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Poetic Payoff

August 9th, 2019

Trying to write poetry can be satisfying even for a beginner. Unlike many sports and other hobbies, the exercise costs not a bean, and – whilst the pen may be mightier than the sword – it poses no threat to life or limb.

Poetry is easier to describe than to define, but it tends to be more expressive than the language we use every day, often following patterns of rhyme and metre, adding musicality and even sometimes a dimension beyond the ordinary.

I personally like poems that make a pertinent or amusing observation or tell a story or that somehow seem to strike a chord. I also like them to have sounds that appeal to the ear, perhaps with some kind of pattern or rhythm as well as rhymes or half rhymes. These preferences may be somewhat reactionary, since much modern poetry does not rhyme or seem to have any clear rhythm.

Composing a poem may involve little more than playing around with words, trying out different combinations and listening for the effect. Whether you follow any pattern of rhyme or metre is up to you, and of course you can invent your own rules.

The exercise of choosing your words and making them conform (although not slavishly) to a particular pattern may actually allow your thoughts to take off in a direction that would not otherwise have happened. In that case I believe you should be ready to follow where the Muse leads, even if that means moving away from your original path. You may start out with a general idea for a poem, yet end up with something unexpectedly different – and better. That element of unpredictability is part of the fun of composition.

I look forward to starting the Writers’ Bureau poetry course and learning more about poetry and how to write it. Meanwhile, whether you are an old hand or (like me) just another beginner, may you continue to surprise yourself!

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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