Writing metrical poems

Before I seriously began writing poems over a decade ago, I studied metrics for about six months.  I started by reading Timothy Steele's All The Fun's In How You Say a Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification and also William Baer's Writing Metrical Poetry.  Then I wrote nothing but metrical verse for about nine … Continue reading Writing metrical poems

How to scan a poem

Despite what we've learned in school, there is no "correct" scan of a poem sitting in a vault somewhere for only English teachers to see.  Often, scansion relies on context, but even then, what one person hears as a stressed syllable another person hears as unstressed.  And within stressed syllables, the degree of stress can … Continue reading How to scan a poem

Good Poems: “Poet Warning,” by Jim Harrison

The best poems often involve compression. They create their emotional response with as few words as possible.  The poem "Poet Warning," written by Jim Harrison, is one of them: Poet Warning He went to sea in a thimble of poetry without sail or oars or anchor. What chance do I have, he thought? Hundreds of … Continue reading Good Poems: “Poet Warning,” by Jim Harrison

The Two Coolest Books I Own

Several years ago, I lost count of how many poetry books I have (can you ever have enough?). But there's absolutely no doubt which are my favorites collections. They are always the signed copies.  Sometimes I get lucky enough to stumble into a used bookstore and find one for cheap.  This was the case once … Continue reading The Two Coolest Books I Own

The World Imagines Rain

My poem "The World Imagines Rain" appears in the March Issue of Ink in Thirds.  Here is the complete poem: The World Imagines Rain When I begin with you I mention rain, the taste of rain falling in watered air. If the weight that forms our lives could be something the world imagines, it would … Continue reading The World Imagines Rain

Prose and free verse: the glass metaphor

This month I'm reading a new book,  A Prosody of Free Verse.  It's by Richard Andrews, a professor at the University of East Anglia in the UK. The book, which sells well over a hundred bucks, attempts to create a comprehensive understanding of the rhythms of free verse.  It's premise: free verse centers around the … Continue reading Prose and free verse: the glass metaphor