Sunday, February 14, 2010

More on snow (but no more snow please)

More on snow (but no more snow please)

My friend Tom calls me after a snow fall and recites from memory the first two stanzas of James Russell Lowell's

"The First Snow Fall". He went to school in the days when it was mandatory to memorize poetry. That was quite a long time ago and he still can recite the whole poem from memory. I'm impressed.

So for your enjoyment and as a comparison to Mary Oliver's snow poem below are the first two stanzas.

Note the meter and rhyme as compared to Oliver's free verse. I think both are beautiful.

The snow has begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night.

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock

Wore ermine too dear for an earl,

And the poorest twig on the elm tree

Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"First Snow" by Mary Oliver

From the poem "First Snow" by Mary Oliver (yes I know we're way past that)

The snow

began here,

this morning and all day

continued, its white

rhetoric everywhere

calling us back to why, how,

whence such beauty and what

the meaning; such

an oracular fever! flowing

past windows, an energy ti seemed

would never ebb, never settle.....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can anyone write a poem?

Can anyone write a poem? If someone has a desire to express a feeling, idea or observation in a poetic form---why not? I am sure we all have written haiku at one time or another.

I think the poem had been confined to the academic world for far too long. Although it always existed in the popular culture in the form of song lyrics and recently in rap, poetry seems to be experiencing a current revival of main steam interest. Note the increase in poetry readings, workshops and dare I say blogs.

If the would-be poet enjoys language and words, it can be very satisfying trying to write poems. The best way to get started is the old cliche---start reading and listening to lots of poems---old ones, new ones, sonnets, ballads, rhyming, free verse, etc.

And then begin writing and see what happens.

Is there such a thing as inspiration. I think so. I think some people for a myriad of reasons feel a "pull" toward writing poetry. Perhaps it comes from their unconscious and may give them a bit of an edge in this somewhat mysterious process.

Anyone can write a poem, but it seems some of us must.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How I write a poem.

People often ask how do YOU write a poem...does it come all at once or in bits and pieces?

Do you sit down to deliberately write it or just grab it when it suddenly hits you?

The answer for me is all of the above.

I keep a notebook where I jot ideas, phrases, words or feelings throughout some days and sometimes at night.

They may gestate in my mind for a day, a week or a month.

Then I will sit down, comb through them, play with them and try to form them into a meaningful poem.

Other times if I have a deadline, I'll sit down and wait for the muse to appear. I may carefully and deliberately grind out what looks like a pretty good poem and then at the end---reject it and write something with a totally different theme.

In other words, for me there are no set rules---oh wait I do have one rule---to be as honest and as true to my experiences as I can.