There are many definitions of poetry. Coleridge defined poetry as "the best words in the best order." St. Augustine called it "the Devil's wine." No matter how you define it, poetry may send chills down the spine of some people and swing open doors of perception and some entertainment too.
Art: Something presented as art
You could perhaps do worse than starting to write poetry. Guess what it takes.
(1) Something to write on, for example a piece of paper, some bark, bamboo slips, palm leaves. (2) Something to write with, preferably not your heart blood. (3) Yourself and your mental associations. And there you are, if you stack some words, possible a few words to begin with.
Poetry is a facet of art that uses words and possibly typography as well. There are many forms of art. What is a piece of art? It something presented with the intention of it being art. That is all. The definition applies to word-arts too, including that art of creating poetry or other forms of creative writing.
So: Write a few words, use linebreaks as it suits you, and voila: - a poem.
Let others make sense of it as they may
By removing conjunctions and other "glue words" from sentences, we may happen to arrive at poetry, or cryptic decrees. They can be taken to mean this and that, depending on what meanings are put into them. To be on the safer side of this, many decide to go with the mainstream of fashionable interpreters.
And yet, a poem does not have to contain a narrative of a sort. Further, "in its right to eschew narrative, poetry stands back from the temporality, or at least the illusion of temporality, on which narrative depends," writes Robert Rowland Smith in his On Modern Poetry (2012, 4). Also, a poem does not have to make sense to all and sundry. Besides, a poem can be altogether nonsense (Lear 1904). Many poems for children do not seem to make sense and are still going strong. Mother Goose contains such examples.
Be that as it may, some rely on others to make sense of poems, and it could be good for them. Others find meanings in poems, and still others guess meanings into poems, and there are others that write meanings in the form of poems. Interestingly, readers or listeners should tell what a poem says to them, over and above what the poet says his intentions were in writing it. "Not what I say I have written and written about, but what readers think is written," makes sense. Further, the brothers Barry and Tony Buzan find that people have very individual associations to words (Buzan and Buzan 2010:37-40). One had better allow for that and not put one's "neck of personal associations" so far out that there are problems. It is a tip.
Great pleasures in wait to some
The words of the poem do not have to be your own or made by you. You do not have to make words afresh. It may still be looked on as art. The words or utterances do not have to be much conventional either. Aarrgh serves as an example. Such as devise - unconventional and largely imitative (onomatopoeic) words - is found in comic strip balloons and many poems alike.
So, the words you put together in the way or ways you blend them, may not be made by you from scratch if you keenly find and present a word or more as art. It does not have to be difficult.
In Japan, people took great pleasure in writing telegram-styled poems of seventeen syllables over three lines, with some strict rules in the background.
Lovely orchard apple
If you found, picked and ate your apple, you may still present the apple core as art, remember. Or maybe you paint the apple and/or the core. Or take photos of each and display one or several of them. Combining words to "paint something by words" - describe, allude and so on - is also an art if presented with the intention of that. Basics of poetry are here. In the words of Flannery O'Conner: "You have got to learn to paint with words." (In Burroway 2005, 82)
Rhymes may or may not go into what you make. Metres likewise. Length of verses differ. Themes vary. It adds up to: "Don't Worry about the Rules," as Ted Kooser says frankly, adding that
there are no shoulds or should nots in writing poetry. You can do whatever you feel like doing, pants on or pants off. Part of the joy of writing, or of practicing any art, comes from the freedom to choose. (2005, 35).
We may still seek to write well, as "the craft of careful writing and meticulous revision can be taught (Kooser 2005, xi)." Add to that, "If taught, maybe learnt. If learnt, maybe learnt well too." But in some cases writing well may be up to superfluous:
Objet trouvé: If you present a newspaper article clipping - more or less as it appeared - with the intention of displaying it as art, it may be welcomed as that. Why not? Visual art and verbal art have much in common - paintings and word-paintings have similarities. Found objects, objet trouvé is a key here. The objects may be presented as they are, or reshaped a little or more, as when Pablo Picasso modified a bicycle seat and presented it as a bull's head. It is all art.
Stick to "no pain for future gain"
If you should want to go further into writing your own poetry, there are guidebooks for it. They present tools to understand and appreciate poetry and explore your own talent as a poet.
Janet Burroway (2007) writes,
All writing is imaginative. The translation of experience or thought into words is of itself an imaginative process. . . .
Maybe you should take a look at the intricacies of figurative language, and into other sides of poetic language. It may be less pain to stick to blank verse and let go of the hope of getting published. You may still make sensible efforts for it, though . . . (Cf. The Poetry Center, Timpane and Watts, 2001)
Or in the words of David Morley, in The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing (2007)
The world's indifference to your writing is remedied by the corrective action of producing and publishing only your best writing, and even then nothing is guaranteed. (Morley 2007, 65)
Ted Kooser adds to it:
You'll never be able to make a living writing poems. . . . writing poems won't go very far toward paying your electric bill. . . . In poetry, the only rules worth thinking about are the standards of perfection you set for yourself.
