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Passions in Poetry

How to write a challenge poem...

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Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


0 posted 08-14-99 12:26 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I've been asked how I write a poem from a challenge phrase and decided to share this with you. Remember, please, I am not a teacher, nor have I taken any classes on writing poetry except in high school back when dinosaurs roamed the earth! I put my thoughts in here so you can see what I was thinking and why I made the changes I did.


First: the phrase

For the purpose of this discussion, I opened a book of ‘Quotable Poems’ and picked a phrase at random:

It comes on wings in the night

Ok…feel the phrase. What comes in the night? If you are like me, sometimes my creativity is at it’s peak at night. Ok…so

My muse? My inspiration? I have to be somewhere when it comes..being in bed is too restrictive. If I had a porch, it would be perfect…

It comes on wings in the night
as I sit alone on my porch

Yikes! Now we have to find a rhyme for porch……not very easy to do..we may want to change that.

It comes on wings in the night
to envelope me
to hold me in it’s arms of delight?

Not sure but we’ll go with that for now. So creativity is the ‘thing’ here. What does it do for me?

It comes on wings in the night
to hold me in it’s arms of delight (on second reading I don’t like this - we’ll fix it later)
caressing my mind with wonder (hmm? Wonder - thunder - asunder?)
tearing my soul asunder (not a bad line here)

In the sunlight of my life (we need a comparison here)
filled with humanity’s greedy strife (we’re limited to rhyming with life -strife - )
the walls of my soul are closed (like this line!)
restrictions there, self-imposed (I want to say that I don’t allow creativity during the day)

But in the dark hours between dusk and dawn (awfully long for the scheme here)
I find my muse to me is drawn (not sure about this one)
and holds me in it’s powerful (grip? - thesaurus here we come!)
and there I find (what? I have to find something!)

Let’s review:
It comes on wings in the night
to hold me in it’s arms of delight (rhyming dictionary - sight - plight - twilight)
and gives to me my poet’s sight (better)
as it caresses my mind with wonder (we’ll leave this - need to add a beat tho)
and tears my closed soul asunder (needed to change to match gives/caresses)

In the sunlight of my waking hours (better than life)
filled with humanity’s greedy strife (now this whole line has to go )
rhyming dictionary here - I’m stuck with flowers/bowers - need to change that other line
In the waking hours of day’s sunlight (can rhyme with flight here)
I cannot let my mind take flight (ok…we can work with this)
the walls of my soul are closed (like this line!)
restrictions there, self-imposed (I want to say that I don’t allow creativity during the day)

Between the hours of dusk and dawn (awfully long for the scheme here)
I find my muse to me is drawn (not sure about this one)
and holds me in it’s powerful embrace
and there I find my resting place (thesaurus!? Rhyming dictionary?)

Now I read it out loud:

1-It comes on wings in the night
2-and gives to me my poet’s sight
3-as it caresses my mind with wonder
4-and tears my closed soul asunder

5-In the waking hours of day’s sunlight
6-I cannot let my mind take flight
7-the walls of my soul are closed
8-restrictions there, self-imposed

9-Between the hours of dusk and dawn
10-I find my muse to me is drawn
11-and holds me in it’s powerful embrace
12-and there I find my resting place

This appears to be the meter I'm working with: - / - / - / - /

2-hard to read - change to: giving to me a poet’s sight
4-change the tense - tearing?
3-caressing my mind with wonder (to maintain the meter)
5-meter change to : in the waking hours of daylight
7-meter change to: the walls of my soul are tightly closed
11-meter change to: into it’s powerful embrace

Another reading and let's format it to center on the page:


It comes on wings in the night
giving me a poet’s sight
caressing my mind with wonder
tearing my closed soul asunder

In the waking hours of daylight
I cannot let my mind take flight
the walls of my soul are tightly closed
restrictions there, self-imposed

Between the hours of dusk and dawn
I find my muse to me is drawn
into it’s powerful embrace
and there I find my resting place


Ok…what do YOU think?




[This message has been edited by Poet deVine (edited 08-14-99).]
Angel
Senior Member
since 07-02-99
Posts 597
Pennsylvania


1 posted 08-14-99 08:34 PM       View Profile for Angel   Email Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel

Wow, I have to say you are a really great poet and have tremendous talent. I have so much respect for anyone who can do that just from one simple line. I have not been writing poetry that long but I must say your work is some of the best I have ever read. I can only wish to be as talented as you someday.
Artur Hawkwing
Member
since 06-30-99
Posts 443
USA


2 posted 08-14-99 10:16 PM       View Profile for Artur Hawkwing   Email Artur Hawkwing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Artur Hawkwing

I know its a little out-of-hand here for me, but mainly this takes creativity. Every one's mind has different degrees of creativity. Mine can't match yours, nor can yours match mine. But you are a very good teacher, if not exactly a "public" teacher. When I rhyme my poems, I never have a rhyming dictionary in hand -- I know, this is another issue with me, I need one BAD! -- but take all the collective thoughts from my head and try putting them together as comfortably at once, then go over, sometimes annotating with friends. I had hoped for a lot of annotating when I came to this site, but I keep seeing all kinds of comments on what a joy it is to read the poem. I should post in the Critical Analysis more, but even looking at others' poems in there, they have more regarding comments than annotating ones.... but when you look at my poems, could you tell me one thing you think I can improve on? Good teaching style here. Poet deVine, take at the beginning of this poem I created on Ulysses (only 8 lines) but in doublets... I need your thought outline.

