SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Poetry Lessons for the Hard of Rhyming

Discussion started on

Pickles

Guest
I've started a new series of poetry articles on my web page specifically geared for people who scream when they hear "meter." I don't know if these will go up with any kind of regularity, but if they help you in someway, I'd love to know.

I once gave up writing poetry entirely, because I just didn't get what people were saying about meter. I loved writing poetry but just decided I had no skill for it.  I had to learn it on my own in my own way, and now it seems to be more or less internalized. I do not consciously count beats or syllables or plan meter ahead of time.  I do it by feel. Now it takes me a lot longer to write something with "poor" meter than it does with "good" meter. I have to make a deliberate effort to mess it up.  So I'm sharing my process in hopes of helping others.

http://www.kpluta.com/

If by the time you read this, there are a lot of articles on top of that one, click on poetry under "Tags."
#1 - November 14, 2006, 08:33 AM

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
Ooooh, this is good stuff.

AMP :)
#2 - November 14, 2006, 08:44 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Pickles

Guest
Thank you!!!!!
#3 - November 14, 2006, 08:48 AM

talespin

Guest
This is great, Pickles! I used to be one of those people who couldn't write an pb without rhyming but it was all intuitive, then I tried to analyze my meter and that put me off completely. What you describe is very similar to my process (what is was before I picked it apart and killed it) and its good to know I'm not nuts. Thank you for legitimizing my own duh-dum method. :)
#4 - November 14, 2006, 09:06 AM

Pickles

Guest
Good to know I'm not nuts!!!

I really hesitated in posting this at all, for fear people would say I was all wet.

I was an English major analyzing poetry, and I couldn't get it. Even now, when I critique someone's poetry, I sometimes can't untangle it. Once the words are down I have a hard time seeing beyond them or hearing things right.

Like I said I quit. And for the longest I couldn't figure out how I got from people shaking their head at me to people going "WOW! that's your FIRST draft.

I still clunk sometimes, but for the most part I really, really have to work to write bad meter because my brain auto corrects. 

So I see so many other people struggle, so I think that maybe my methods could help.

So I'm glad that I'm making sense to somebody!
#5 - November 14, 2006, 09:15 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region cencal
That's a wonderful essay!  I wish you had posted it about a month ago because I was trying to tutor another writer who wanted to write in rhyme and she needed exactly that kind of help.  But from now on, I'll definitely refer people to it.
#6 - November 14, 2006, 09:21 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

Pickles

Guest
Thank you!

I find writing poetry very mathematical. And just like when I was learning math, I was confused by all the steps.  I have to see things a little more abstract, a little more big picture.

My youngest son is the same way. He's in second grade. He's flummoxed by "regrouping." But just give him a word problem and he'll tell you the answer in a few seconds with never putting pencil to paper.

A month ago I was too deep in grief over the loss of one of the people the articles are dedicated to. Which is why you'll see no articles on my website from early October until now.

I'm so truly happy this is helping people.
#7 - November 14, 2006, 09:25 AM

Roving Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
Great article, Pickles!  I definitely identify with your approach to poetry.  I'm never sure where the poem is going as I explore possibilities.

I'm also very sorry about your losing someone you loved.  I can identify with that also.

 :hug1:
Ev
#8 - November 14, 2006, 10:54 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI Region inlandnw
Thanks for this information.  It was fun to walk through the steps with you.  I am in the process of completing my first rhyming PB.  I see that I use a lot of the same steps that you do.  I was not an English major in college, so I never learned the ‘formal’ way to write poetry.   It’s good to know that the way I am doing it works too!


Rachel
#9 - November 14, 2006, 11:22 AM
You must be mad, said the Cheshire Cat, or you wouldn't have come here. -- Lewis Carroll

MamaG

Guest
Very nicely done, Pickles.
Thank you for posting the link, what a great resource.  I hope you continue.
#10 - November 14, 2006, 12:27 PM

shelly

Guest
This looks great, Kay!
#11 - November 14, 2006, 04:11 PM

Donna

Guest
I left a comment at your site, but I'll leave one here, too. NICE JOB! Glad I'm not the only one who does works that way...


Grace and peace,
Donna
#12 - November 14, 2006, 04:17 PM

Pickles

Guest
Thank you everyone.

There's a part two now.

I posted what I have done of the poem so far. (Sorry, I'm not publicly posting anymore as this one might turn out publishable.)  I dorked with them to show that having the exact same syllable count per line is not the same as good meter.

And now my brain is dizzy and I have editorial tasks to attend to.

I hope the articles help. I don't want other people to feel as lost as I did for so many years.
#13 - November 14, 2006, 05:23 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
I enjoyed your article, Pickles. I'm an English major, and sadly never learned much about poetry. I think I follow a similar process in writing poetry now. It helps to read and read and read lots of poems.

Annette
#14 - November 14, 2006, 05:26 PM
SPACE EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
OCEAN EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
GRAVITY IN ACTION (Rourke, 2019)
www.annettegulati.com

Pickles

Guest
Aww, Annette, you've never had to "explicate" a poem?

Thanks. Glad you liked the article.

I like your elephant icon.
#15 - November 14, 2006, 05:31 PM

Donna

Guest
"Explicate?" That sounds painful.  :!

