Poet-ics: The Technicalities Behind Writing Poetry

The technicalities of poetry is something we often don't consider when we wish to pour our hearts out into varying lines, built up to stanzas, which are broken up for pause or dramatic effects, containing the intricacies of punctuation and grammar.

'Punctuation and grammar?' you ask. 'Poetry comes from the heart,' you say.

Yes, poetry does come from the heart; it is the revelation of your most inner-self to the world. It is the written word that does not represent you, but simply is you.

I took a creative writing course at William Pateroson University, led by Dr. Rachel Wetzsteon who passed away in 2009. She was a lovely teacher and influential American poet, who taught me the invigorating secrets of how to write poetry.

Most importantly, she is the person who taught me that the structure of a poem, the choice of punctuation of a poem has a purpose. Poetry is not the random choice of mere words that splatter onto the paper to reveal your self. Rather, the way you break up your stanzas, the number of lines you choose to write, the way you choose to write them...the overall technicalities of the poem must make sense...make sense...every move has a purpose.

Here is just one poem (published in Celebration of Young Poets) I submitted as part of my final paper (collection) for her class:

Lavender Scarf

Before the gloom of the night,

Seeking exploration,

The lavender scarf slips off my neck.

In complete awe of the world,

It soars with the breeze.

As the sea twists into a grayish mist,

Maroon brick houses turn dark caramel,

and oak leaves are tinged teal,

The lavender scarf seeks freedom,

As I desperately chase after it.

The scarf wanders above cities and towns,

It skulks through the rotting slums,

It glides over the velvet countryside,

Feels the thrill of infinite curiosity,

And smells the essence of nature.

Soaring lavender, then purple,

Purple, then blueberry,

Blueberry, then ebony,

The lavender scarf re-wraps around my neck,

Where the journey ends.

Dr. Rachel Wetzsteon attended my wedding on 2nd August, 2008 and gifted my husband and me with one of her manuscripts, '282 Time Pieces.' She was always such a cheerful soul. Her wedding note to us was 'Hip-hip and hooray to you on this resplendent very happy day!-All best wishes, Rachel Wetzsteon.' Here are a few of my favourite lines I've cherry-picked for you, from her book:

'Cafe Time

How long have I been

sitting here? Some equation

of cup and napkin...'

'Dorian Gray Time

His bright eyes twinkle:

with each malicious frown he's

got one less wrinkle'

'Lovers' Time

Till you come, such is

my fate: to watch each minute

ooze by on crutches.'

'Mom Time

It's a minute past

midnight; you're grounded for as

long as hormones last.'

'Eden Time

They spent every day,

blissfully ignorant, in

amorous delay.'

'Hamlet Time

"Out of joint" 's too mild:

courtier, soldier, scholar

trembles like a child.'

'Monet Time

Light at great speed will

dapple then flee the facade

of a cathedral.'

When spilling your heart onto paper, consider poet-ics.

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