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!
Emmett…thank you so much for spending your precious time here with us at the pub.Hope you know how much we all appreciate it…I’m off to write! 🙂
thank you emmett for an excellent article… so true…Everyone who reads a poem will critic it in one or the other way.. looking forward to learning from you in the months to follow. Also love that you bring David Beckham in. I think no matter if you’re playing football, piano, if you’re cooking, painting or writing…there’s always room to improve – and those that read, listen or eat will be thankful if we try to get better…smiles
emmett, excellent article, thank you. I have linked a poem and look forward to constructive feedback. I won’t be able to spend much time online for a couple of days but promise to make as many rounds as I can. I’m looking forward to this enriching event.
Well, against the odds, I had time this evening to visit the poetry here. What an enriching way to spend an evening. Thanks all.
Laurie Kolp said:
I’m looking forward to emmet’s upcoming crafting advice!
emmett, you the man…i appreciate your introduction to craft…nice bit of story telling and analogy as well….the longer i write the more i appreciate the little things…the little creativity and extra touches that make all the difference in real writing…
Thank you emmett, and thanks for inviting me. I’m looking forward to your commentaries and will upon occasion ‘drop in’ for an earful and eyeful of your postings on Critique and Craft.
Well, emmett, being new to writing poetry but having read it for most of my life, I agree that readers appraise and create individual meanings from whatever they read. We all bring something unique and create something unique when we read… as writers I guess our job is to engage the reader in that process. Looking forward to some stimulating reading ahead…Cheers!
I’m involved in boring distractions and unable to spend time at the computer, so I’ve linked an old piece. I’ll try to get around and visit later tonight or tomorrow,
Debbie Dawnslight said:
This is a great article! I might manage to participate, but it is the high holidays here and I am busy hosting and entertaining. I hope this is a fruitful exercise. It sure looks like one! 🙂
enjoy your holidays deb!
Debbie Dawnslight said:
Steve King said:
Sounds like an interesting solicitation. I’ll be interested to see what others have to say….
Great article Emmett. I have a little ditty on this subject that reinforces what you said; I think it might be doggerel but then again that would prove the point wouldn’t it – 🙂 So I’m posting it for what it is. Have no idea what the inspiration for it was..it’s long been sitting dormant in a folder.
Thank you for the wonderful session, Emmett. I am looking forward to reading and learning more about the writing craft.
I just posted – hope it fits the bill ~
Hi Emmett and others! Agh! I posted a draft poem today in hopes of getting help with its crafting! And yet, I know the answer–work, think, pay attention! All right and all important and I appreciate your focus, Emmett. Anyway, I posted another post now! Thinking about craft in combination with my personal inadequacies, i.e. a failing brain.
Permitted or not, I have done it now and again, at least once in the honourable tradition of ars poetica (writing on the nature of poetry). I am linking to some of these older pieces today, as I have a very busy day ahead which won’t allow a lot of time for new writing.
PS Not sure how many links we’re allowed to post for this, so have linked only to one post but on that post there are links to a couple of others, if anyone would care to see more.
Seasideauthor Sharon Rose © said:
Thank you Mr. Wheatfall. Very interesting and inspirational article. Ok, I am sure I broke all the rules. All in here.
Seasideauthor Sharon Rose © said:
***********************************************************************************************************I have read them all and they were wonderful and creative.
Many blogspots blogs would not take a comment but I was there! Thank You all! ***********************************************************************************************************
Linda Kruschke said:
How long is Mr. Linky going to be open for this challenge? I can’t write right now, but suddenly have a poem about poetry swirling in my head. Peace, Linda
emmett, I’m so glad to “meet” you and I look forward to learning and sharing with you here at the Pub. Nicely crafted article. Victoria
Hello emmetwheatfall, I write my name in lowercase too and it bothers the heaven out of my son. Looking forward to hear your commentary on it. I also look forward to learning more about poetry craft. My poetry sting started with dVerse. As it is, I just write. I am enjoying tonight’s poems because I can understand them easily and I feel we speak for each other. Thank you.
