As a person who loves to be inventive in my own way, it was a while back that having been inspired by the likes of the Sonnet, Limerick and Haiku, I thought about trying to develop my own poetic format. This is what I ended up developing. Who knows, maybe it will catch on.
I call it Singular Linearism.
The name is a result of the fact that it is made up only lines of a single word or single small phrase of less that 5 words. The full piece can be either 16 or 20 lines. And the structure is as follows:
If 16 lines –
Lines 1 – 3 – One word
Line 4 – One phrase of 3 to 4 words
Lines 5 – 7 – One word
Line 8 – One phrase of 3 to 4 words
Lines 9 – 11 – One word
Line 12 – One phrase of 3 to 4 words
Lines 13 – 15 – One word
Line 16 – One phrase of 3 to 4 words
If using 20 lines the phase should be at lines 5, 10, 15 and 20.
Anybody who has even a casual knowledge of music history knows about the one and only Johnny Cash. He was known for his deep words and often melancholic tone. But until recently, few realized that we also wrote poetic works.
In a book called “Johnny Cash: Forever Words,” his son collected 41 pieces that he had skillfully crafted and had them published for music and literary buffs. I got my copy a few weeks back but have not yet gotten much of a change to delve in.
If this is something you might like, check it out today.
It is available at retailers such as Amazon or can be ordered at your local bookseller.
Here is a short list of some of my favorite works of master poets.
Newest poem entitled Bearing Down
The cold iron bearing down
Upon my tightening flesh
Presenting the subtle cracking echo
Of deteriorating ribs
Breath now growing heavy
Heart pounding as a hammer
A feeling unknown
To those who live in bliss
But for us here
And for us now
Each day we know the ache
That only this conveys
This is my latest poem and I hope you like it.
The canvas set before the stars
A color palette ever pure
New revisions with each moment
Pastels to long endure
Perfect in it’s simplicity
Yet detailed beyond compare
The sky lit by sunlight
With colors oh so fare
Never has there been
A piece of art so grand
From and sea or ocean
To any edge of land
Misconception Number 1 – Poetry must be written in eloquent language
Poetry can be gritty and raw, it does not have to be eloquent. Some examples would be poetic writings by rap artists like Tupac Shakur in his book “The Rose that Grew from Concrete.” After all, RAP is an acronym for Rhythm And Poetry. On a lighter side of things, Dr. Seuss, a genius in his own right, certainly did not use “the Queen’s English” if you will.
Misconception Number 2 – Poetry has to rhyme
Some types of poetry rhyme, some do not. There are a number of styles that rarely rhyme including modern free verse.
Misconception Number 3 – Poetry is always short
While the majority of poems do tend to be short, there is no rule requiring them to be so. In fact, some of the longest books, yes i said books, are considered to be works of “epic poetry.” One good example is “The Odyssey” by Homer. This work is more than 500 pages!
Misconception Number 4 – Poetry is for wussies
People sometimes associate poetry with over-sensitivity and wussieness if you will. However, quiet a few poets have been anything but wussies. Many wrote about social injustices and thus dared to challenge authority figures. I would say that takes some guts. On another note, Poe was an inspiration to the masters of the horror genre. There’s nothing wussie about that.
Misconception Number 5 – There is no money in writing poetry
While poetry is a very specific literary genre which does make it challenging, it is possible to make the art into a reasonable side job or even a modest career. A lot of poets sell their work to greeting card companies and get a fair rate for their work. Others are able to format them in such a way that they work well as song lyrics and can thus be sold in the music industry. Those are just a few options.
When people first hear the word poetry…
beside the notion of eloquent language and the concept of emotional sensitivity coming to mind, they might often think about this form of literature as being filled with rules and structural regulations.
While classically poetry has had it’s share of rigidity and intense structure, this is not always necessarily the case. For example, slam poetry would probably drive someone from the Renaissance era insane.
Personally, I believe that good poetry is not so much about structure and form as it is about emotion and the ability to convey a concept not easily stated in any other way. Hence the reason that I, and many others, do not always follow the so-called rules.
First and foremost, poetry is an art and as such should not be constrained. We all need to have our own rules to some extent.
My personal rules and guidelines
1. I either use rhyme or not. It seems clumsy and awkward to switch between the two in the same poem.
2. When I use rhyme, I tend to rhyme in a pattern of matching up either the first and third/second and fourth lines or a stanza of lines one and two then three and four.
3. I generally write 3-5 line stanzas
4. Modern free verse has always been a great stylistic friend
5. I rarely punctuate except for emphasis with a question mark or exclamation point or to separate items in a series with a comma
I figure hey, what the heck? After all, E.E. Cummings was known for his unorthodox and grammatically flexible style while the great William Shakespeare literally made up hundreds if not thousands of words.
Courtesy of Wikipedia