Poetry, process, progress.

Month: March 2016

Reviewing “The Rules” for Intro to Poetry Students

Reviewing “The Rules” for Intro to Poetry Students

I’ve been thinking about the rules. At one point, my creative writing program had a list of rules for the intro class so that beginning poets did not go straight for the techniques or pitfalls  that pretty much guarantee failure for the newbies, no matter how talented. I still have a copy of those rules, and I’d like to not only think about them here, but also have my summer online intro students think about them too in a discussion board thread. I’m probably not going to be this rigid. Over time, I’ve found too many exceptions.  I thought though, that this would be a good  place to bring up the rules, poetry rules, that is.

First off, what? Poetry? Rules? How can that be? Well, when it comes right down to it, poetry is all about rules, usually those mandated by syntax as well as rules imposed by the poet, such as in forms like sonnets or sestinas. For beginning poets, a few limitations can help them avoid projects or techniques that are too challenging for those who haven’t mastered the basics yet. in fact, since this is the teaching-to-the-test generation, most of them have very limited exposure to either historic or current poetry, which means they don’t know what the basics are yet. Here are the general rules and some commentary:

General Rules for Poems Assignments (more…)

Review of the Poet Tarot App

Review of the Poet Tarot App

2016-03-25 21.15.282016-03-25 21.15.39I own the Poet Tarot deck from Two Sylvias Press and was very interested in the idea of a smartphone app for the deck. The original deck is a marvelous focusing device for poets who want to expand their writing habits or career growth. That said, a smartphone app seems like a great idea–guidance on the go, so to speak. I also wasn’t terribly comfortable with the idea of carrying a tarot deck in my purse. The deck has nothing to do with the occult or religion, but somehow I saw a future of weakly explaining that to no effect here in the buckle of the Bible belt. On the other hand, the Poet Tarot iPhone app (also available for Android through Google Play) is a fast, easy way to focus in on daily writing tasks or long-range plans without the bulk or the explanations. It also has the potential for improvising invention prompts or strategies for poetry classes or workshops. (more…)

Beginning

Beginning

In my quest to give poetry the time it needs, I’ve been thinking about triggers, those small things that start a poem. At times, I can almost hear a bell ring–this is it! Start here. The most unlikely trigger that I’ve found this year is text messages. I use text a lot with my daughter, a friend in Michigan, and another friend who is on sabbatical on the other side of the planet. Every once in a while  a phrase will stick out and beg to start something. In the past week two finished poems and one draft began as a response to a text. (more…)