore is not a poem, regardless of what I call it. You wouldn't draw a stick man with a pen and call it a painting, would you?

    Let me clarify what I count as "rules". I don't mean a poem has to have stanzas, meter, rhyme, etc., but it does have to have some sort of structure outside of what the English language provides, as I've stated, that's what I believe makes it a poem. The below would not be a poem, in my opinion:

    I walked through the garden,
    looking at
    the flowers that were really pretty to me.*


    That's just a sentence with line breaks, not a poem. It has no structure or reason for the line breaks, it would make no difference if I wrote it like this: I walked through the garden, looking at the flowers that were really pretty to me. I think the way a poem is written should have some reason behind it, whether it be to sound nice, to convey a certain thought or emotion, or whatever, I think there should be a reason.

    I understand that what makes a poem a poem is highly debatable, and some people might consider what I wrote a poem, but I'm just giving my thoughts on it :)

    *I wrote this as an example, this is not someone else's work ;)
     
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  15. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    Ok ok, I don't disagree with anything you have put there. But I am not sure how what you have put disagrees with my point of view that a starter for 10 to just write what you are thinking and worry about the academics later. Most people should tell the difference between what looks and sounds like a poem with what sounds and looks like prose.
     
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  16. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    I was just pointing out that I disagreed with just writing your thoughts down and calling it poetry. I agree, it is definitely a good way to vent, but if your looking to write and improve your poetry skills in the long run, it's not the best idea (in my opinion). I'm not saying that way is invalid (as you obviously disagree), I'm just expressing that in my opinion, that wouldn't really be a "poem".

    That's how I started writing poetry (before I took an interest in meter), and looking back on my first couple of poems, they were absolutely awful. They had no structure, and were basically just like the example I gave above :p

    Exactly, because most people have read enough poetry (whether in school, or just coming about poems randomly) to know the basics of how most poems are structured compared to prose.
     
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  17. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Good discussion! Let me add another ingredient to this soup.

    Kurt Vonnegut once asked a poet what poets do. She replied, "They extend the language."

    I take this to mean that they give an enriched experience to what otherwise might have just been a series of words stating a thought. By juxtaposing words in a certain way, a poem elicits an emotional response outside the context of the actual words. It may do this with meter or alliteration or rhyme or metaphor, or without any of those things.

    As I've said in other posts, I believe that it's the harmonics ... the overtones ... that make a poem, or at least evoke the poetic qualities of a prose work.
     
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  18. PoemNerd212

    PoemNerd212 Active Member

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    (I know I'm late, but screw it, I've already written all this.)

    @8Bit Bob No problem! Thank you for your rebuttal! :) I'm looking at your response and I want to respond not only to your latest argument but also to a few more things I noticed in your original claim.

    So, here's my take on it. In general, when you're arguing with someone, or even when you're not, it should be very clear to both parties what exactly they are discussing. If that's not the case, I could be arguing one thing thinking you are referring to the concept x and you could be arguing another thing with the concept y in mind, and in reality, we wouldn't be arguing against each other over the same concept. And that kind of defeats the purpose of an argument, which is to make things more clear and to prove that one way or thinking or doing something is better than another. So, I want to be sure we define the different concepts we are arguing over. Your original claim uses multiple vague terms in its definition of poetry:

