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Category: Poetry

Poetry related items

God and Creativity

In 1963, Joseph Brodsky was charged by his native country, Russia, of “social parasitism.” During his trial, the judge asked him who enrolled him in the ranks of poet and translator, since he did not have a high school education. His reply got him sent to internal exile. His response:

I didn’t think this was a matter of education, Brodsky said. I thought it came from God.

Since God is the creator of art, and mankind is made in His image, our genes of art are passed on from Father to His children. Some refer to the Muse as being their inspiration, as in the nine Greek Muses of mythology, or some other entity, perhaps evil in nature. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, He said it was better that He go, so the Holy Spirit could empower us to live what I would paraphrase as a creative life.

When I sometimes get a Holy Spirit idea, it is just the idea, and He wants me to worship through fleshing out this idea. A co-creation. Sometimes I ask Him for ideas on my own. But it is still up to me to write and edit it through to completion.

When I moved here to Oregon several years ago, I was ready to start a new life, a new writing life. And the beauty of where I live, started me to do just that. Despite the obstacles, to write.

Poets are not pariahs. Without art, or beauty, our lives would be dull, drab, utilitarian, and even perhaps evil.

FaithPoetryWriting

Memorizing Poetry

One of the few things I remember from 5th grade was reciting a poem from memory. I chose Psalms 100 – this dates me because I am sure this would not be allowed without a fight nowadays.

Memorizing poetry or scripture can be closer than the tips of your fingers. An immediate source of comfort when fear or anxiety strikes.

Poets.org has a few tips for memorization and many good poems to choose from, citing many sonnets because they are rhythmic and short.

And my scandalous book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature (one blurb: “The greatest English literature is explicitly Christian and celebrates military courage”), has a section on the whys and wherefores of memorizing poetry. “Instead of being bored out of your mind when you’re waiting in line to renew your driver’s license, you’ve got a collection of museum-quality art in your own head, and you can look at it at your leisure.”


Psalms 100 KJV

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

FaithPoetry

Thesaurus or No?

I have read differing opinions about poets using a thesaurus or not in writing their poems. Some think that it is unauthentic to use anything but your own language. For those, that is authentic for them.

I use Roget’s Thesaurus. It is more of an idea generator for me. But the word that is picked must serve the poem, be welded in, so as not to stand out by itself and ruin the flow. Unless of course that is the objective.

I also use Merriam’s Dictionary in concert with the thesaurus, to make sure of the exact meaning I wish to convey. I was working on a poem today and thought the word adjure would be good until I looked it up and it did not convey the message I was trying to get across.


The poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

-William Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer's Dream

PoetryWriting

Short Form Poetry

Writing short form poetry produces finished poems quickly while working on longer poems that take multiple edits. They are also good for therapy: when you are down-in-the-dumps, a quick impromptu haiku works wonders to remind of God’s beautiful nature, a healing force.

Cinquains are close in form to the tanka. The five line stanza has a syllable count of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2.

Some view dandelions as weeds, I don’t.

Dandelions

Yellow
sun, it's scent left
imprint under my nose.
Chain two four six eight and tie two
again.

Have a blessed weekend!

My poemsPoetry

Poet Laureate’s Duties and History

I have always wondered what exactly a poet laureate’s duties are.

As for the United States, they are given much latitude. They give a reading to open the Library of Congress’s annual literary series, and close with a lecture. They are appointed from September of one year to May of the next. Poet laureates write occasional poetry. This position was started in 1936 as an endowment for “maintenance of a chair of Poetry of the English language in the Library of Congress.”

Beyond that they are given free reign to make it their own. Joseph Brodsky (he had an interesting life, (exiled from his native Russia), was the first to make a program that reached a national scale.

The current United States poet laureate is Joy Harjo, the first Native American to fill this role.

Other nations and localities have their own poet laureates. The Oregon poet laureate, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, is Kim Stafford. His occasional poetry centers on the corona virus.

The term laurel was a wreath of honor given to ancient Greek poets or heroes. I would love to see poetry take on more importance and include more conservative voices.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ones of my favorite poets, was the celebrity of his time. “A Psalm of Life” speaks to me when I need encouragement to carry on.


Sources

PoetryReading

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