Member Rara Avis
Hello, Brad! So glad you brought this up... hehehe.
Yes, we have had several 'debates' here about the value of free verse (according to some people here, there isn't any value in it) and rhyming structured metered verse (clearly voted the 'verse of choice' in these forums, it seems to me). Some of those debates were quite heated, I might say (and then again, I might not, but I just did.... LOL at myself).
During those quite passionate debates, someone brought up the fact that they didn't think it was important to know how to spell, given their adament belief that poetry is 'good' as long as it comes straight from the heart and expresses a person's feelings. Frankly, I had to laugh at that one, because no matter how much a poem expresses what's in a person's heart, spelling certainly DOES matter. It matters a great deal. If you are to be taken seriously at all, part of the craft includes spelling the words right. And if you can't spell worth a darn, you are lucky to be living in an age of spell check.
Ok, now, back to the question of prosody and versification and whether it's important to know anything about it. Well, certainly it's important to know SOMETHING about it, isn't it? I don't claim to be an expert on this, by any means.... on the contrary.... I *did* study poetry both in high school and college but that was a LONG time ago and frankly, I remember little of the termonologies and verse structure which I was taught. I *do* remember, though, how to discern if the meter is 'right' or if it feels 'forced' and is therefore NOT RIGHT (I hope someone is following this... hehehe).
I also learned that certain 'skills' can be employed in order to effect a 'better' poem. For instance: personification, alliteration, metaphor, and simile. All four of these are basic TOOLS of the poets craft. To know nothing about them is to limit yourself from creating the poems you wish to create.
Are artists these days no longer interested in the differences between acrylic paints and oil-based paints? You betcha, they are! Of course they are! These are two different media and the artist employs different sets of skills to use them in order to achieve the artistic effect they want to achieve. It's absolutely ludicrous to say artists are not concerned with the differences between these two painting methods. There are art classes in every University in the world (which offers art classes) with specialized classes in oils, acrylics, pencil drawing, colored pencil drawing, watercolor, etching, etc. etc. Each media requires a different set of skills in order for the artist to perfect his or her craft.
I am a graphic designer and use the computer as my tool to create art. If I didn't learn how to use various software programs such as QuarkXpress, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop, I would not be able to do the work or create the piece of art. There are separate skills necessary in each of these applications.
Ok, back to poetry (whew! aren't you glad?)-- just as with ANY art, skill sets are necessary to create the art. Let's say you are now writing poetic verse and time after time you post that verse in these forums or elsewhere on the internet and people continually respond by telling you what a great poet you are. Well, that's fine. Terrific. But, let's say you are writing straight from the heart unconcerned about any 'tool of the trade', not knowing if your using personification or metaphor, not concerned about whether the meter works or whether it seems forced... and yet people STILL think your poetry is fabulous. Well bravo to you, because that means you have a God-given TALENT and you are reaching people with your wordsmithing.
But, imagine if you took that God-given talent and honed it by learning about the 'tools of the trade' available to you? Don't you think your poetry craft will improve?
If you don't, then I wish you'd rethink this. Every artist needs to rely on a pallette of skills which they are continually working on improving and developing. Without those skills, you will be settling for less than you deserve and your poetry will be much less than it can be.
I'm done. Now, back to that poem I was writing. I think I started it about three weeks ago. Maybe when I think it's ready, i'll post it here so you guys can tell me what you think.
whoops, no spellcheck on passions. hope i spelled everything right. hehehe