    1. Rules. Initially, it wasn't very clear to me what you meant by "rules." The dictionary definition of a rule is "one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere." Here are some more definitions of "rule" to make it more clear. And this seemed like what you meant given the context. But that alone is still very vague. What are the rules that you are talking about? Who defines them? And what exactly do they state word for word? Because that's the thing about using that word: rules need to be well defined and need to be rigid in regulating whatever it is they were made for. Otherwise, they aren't effective in their purpose. That is what defines a "rule" from a suggestion as to what a poem supposedly should be or a similarity among most, not all, pieces of writing accepted as poetry. However, your response made it more clear to me that you were most likely referring to poetic devices, which are "tools that a poet can use to create rhythm, enhance a poem's meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling." (https://study.com/academy/lesson/poetic-devices-definition-types-examples.html). If you were referring to poetic devices, I already won the argument. There is no common poetic device shared among all commonly accepted poems. Not rhythm, rhyme, meter, line breaks, even vocabulary, grammar, language. You can write a poem that has every poetic device you can think of, or you can write a poem without any visible poetic device at all. It can still technically be called a poem because poetic devices don't define what a poem is. They are not strictly required to exist in a piece of writing in order for it to be a poem. Or maybe poetic devices isn't what you meant either. Maybe you meant neither of these things. If that's the case, I want to know what you meant when you said "rules" because the word you use to describe an idea matters. If you say "rule", you should mean "rule" and not "poetic device" or "poetic norm" or anything but "rule". Because the difference between two words should be acknowledged, just as you argue that the difference between a poem and something that's not a poem should be. And I will return to the topic of poetic devices. I want to address what you said about some of them being unique to poetry... but later on in this post.

    2. Not poetry. There are a lot of things that are obviously not poetry like ducks and cars and clowns, though I'm being Captain Obvious with that. But what exactly are you referring to when you say "not poetry?" If something is "not poetry," then what is it? There are some things that are very obviously "not poetry" among writing as well, not just the most unrelated examples like I started with. Science textbooks don't tend to be too poetic. It's also fairly clear when something is a research paper or a memoir or a mystery book. This isn't necessarily because of rules, though. It's because of generally common similarities between textbooks or research papers or memoirs or mystery books. Poetry doesn't even have the advantage of claiming that there are generally common similarities among poems. If it was because of rules though, not similarities, you could potentially categorize anything and everything as one form of writing or the other. And that might be easy for the majority of works. But what about the ones that aren't obviously one form of writing or another, like "Me. We?" Poetry is the only thing it seems like it could be. Would pieces like this just be deemed "not writing" or meaningless just because they don't follow the rules of any form of writing? To get back to the point of this part, what is something if it's "not poetry"? In relation to point 1, what makes it "not poetry" and what makes it something else instead?

    3. Structure. I don't necessarily disagree with you that a poem should have structure, but I'm not sure what your definition of "structure" in this context is. Even after reading your third and fourth response to this, I'm left unsure of what you believe counts as structure. You could argue that "Yes poems need structure. They need the same basic structure that applies to all language: grammar!" But that doesn't make it any different from other forms of writing. And even then, there are poems that rebel against this statement.
    You used this as an example of what you define as structure if I'm correct. You argued not only that there was no structure here, but there was no difference between the two versions of the sentence you wrote because there is no reason or purpose behind the line breaks. I disagree with you. I'm not arguing that this is a poem, I am arguing that there is a difference in structure between the two versions of your example. When it comes to the meaning or message of your example, the structure makes no difference. However, the structure of a sentence divided by line breaks is visibly different from the structure of a sentence without line breaks and are different when it comes to where they are acceptably used. If you were writing an essay for school and you decided to use line breaks the way you did in your example, that would not be acceptable formatting or structure given the context. Regardless of the purpose of the line breaks, even if there is no purpose at all, it does make a difference. The intent behind the decisions you make for the structure of the poem will make it a better poem, but it won't be the difference between a poem and a not-poem.

    That's how I define structure, though, at least in this example. This could be a whole other argument separate from the original one, but my point is what you may define as structure is not what I define as structure, or what anyone else may define as structure. So how can structure be a defining feature of poetry when there is not an agreed upon definition of what counts and doesn't count as structure?

    These are what I found unclear. And maybe the arguments I made with each point are irrelevant. I think examples of poems that prove their irrelevance would help me understand it though. Let me know if I misunderstood anything.

    Now for responding to each of the points in your response:

    IMO, there's a difference between the rules you choose to abide by or set when you write a poem and the rules (if there are any) that dictate what's a poem and what's not. In the former, those rules may define the TYPE of poem you'll write, whether that's iambic tetrameter or a haiku or a free verse piece, but that's not the same thing as the latter.

