Poetry mechanics: A “toolshed” in twenty paragraphs~ PT 1/4 by Louis Casson

This series of articles written for ~IB~ By Louis J. Casson provides some excellent guidelines for those wishing to write & publish poetry. Poetry Mechanics will run for 4 consecutive Wednesdays, 23rd & 30th May, concluding 6th June and we hope it will benefit you. If you have never written a poem, have a go... you can't really go wrong!.

This is not so much a “how to”, with me laying down the rules; simply because there are no fixed rules in poetry. Rather these are my tips, insights and suggestions. My approach is what I would have wished I’d known around ten years ago; when I started publishing my own collections of poems on Amazon Kindle.

1. Digital publishing (Amazon Kindle and others).

• Offers the potential of reaching a wider audience and market than regional or local.

• Be selective; choose only the best poems to include in your book.

• Format; font pitch layout, be consistent throughout.

• Do spell check, but be aware that any grammar or spell checker is for prose – not poetry! Therefore: you have to decide if a word is spelt right or the phrase is right etc. (you may have made up a word, or used slang, dialect)

• I include around 40 poems per book.

• Themes I have sifted into books: Love, Blues, music, general (assorted).

2. What makes a good poem?

• It makes you think, and it has a point to it. Like an argument with a conclusion.

• It has a passion, wrote about something you care about and want to communicate/share with the reader.

• It’s not a “laundry list”; it use some form of syntax, grammar language, metaphors, symbols. That is beyond and above everyday language.

• It has “killer lines” i.e. meaning going beyond, perhaps not making logical or strictly literal sense, yet feeling right to the reader.

• It strikes a chord, stirs the emotions.

• Has freshness in expression.

• A personal style / view come across in the piece.

3. Form, rhythms, rhymes:

Tip: read other poems to know and be aware of the different forms to use or adapt... Chinese and Haiku, for the economy of lines and words used. Love poems, ballads, sonnets, free verse.

4. Poems: “lives” or meanings:-

Like all poetry, because the language is slightly ambiguous, readers have their own interpretations. People will get their own meanings, apart from what you intend when writing – you cannot control this!

• Firstly when the poet writes, the meaning or significance in the authors mind.

• Secondly, when the poem is read by others.

• Thirdly when the poems are read out to others. Here meaning and interpretations, arise from the audience’s emotions, experiences and views.

• There is a possible fourth meaning, with time and a reader reading a generation or so on; the meaning is changed. (lost in translation would be a fifth)

5. What is poetry, as opposed to prose?

Poems have...rhythm, rhyme, elevated language, similes and metaphors.

For more about Louis J. Casson check 'pages'~top of blog.
Here are Louis' links:

• Behance Portfolio: http://www.behance.net/LJCasson

• Blog, http://louisjcasson.blogspot.com

~IB~ are delighted to present Louis' contribution to help inspire you. We would love to receive more poetry and articles on different topics to enrich other people's experiences. If you would like to contribute contact itsbraap@live.co.uk