LESSON 15

I have noted, with great joy and some surprise, that I have been receiving a huge number of poems, from poets who do not speak English as their first language.  I have been, not only impressed, but gratified and heartened, as well.  It is hard enough to write poetry in your given language but, to translate it into a foreign language, takes courage and intellect and skill.  While I will admit, there are grammatical errors in most of the poems, there are also, the musical strains of undeniable poetry!  There are rhymes (too many) and images, and feelings, and sometimes, startling use of language.  I commend you all and thank for your poems and encourage others to jump “write” in and submit a poem.

The lesson of the week is simply this, poetry is, first and foremost, about use of language.  It is about words, artfully placed on the page.  It is about imagery and syntax but, it is also about feelings, heart, desire, need, love, loss, hope, fear, and essentially, the need to write.  Poetry is about you and it’s about me!  Poetry is about your need to tell me who you are and my need to know.  Poetry is, in the beginning and in the end, all about communicating – all about connecting.

So, here is my “lesson” for you this week.  If you need to write – write.  You may not choose to share it with anyone and that’s OK, because writing is about you sharing you with you.  Then, if you decide you want to share it with others, go ahead.  If you write in one language and want to share your poem in a second language, hit the dictionary, the thesaurus, read poems in the language you choose to write your poem and, be guided by what you read.

And always remember that in poetry, less is more.  If you want to say:

the gurgling stream flowed along through the valley

and it was beautiful and it seemed to skate over rocks

and branches that had fallen into the river

perhaps ripped from the towering trees

during storms and the very sight of it

the very sound of it soothed my suffering heart.

Reread your poem, many times – that’s many times!  Read it in your head – read it in your heart and then read it again.  Then, read it out loud.  Read it out loud again, changing the way you read it, changing where you stop the line, until you finally have a poem – a real poem, not a story or a series of sentences but, a poem:

the stream sang its way through

the valley      a melody of motion over

rocks and branches ripped by wind

from towering trees    the sight of it

the sound of it soothed

my suffering heart

Please note that you have still delivered the same message but, you have used brevity, you have turned a story into a poem.  And to all of you ”rhyme -lovers” out there, remember, rhyme has its place in poetry but, it does not need to take over the poem, it does not have to hit you like a sledge hammer.  Use rhyme the way you would gold, very sparingly and only, only when it works, not for the sake of rhyme but because it ads something meaningful, to your poem.

Going forward I will be doing a Featured Poem of the Month.  I will be looking for poems that may be accompanied by photos, drawings, music, or some other art form and will share any, and all, of the creative progeny, that seem to speak to, and for, the poem, over the course of the month.  Please check out my selections for our May Featured Poem (poet) of the month, and you will get a feel for what I am looking for.  Also, please be sure to note that all poems must be submitted through the Chat Room at www.poetladykatz.com to be considered, and be received before the last Tuesday of each month.  You will have to register to submit your poem but, there is no fee and, you can unregister at any time.

Please note that I will continue to consider poems that have been sent in over the past weeks, for the June Featured Poem.  I thank you for your trust in me,

~Susan

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