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Welcome to another edition of the D’Verse Saturday staple, Poetics. I was trying to think up a pretty neat exercise for everyone, and in fact thought I had one, until our new pub tender Kelvin, did a remarkable job with a very, very similar idea to what I was going to offer tonight. Many ideas came and went since then. Finally though, I thought it would be fun to work with short verse.

For those that regularly swing by my site, you’ll know full and well, that when it comes to brevity, I’m usually out to lunch. It’s not that I prefer longer forms of poetry to the shorter styles, no, that’s not the case at all. It’s just that I really like to tell stories, granted many of them are ciphered, filled with symbolism and abstractly devised, but nonetheless, I find it, probably like most, much easier to tell a fully embodied story when more words are at my disposal.

Well, a few month’s ago, I thought I needed to try and clean up some of the dialogue in a couple scripts I’d written a while back. These scripts, I feel, are pretty solid in most aspects of the craft, with the exception of the dialogue. And even there, it’s not terrible, yet still, much too longwinded to be viable.
So instead of doing the normal dialogue exercises out there, I thought of trying to utilize short-formed poetry to hopefully maximize efficiency in relating information quickly and colorfully.

I began with some short forms of prose. A simple line or two, filled with plot, characters, settings and action. These came out fine, but the answers I was looking for didn’t appear. Then I moved on to Haiku, where I found that by utilizing the intended “nature” themes, I wasn’t really harnessing anything tangible in the sense as to how I was approaching things. However, when I simply bent the rules, eliminating any sort of requirement as to how to write a Haiku, as far as theme was involved, I found that the 5-7-5, 3-5-3 and Tanka structures, really helped me create complete stories, using very little page space in the process. I saw this; yet felt more could still be done. Here’s where I decided that I would try to not only tell a complete story, but also find a way to fill in as many additional details as possible, all from simply choosing different words. A quick example:

He walked through the door
Emptiness surrounded him
A sad light—on, off

Okay, technically this is a scene. But it’s boring and really doesn’t infer anything. Yet, with a few changes, a similar scene could appear as:

Caution framed entry
Stock din swapped for closet space
Flickering regret

Actually, this fits the Senryu model, showing inner thought in the final line, but it isn’t necessary the way I’ve been working with these shorter forms. The point is, in the second version, we see emotion, we get background information, and reflection. This is the type of nuance I was looking for. This was what I had hoped would translate into tighter, crisper and more powerfully impactful dialogue. I do believe it will, however, I enjoyed working with the Haiku so much that I became distracted and kept on creating Haiku after Haiku, instead of using it solely as an exercise to enhance my script’s dialogue. You know what though, I’m perfectly fine with that.

So, for tonight’s Poetics, work with the short verse, try to maximize effectiveness in any way you can. Try to portray a complete, mutli-dimensional and sated storyline. It doesn’t have to be in Haiku, it’s simply the tract I found myself immersed in. Lune’s are great for this, as is the monostitch, the anecdote and micropoetry(under 140 characters) just to name a few of the possibilities. Or, if you feel really adventurous, a triptych, using only three words, would be quite the feat. But this exercise can be done a whole variety of manners, however you chose to operate, in poetry or in prose, is perfectly acceptable. However, I’d try and keep it fewer than twelve lines, maximizing effectiveness with pieces composed using six or less lines.

There’s one more interesting idea I’d like to present. I briefly touched upon how I broke form to suit my own purpose earlier. This is something that I think we, as poets, can truly benefit from. Its not simply breaking form or scheme, for the sake of breaking form or scheme though. No, the way I see it, it’s breaking form in the name of creativity, where you create something new entirely by your breaking or bending of the rules. It’s also an opportunity to add an additional element or two where, if you had obeyed the rules, never would have been able to otherwise. Another quick example to illustrate what I mean here:

Here’s a simple AB, AB ten-syllable scheme:

Dreams of yesterday, reflect through her eyes
Tranquil blues of sky and sea glistening

Tomorrow’s thorns, implanted raw through lies
Dragons of murky depths devouring

Ok, a pretty simple, yet strong AB, AB ten-syllable scheme: Yet, we can change it, simply by:

Dreams of yesterday, reflect through her eyes
Tranquil blues of sky and sea glistening

Love’s denials capitulate a blinding harangue

Tomorrow’s thorns, implanted raw through lies
Dragons of murky depths devouring

The single line does not fit any of the criteria, it is thirteen-syllables (symbolic for bad luck) and delivers a third end rhyme (an odd number), one that will not find it’s match. So, in it, just by breaking form, we turn this line into the focus of the piece, it stands alone, and also acts as a recap of the stanza prior and a lead-in to the stanza yet to come. The fact it has no match is both symbolic of loneliness and foreshadows what will be. Then, there is the case of where the line is placed. The line splits the past and the future. It acts as a physical split to a poem where a break is indeed what takes place and lingers overhead, a symbol/metaphor once again. Yet being in between, it also adds symmetry and a mirrored effect, where the image is returned conversely.

Ok, again, this is just a quick example with a not-so quick breakdown. I only include it to show but one of the many possibilities one can attain by simply breaking a little rule here and there.

So, let’s all get our shorties together and meet up at the pub, where the poetry always flows and things are always D’verse.

Heres How It Works:

• Write your poem and post it to your blog
• Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below
• This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog URL and entered your name, click Submit. Don’t worry if you don’t see your name right away
• Read and comment on other peoples work to let them know it’s being read
• Share via your favourite social media platforms
• Above all- have fun!

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