Posted on December 9, 2016
Few people know that my novel started out as a collection of poems that were written in the early ’90s. I wove them into the first draft of Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety. My editor advised me to remove them and avoid mixing poetry with prose. After focusing on novel writing for so long, I find myself wanting to go back and write poems.
Some articles to share:
The Benefits of Poetry for Professionals
How Studying Poetry Makes You a Better Writer
Posted on January 2, 2014
I had no idea that the sonnet was alive and thriving today. In some cases, the traditional form has been reinvented so much that the only identifiable factor is the sonnet’s fourteen-line length.
For class, I need to write two sonnets this week – a traditional one and a contemporary one. I’m not sure which one will be easier to pen.
Examples of contemporary sonnets:
“The Heart’s Location” by Peter Meinke (scroll down the page to the poem)
W.H. Auden wrote one of the first sonnets not to follow a rhyming scheme:
“The Secret Agent” by W.H. Auden, 1928
An entertaining sonnet that follows the traditional form:
“Death of a Sonnet writer” by Scott Ennis
One of my favourite sonnets:
“Holy Sonnet XIV” by John Donne, 1609
What is a sonnet?
A great print resource for poets:
Wendy Bishop provides advice for writing and revising sonnets and sonnet-like poems in her book entitled Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry.
Posted on November 30, 2013
In Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry, Wendy Bishop states that “contemporary poets prefer rhyme that doesn’t call attention to itself; concrete, particular images; and conversational… language.” Since starting a course in contemporary poetry, I’ve been intrigued by Billy Collins’ poems. They epitomize the “unexpected phrases and strong sensory details” that Bishop includes in her characteristics of contemporary poetry.
See or hear Collins read his poems by clicking on the following links:
I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey’s Version of ‘Three Blind’ Mice
Some Days (animated)
Walking Across the Atlantic (animated)
Now and Then (animated)
The Trouble With Poetry
Posted on August 31, 2013
I had never heard of Seamus Heaney until I visited Northern Ireland, my husband’s family of origin, in 2004. We were visiting with a cousin in County Tyrone when I picked up a book on the coffee table and asked a room full of family: “Who’s Seamus Heaney?” I heard a gasp, followed by silence, then quiet mumbling.
It became the family’s mission: Educate the ignorant visiting Canadian about County Tyrone’s most celebrated poet – which they did with great passion and joy. The trip became a crash course on Heaney – his life and his work, and the impact that he had on his readers around the world.
I was very sad today to learn of his passing on Friday, August 30th, at the age of 74.
Read more about Heaney:
“Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning poet, dies” – CBC News
“Seamus Heaney, Irish Poet of Soil and Strife, Dies at 74” – New York Times
1995 Nobel Prize Lecture – youtube
Posted on April 4, 2013
Emily Dickinson said, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”
Organized and sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets, Canada has acknowledged April as National Poetry Month since 1999. The United States introduced the idea in 1996. Great Britain celebrates October as their National Poetry Month.
Sometimes I struggle through a poem, lost in the words or its meaning. I love the freedom that comes with reading them. There are no right or wrong answers – there shouldn’t be. You can read a poem, and it is yours to interpret; yours to personalize. I love how some poems make me feel. Like music, they can provoke me to tears, to laughter. Or they can leave me thinking, reflecting. Sometimes, they even leave me confused and dazed.
A few of my favourites:
The Cross of Snow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A haunting poem. Longfellow’s wife burned so badly when her dress caught on fire, she died shortly afterwards.
i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings
One of the best love poems ever.
I Am in Need of Music by Elizabeth Bishop
And in honour of both National Poetry Month and the month of April:
Always Marry An April Girl by Ogden Nash
My favourite Canadian poets include: Leonard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood and Catherine Graham.
More on National Poetry Month:
Celebrate National Poetry Month with CBC Books
Posted on November 18, 2012
I was riding the subway when a group of teenagers were reading and talking about the poem wedged between two ads. For over ten years, Poetry on the Way, has been placing short poems on TTC subways, cars, and streetcars in Toronto.
“Poetry is what gets lost in translation,” said one of the kids quoting, Dylan Thomas. I was most impressed!
Ever since I first read, “Do not go gentle into that good night” in high school, I’ve admired Thomas’ poetry.
Here are a few thoughts on poetry by Thomas worth passing along:
“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”
“Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing.”