Posts by editors

ABCs of Poetry: V is for Volta

Posted by on Jun 1, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Poetry: V is for Volta

The volta. You might be thinking, oh you mean the turn? That spot in a Petrarchan/Italian sonnet between the octet and the sestet, or in a Shakespearean sonnet between the third quatrain and the final couplet, where things change? Things like rhyme scheme, stanzaic structure, and argumentative agenda? And in other poems, regardless of whether they’re rhymed and metrical or in another received form, or even free verse (which is still formally astute or at least ought to be), you mean that location where the cinematic, rhetorical, imagistic, and/or some other poetic pattern is suddenly and significantly disrupted? And I’d say, yes, but. I’d say, sure, the turn, yes,...

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ABCs of Poetry: U is for “Un,” as in “Un” the Prefix

Posted by on May 31, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Poetry: U is for “Un,” as in “Un” the Prefix

I. Choose the word you want, the part of speech, attach the prefix and there you go. Writing poems is like that (for me, anyway)—Un-shoring, uncoupling, un-troubling, unburdening, unending, un-fucking… That’s the one: Un-fucking. Writing poems is like that, like un-fucking yourself. And when I say write, I mean draft, again and again and again—so much that you’ve un-fucked the “a” from the “gain” so its “again” again. II. You want to write poems. You sit down to do so. Maybe, in whatever “writing space” that you write, you crack books, you find pages and place the books spine-up so the books look like distant birds in a landscape. You write...

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ABCs of Poetry: T is for Tone

Posted by on May 30, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Poetry: T is for Tone

It’s often been said in order for a poem, or any piece of literature for that matter, to truly resonate, the writer must build a bridge between him/herself and the reader. One way to construct that bridge is through tone. Tone is defined as the attitude a poet exhibits toward the poem’s subject and/or audience. For those who like to keep it simple, think of it as the emotion propelling the words onto the page. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a poet to understand the possibilities in tone are endless—from angry to melancholy, humorous to even whimsical—there’s an entire spectrum at the poet’s disposal. In fact, the folks over at Poetry In Voice compiled...

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ABCs of Poetry: S is for the Poet as a Sculptor

Posted by on May 29, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Poetry: S is for the Poet as a Sculptor

Some poets speak of the blank page as a tabula rasa, view the act of writing as one of pure creation. Something from nothing. But I don’t believe that any artist begins with nothing. Although a writer may start a poem with no preconceived idea of topic or form, her preferences in diction, gradations of experience, and frames of reference will color each draft, no matter how rough or free. I prefer to see the poet as a sculptor, someone who shapes raw material step by step into a unique and beautiful artifact. When a poet is drafting, it is a corporeal, visceral act. Sculptor Anish Kapoor believed that “Sculpture occupies the same space as your body.” When writing,...

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ABCs of Poetry: R is for Repetition

Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ABCs of Poetry: R is for Repetition

I have heard Pete Townshend tell Karen he can see for miles—57 times per song, in fact. I can feel his eyes. I do not need to hear another descriptor of his jealousy. My lungs have faltered beneath the heartbeat of Elisabeth Bishop’s Sestina. I am glued under the child’s inscrutable house. I have cried still always cry every time Plath confesses, “I think I made you up inside my head.” I am sorry, miss. I think you might be right. I think I might have, too. Each time you say it, I am a little more certain of us both. But why? There’s a lot to be said about the power of repetition in language. It is used in speeches and songwriting to bring people together,...

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