Mechanical Poetry - Part Three

Steven Gillman
 


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Have you ever read the lyrics of a Simon and Garfunkle song? Pure poetry. Want to write poems like that? Start copying them. Let me explain.

The Myth Of Creativity

Creativity is somewhat of a myth. It isn't that it doesn't exist, but people's ideas about it are mis-informed. Many believe that to be creative is to come up with something completely new. There isn't an artist or inventor out there who has done this.

Somebody had to write the first four-line verse or haiku poem, right? Now is everyone that uses these forms an uncreative copy-cat? No, of course not. We must copy forms, general ideas and techniques, so why not do it more systematically?

Poem Writing Tricks

Copy a poem you like, and then play with the elements. Part of the beauty of a poem is in the structure and the rhythm. Why not insert your own words into that, to see what happens?

Here is the last part of a poem titled “Gratitude. " It started by painting a picture of the mountains, and then;

Words fail, as they should. . .

So there is nothing to say
There is nothing to say
There is nothing
Is nothing
Nothing. . .

But gratitude

Now, if you take the general “gimmick" of the diminishing lines, you could insert all sorts of thoughts. An example:

Pain returns, as it must. . .

And to where can I turn for relief?
To where can I turn?
Where can I?
Where?

But to life

Shameless? No more so than the second time somebody wrote a four-line verse. New words have created a new poem. In the context of a longer poem, this copying of form in one verse might not even be noticed.

What is creativity if you don't create something? Use whatever tricks and techniques you need to start creating poetry.

Steve Gillman has been playing with poetry for thirty years. He and his wife Ana created the game “Deal-A-Poem, " which can be accessed for free at: http://www.dealapoem.com

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