looking for lyrics
in the dreamy afternoons.
exercise for imagination’s
touching new worlds.
Images and Words, by June Perkins
I have noticed that presently I have four main modes of writing poetry, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Journalling poems that free flow and spill onto the page often with emotion and passion.
2. Crafted/Technique poems that come from setting myself a challenge in technique or a set form but still primarily writing what comes immediately to mind.
3. Playful/ Experimental poems these poems start as games. To my surprise they often lead to narrative poems, or seem to come from daily life and can turn into a journalled experience.
4. Narrative poems/works in series which can use any of the above techniques. In this approach I might take an idea of a loss of a child and create characters to tell a story. I might decide to have a water diviner and a king and see what happens to them as they talk about each other and the problems of their world.
The strength of journalling is that it enables you to tap into your inner thoughts and flow without stopping yourself. Journalling poems can be written everyday.
The strength of crafting in a technique or set form is that you know the shape and structure of your poem and it disciplines an idea you may have had emerge in journalling. Discipline in writing poetry often strengthens it! These poems may take longer to write than journalled ones but they are well worth the effort. You might even start writing daily haiku verses if it’s your free flow identity.
I love to take an idea developed in journalling and crafting and then create something more playful and original. I will often employ creative game ideas, like mixing genres, or found poems to see what discoveries I can make. This is ideal for days where I feel I have nothing to say. I find out that I do.
I find that extending a narrative and trying any of the approaches allows me to create a world in my poems, similar to that a novelist does. I find a technique that might suit a particular character. I am enjoying these sorts of poems more and more. I write these when I feel the next chapter of a poetry narrative is ready. I am thinking of writing outlines for these now.
As for weaknesses journalling poems can be without enough structure and are not always the best ones to share publicly, crafted poems can become too constricting if you are working in a form that doesn’t suit you or the topic.
Playful and experimental poems can be too playful and not focus enough on content if you take it too far, and as for narrative poems, it’s finding the best approach for a particular narrative, or a particular character that can be challenging.
I’ve decided whilst I like all of these techniques, it is now time to find some poetry buddies and add to all of the above, consult poetry critique buddies and rewrite. I especially need to find poetry buddies who write a lot of poetry and know a lot about it so that they can challenge me to push my ability in this form, like a running coach does for a runner.
Perhaps, more on poetry writing buddies in future posts.
How do you approach writing poetry?
Here I am with my daughter catching a bus to the art museum.
We don’t talk but with our dark brown eyes look for
inspiration out at the land scrolling
past the windows.
What we share most is a love of the creative.
For her it’s online comics, art and stories.
She has a recommended reading list for me and
is itching to beta read my current book in progress.
Here anyhow’s one decent thing – the way she leaves post it notes
concerning dragons on the loose
and how she hopes I have the best writing day
on my desk.
She’s just making sure
a dragon makes it into the story
Today I attempted an important person poem. I have written these before but today’s inspiration is to use three starters to stanzas inspired by Wilfred Sassoon. I am not in a rhyming mood though.
So today I am attempting an ideaogram. I didn’t want to do the Sidman exercise just as it was suggested because I have written a poem like that before, so instead I came up with a variation on her exercise.
For this one I went looking for some further inspiration and found some in googling images. It seemed obvious one way to write something like this might be to play with the ideogrammatic fonts on my computer. But how to play with them? I used the geotype font and the following images came up when I typed my name, june: Light bulb, Duck, Globe or Sign and a Hand. I thought why not use them as inspiration. That’s pretty random isn’t it, but here goes.
I look for my light bulb moment
Married to a man whose nickame is Ducky (because he impersonates Donald Duck)
We are world citizens by nature
Who after twenty years or more still remember to walk hand in hand
(c) June Perkins
Let me know if you try this, now I’m off to experiment with some other fonts. Is this a true ideogram, well I really don’t care, it’s fun. Pictorial font fun. Another variation of this would be to then extend the metaphors and expand the piece.
(c) June Perkins
I meant to write my book today
but I decided on an early morning walk
to start my exercise regimen as my legs
feel like jelly and you know I really ought
to make a great effort to reach my goal weight
and so I strolled with my family to the shops and over the walkway
and round and round the oval and noticed one man alone taking
a smoke, and my children stopped to play on the swings,
and exercise is good for the brain so
theoritically it ought to make me do more inspired writing.
I meant to write my book today
but reading about Tim, a Doug Anthony All Star and his take on humour and life
was too enticing and I just had to read right to the end of the story
and reading is fantastic for inspiration and I am working on a memoirs
and I’d like to put more humour in and Tim’s a master of comedy and I need to read more
and was so pleased to be reading and theoritically it ought to make me do more inspired writing.
I meant to write my book today but
then my daughter asked me to watch two of our favourite shows
one called Scorpian about some brilliant minds who work together to solve puzzles
and who can’t quite fit into regular life, so they have a single mother who is their
emotional expert and one called Forever
about someone who dies again and again, he’s been immortal since the 1800s
and doesn’t now why and it’s one of those interesting premises that pull you in
and make you keep watching, it must have started with a ‘what if?’ statement in some collaborative
writers’ meeting, you know the ones were you throw ideas around and then magic happens but these shows have so much to teach in terms of character and plot twists and it was good to see Jane Seymour turning up on television again and that theoritically ought to make me do more inspired writing.
I meant to write my book today then I was hungry and
just had to find a juicy orange, and a raspberry jam sandwich, and think about doing another walk, when the weather cooled, and do some dishes and consider the ironing and think how boring those things are in writing unless you make the food sing of a far off land, or give it some magical purpose and the mundane said,
‘make me fantastic before you dare write a line about me,’ and it was round about then I thought I might write and my daughter said, ‘Please come chat with me Mum,’ so what could I say she’s just one of the many people who inspire me so how could I say no.
(c) June Perkins
Still working through Joyce Sidman’s poetry ideas. Here is my first attempt at an excuse poem.
Pink Paisley Summer Dress
The best thing is material so thin
prevents me boiling
inside my skin
so I embrace the summertime.
No, the best thing is doesn’t weigh me down
makes me feel like I have hips to sway
and time to play in the
No, the best thing is mix of pinks and purples
weaving memories of sunsets
in special places
with the ones I love.
No the best thing is pencil thin straps
so my arms can move freely
so my thoughts move freely.
No, the absolute best thing is
so comfortable pretty paisley soft,
makes me feel like writing.
(c) June Perkins
I thought I would try some ideas for poetry from Joyce Sidman’s website .
Why not just begin from the top and work my way down.
The first suggestion being the best thing poem.
I’ll follow her instructions the first time and then maybe play with the idea for a second object in a couple of days.
She has twenty ideas so that should (if I do 2 poems) in each suggested idea give me 40 poems.
I’ll come back to Jackson and Miranda’s story every now and then, maybe even apply some of these poetry ideas there.
Sound like fun to you, why not join in and work through the ideas as well.