Bilingual Poem: the elephants dance

the elephants dance,
inside the stomach,
too much food

 

los elefantes bailan,
dentro del estómago,
demasiada comida

 

Note: There will be no new blog posts on the blog December 29, 2018 – January 1, 2019.  The next new blog post will be on January 2, 2019.  Happy New Year!

A photograph to inspire poetry: Christmas leaves

Christmas leaves

Above is a photograph of red and green leaves.  The leaves are in traditional Christmas colors.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  Here is a poem inspired by it.

The tree,
knows better.
Christmas starts,
on Christmas Day,
it doesn’t end.
These decorations,
will be out,
for a while.

Poetry essay: Grouping and ordering poems in a collection

If you are a poet, and write multiple poems, at some point you may decide to group those poems together.  Maybe you are creating an eBook of poems.  Maybe you are thinking about having a chapbook of poems.  Maybe you are thinking of having poems on different sections of your website or blog.

If you are thinking of grouping poems together, one thing you might be wondering about is, how do you group and order them together?  This can come up when you get the idea to have poems grouped and ordered.  You want the order of your poems and the groups they are in to make sense for the reader and to get your message across.  You want the poems grouped and ordered in the most effective way.

If you are thinking about this, below are some ideas for how you can group and order your poems.

The order they were written

This could be the easiest answer to the question.  You can simply leave the poems in the order you wrote them and in whatever groups you made them (if more than one).

There are advantages to this method.

First, it is simple.  You don’t have to do anything extra.

Second, it works off the idea of being natural.  You are leaving the poems in the order and groups you wrote them.  You aren’t overthinking things, looking into things, or contriving things.  This can be an almost organic approach.

Third, your ordering and grouping might reflect something natural.  If you wrote the poems over time, then how you changed over time, and what you experienced, will be reflected in them.  Showing them in this order can be an effective presentation.

Fourth, when you created the poems, you might have had some natural groups in mind, although maybe not at the front of your mind.  Maybe you started writing about illness.  This then lead to you writing about death.  This then lead to you writing about winter.  This lead to writing about spring.  This lead to writing about life.  This grouping, although maybe not intended, can be effective.

By subject matter

One obvious way to group poems is based on what they are about.  You could read through the poems you want to collect, assign subjects to them, and organize them by subject.  You could think about the flow from one subject to another and use that to help you order the groups.

By tone

Another way to group or order poems is by tone.  Is the poem upbeat?  Is the poem sad?  Is the poem defiant?  Is the poem sarcastic?  You could examine the tones of the poems and group them in those categories.  Again, like with the subject matter, you could order the tones in a way that you think has a flow and makes sense for the reader.

Combine subject matter and tone

If you like the idea of organizing poems by subject matter or by tone, you might consider combining the two together.  For example, you could organize poems by subject matter group.  Then, within each group, you could organize the poems by tone.  This can create a natural flow to your work.  You could also do the reverse, and group the poems by tone, and then organize them by subject matter.

Randomly

One way to order poems is to do so randomly.  You could write all of your poem titles (or some other identifying information) on pieces of paper, mix those pieces in a bowl, and draw them out.  You could then present your poems in the order they were selected.

The idea here is based on the idea, that in some instances, what a person thinks of isn’t really all that better than something random.  Think of something like seating arrangements at a party.  It could be, that whatever arrangement a person arrives at through hours of thought and work, might not turn out to really be better than had they just had people sit in random spots.  The same thought could apply to poem ordering.

Arbitrarily

This is a bit like assigning the order randomly, but it uses arbitrary methods instead.  An example would be ordering the poems alphabetically based on title.  This is arbitrary in the sense that it might not have any reflection on any substantial quality of the poems.  It can be a useful way to order though, because it eliminates the work and decision making that some other methods might use.

Quality

One way to group and order poems is by quality.  Imagine if you wrote one hundred poems and, although you thought they were all good, you thought ten really stood out.  Where should you put these ten?

Answering this question can help you order your poems.  You might put the ten best poems at the start and lead with the best.  You might put them at the end, and end with the best.  You might mix them in throughout the collection to have bursts of extra good work.

In looking at quality, you could extend the idea past just the best.  You might have three categories: good, better, and best.  You could use these categories to form groups and create an ordering of the poems.

Poetry topic idea: winter solstice

Today is the winter solstice.  Happy shortest day of the year! (If you are in the southern hemisphere – happy summer solstice.  Happy longest day of the year!)

This day can inspire poetry.  The ideas of darkness, light, seasons, change, turning points, and so forth can all be used in poetry.  They can be applied to many different ideas.  Here is a poem inspired by the day:

the doctor said,
for the first time,
it got smaller

 

Note:

Because of Christmas, there will be no new blog post on the blog December 22 – December 25.  The next new blog post will be on December 26.  Merry Christmas.

Experimental Poetry Form: V

Today’s experimental poetry form is called V.  It is based on layout on the page.  The form consists of twenty one words in the shape of a V.  It looks as follows:

 

*                                       *

  *                                   *

    *                               *

      *                           *

        *                       *

          *                   *

            *               *

              *           *

                *       *

                  *   *

                    *

The form is read by going down the left side and then up the right side.  Here is an example poem written in the form:

 

Cooking                                 it.

  food                                   taste

    for                                 never

      others,                      will

        smelling                you

          the                    knowing

            aroma,          plate,

              and           a

                as         on

                  you   it

                    put

Poem with an explanation: emptiness grows

emptiness grows,
and unlike the supposed living,
there is no relief,
with time

the flock flies above,
looking toward horizons,
while there beneath the stone,
the bear lies

nuts and berries,
are absent the hands,
the smell of roast turkey,
fills the air

under the stone,
the night falls,
as the emptiness grows,
in silence

 

This poem is about hunger.  In the poem there is a homeless person who has not eaten for days.

In the first stanza, the person’s hunger grows (emptiness grows).  This ailment, unlike something caused by a virus, does not heal with time (and unlike the supposed living (a virus may or may not be living), there is no relief, with time).

The homeless person is outside beside a building.  People move about around him (the flock flies above).  The people are focused on their lives (looking toward horizons) and don’t notice the man.  It is as if he is hidden (while there beneath the stone, the bear lies).

The man wants for simplicity.  There is this idea, that a person lost in the wilderness, will gather the simplest foods: nuts and berries.  This level of food is what the man desires, but he does not have it (are absent the hands).  About him though, people have an abundance of luxurious food (the smell of roast turkey, fills the air).

The man is metaphorically hidden and covered (under the stone).  In his hunger, he passes away (the night falls).  The stone also symbolizes a tomb.  His death has left an emptiness in the world (as the emptiness grows) but it is not noticed (in silence).

 

The above was a poem with an explanation.  The idea is to help readers learn about poetry through the explanation given.  Readers can learn about symbolism and metaphor by reading how they were applied in a particular situation.

If you like poems with explanations, please consider purchasing a copy of Understanding: poems with explanations.  It is an eBook that contains twenty poems with explanations.  It is available for $0.99 plus tax where applicable.

Understanding: poems with explanations by M. Sakran