A few years ago I found occasion to purchase a brand new suit from a leading retail clothier. This maker of fine linen, fashioned into fashionable apparel is known all over America for their quality men’s suits. To own one is like having a fine feather neatly placed in an Englishman’s hat.
Unfortunately, as I was dressing to attend a very important event, the left pant leg came apart at the seam running the interior of my left leg. As you can image, this came as quite the surprise. Of course I was angry, not at the price of the suit, nor my misfortune, but the poor “craftsmanship.” Yes, craftsmanship.
Hi. My name is emmett wheatfall. I will explain why I write my name lowercase in a future commentary.
In the coming months I will be writing brief commentary on the “Craft of Poetry” for members of the dVerse community of poets. I know, what qualifies me to write commentary on this topic. I’ll let you the reader come to your own conclusion about my qualifications. You can learn about me here. That way I don’t have to be pretentious. I always tell people “…eat the fish and throw away the bone.” If what I write edifies you, then great. If not, great. In any case, I look forward to sharing with you “my thoughts and perspective” on the craft of poetry.
If poets want to be recognized for their poetics, then craft must receive earnest attention. Everyone who reads a poem will critique it, whether academically or based on personal preference. Every reader is a critic.
Even the untrained eye will apply some form of judgment as to whether or not they view the poem as either good or bad. That’s just reality. Many of you who are poets will attest this fact. So, if you want to be a good poet you must pay attention to craft as an important element of being a poet.
What is craft? Trust me; I will not bore you with Webster’s definition. Personally, I define craft as “The earnest attention given to preparing one’s self for excellence through mastery of form, technique, and rudiments readily identifiable in an art or vocation.”
Evidence this definition is workable and applicable can be seen in some of the greatest living literary writers, performers, and athletes of our day. Coming to mind are such greats as Derek Walcott, Robert Pinsky, and Carol Ann Duffy; Meryl Streep, Aretha Franklin, and Robert Downey Jr., Michael Jordon, Wayne Gretsky, and David Beckham to name a few. All of them devoted themselves to craft. They have at one time or another been the best at what they do, having mastered form, technique, and the rudiments of their vocation.
In the coming months I will address craft more specifically to poetry. Until then, have fun writing great poetry.
Thank you Emmett, looking forward to hearing more from you soon.
Today we are going to ask you to do the taboo and break the rules and do something most magazines frown upon and would not publish. Today we are going to write about poetry. One of the reasons I think it is usually off limits is because it is done poorly, without much thought. It is something we do when we can think of nothing else, so it usually becomes about writer’s block.
Bearing in mind Emmett’s introduction on the craft of poetry, take your time with this, be creative, try to approach it in a new way. Maybe we will prove the skeptics to be true or maybe we will shine. Alright poets, have at it!