    .

    This is another place where I'm not totally sure what you mean by "rules". Can you give an example? Also, just because you wouldn't doesn't mean you can't. That's the difference between rules and norms: Rules are mandatory, norms aren't (even if they're recommended).

    ...I know what you mean. Just because it's art doesn't make it worthy of the same respect as other pieces. I don't think sticking cat vomit on a piece of paper and hanging it in a museum makes it equal to Starry Night. That's kind of the thing though about defining things. I remember Neil deGrasse Tyson saying that words aren't really defined by what it says in a dictionary, but how people use the word. The more people use a word a certain way, the more it becomes defined by how it's used. For example, the word "nice" used to mean stupid/ignorant five hundred years ago. Now, it means something pretty different. If I'm not mistaken, that's one of the ways languages evolve: not by the original definition of a word, but how it's used over time. So when people call cat vomit art, they may be right because that's what the word has come to mean, but that doesn't mean it's good art. That's where I'm coming from with my argument on the definition of poetry. It's not that I like it; it's that this is how I think it works regardless of how I believe it should.

    So, the rules thing again... you know what I think. As for your argument about how these poetic devices are unique to poetry, think about it like a Venn diagram. You have three things to plot on it: "prose", "poetry", and "poetic devices unique to poetry". How would you plot it? I don't know if there's a way to make visuals on here, so oh well. I'll describe how I think it would need to be organized. We are trying to find the differences between prose and poetry, so they would be the two circles: "prose" is the left circle and "poetry "is the right circle. As you know, there's a form of poetry called "prose poetry," which can use both poetic devices and characteristics associated with prose. Prose poetry would be where the two circles intersect. The poetic devices, though, would go inside the poetry circle alone. Well, some of them would be strictly in the poetry circle alone like line breaks and maybe stanzas (I think paragraphs technically count as stanzas in prose poetry) while others like meter and rhyme scheme would go in the intersection as traits of prose poetry.

    Now the thing is that the poetic devices you stated are unique in that they only occur in poetry. They only exist in poetry. That's not the same thing as poetry only existing when those poetic devices are present. You can take "poetic devices" off the Venn diagram and the "Poetry" circle will still be there. Take the poetry circle away, though, and it's the devices that cease to exist on the diagram. That's my logic with this.

    I think I already stated my opinion on this: it's not about what any one individual thinks should determine what's a poem and what's not. It's about what the definition of a poem actually is. Unless there are obvious rules that you can apply to identifying anything as a poem, you can't really tell an author what he wrote isn't a poem and be correct in your judgment. The term "poem" is used very loosely in general, so that's what it's come to mean: a term used to describe a large variety of pieces of writing that don't necessarily have a unifying feature.

    They CAN be better, not always are though. And just because they have poetic devices doesn't mean they won't still be bad poems. For your question, I don't think just because a poem sucks, that means it's not a poem. Furthermore, you can follow the "rules" -you know what I mean- and use rhyme and meter and imagery and all and it will still be a shitty poem. Personally, I think rules can kill a poet's will to keep writing if introduced too soon. I remember the first time I tried writing a poem, it was a Shakespearean sonnet in sixth grade. I HATED IT. And I did it, iambs and rhyme scheme and meter and all, but it was still a nightmare of a poem. It didn't leave a good first impression on me -made me feel like poetry was about conforming to rules, standards, and was more about looking and sounding pretty than it was about expression or purpose. Poems that are more focused on the poetic devices than what those devices are supposed to do for the message are pretty to look at, but are pretty forgettable too. Not saying that they can't be both about the message and the devices, but... that's not how I saw it.

    Okay, I'm dead now from writing this. Thanks again for your reply! I'm sorry that I'm overanalyzing and getting all technical. Let me know what you think or if I forgot to address something :) BYEEEEEE

    PS I'm kinda curious what OJB thinks. Should we tag him?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 7:54 PM
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  19. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    I am thoroughly impressed with your enthusiasm @PoemNerd212! I'll attempt to defend my position, but you're not making it easy for me (by which I mean you seem to be good at debating :p).

