This blog is about is about poetry in general, in case that wasn't clear already. It's about writing better poems, things that one must understand about poems, and, of course, poetry types and forms.
But on to the pleasantries. For the sake of being pleasant.
Hello there! It's DaveRevisionWhatplexer. Nice to meet you, too.
Now that I've got formalities out of the way, let's get to the purpose of the blog post.
Now, what one must understand, first and foremost, is that there is always room for improvement. In everything we do. Not because we have to cope with a judgemental society that insists on putting us down every chance it gets, but because we have to cope with our judgemental selves. Or perhaps our egotistical selves. Either way, it's about self-confidence -too much of it and too little of it. When we have too little, we need to have the will to get better. In the other case? Well, just put yourself aside for a minute and believe that you're really not the best there is, and that you can be better. It's how you learn to learn.
What is my point, anyway? I'm a bit of a hypocrite. We all are, in a way. I've written a a lot of poetry in my life. I've posted three on the site, too. I'm not fond of one and, I dare say, am astonished at the fact that it hasn't been deleted yet. I can do better. Another was deleted, and the last one is something I'm rather proud of. So can you, who has held on to my every word so far.
Secondly, poetry really takes a while to write. It takes more effort than writing a story of the same length -or double, at the risk of appearing to speak nonsense. You can probably think up a lyrical free verse in matter of minutes, but writing beautiful, powerful, fourteen-line poems while restricting yourself with rhyming schemes, syllable count and a difficult meter is really much, much different from what you normally do. Yes, I'm referring to a Sonnet here, as it is the most difficult form of poetry. I'll get to what these terms mean later. This is my general opinion, and it doesn't necessarily have to mean that I'm implying that you write poetry that shouldn't be considered poetry. Free verse is lovely. My favourite poem has been written this way.
Why to write poetry
Seriously, though. Why write difficult, restrictive verses when you can express your self -and more effectively- with a couple of paragraphs? Why do this, when you can do that which is much, much easier?
Poetry is beautiful! If you haven't tried writing a poem, possibly out if the fear that it won't turn out right, you must write one! You really shouldn't worry about it being good or bad, because everyone starts out badly. Poems don't have to be perfect. It's your unforgivable self that has to be happy with what you've written. If, -after you've been bound and gagged for the sake of maintaining a steady rhythm- you manage to get your meaning across, you'd be so proud. Writing poetry is the best thing ever.
*ahem* I'll try to keep this brief.
Terms you need to know
...because I'm going to be using them very often.
Pretty damned straightforward. You write lines that end with syllables that sound alike. Maintaining a rhyme can be pretty hard, though, so keep a rhyming dictionary handy. They really help. Not only do they make your job easier, but they also help you express yourself effectively and help you avoid awkward, forced words.
Also, while complicated rhyming schemes might sound like a neat idea, they aren't really very effective, because sometimes parahs need to end. My point is, let your poem breathe. Don't stuff everything in disjoint lines.
I'll be more clear. Let's say you've got a rhyming scheme somewhere along the lines of: aabcbcaa. Eight lines without a pause. Because pauses would not help highlight the complicated scheme. Nobody would notice how the 'a' appears four times, and you've worked too hard on this.
Another reason to not use complicated rhyming schemes is that readers will barely notice. Be more flexible when it comes to poetry, because a few wavers might actually enhance the rhythm. Readers won't really notice the two very-spacey a's. I used a difficult rhyming scheme in a poem of mine (some of you might know it >_>) and it turned out really singy-songy. A more flexible rhyming scheme solved everything, and it was easier.
These can help build up a beautiful beat. I daresay they aren't really terribly important, but would you rather be reading something that goes smoothly for the first two lines and just when you're getting used to it you-get-a-long-sentence-like-this-that-you-read-super-fast? To be fair, nothing is absolutely important, not a metre, not a rhyming scheme, not an iambic pentameter. Not even expression. None of these can be piled on top of each other and cut short and graded. But, uh, that wasn't really what I initially meant to say, and now I don't know what I meant to say, so let's skip to the next bit.
What are they? Pretty darn restrictive. I'm not kidding.
If you don't know what a metre is, do this one thing for me. Think about the last poem you read that wasn't free verse. A poem that, in your opinion, had a strong beat, even a singy-songy one. Now focus on one particular singy-songy line from a famous poem.
Mother doesn't want a dog,
Mother says they smell
Seven syllables, if you counted in the first line, and every second syllable was stressed, following an unstressed syllable. Look at it this way, now:
And then the little waver in the next line from the beat that has been built up:
I'll get to it. Metres are combinations of stressed and unstressed syllables. The poem I mentioned? That was a poem we had in fourth grade. It was one of my favourites, because I could ~sing along~. The next bit goes: and never sit when you say sit. Or something of the sort. I don't remember most of it, unfortunately.
Slant rhymes are not perfect rhymes. They simply sound like the word one would typically enhance with a rhyming scheme. They're much more subtle, and add to the rhythm even after going unnoticed.
