Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Poetry for Dummies
I’ve had some helps in this department -- a couple of books, good ones: Puritan Poets and Poetics, and Sinful Self, Saintly Self: the Puritan Experience of Poetry. They have further directed me to a 16-the century book,The Art of English Poesie, which is a great window into the craft of poetry writing. But . . . sigh. Constructing a poem is like building a cathedral; it has rules and conventions and its own terminology as well. And I should know something about all that so I can understand what the heck she was attempting when she sat down to write. So I have to learn it. Some of it. Enough to get along; the poetic equivalent of “Ou est la salle de bain?” for the American in France. Well, more than that, I guess.
And when I finish that, maybe I can go back to learning about 17th-century ships, a task I happily set aside last spring. Humph.
I can’t even figure out what a “foot” is. It’s a poetic term, and it’s related to syllables, but it’s not syllables. Mr. Poesie Art didn’t make it clear, and I haven’t consulted Dr. Google yet.
But I am learning. Learning, learning, learning, getting comfy inside Anne Bradstreet’s mental world, and painting it out again in a story that is now at about 30,000 words.