Finally had to just give in and write…still shaking from too much time away, I think…it’s a ghost that haunts me often 😉 Thanks again Emmett…and of course all you wonderful poets that stepped up!
So glad you did! I loved your linked poem.
and i as well tash…it is good seeing you more post apocalyptic week…smiles.
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Alex Dissing said:
So true, Emmett. We all have our own worldview and we express it through our words, thoughts, actions, but most importantly, our poetry. What’s amazing about poetry is that, despite all of our differences, it allows us all to connect in the act of connecting our own lives, for that’s what poetry essentially is: a connecting agent. Whether it be through rhyme or alliteration, synecdoche or metaphor, poetry is a way for us to make sense of our own experiences or beliefs in life by converting them into a compilation of words that, in some way, mean something to us.
Poetry is as uncensored as we allow it to be, and for the longest time I was afraid of that fact. I’m so glad I ended up enrolling in that creative writing class at my community college a year ago. As a stutterer, I have finally found my fluent voice through poetry.
Alex Dissing said:
As a stutterer, poetry has allowed me to finally find my fluent voice: my own.
de novo…whatever bloggers issue is with embedded commenting…i cant tellif you are getting my comment so i will leave it here…
i found you.
and morse code is cool.
Thank you emmett for sharing such a wonderful article and reminding us just how important craft truly is. But then, if we really want to do well at something, it always starts with the fundamentals. These sessions have taught me so much in just the short time here. I’m so thankful everyone is helping each other grow and learn from the basics to crit. Fabulous place here!
Only have a few minutes tonight. I wanted very much to spend a bit of time here, but lots of work to finish up. Will pop in on a couple, and then again on the weekend.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful night. Thanks again, Petrina
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good morning…out on the trail to read what the overnight crowd brought in….a bit tired…you know…spent the night with moving words back and forth on the living room floor…smiles…nah…just kidding..
Thanks, Mr. W for the wonderful article. Looking forward to reading more about the importance of craft.. and of course, working to improve mine..
Just a doubt for Brian or someone from d’Verse, the penultimate para asks us to write on poetry.. Does it mean, for this crit & craft week, we’ve to write a poem about poetry?
yes leo, on poetry or writing or the craft of writing…
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Debbie Dawnslight said:
I kept hearing words in my head, so I left my guests to write some lines for this event. I’ve linked up.
I will be by to read everyone probably tonight and tomorrow.
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Thank you, emmett wheatfall; I look forward to your advice on craft and poetics. A good thing to turn the mind toward. Will be thinking how to approach this…must post later…
Seek the Sun said:
My post is probably one of the first poems I wrote after rediscovering poetry, my long lost friend. Now I’m off to read the others.
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Linda Kruschke said:
Yay, I made it back in time before Mr. Linky expired (that sounds so sad). I actually wrote two poems, but in one post. Looking forward to more lessons from emmett! Hoping to have time to come back and read some of the other offerings today. Poets on Poetry could be quite interesting. 🙂 Peace, Linda
Lovely Annie said:
I linked in an older poem focusing on writer’s block (sort of experience a bit of a block at the moment…too much time spent writing info/marketing articles lately…the things we do for money!)
I am looking forward to more articles from Emmett…thank you for being here Emmett ( and the rest of the dVerse crew! )
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James Rainsfordj said:
Some interesting views Emmett. Poems are like mirrors, if fools peer into them, one cannot expect wise men to look out.
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great job today gang…tune in tomorrow because victoria has a smoking poetry prompt ready for poetics…
David King said:
A really great article. I did try to link a poem, but missed the deadline by 4 hours (again!). Would it be possible to state in the article when is the deadline? – Or maybe you did, and I missed it. Shall look forward to the next installment, though.
Other Mary said:
Hello Emmett- What a very interesting and well-crafted introduction. I look forward to your articles on craft. Thank you.
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California Ink in Motion said:
Due to my casted arm, I missed this ..so here is one I wrote about poets and poetry a little while back…I will be cast fre next week..Yeah!