    Okay, let me try to clarify what I mean by "rules". By rules I meant essentially what you describe, correctly, as poetic devices. In my opinion, a poem is not a poem if it doesn't use any poetic devices, even ones made up by the author specifically for that poem.

    In most cases, I would consider it prose with line breaks. I stand by my claim that a poem without structure or poetic devices (or "rules") is not truly a poem at all.

    The fact that it does not have anything, outside of maybe line breaks, separating it from prose.

    Rhyme scheme is a form of structure, so is meter, stanzas, line breaks, and shape.

    Also, here are a couple quotes I found from some other forum members that describe it better than I can (yes, I go looking through old poetry threads when I get bored sometimes, don't judge :p):
    (The last one is worded a bit harsh, but it still makes a good point ;))

    Okay, I'm going to get out of "what makes a poem a poem" mode for a second. A lot of new poets, including myself, start writing poetry by focusing on the content instead of the structure. I used to essentially just take a group of sentences, break them in odd places to make it seem "poetic", and call it a poem. The reason this is bad, in my opinion, is because it breeds bad habits. I'm very thankful I got out of the habit early, or I may still be writing "bad"* poems.

    However, I agree that whether there was an intent behind the decision or not does not determine whether it's a poem or not, but in my opinion line breaks alone are not enough to hold a poem.

    As one of the member's I quoted above stated, there are element (or, as I've been calling them, "rules") associated with poetry, and if a poem doesn't have any of them, it's not truly a poem.

    This, it seems, is where our problem lies :p

    Yes, but as I believe I've said, if it doesn't have any poetic devices, then it's not a poem.

    As am I, so why not? Although I wouldn't blame him if he didn't want to get mixed up in all this ;)

    @OJB

    *Bad in my opinion.

    ETA: I apologize if I neglected to address an important part of your post, as my brain hurts at this point :p If I did so please feel free to point it out ;)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 11:17 PM
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  20. PoemNerd212

    PoemNerd212 Active Member

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    @8Bit Bob Interesting... I can’t really say that I disagree with what Cogito said. Should there be a difference between poetry and word-dump? Yes yes yes. Should that difference be defined by the presence or absence of structure? Yes. Is it in reality defined this way, though?

    ...I don’t think so. In reference to what T.Trian said, there are a lot of people who define poetry differently from this. And the thing is, it’s big enough of a group to now have it’s own acknowledged category: “free verse poets/poetry”. That’s not an insignificant thing. If what that group does isn’t considered poetry, they shouldn’t be called poets. And yet, simply referring to them as “free verse poets” says otherwise. The definition of a poet is someone who writes poetry. However, we, as very opinionated members of a writing community, are contributing to the slow decline of the requirements to be considered a poet just by calling what they do “poetry”. I think I explained this above: the meaning of a word depends not on it’s original definition, but on how people use the word. If not only we, but a large population, begins to refer to writing that has no structure or poetic devices as poems, the definition of poetry changes whether we like it or not. So I still stand by my argument. I don’t think it should be this way, but this is what it has become.

    I’m trying to swallow my pride here a little because I consider the poems I write to be free verse. I have written poems like the ones T.Trian described, of which I’m not proud. :/ And I know that free verse isn’t supposed to be void of structure. I’ve found that structure has helped my poems a lot, although my strength lies more in content -literary devices like alliteration, imagery, metaphors, and symbolism (my favorite). And I’ve come to find that even when my poems lack a sound structure, there are usually people who still see my poem as a poem and consider it meaningful, which is what I want most. Not that it’s everything, but it’s definitely shaped my opinion on poetry and how people see, define, and judge it.

