Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets, so I was pleased to see this post on the site Interesting Literature, https://interestingliterature.com/2022/07/best-robert-frost-quotes/
A young man named Frank
Composes verses known as blank.
I have spent ages
Pouring over Frank’s pages,
All of which are blank!
On the evening of Friday 3 July, I spent a pleasant couple of hours participating in a poetry reading organised by Poets Anonymous on Zoom, http://www.poetsanon.org.uk/.
Poets Anonymous organises poetry readings. Prior to the pandemic these took place in and around London, (many of them in Croydon). However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 events have moved online. The group also sends out emails to interested people regarding poetry matters, including competitions and opportunities for poets to have their work featured.
I greatly enjoyed listening to other poets reading their work, and reading several of my own poems from “The Selected Poems of K Morris”, and “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”. One of the poems read by me is entitled “In This Old Familiar Wood”, and runs thus:
“In this old, familiar wood
I take my hood
In time for the rain.
I shall not put it up again.
Thoughts of lust,
Of lost love,
And friendship I shall retain
For a while. But this wood,
And the rain,
(“In This Old Familiar Wood” can be found in “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”, which is available in paperback and Kindle, and can be found here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B37VVKV/.
A good introduction to free verse on the blog Interesting Literature, https://interestingliterature.com/2020/02/what-is-free-verse-introduction/.
The article discusses the difference between free and blank verse, and provides examples of both.
A couple of days ago, I was sitting at my desk trying to compose a poem in rhyme. My rhyming muse had deserted me, consequently I experimented with free verse. My muse still refused to play so, in frustration I turned off my computer and went to bed.
My inability to compose in either rhyme or free verse may have stemmed, in part at least from my need for sleep. However, come the morning my rhyming muse perched upon my shoulder and I was able to pen a rhyming poem with which I was happy.
As those of you who read my poetry on a regular basis will know, my preference is for rhyme. This is both because I find rhyme intrinsically beautiful, and due to rhyme coming naturally to me whilst, generally speaking, free verse does not. There is much great poetry written in free verse, its simply that, on the whole I prefer reading and writing rhyming poetry.
My muse refusing to play reminded me of the following response I received from a reviewer when I contacted them asking whether they would be interested in reviewing one of my books:
“I took a quick look at your site and at the reviews your book has on Goodreads. You’ve got a talent for rhyming. Unfortunately, I prefer to read free verse
and if I were you review your collection, my disdain for constant rhyming would bias my review”.
I was grateful for the response (as not all reviewers do respond to requests for reviews). In addition, I appreciated the honesty of the reply. We all have our preferences, mine is for rhyming poetry, whilst the reviewer’s is for free verse. As to whether my poems utilise constant rhyming, as the poet, I am probably not the best person to answer that question. However what I will say is this, I believe that whilst the best rhyming poetry is intrinsically beautiful, there is no point in marring a good composition by forcing a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be. It is not wise to force a size 10 foot into a size 9 shoe. One can do so however the foot risks being mangled as does the poem. Sometimes its right that parts of a poem rhyme whilst other sections do not. I am by no means a purist in such matters.
I have heard the view expressed that rhyming is somehow lazy as its easier to compose in rhyme than it is to use free or blank verse. I beg to differ. Whilst the best free verse poetry is a pleasure to read, the worst reads like prose of the most prosaic kind. Whilst there is, undoubtedly bad rhyming poetry, the subtlety of good rhyming poems is a real pleasure to peruse. The use of unusual (but highly effective) rhyming is a real skill which takes time to develop (and is only developed by some). As for the “disdain” for “constant rhyming”, whilst I can understand why this can become tedious, surely it depends on how the constant rhyming is done? “The cat ate my hat. I chased him with a bat, crying this was my hat!”, can quickly lead to tedium on the part of the reader, but much rhyming poetry is not like that!
In conclusion, I understand the views of those who dislike rhyming poetry, however I do not share them. Both rhyme and other forms of poetry possess their merits but I, personally prefer rhyme for the reasons set out above.
As always I would be interested in the views of you my readers.
I know a talented poet named Purse
Who has published a collection of verse.
Each page has no writing,
Which I find quite exciting,
As its fun to read blank verse . . .
An interesting post entitled “Is rhyming poetry out?”, followed on by a fascinating exchange of views on the question, (https://jcmannone.wordpress.com/the-poetry-classroom-2/is-rhyming-poetry-out/).