You'd find a slant rhyme as alliterations, -that could relate to the first or last letter of the rhyming words; for example: thirst and thorn, or perhaps, sit and cat- or as words that simply share a common sound -for example, initiate and creation.
Slant rhymes are much easier than perfect rhymes, and can enhance the rhythm of the poem without diverting all the attention of the reader to the rhyming scheme. It happens far too many times, invariably trapping the poet's work into forced rhymes.
Lines separated by spacing.
Basically sentences that
Break off randomly between
A pair of lines that rhyme. Simply put. These can be disjoint, and normally end poems. A Shakespearean sonnet ends with a couplet.
Similarly, an octet is a group of eight lines that express the same thing.
A foot is a group of stressed and unstressed syllables that forms a meter. It's sort of like a unit that forms a certain metre. For example, Robert Frost's poem:
'Whose wood' is a foot. Here, one stressed and one unstressed syllable repeats throughout the poem. Thus, the foot is the stressed and unstressed syllable together. The poem is written in an iambic tetrameter. I'll get to this term later.
I can't think of any other poetry related terms right now. I'll update this blog when I do ._.
Types of Poems
That said, there are many different types of poems. You'll see Haiku, Haiga, Diminished Hexaverse, Chōka, Fibonacci, Ballad, Sonnet, etc.
I'll go into detail about the stuff that you need to know. Stuff you'll probably come across sooner or later if you're still in high school and stuff I'm passionate about because, uh, OCD. Always blame it on the OCD.
old pond . . .
a frog leaps in
You probably already know what a Haiku is. For those who don't, it's a Japanese style where there are three lines, each consisting of a certain number of syllables (5, 7, 5, actually).
Haiku are normally about nature and God, and stuff that is easy to condense into three lines. They explore a small aspect of, well, pretty things.
Writing a Haiku can be rather rewarding if one can pull it off. It's easy, compared to other styles of poetry. If you write a poem with 5, 7, 5 syllables in the respective lines, and it's about Nature and seasons, it's a Haiku. If you write about people and their ways in the same format, it's most likely a Senryu. A haiku accompanying an image to express it more effectively, will be a Haiga.
There happens to be a sort of extended Haiku. It's called a chōka. The syllable count is 5-7-5-7-5-7-7. This kind of poem adds a bit to a normal haiku and makes it much more personal.
This form originated in France, and is often lyrical -which means that it is coupled with music. It normally has a simple rhyming scheme and an iambic meter. It's mostly about love and junk.
It is normally written like a song, with a certain rhythm to it. A common rhyming scheme is a-a-b, c-c-d, d-d-e, or a-b-a-b, etc. It conveys a story at times, and is designed to be 'sung along', so the rhythm, while simple, is rather important. The rhythm normally consists of alternating beats: three and four beats. Here's an example of a lyrical ballad.
Ballads are one of the more difficult (in my opinion) forms of poetry. While some are used in musicals, some convey stories. They'd be an interesting choice for creepypasta, actually. But this blog isn't about creepypasta.
These have 22 syllables: 2-4-6-8-2.
A reverse cinquain is, well, just that. 2-8-6-4-2. A mirror cinquain is 2-4-6-8-2-2-8-6-4-2, and a butterfly cinquain is 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2.
You must have heard of the Fibonacci Sequence. In, perhaps, a puzzle book, Discovery Channel, or Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. That's where I've come across this sequence in my short -though not so short- lifetime. Don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about. It's basically this:
Turns out that set of numbers had a pattern! Just add the two numbers before any one in the pattern to attain it.
In sigma notation:
(Because, uh, math)
n< rn==> (tn - 1) + (tn - 2)
Let's simplify this, shall we?
0+1=1. 1+1=2. 2+1=3. 3+2=5. 5+3=7.
Thus, putting together the sums, we get the sequence.
A Fibonacci poem uses these many of syllables in the respective lines. So it ~grows as it goes~. That's pretty much it? And you'll probably never need this information, or come across a fibonacci, so feel free to forget about it in its entirety.
Sorry. But that much all-caps-excitement is needed. I'm obsessive about them, quite frankly. And I've come across quite a few.
What are they?!
Short, beautiful poems written by only the greatest of writers that have ever kept with men. *starstruck*
That doesn't explain much, does it?
A sonnet is very, well, precise. It cannot be any more -or less- than fourteen lines, must have an iambic pentameter and a specific rhyming scheme. There are types of sonnets, actually, but I won't go into detail. So the rhyming scheme depends on what kind of sonnet one is trying to write.
Ah, yes, and the iambic pentameter. It's the heart and soul of a sonnet, and I haven't told you, dear reader, what it is.
Stressed and unstressed syllables. Five pairs of them. Alternatively. Sounds easy? Well, it certainly isn't. Hopefully you've heard of this sonnet.
All sonnets must have an iambic pentameter (Penta=five. There can be tetrameters and hexameters. Goes like that from there onwards). Ten syllables that are alternatively stressed and unstressed. Then we have the fourteen lines. And then the rhyming scheme, which, in its simplicity, is also complicated. There are different types of sonnets, as I've said before, and different kinds of rhyming sequences. You're just going to have to look it up.