    I shake your hand, my friend. Good talk ;)
     
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  21. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    I agree with this, and it is rather unfortunate. I for one will be sticking to the more classic forms of poetry, as that's what I find the most enjoyment in ;)

    Let me clear something up. I in no way think free verse is devoid of all merit, but I do believe it's easy for new poets to look at it as "no rules, go at it!". However, I've read your poems, and all the ones I've read have seemed to been well written in my opinion :)

    Thanks for the insightful and enjoyable debate, my friend. ;)
     
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  22. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Too much stuff for me to go through. I'll start with the OP question.

    -
    Hello Rodney, I want you to think about two things: subjects that you want to talk about, and creating your own private language to talk about these subjects. I will answer these questions myself so that you can see my work process and start your own journey into poetry.

    I write very little Lyrical poetry (the expression of thought and emotion) the majority of the stuff I write is narrative (in fact, some have called it Hellraiser meets Shakespeare.) The subjects I write about are: Sexual mutilation, sexual exploration, and BDSM. Not really subjects that people think about when they think about poetry.

    Now the second part, creating a private language, this is where the poetry really begins. I have a set of 'rules' I use when I write. This creates a structure (a language) that my works are written in. There are two things that really define my writing and make it poetry.

    1. I write in Blank Verse. What this means is I write with an Iambic Pentameter base line and I use substitutions when certain contextual criteria is met. Example: If a line is very sexual, or has sexual undertones, I'll end the line with a hyper-metrical ending. The fact I do this, over and over again, creates that 'private language.' Rather or not the reader picks up on it is unimportant. The important part is that you have it.

    2. The second thing about my work is that it is very Nietzsche . The tone and views of my narrators are often Nihilistic. Also, my diction is very erotic, and my imagery is mixture of Erotic and Dream-like Imagery. Nietzsche once wrote that Art is a Dream-like image inspired by Intoxicating music and that idea echos and defines my writing.

    -
    So, the fact I have these two elements define and shape my writing is what makes it poetry. So again, what subjects do you want to write about? And how you want to express these subjects? (What poetics will you use to create your own private language?)
     
  23. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    @8Bit Bob

    I can see how enthusiastic you are about the need for structure and to follow rules. But, does the poet need to consciously follow these rules for their piece of work to be called a poem, or can they simply put pen to paper with their thoughts and feelings and then ensure that the final piece comes across like a poem? Like I said before (I may assume to much) but most people would know the difference between a poem and prose visually when they see them side by side without knowing or understanding the rules..

    Also in the above arguments you mention rules and poetic devices, but the impression I get is that there are so many of these rules and devices that it pretty much covers anything. So what are we arguing about.

    After all, how poetry evolves is by poets breaking the norm and dare I say it the rules! Presumably poetry started out with a particular rule and then somebody came a long and said "No I am not going to do it that way... I will invent my own rule!"

    @PoemNerd212 I can see where you get your username from :D:D. You certainly have a passion for this.
     
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  24. 8Bit Bob

    8Bit Bob What was I supposed to do, not dance with the dog?

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    As I stated before, I believe that if a poem lacks any form of poetic element (or poetic devices, or rules, whatever you want to call them), then it is not truly a poem.

    Yes, but usually the people who break these "rules" and make up new ones have spent years working to understanding poetry and all of the intricacies that come along with it. Additionally, I would say they would have to be highly influential poets, meaning they wrote poems that used regular poetic devices and got popular from them. This is my take on how that would work, anyway.

    As PoemNerd and I have come to agree on, the word "poetry" has almost morphed to mean writing without rules, or at least it seems like many people use it that way. I am arguing that it should still go by the more classic forms of poetry, but I obviously can't change the way a word is used :p
     
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  25. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    This is a pretty piss poor definition of poetry: The Illaid, The divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, (hell) let me throw Dr. Seuss into the mix. None of those poems are about the expression of thoughts and feelings, yet they're poems. What makes them poems is the self-implied restrictions that put on their work. (Meter, musical devices, Allegory, etc.)

    The difference between prose and poetry is NOT the subject matter; it is the the concern for the Aesthetics of the writing itself.
     
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