One hand on the bow, another on the arrow,
Ulysses's face sweated none to know
what lands he came thither, carried by Poseidon,
as sky shone blazing blue and he alone
to death's thirst, avenger's bow shall protect
with aegis's invincibility and concealed dialect;
the wind was rising, the dirt hissing,
the mournful wind wailing, the day increasing-


If I have trailed from the topic here, I don't mind someone scolding me on that. But if someone here wants to learn making a poem efficiently, they also need someone else to analyze it for them. Thank you. Like Angel, I hold no doubts you are magnificently talented!



[This message has been edited by Artur Hawkwing (edited 08-14-99).]
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
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3 posted 08-14-99 11:55 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Ok, Artur, let's do it here...first:

One hand on the bow, another on the arrow,
If you rearrange your first line to read:
One hand on the arrow, another on the bow

you will be able to rhyme the next line


Ulysses's face sweated none to know

what lands he came thither, carried by Poseidon,
what lands he came to? carried by Poseidon - what are we saying here?
he came from thither, on Poseidon's throne?


as sky shone blazing blue and he alone
to death's thirst, avenger's bow shall protect
with aegis's invincibility and concealed dialect;
the wind was rising, the dirt hissing,
the dirt was rising, the wind never ceasing
the mournful wind wailing, the day increasing-


One hand on the arrow, another on the bow
Ulysses's face sweated none to know
he came from thither, on Poseidon's throne?
as sky shone blazing blue and he alone
to death's thirst, avenger's bow shall protect
with aegis's invincibility and concealed dialect;
the dirt was rising, the wind never ceasing
the mournful wind wailing, the day increasing-


You've got some great lines here...I would only make those few changes...do you read your poems outloud (embarrassing but I do it)? Let me know what you think! Thank you for thinking I'm talented (and thanks Angel), but you see I'm not..I just work harder at it..you'd be surprised at the low number of poems I have written compared to others here! You post your reply here and we'll work more on this if you want.

[This message has been edited by Poet deVine (edited 08-14-99).]
Artur Hawkwing
Member
since 06-30-99
Posts 443
USA


4 posted 08-16-99 04:56 PM       View Profile for Artur Hawkwing   Email Artur Hawkwing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Artur Hawkwing

Hey! Poet deVine, I apologize for the late response, but one's bound to come tonight. Keep your eyes open!
Artur Hawkwing
Member
since 06-30-99
Posts 443
USA


5 posted 08-17-99 01:05 AM       View Profile for Artur Hawkwing   Email Artur Hawkwing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Artur Hawkwing

Ok, now let's see... I can see how you put together poetry, the fascinating and intricating, yet tedious, way of weaving things in. In my opinion, my version of the poem thus far sounds more "excitable" -- I am an imagerist, and you are further than I in experience, in whatever case. I should be listening to you, I should, yet I know when something doesn't feel right. Now, I'm curious, which feels more right to you: your version, or my version, of "Ulysses" as it is so far?

Here my two cents come: Oh yea, I always read my poems out aloud, and never find it embarassing... must be how I write - I can almost never seem to write a poem without containing some sort of metaphor in it, or using imagery. My friend was suggesting to me the other day:

Instead of saying "the wind was rising, the dirt hissing", change it to "the wind rising, the dirt hissing" because she said that somehow it makes it sound more exciting, like something's hanging in the air about to happen. Are you an expert at creating mystery in poems, or a sense of forewarning? Since we happen to write so differently, with you getting on with the point early on, and me weaving it into a story, this is a fascinating but strange discussion.

As for the poem, Poseidon was the god of the sea (I'm sure you knew, of course!) and I was merely suggesting that Poseidon's waters carried his ship across the seas. You know, he escaped the sirens and such. I wanted to compare with you how we happen to write our poems. If I haven't shown you in any way how I write my poem, lemme outline the ideas...

One hand on the bow, another on the arrow, ........(forming an image)
Ulysses's face sweated none to know ........(he is not revealing himself)
what lands he came thither, carried by Poseidon, ........(... or from whence he came, carried by the seas by Poseidon's pardon)
as sky shone blazing blue and he alone ........(creating environment)
to death's thirst, avenger's bow shall protect ........(death's "wish" to be fulfilled... foretelling of revenge... his bow will guard them from the suitors)
with aegis's invincibility and concealed dialect; ........(aegis was the breastplate of Zeus and Athena -- considered invincible ... Athena (or Hera) wove a net of magic around Ulysses, thereby concealing his identity, thus his "dialect")
the wind was rising, the dirt hissing, ........(more foretelling)
the mournful wind wailing, the day increasing- ........(foretelling)


I know this isn't a great piece. I am very new at this kind of thing (criticizing, analyzing, reading others' works, actually conversing with poets, etc). If I haven't provided an adequate dialogue here, then I'm sorry.
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


6 posted 08-17-99 07:12 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Artur, I think we've proved that each of works in a different way! That's why it's so hard to critique someones work - when someone says 'tell me how to make it better' - all they will get is 'how I would write it differently!'....we are individuals...I can't get into your mind to see why you write what you do...

I like your poem as you wrote it. I would not have written it that way, but then if everyone wrote alike poetry would be boring!

Don't change the way you write! Unique is a word that should apply to every poet!

Thanks for participating with me!
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