Queen of Arts
By Keith Newman
IF WORDS TEND TO WELL UP INSIDE YOU demanding to be expressed on paper so you can see what they look like, the chances are you have the makings of a poet.
Sometimes it seems as if putting pen to paper is the only
way to satisfy the mystical meanderings of the mind. If you can get those thoughts,
insights and observations down on paper, and they still seem to be alive when you read
them back, then you have captured some of that illusive magic which goes by the name of
often though, our choice of words falls far short of that mark.
We need to rediscover the mystery of words.
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" -
are reading less and less in this age of audio-visual overkill. TV, videos,
computer games and web browsing have taken over from books as a means of
entertainment; and entertainment has often taken over from self advancement
and spiritual awareness.
Zealand used to have the highest literacy rate of any nation in the world.
We’ve been downgraded. There has been a gradual decline in the desire to
read books after the age of about 25 years and literacy now appears to be
dropping overall. For the writer that is of concern - the potential market
for readers is getting smaller.
is obvious then that the writer has a great responsibility to make subject
matter interesting and accessible both in it's content and appearance. This
is where I believe the poem is increasing in value and the spoken word is
finding increasing acceptance as a form of expression in public places.
Comedy broke through the mold in New Zealand but as it sinks into the morass
of potty talk in place of punchlines there’s room for the poet to step up
to the microphone.
the reader a minute or two of time and a little concentration over a poem in
a small book or posted on a wall or a website might bring a new level of
appreciation or insight. Some important, enlightening or humorous thought
might be conveyed in those few lines laboured over by the artisan called the
books are typically fairly short with special attention paid to layout,
typeface and accompanying artwork, so the look and feel may has a presence
and perhaps even becomes precious. The French atheist Voltaire once said:
"Twenty volume folios never make a revolution.
It is the small pocket pamphlets which are to be feared."
the initial stages the poet may express personal feelings, thoughts, hurts,
insights or simply record the random ramblings of the mind. The person
serious about the content and impact of their words however, must come to a
point of distinction between what is worthy to be put to paper and what is
simply idle brain chatter.
you strive to understand the complex workings of the creative mind and the
disciplines of crisp writing then the "poem" is more likely to
trust you to express it on paper. Soon you will be able to recognise it's
promptings and respond to the flow.
we have learned to tune to the true creative flow then the words we choose
will tend to express something strong and sure, often loaded with depth or a
simplicity that cuts deeply.
inspired we should not hesitate to transfer our thoughts to paper.
Spontaneous creative thinking cannot be held off until tomorrow. Pen and
paper should always be at the ready. Sometimes we may receive only one line.
But don't be disappointed ... it may prove it's worth in days ahead matched
with others that drop from the mind to the consciousness.
if the line or poem does not hold life when reflected upon in days ahead
should it be rejected. Don’t waste good words.
TRUE POET WILL ALWAYS SPEAK FROM THE HEART
- that seat of our inward life, that place of understanding where the soul
whispers its secrets before the mind messes them up.
poet is not a politician trying to convince the opposition of his point of
view, or a business person writing solely for profit; neither is the poet a
publicist or a writer of greeting card verses.
poet is primarily a "watchman upon the wall" – someone who sees
the world through other eyes than those caught up in the daily grind. The
poet sees in a detached way the signs of the times, changes of mood, the
swings of history and the subtle beauty of nature.
poet is a reporter who can voice in an abstract way, things that are
timeless. The poet reports on
old things in new ways and new things in old ways.
poet points the pen so as to evoke some response in the reader. In a sense
the poet is a reactionary and something of a revolutionary as well;
responding to the present, understanding the past but also peeking into the
future in order to bring back some omen of warning or hope.
poet distils images on paper in the hope that the reader will receive some
equivalent revelation or shared insight.
The journey must however begin with self exploration.
We must know the vessel that points the pen by searching out the
mysteries God has placed in our own hearts.
