The Theory of Poetry

Featured in today’s blog is my answer to a poetry workshop exercise from July 2010, in which I had to give my ideas as to what poetry, to me, is about. This exercise is called “The Theory of Poetry.”

Poetry is the opportunity to play around with words in a simpler format. In prose, it’s easy to ramble in long, continuous paragraphs. Therefore words (and the author’s message) can get lost in a sea of pointless description. Since poetry verses can be brief and words can be more economically used, it’s a seemingly simpler format than prose. However, poetry might be harder to write than prose because the poet has to be more economical with his or her words. Also in poetry, the atmosphere established in a poem not only lies within the words themselves, but also the rhythm of the words. For example, whenever I want to be sarcastic (and satirical) in a poem, I prefer to use rhyme to set a lighter and sillier tone. The following stanza comes from my poem “To a Lover That, Well, Missed.” It makes fun of a former boyfriend; therefore, I use rhyme to give it a mocking voice:

Brawn fills that Blue Dress uniform,

His crew cut sprinkled with gray.

The uniform covers that scaly worm

Who whines if he don’t get his way.

However, if I want to establish a more serious tone, I prefer to write free verse. It’s more raw and honest than rhyme, and I can get my more serious message across more conveniently. This is an excerpt from my more serious poem, “Blank Page”:

The misty chains of language tug

On my tongue.

My muse whispers a void in my head,

The bitter goneness of ideas stare

At me, mocking me as I trudge to put




    Like with any other kind of writing, the writer should pen poetry according to his or her mood. Whether silly or serious, the truth and beauty of poetry should often come from the writer’s heart.

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