Tuesday, February 11, 2020

One of the pleasures of being a student again is online access to academic journals. I'm having a blissful time researching my old favourite subjects - nature, animism and transcendence in poetry - and having access to endless papers on it which allows me to follow rabbit trails on Roethke, Lawrence, Bly and others. I think writers and poets should have access in their own right to academic journals!

Yesterday I came across a poetic form invented by Robert Bly called 'Ramage'. It's an eight-line poem where each line is built around the repetition of a specific 'union of consonant and vowel' such as 'ur', 'in' or 'ar' for example. It allows the sounds of the poem to lead the meaning, imagery and metaphors of the poem. Since I naturally allow sonics to direct, to an extent, my writing this seemed like a fun exercise to try. So I've written one so far and it was incredibly fun, throwing up unexpected and fresh imagery and reaching into the recesses in a different way. I think I'll be writing more!

I consciously decided to devote a week entirely (as much as possible) to poetry because my writing has been neglected with so much else going on. It's been so enjoyable spending hours following up my old favourite subjects and coming across poems I otherwise would have missed. I've been working hard at a poem I've sat on the bones of for over six months now - I've managed to add a few lines to it but still nowhere close to getting to the heart of the poem. However, I wrote a surprise poem yesterday about my daughter's hair which I would never have written if I hadn't been in the place mentally to 'receive it' (from the ether?) that all my reading had prepared me for.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I enjoy the 'ramages' - never tried it myself. I do tend to 'channel' poems. The ones I spend lots of time on rarely make it beyond my notebook. Spontaneity is my M.O.!!!

Could it be your daughter's poem came as it did purely from the Love and Connection which is beyond the words..? YAM xx

Marion McCready said...

No, for me poems come out of reading other poems or other art forms which inspire plus observations in the physical / sensual world around me which when both connect to my internal world lead to the inspiration to write. I should say that when I wrote the hair poem yesterday - the first draft came out as a rough whole fairly quickly, I then spent hours last night and most of today working on it and redrafting it. It won't be finished for a number of days at least when I can look at it with the distance and objectivity of a reader rather than as the writer! Everyone's process is different but I'm a re-drafter for sure! Xx

Rachel Fox said...

Well done on your visit from the poem fairy ;)

Like you I have lots of other things taking my time and attention just now but it feels good when I get some time to think and work with words.


Marion McCready said...

Thanks Rachel! I'd send the poem fairy over to you but I'm not finished with her/him yet :-D It's hard to make the time when there's so much going on isn't it, but so rewarding when we do. Hope all is well with you Xx

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful post. I loved my time as a mature student three years ago when I retrained as a teacher. Thanks. :-)

Greetings from London.

Marion McCready said...

Thank you, yes it's great having the benefits of being a student again!!

Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, absolutely. I used to find it so frustrating when I was writing my blogs. I’d begin to research a subject and find myself stymied time and time again. The articles were there but I couldn’t get to them or I could only read the first page. A great help I found were students publishing their theses online. Probably one of my life’s biggest regrets was not going to university.

I found a few of Bly’s ramages here. I can see the attraction. I think I was more taken by his examples of ghazal further down the page; I particularly liked ‘Listening’. Not, personally, a big fan of putting form before content—the form, for me, always comes in the process of writing—but I like the I idea of being able to turn repetition into an advantage rather than something to avoid.

Marion McCready said...

It really is frustrating, Jim, to come across such barriers to research and you being such a thorough researcher too. I must admit to being attracted to such loose form as the ramage which fits in well with my process anyway, and repetition appeals to me greatly but hard to do it to best effect! Hope you're are keeping safe and well in these strange times.