Who can teach without first being taught?
POET: In England poets were formerly often called `makers'. The author of a poem... one distinguished for poetic talents. One possessing high powers of imagination and expression. -Websters & Concise Oxford.
POETRY: Words arranged in short rhythmic lines, often with a rhyme. Expressive language. "That one of the fine arts which exhibits it's special character and powers by means of language; the art which has for it's object the creation of intellectual pleasure by means of imaginative and passionate language, generally in verse; the language of the imagination or emotions rhythmically expressed... especially that creative writing which is divided into lines, each containing a determined number of sounds, the sounds being accented according to a determined and regular rhythmical pattern...whatever appeals to the emotions or the sense of beauty." - Websters plus.
written language as opposed to poetry. From the Latin prosa, oratorio or
straight forward speech.
From iambis, lampoon, to assail in words, from its use by Greek satirists.
A metrical foot consists of one long (or stressed) syllable followed by two
unstressed or short. A form of Greek or Latin dactylic (dactylic : from
the three bones corresponding to the three syllables / etymological meaning)
verse composed of two halves each of two feet and a long syllable used in
elegiac (elegiac : used for elegies / verse in an elegiac meter / a
pair of lines consisting of a dactylic hexameter and a pentameter esp in Greek
and Latin verse).
MORE POETRY TERMS
Examples: late/fate; follow/swallow
END RHYMES - occur at the end of a verse line.
INTERNAL RHYMES - occur within a verse.
Example: O fleet sweet swallow
The following example uses both internal and end rhymes:
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white
Glimmered the white moon-shine ( The Ancient Mariner - Coleridge)
EYE RHYMES are words which are spelled alike and in most instances were once pronounced alike, but now have different pronunciation: prove/love, daughter/ laughter
HALF RHYME is an imperfect rhyme in which different vowels may be followed by identical consonants to give a semblance of rhyme eg blade/blood, flash/ flesh
RHYTHM - is the pace or tempo at which a passage moves. Rhythm reflects underlying emotion or meaning of a passage. It is created by the emphasis or stress placed on syllables, or words or groups of words.
METRE - is the generally regular repetition of a given pattern of accented and unaccented syllables; the metrical unit is the foot.
BLANK VERSE - verse with a set rhythm (iambic pentameter) but no set rhyme scheme.
CAESURA - Refers to a natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually indicated by a punctuation mark, but not always eg. To die,// to sleep:
perchance to dream…
ENJAMBMENT - when the line of poetry runs on to the new line.
Example: And when there came a pause
Of silence such as baffled his best skill
SIMILE - a comparison of two unlike things with one thing in common using "like" or "as".
Example: The soldier was lion-like in battle
METAPHOR - a comparison of two unlike things with one thing in common, saying that one thing is the other.
Example: The soldier was a lion in battle.
PERSONIFICATION - This is a type of metaphor in which an abstract or inanimate thing is given human qualities.
Example: A wave bursts in anger on a rock
ALLITERATION - The repetition of a sequence of consonant sounds, usually at the beginnings of words or on accented syllables.
Example: The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free
ASSONANCE- The repetition of similar vowel sounds
Example: Thou foster child of silence and slow time.
CONSONANCE - is the repetition of a sequence of consonance sounds in words whose main vowels differ:
Example: presses/past; ghost/aghast; pitter/patter.
SIBILANCE- is the sss sound produced through the pronunciation of the sibilants: s (as in hiss and his), c ( as in certain), z (as in buzz) and the blend sh (as in whoosh).
ONOMATOPOEIA - Words which sound like the noise they describe.
Example: swish, cuckoo, smack
© Ministry of Education,
Wellington, New Zealand (First published 1998).
- What strange fabric is this?
links and resources
Quotes about poetry by poets Cleaning out the Garage Webzine Buzz Words
Back to Wordman Jump into the inspirational pool
Soul Searching? Heart Restoration Clues?