Form and poetry

Happy November!

The plays I’m directing are going well. A little worrying they will be seen by a paying audience in just four weeks time, but we will persevere. It is, however, eating up all my available time, along with choir and suchlike.

Luckily, as part of my English degree I’m doing a module called Forms of Modern Poetry, which forces me to write a poem every week in different forms. We’re in a bit of an iambic rut at the moment, but that’s not a bad thing.

I wanted to do the course because I felt my poetry was getting a bit wooly, unfocused, and I wanted to develop some more skills to use. Plus, seeing poetry as exercise rather than art helps you produce more work, I find. We’re in a bit of an iambic rut at the moment, since that metre is used so much in poetry, but it’s good work.

In honour of Hallowe’en just passed, here’s a bit from Sleepy Hollow I wrote in couplets last week. Also, I’m putting in a poem I just wrote, a complete breather from the formal strictures I have been placed in, called Fishing.

Scene from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Then sudden out of misty night,
A Headless Horseman came to fight.
The spirit gave a fearsome cry
That told a man was soon to die.

A slash! The Horseman’s sword was keen.
It cut through midnight sharp and clean.
Ichabod ran, towards the stream,
Praying this was a frightful dream.

But no! The Horseman thundered to
That neck so bare, so fresh, so new.
Ichabod ran, ran for his soul,
For righteous corpses must be whole.

But then came silence. Yes, the sound
Of racing hooves upon the ground
Had stopped. He dared to look around.
The headless man could not be found.

Crane stumbled, fell upon his hand
Which broke his fall. He tried to stand.
The grass was wet. He almost slipped,
but managed it. His clothing dripped.

He looked around. The appatirion
Had ceased his unrelenting mission.
The river’s bank was empty, Crane
Free from the spirit’s foul campaign.


They tell me
‘There are plenty more fish in the sea’
As I sit here on the dock
Line drawn, hook baited
Still waiting for a bite.

Finally, here’s a link to a letter from Robert Heinlein, where he gives Theodore Sturgeon advice on overcoming writer’s block. It’s a good read.
More soon.