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Do you 'get' poetry? - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Do you 'get' poetry?
 [personal profile] jjhunter has an interesting poll about how and whether people understand poetry.  I suspect my audience leans towards "yes."

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ankewehner From: ankewehner Date: May 13th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess I'm an exception, then. Unless a poem rhymes and has a strong rhythm, it just seems like prose with added linebreaks to me, and I'd rather read it without the linebreaks.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

That's okay. There's nothing wrong with having specific tastes in poetry. Some people only like rhymed, metered poetry while others only like free verse. Another haggis shortage averted!
lyonesse From: lyonesse Date: May 13th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

"another haggis shortage averted!" lol :)

i have been able to create "poetry converts" just by reading the stuff aloud to them.

i've also found that there's a strong correlation between the length and construction of poem a person will like and their working memory size. structure aids with making longer/more complicated poems more accessible to people with smaller working memories.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

>> i have been able to create "poetry converts" just by reading the stuff aloud to them. <<

Good for you!

I believe that a lot more people would like poetry if they were exposed to good poetry relevant to their interests. Back when I was designing coursework for prison classes, I'd look up stuff by black and Hispanic poets for the assignments. The students were amazed that people wrote poetry about experiences they could relate to. I hooked a lot of people on Robert Hayden.

>> i've also found that there's a strong correlation between the length and construction of poem a person will like and their working memory size. <<

That's interesting. I think it makes sense. *chuckle* I know there are elven forms that humans don't get because their memory-spool isn't long enough.

>> structure aids with making longer/more complicated poems more accessible to people with smaller working memories. <<

Agreed. I've written about the use of poetic techniques for memorizing things. Several times in fishbowls, folks have asked me for a poem aimed at making a given topic easy to remember.
lyonesse From: lyonesse Date: May 13th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

robert hayden is amazing.

my usual first-poets-for-newcomers are billy collins, marilyn hacker, and wb yeats.

if you prompt me with an elven form i will write you a poem :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 14th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

>> if you prompt me with an elven form i will write you a poem :) <<

The scroll verse, or scroll poem, is similar to an envelope stanza (which rhymes abba) but with a lot more rhymes. Lay out the alphabet with a rhyme for each letter, and then mirror it. All 26 rhymes have to be different. A human will only be able to hear the rhymes in the middle where they are very close to each other (xyzzyx) but an elf can remember the whole batch.

There's a connection with the actual letters too, although I haven't finished figuring it out yet. There may be multiple variations. I'd bet on either alliteration/assonance, initial line letters, or the line's letter appearing in the rhyme word. Take your pick, you've got wiggle room here.

Yes, I like forms so much that I import them from other dimensions. This one is from Hallelaine, my main fantasy world.

ankewehner From: ankewehner Date: May 13th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Yeah, I kinda wanted to get that out there as explanation why it's unlikely to see me commenting on poems, or joining in to the fishbowl prompting.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

I write all kinds of poetry. I like forms, including rhymed/metered forms. My favorites of the latter include sonnets, villanelles, and triolets. Poetry fishbowls vary -- often I write a lot of free verse, but some themes run heavy to form poetry. (High Fantasy did that.) So if you watch the thumbnails, you can see which poems are free verse and which are forms; I usually remember to specify the form.

Also, forms are a legitimate type of prompt. You can ask for any form that you like. It's a way to let people leave prompts even if the current theme doesn't grab them.

A quick skim through the "Serial Poetry" page reveals these rhymed, metered poems:

"The Snake Goddess"
The Odd Trio -- whole series
"Fair Maiden Meets Fierce Villain"
"The Daughters of Befana"
"Prezzemolina"

There are more if you click the "poem" tag and just skim through looking for the ones that rhyme.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: May 13th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I've taught poetic composition and interpretation at Middle School and High School levels. Does that count? :P
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It counts! I've taught poetry too. It's nice to know that some folks are doing it right.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: May 14th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

*chuckle* One of my (few) fond moments from my days in the classroom was teaching a bunch of middle schoolers how to visualize descriptions and interpret narrative from the ballad "Big Bad John". (And, yes, they enjoyed singing along, too.)
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 14th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>> I'm not much into the metered, rhyming stuff, but I love the sort of free-form narrative poetry you do. <<

*nod* I've known for a while now that I have several fans on each side, who only (or primarily) like either free-verse or form poetry. It's all fine.

>> Actually, thinking about it a minute more, I think it's more about the narrative than form or the absence thereof, since I also love the Poetic Edda, which has very strong forms, but is fundamentally a series of narratives. <<

I got to read parts of the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda in college. I like the Havamal too. I do tend to think of poetry as storytelling, and my poems are narrative more often than not. Sometimes I'll do one that's just a snapshot, like haiku, or wordplay. But most of them are basically stories.

>> Also a big fan of prose with poetic stylings, most notably Tolkien, where there's a strong rhythm and lyricism to the writing even though it's presented as prose. <<

*chuckle* Yeah, Tolkien drew a lot of his style from classic poetry and poetically flavored prose ... which is where he got his character names from, too.
paka From: paka Date: May 13th, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does it count as more than five poems memorized if most of 'em are by E.E. Cummings and the rest are haiku?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 13th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Those are poems. They count. e.e. cummings is a favorite of mine, and I like haiku too.
zianuray From: zianuray Date: May 15th, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I understand YOUR poetry, mostly, I think.

There is some (lots) out there that just confuses me.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 21st, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Most of my poetry is intended to be understandable. Obscure bits are more often eastereggs than fundamental aspects of the poem. There's some variation, though -- my nature poems tend to be a lot more accessible for general audiences, whereas my science fiction poems tend to assume that the reader is familiar with sciences.
natf From: natf Date: May 16th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was writing a long comment here but will write a post instead.

Et voila! http://natalief.livejournal.com/1677212.html

Edited at 2011-05-17 12:08 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 17th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad I inspired a whole post! I appreciate the link.
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