Thursday, March 04, 2010

So in-between the usual daily house/children busyness, today I've been battling with finalizing the line-breaks on a poem to be published in the next Horizon Review. It's finding that balance between how I read the poem, how it looks on the page (screen), and imagining how other folk are going to read it.

I mainly break my lines according to natural pauses when I read it aloud and what I particularly want to emphasize. For a long time (so it seemed to me) I was stuck writing in three-line verses, I found it hard to shake that off. Now I've found a freedom in not keeping to the same number of lines in every stanza but this introduces the problem of when to have a stanza break and how does it look on the page if, for instance, I have a three-liner followed by a two-liner followed by a one-liner!
Anyway, I think (I hope) I got there in the end.

Very much stuck on a poem at the moment, I have plenty imagery and theme but it's not working, I think I'm trying too hard to force it together. So often I feel when starting a poem, from the very first line, that I'm working toward reaching the end of it as quickly as possible so as not to mess it up!

I had the wonderful experience last night of discovering poems by a poet I had not come across before that have completely blown me away. I was randomly listening to poets reading their poems at the Poetry Archive website (a fantastic resource) when I clicked on the name Jean Valentine. The rich imagery, the dream imagery and the tautness of her language appeal to me hugely. I can't wait for a chance to order a book of her poetry.

9 comments:

Jim Murdoch said...

Did you check here website here?

Sorlil said...

yes, I did! lots more amazing poems and her reading them.

James Owens said...

Line-breaks are always a problem, especially when writing “free verse” without some sort of pre-determined pattern to follow. Most people proceed by instinct, I guess, not thinking much about it. It can all start to seem very arbitrary … But it seems to me that your lines make sense, both as units of sense and as units of sound -- and I think that maybe the point of “free verse scansion” is in making these two aspects work together (or pull against each other in some meaningful way).

Somebody writes that short lines analyze, while long lines synthesize … that makes sense … sometimes … I suppose ….

swiss said...

they're pubkishing a poem you haven't finsihed yet? now that's a trick i need to learn!

Sorlil said...

'units of sense and as units of sound' - yes, a balance of both is the aim, I find that sound wants to dominate my lines but I have to be careful to keep it in balance with sense!

lol,swiss. it's a poem I wrote a couple of years back which was accepted but they wanted the line-breaks reworked.

swiss said...

a couple of years! no wonder i don't have much to do with magazines! lol

Sorlil said...

ha ha...they actually only took 3 weeks to reply which is pretty good these days!

Michelle said...

"I had the wonderful experience last night of discovering poems by a poet I had not come across before that have completely blown me away."

I love it when that happens. It's like stumbling upon a treasure cache. I'll check out Jean Valentine's work. Thank you.

Sorlil said...

Hope you like her work as much as I do.