Much of my poetry is expressed in rhyme. Take, for example my poem “My Old Clock I wind”:
“My old clock I wind
And much philosophy therein find.
I can bring
The pendulum’s swing
To a stop With my hand,
Yet I can not command
Time to default
On his duty and halt
The passing of the years.
He has no ears
For our laughter and tears
And his sickle will swing on
Long after we are gone”.
I must confess to having a preference for poetry expressed in a traditional manner. That is not to say that I discount poetry written as free or blank verse (there is much good poetry expressed in diverse forms, together with some which is to my mind at least of lesser quality).
The estate agent’s lights fade.
I wander home,
Thinking on other temporary things.
I was pleased to answer the below questions regarding my views on poetry, which where posed by Olivia Emily of LibroLiv.
Answers to questions posed by Olivia
1. Do you think that the internet influences the content of modern poetry?
Yes and no. Events which would have received little publicity in the past are featured online for anyone with an internet connection to read about. So, for example a poet may read about a little known civil war (of which he would have been unaware prior to the birth of the internet) and pen a poem about it.
The world of blogging (for example WordPress) sees bloggers asking their followers to write a piece on a given topic (I.E. a prompt). Some individuals respond to this and by so doing perhaps tackle subjects, via poetry and other means which they might otherwise not have engaged with.
Other writers will confine themselves to purely personal experiences and the content of their work will not be influenced by the online world. For instance a poet may confine himself (or herself) to composing poems about nature and family life and give little (or no attention) to what appears on the internet.
2. Do you think that the internet influences the structure of modern poetry?
I don’t know. One criticism levelled at the internet is it’s tendency to “dum down” by pandering to the desire of many in the online community for easily digestable “bite sized” pieces of information/short stories/poetry etc. Possibly some poets are influenced by the desire to appeal to this segment of the online community. Certainly there are Twitter poets out there who deliberately aim to keep their work within the limit set by Twitter. Some of this Twitter poetry is, in my view, good while some is mediocre or poor.
3. Do you think poetry written in a specific form is conservative? Is traditionally structured poetry holding back a new wave of modern, more liberal
Poetry composed in a traditional manner may still express liberal/radical views.
Being told that one must write in such and such a manner (whether that be in rhyming couplets or free verse) is restrictive of the poet’s freedom. Poets can (and do) find their own, unique voice both through rhyming verse and free modes of expression.
One could argue that there is a prevailing dogma that poetry should be written in non-traditional ways, with rhyming poetry being out of favour and being considered as “old fashioned”. Anyone who adheres to the view that rhyming poetry is “old hat” and should be discouraged is, in my view doing a disservice to the craft as are those who insist that “proper” poetry must rhyme. Poetry is a broad church and there is room for many different forms.
4. “Poetry’s meanings are embodied, and complicated by form.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
To me a poem’s fundamental meaning is derived from the language/symbolism utilised by the poet, rather than from the form in which the work is expressed. Having said that, sticking rigidly to a particular form may impact adversely on what the poet is trying to convey. For instance a poet who sticks religiously to ensuring a poem rhymes throughout may (by forcing a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be) mar the beauty of the poem and/or lose the essence of what he is trying to convey. It is better to sacrifice a rhyme and by so doing clarify the poem’s meaning than force a foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit and mangle meaning.
5. Do you write with a specific form in mind?
Most of my poetry is written in rhyme. However I will not force a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be.
6. What has your experience with publishing poetry been like? Do you think the publishing of poetry has changed since the internet became more commonplace?
Most of my poetry appears on my website (at present I have, including Twitter followers approximately 2 thousand six hundred followers). I have also produced several poetry collections which are all available in the Amazon Kindle store. Anyone can publish on Amazon and the process is straightforward. Most readers find me via my blog and a few via my Youtube channel.
Prior to the birth of the internet much writing (poetry and other kinds, for example short stories) would have remained in a drawer unseen or only viewed by family and close friends. A few people went down the road of self publishing in print, however, prior to the internet this was very expensive. The internet has democratised the literary scene as anyone with an internet connection can now put their work out there. Getting it noticed/read is, however a rather different matter.
Familiarity makes the unbearable so-so.
Music from a phone playing.
Acrobatics in the bedroom.
The brook, once babbling is choked with weeds.
Fat brown paper envelope.
Shopping is the new religion.