Poetry essay: How to write many poems about the same subject so they come across differently

Sometimes a poet writes many poems about the same subject.  For example, think of a woman experiencing a pregnancy.  If she were a poet, she might write many poems about the experience of having a child.

When writing many poems about the same subject, a poet might be concerned about all their poems sounding the same.  They might wonder how they can write about the same thing, while having the poems sound and come across differently to readers.  They might wonder how they can have poems that seem new and different, while still having them be about the same subject.

There are a number of approaches a poet could take.  To illustrate them, the example above of a woman having a child will be used.

Different perspectives

One idea to make poems about the same thing sound different, is to write them from different perspectives.  In the case of a mother having a child, she could write about the experience from her perspective, the baby’s father’s perspective, the baby’s perspective, the medical staff’s perspective, the grandparents’ perspective, and others.  The same event would be experienced in different ways by different people, and expressing that could add variety to the poetry.

Different times

Another approach is to write about an experience from different times.  In the case of a mother having a child, the entire experience lasts nine months.  She could pick different times during this period and write about the experience from that perspective.  For example, a poem written about what the first month was like, would be different from a poem written about what the eighth month was like.

Different events

A poet could also write about different events in a subject.  In the case of a mother having a child, she could write about events like finding out she was pregnant, telling the baby’s father, feeling the baby kick for the first time, and so forth.  Each of these events could be a different poem.

Different emotions

In any experience there are different emotions.  It can depend on a lot of things.  Using the example of a pregnancy, a woman might at different times feel happy, excited, scared, frustrated, worried, anxious, and other emotions.  Each of these emotional perspectives could lead to different poetry expressions.

Different forms

Different poetry forms can impart a different feeling to poems, even if those poems are about the same subject.  A limerick about something, will sound different than a haiku about the same thing, and that will sound different than a free verse poem about the subject.  A poet could use different forms to make the same subject come across differently to readers.

Different levels

In experiences there can be different levels that they can be looked at.  For the example of a woman experiencing a pregnancy, levels might be motherhood overall, mothers as a group, a group of mothers, and herself as a mother.  If she writes about pregnancy from these different levels, the poems would come across differently, even though they were about the same general topic.  (As another example, think of a poet who wanted to write about trees.  They could write about nature, forests, a forest, trees, a tree, a branch, a twig, and a leaf.  It is the same general subject, but from different levels.)

Artwork to inspire poetry: Plate with a butternut squash, two turnips, and two jalapeños

Plate with a butternut squash, two turnips and two jalapenos

Above is an artwork of a plate with a butternut squash, two turnips, and two jalapeños.  It is a play on the idea of the classic bowl of fruit still life.

The artwork can inspire poetry.  Here is a poem inspired by it:

Just because they’re different,
doesn’t mean,
they can’t be friends.

Poem with an explanation: different

It’s amazing,
how different it feels,
how it’s … just … different,

somehow,
despite,
the Earth’s spin,
despite,
those cars moving,
those people walking,
and that store over there,
moving along,

it is all just different.

Everything else,
that once felt solid,
is now,
just a fleeing fog.

This is real,
this matters,
something else matters more though.

Here,
on the mind,
despite the look,
despite the distraction,

it is all just different.

 

Think about, how it feels, after something very bad has happened in your life, but at the time when things somewhat settle down.  It’s amazing how different everything feels.  It’s strange to see the world go on, despite what you’ve been through.  It’s strange (for lack of another word) how what’s on your mind changes.  That is what this poem is about.

A photograph to inspire poetry: Canopy

Canopy

This is a photograph looking up through trees.  This photograph is different than many that have been on this blog, in that it looks up to the sky, rather than down to the ground, or only a few feet off of the ground.

While the photograph itself can inspire poetry (a poet could, for example, write about trees, or the sky, or about someone stopping and looking up), inspiration can also be found from the idea that the photograph is different from many of the ones that have been on this blog.  The photographs (as well as artwork) that have been in posts on this blog can be seen here: photographs and artwork.

The idea that the photograph is different, could inspire a poet to try different things in a poem.  A poet might be inspired to use a different poetry form than they have used before, or use words in a poem that they normally don’t, or to write about something different than they normally write about.  These new forms of expression might lead to interesting poems.

Although the poem below, as previously mentioned, was intended to use a form that has not appeared on this blog before, the idea of using a new form does fit well with the inspiration of this photograph.  The poem below uses the Sapphic poetry form.

In addition to the previously unused poetry form, an additional different thing, as inspired by the different photograph, in this poem, is the subject matter of the poem.  The poem below is about woven baskets.  The idea of a woven basket was inspired by the way the branches look in the photograph.  Since, as can best be determined, the subject of woven baskets has not been used on this blog before, this adds to the idea of something different inspired by the photograph.

Woven Baskets

Wooden branches expertly woven tightly,
 into baskets crafted to look as if they,
 were like the top canopies from where wood fell,
are just right for this.