Friday, October 21, 2011

dVerse Commentary 2

Hello. It’s me—emmett. What a privilege it is to write commentary about “Craft” for the dVerse Poets community. I’m overwhelmed by the affirmation and response I received from my first commentary. Thank you!

In my first commentary I promised to explain why I do not capitalize the first letter in my first and last name. I don’t as a way to remind myself I need to get better. While I have enjoyed much success, once I achieve “sufficient noteworthiness” as a poet, I’ll capitalize both letters. What does “sufficient noteworthiness” look like? Trust me, you’ll let me know. J

Now—regarding craft. I came across a great word today. It’s the word “Conflation.” It’s an unusual word, a word I don’t imagine many of us use in our day to day conversations. I know I don’t. Here is its definition as defined by my favorite and frequently used online dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ site. It means “To bring together: meld or fuse; to combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole. I kid you not, boy did this thought intrigue me, and so I wrote and titled my current poem “Conflation.” Visit my blog for an intriguing read—something that’s quite personal, but liberating having written about both.

In order to stretch our capabilities as poets I would imagine this could be a novel idea for some, maybe something trifling for others. Nonetheless, it’s the topic of my commentary today under the auspices of “Craft.”

At times we poets can be too linear in our writing. The symmetry leads in a direct line to a specific destination, often predictable even when abstract or metaphoric. Using conflation is a great way to break out of the rut.

Listen, as a writing prompt here is what I’m asking you to do. Write a poem that is constructed using conflation. This means the poem must possess at least two different, wholly unrelated themes package together in stanzas. To challenge you further, the two or more thematic aspects of the poem must be revealing about yourself.

Also, for this writing prompt you are not permitted to use end-rhymes. I find to many times poets used contrived end-rhymes. By this I mean, just tagging at the end of the line a word that rhymes, and is one used so often I want to hurl.

I plan to write about “Enjambment” for my next commentary, so this request is a precursor to where I want to go next with my dVerse commentary about craft.

I look forward to reading as many of your works as I can. Happy writing!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

dVerse Commenary I

A few years ago I found occasion to purchase a brand new suit from a leading retail clothier. This maker of fine linen, fashioned into fashionable apparel is known all over America for their quality men’s suits. To own one is like having a fine feather neatly placed in an Englishman’s hat.

Unfortunately, as I was dressing to attend a very important event, the left pant leg came apart at the seam running the interior of my left leg. As you can image, this came as quite the surprise. Of course I was angry, not at the price of the suit, nor my misfortune, but the poor “craftsmanship.” Yes, craftsmanship.

Hi. My name is emmett wheatfall. I will explain why I write my name lowercase in a future commentary.

In the coming months I will be writing brief commentary on the “Craft of Poetry” for members of the dVerse community of poets. I know, what qualifies me to write commentary on this topic. I’ll let you the reader come to your own conclusion about my qualifications. You can learn about me at http://emmettwheatfall.com. That way I don’t have to be pretentious. I always tell people “…eat the fish and throw away the bone.” If what I write edifies you, then great. If not, great. In any case, I look forward to sharing with you “my thoughts and perspective” on the craft of poetry.

If poets want to be recognized for their poetics, then craft must receive earnest attention. Everyone who reads a poem will critic it, whether academically or based on personal preference. Every reader is a critic.

Even the untrained eye will apply some form of judgment as to whether or not they view the poem as either good or bad. That’s just reality. Many of you who are poets will attest this fact. So, if you want to be a good poet you must pay attention to craft as an important element of being a poet.

What is craft? Trust me; I will not bore you with Webster’s definition. Personally, I define craft as “The earnest attention given to preparing one’s self for excellence through mastery of form, technique, and rudiments readily identifiable in an art or vocation.”

Evidence this definition is workable and applicable can be seen in some of the greatest living literary writers, performers, and athletes of our day. Coming to mind are such greats as Derek Walcott, Robert Pinsky, and Carol Ann Duffy; Meryl Streep, Aretha Franklin, and Robert Downey Jr., Michael Jordon, Wayne Gretsky, and David Beckham to name of few. Everyone one of them devoted themselves to craft. They have at one time or another been the best at what they do, having mastered form, technique, and the rudiments of their vocation.

In the coming months I will address craft more specifically to poetry. Until then, have fun writing great poetry.

Copyright 2011 emmett wheatfall
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