By Ken Gosse
Right the Words
If the words you write say more or less what you mean, search for better words.
True to Form
If your poetry’s formal, don’t go far astray— take the well-traveled road so it won’t get away. Stay true to its form, every facet belay or your Gordian knot will have threads which will fray. Your pitiful faux pas will be on display and your manicured cur will be shunned as a stray. The general public won’t care anyway, but if poets should read it, there’ll be hell to pay.
Free to be Me
I think that I shall never be a poet like those who write free. Use rhyme sans reason? Not for me, because I write with verse unfree. It seems I’m more like Bartleby: preferring not to. Yes, that’s me.
As the Sonnet Turns
in 100 words
To turn a sonnet on its side with ten lines, not fourteen, iambic heptameter’s plied to compensate for form; divided into two quatrains, a couplet is foreseen— the resolution, where it strains in efforts to conform. A “So-why-not” or “So-it’s-not,” it doesn’t fit the norm to meet traditions of a sonnet, it’s more like a teen who thinks he’s new, for there are few fourteeners in the swarm of poetry he might have read if teaching was routine. And yet, perhaps, the teen has heard of “Casey at the Bat,” or maybe knows “Quickbeam’s Lament”—’twas Tolkien who wrote that.
The Toll of a Vanillanelle
When writing, I avoid the Villanelle although it’s quite a marvelous device; my muses tease that I don’t write them well. They seem to sense my failure to excel and spread deep doubt throughout with wry advice, hence writing, I avoid the Villanelle. My poker face reveals my every tell, and so, instead of cards, I’ll roll the dice while muses tease that I don’t write them well. My trembling doesn’t cause a great groundswell or even crack the frozen surface ice. When writing, I avoid the Villanelle. Is this from fear my Villanelles won’t sell for reasons which will never seem precise? My muses tease that I don’t write them well. For me, the knell may be another bell, though Villanelles have tolled me once or twice. When writing, I avoid the Villanelle— my muses teasing I don’t write them well.