This is just poetry without any restrictions whatsoever. These can be absolutely ~beautiful. My favourite poem, and I've said this before, is free verse.
It's an iambic pentameter without a rhyming scheme.
It's a really fun and silly poem that tells a silly story. You use an easy rhyming scheme (usually aabba) and just ~go with the flow~ from there. I don't think I can elaborate; it's just children's poetry. Sort of like Jellicle Cats.
Tells a story, put simply. When you write a creepypasta poem? Hell, when Edgar Allen Poe writes one? It's a Narrative.
Lyric poetry is a song. With music and stuff.
Not fond of these. Not as much as I love the types of poetry with sections of their own.
Oh, yeah. It's a poem where every letter that begins a new line forms a word. I don't remember any acrostic, so, uh, I'll just write one to demonstrate.
Into the sky
^^no comments on that, please. I don't like acrostics. Thank you.
These get to the point quickly, and are a rather serious form of poetry.
These are unrhymed, single stanza, ten-line poems. and their syllable count is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. A double etheree adds a stanza of 10-9-8-7-etc syllables.
Diminished Hexaverse Poem with six syllables in the first line, five in the second, four in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth and a sole syllable in the sixth line.
Poem that is being narrated by a character to an implied listener.
Alright, that ends it
Hopefully. There are far too many poetry types to cover in a single blog post.
So I'm going to go ahead and put down some stuff I've learnt about poetry. Stuff I can share with you guys.
- Restrict yourself: Free verse, as I have said before, can be ~beautiful~, but restrictions imposed upon a poem can work wonders. Pick a rhyming scheme. Maybe even a metre. Then go ahead and get your meaning out to the readers through the walls you have built for yourself.
- Expression is important: Ignore the bit where I said it really wasn't. Because it is. The point of poetry is to be able to ~touch a strangers heart using nothing but ink~. You can only achieve that by being able to form little, neat sentences that, in their simplicity, have a metaphorical significance. Comparisons are beautiful, too. Look at the first few lines of Prufrock. The sky has been compared to a patient etherized upon a table, which also happens to startle the reader more than anything else.
- Little, neat sentences: this needed to be a separate point. You don't need big words you found in the dictionary yesterday to make your poem seem amazing. In fact, readers need to be comfortable while reading your work. It has to flow. Big, fancy words really deter the rhythm of a poem. Keep stuff simple.
- More little, neat sentences: this needed to be a separate point, too. What is the point of this point? Say you're writing about nature. A flower, perhaps, that you find pretty. Rather than getting to the point about the beauty of the flower, waver a bit. No, waver a lot. This is what sets poetry apart from storytelling: you get to digress as much as you want, and still be well within the walls or restrictions you've built for yourself. Sort of like: I am sad doesn't sound as good as please be a song, O silver pool of sadness.
- EVEN MORE little, neat sentences: Because little, neat sentences are important. If you can, condense the poem as much as possible. This might be hard for narratives, but try. Shorter poems can be five minutes of joy for readers. Longer ones are normally never read to the very end unless they're exceptionally good. I have said that digressions are beautiful, but does a poem really need so many? Ever wondered why Haiku are so famous?
- Languages and difficulty: It's better to write a poem in your native language if you're comfortable with it. We have a category called AltLang. Don't force English upon yourself.
- Creepy crappy poetry: You don't have to start with creepypasta. In fact, don't start with creepypasta. Explore your options. You can write lovely, three line poems about nature or simple songs about love, love, or whatever; take a number. Not everything has to be long and scary and 'narrative'.
- Poem deleted?: Don't give up. You can always get better. You'll take a while, maybe, but don't let a little setback keep you from doing what you do. My poem was deleted once, -and if I cannot be an example of success, let me be one of failure- and then I found out why. And then I improved, and then I shared my failure with the world because I'm not ashamed of it. And I want the readers of this post to not give up, either.
- Step by step: Try doing this, next time you write poetry. Write a free verse about everything you're thinking and feeling and every little detail of everything around you. Then, read this poem, and condense it. Then let your imagination flow! Use metaphors and comparisons and alliterations, because they might just be the things that make your poem worth praise. Maybe then work on meters and syllable count and rhyming schemes. Like I said, restrict yourself.
- Avoid making your poetry seem too forced. It's always a good trait to be able to keep up a restrictive meter and rhyming scheme and yet make the poem seem natural and ~flow-ey~ when read out, but most of the time, it doesn't work very well. Go back to the bit about slant rhymes. I have said before that restrictions can make your poem beautiful, but one can express oneself more effectively while breaking the rules a bit. Too much rhyme is mostly a bunch of unnecessary and can sound annoyingly singy-songy. As a poet, one could pay more attention to expression.
That is all. Maybe I'll write another blog like this soon enough. Of course, if you, dear reader, have enjoyed reading this one. Hopefully I have made a stranger want to write poetry, and contributed to the world of literature in my own way.