 ;D

Grace,
Donna
#16 - November 14, 2006, 05:44 PM

Pickles

Guest
You have to take a poem and analyze every single word of it using the OED..Oxford English Dictionary. At least that's what I had to do twenty five years ago as an English major.

http://www.uwrf.edu/~sl01/explcat.html

#17 - November 14, 2006, 06:47 PM

cdb

Guest
Thank you Pickles. I have been looking for just this info. I look forward to reading everything you write. Rhyming comes naturally to me. I guess I think in a sing-song fashion. Maybe I'm just fixated at 4 or 5; regardless, please know I so appreciate you posting this. I will visit your site often. Also,
and more importantly, I pray that as you continue to bring your writing to life it will aid in your healing from grief.
#18 - November 15, 2006, 10:19 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Pickles,
I've never had to 'explicate.' It looks interesting, though.
Thank you for your compliment on my elephant.

Annette
#19 - November 15, 2006, 02:15 PM
SPACE EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
OCEAN EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
GRAVITY IN ACTION (Rourke, 2019)
www.annettegulati.com

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region intlcentral
  • SCBWI PAL
Great articles, Kay! Thanks for sharing.
#20 - November 15, 2006, 04:51 PM
A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT (Philomel)
ME WITH YOU -- (Philomel)
MINI-RACER -- (Bloomsbury)
SURFER CHICK -- (Abrams)
http://kristydempsey.livejournal.com

WONDERFUL essay!!  Like you, I quit rhyme for a while when I just didn't get it.  The syllable counting was the problem for me too.  When I let my natural ear take over and quit counting, it all  started coming out right.  Now I've sold two rhyming PBs and had a couple of other editors compliment my rhythm.  Sure makes up for all those hours and hours (and hours...) of frustration when I couldn't get it.  Wish I'd had your essay to read back then!  I will direct everyone I know to it...

Thanks for sharing!
Boni
#21 - November 15, 2006, 05:31 PM
Hush Little Dragon (Abrams)
I Had A Favorite Dress (Abrams)
The Class (Beach Lane)
and others
http://www.boniashburn.com

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region socal
I also liked your post about the "Benny Bunny" rejection slips (Elly Envelope,  Stanley Stamp,  etc.).   Very funny.    :dr
#22 - November 15, 2006, 07:59 PM

kimw

Guest
Pickles,
This was a great article! I loved your "dadums".  :D
Thanks!
Kim
#23 - November 16, 2006, 05:07 AM

Pickles

Guest
Thank you all. Yarnspinner, my favorite in that one was Peter, Peter, Postage Meter.

You'll be hearing more from Smarmy and Wonkers Children's Books. :0
#24 - November 16, 2006, 05:15 AM

kellyr

Guest
They look good, Kay -- well done!
#25 - November 16, 2006, 06:45 AM

doda

Guest
Well done Pickles, it's good to see how other poets work things out. Thanks for sharing your brain power.

Doda
#26 - November 16, 2006, 08:10 AM

cdb

Guest
Pickles~
Had to go back and reread your page just to affirm that what I thought you wrote was what you wrote and not just what I wanted to read. So:

Thank you for your insight.
I really was confused.
Afraid I'd be rejected,
but now am just amused.

If questioned, may we just say, "Oh, that is the new Pickles paradigm for writing poetry. I like the ring of that.
Thanks again. And once again, I am so glad you are addressing this.

Carole
#27 - November 21, 2006, 04:01 AM

Pickles

Guest
Carole,

I don't understand. What I gave was (I think) good solid advice on writing poetry, perhaps from a slightly different angle.

I loved your little ditty.


There will be another article going up soon, but maybe after Thanksgiving, that will show the difference in steady, never varying meter, no meter whatsoever, and pleasant rhythmic meter.
In the meantime, go read some April Pulley Sayre if you want to see/hear good strong rhythm.
#28 - November 21, 2006, 05:22 AM

cdb

Guest
Oh my goodness, dear Pickles.  I am so sorry for not realizing how what I wrote might sound. I meant that as a compliment. What you are sharing is wonderful and it is good and solid advice and gave me encouragement that the way I write might not be wrong.
You don't know me. I confess a lack of experience with posting. I meant to embrace you and I failed. Please forgive. I so look forward to reading and learning more from you. Please accept this in the spirit intended. (You have now taught me another lesson. Thank you)

Sincerely,
Carole


#29 - November 21, 2006, 06:00 AM

Pickles

Guest
No, Carole it's okay. I wasn't offended really. I wasn't sure what kind of point you were making. I thought it sounded like I was going against the tide, and saying that traditional meter doesn't matter.

My guess is I probably had a natural ear for rhyme, but those years of explicating and parsing in college sorta goofed things up. I've heard from others that they were just fine until they started to ANALYZE what they were doing.

So, I've been wanting to write these for a while to help other people who might feel "hopeless and lost" when it comes to poetry.

And so far, the comments I've gotten indicate that it has helped. The two people the articles are dedicated to are a college professor who just wrung her hands over my lack of meter and a dear friend who was recently killed. I can hear them both in my head trying to get me to "Get it."
#30 - November 21, 2006, 08:06 AM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.