Even if your poetry does not sell well, Patricia O'Conner thinks "there's no mystery to writing well," and that so-called real writers "have to know the same things that you do, even if you're just a beginning writer." (in Eubanks 2011, 45) You may also find there is no adequate distinction between poetry and creative writing, for a writer of poetry also writes creatively. Graeme Harper casts further light on it; she thinks that what emerges, emerges according to value systems; writing products relate to such things as commercial and cultural likings, maybe some history; or maybe or how valued different works have become in the eyes of critics; and on recognisable perceptions that are found to matter or at least be valid and make sense. (cf. Harper 2010, 18)
Harper rarely makes full use of the advantages of Plain English in her book, but here is one of the glimpses: "The creative writer . . . is also a reader!" (2010, 21). Well, well.
Summary so far
If you can steer a pencil across a paper, you can draw, basically.
If you can put a few words together, you can write poetry. Development of the art may come by steps, but the highest outlets may be as children like. As Pablo Picasso once observed.
In later life Picasso visited an exhibition of children's drawings. He observed,
It suggests, "Go to the child and copy its ways to get wiser than those who merely study ants." [More]
If you want to rise substantially higher than most flock-apes, just make poetry yourself. Jot down something as in a telegram, and lo! A product!
The art of writing poetry may resemble the art of making music also. There are likenesses. For example, we practice by studying what others have made, and later we make our own contributions. Some feel depleted or quite empty afterwards. But first things first: First blow a tone on the flute, later more tones, and put them together into tunes as you feel for it. We may drop rhythms at first, when the sense of music grows in your. It is a line of development towards emptying something from our inner to the outer world. It may go well, and it may not. Much depends on receptions.
If you do not feel quite up to writing your own lines, a veritable poem generator may assist you, for example by saving money on poetry books. By sifting through the alternatives the generator offers, you may end up with something that makes sense and delight to yourself. Maybe not. It does not have to make sense. And yet, in some cases some brushing of what is made, makes a difference.
Finally, if writing is not fun, something has gone wrong. Such a view is tied in with how id develops in a human as good interests mature. Sound development is fit for being playful and having good fun.
How to make poems like "Fully Evolved Delight"
This elevated poem generator can be fit for well over 200 million poems already. There are (18 x 21) x (13 x 8 x 14) x (17 x 18) options.
Also, some overlaps generate still more poems; and so does the fusing or compounding of terms; and maybe chunking (grouping); alternative words or replacer terms as fit; and plenty of refined polishing with omissions and additions with discretion. So the sum total can exceed 200 million poems, but many of them may be too like others to matter much, but may be regarded as variations of a set somehow.
This simple-looking poem generator could save you a whole lot of money on books, and may help good thinking a little bit also. [Link]
What we have in many cases are verbalisations of belongingness. The last box rounds it off, and maybe with a twist. In building poems that suit you, here is a handy approach:
Polish the result - some words or lines could need to get brushed - maybe by having more than 's' [plural form] added - who knows.
The art of poesy deals in part with key words or phrases that can be understood along figurative lines. Here is one generated poem with some alternative phrases to choose among or blend, and a few interpretive comments. They leave room for many other comments:
Compatibility is essential for a happy marriage, the sense of "belonging together". Many go at length to select the best one available.
Behaving decently on an even keel through fixed, societal roles and personal moral and many expenses is a lot of what couples probably have to work at.
If you need things substantiated or for great-looking comparisons and don't get it, your progressive poetry could be thought of as thrash. And just that is often a sign of having a Tao (Way), says the ancient Chuang Tzu, chap 22, section 6. We also have central word in Tao Te Ching that apparently confirm such an outlook, or what? [Link]
The other part of this poetry study is here: [More.] Now for 22 poems with added comments.
Haiku poetry is not the only good form of poetry around, but I like some of the haiku poems a lot.
Feel into and hope to understand the quite haiku-looking verses you make, aided by longer phrases that you feel for.
Further consider: You could have become mind-conditioned to a liking, although habit is not all to it.
There is room for many levels and shades of metaphors added to poetic phrases. To see eternity in breakfast cereals, not only in a grain of sand in the palm of your hand comes very close to lines by William Blake. And rise above murky deals if you can.
Learn to consider things well at first. In time, when you get routine, you may speed it up somewhat. Thereby you are better fit to "teach with honesty about what matters", for example.
A rather interesting facet of queer-looking poetry is that you seldom have to look up in the Bible to find solid meanings in it. In fact, the bible is often out of the place.
The surface level of airy-looking but frisk "telegram-like poetry" can bring children and others delight. Haikus tend to do that, at any rate - not delight to all and sundry perhaps, but to many. How rich the symbology is! How cleverly and tightly knit these poems are, to conform to rules! By those underhand structures, lots of significant meaning-layers of the imagery can be found. You cold be helped by some surveys of Japanese, tidy haiku or hokku poetry here. [Haiku]. (also, see Jap).
Not everyone today knows who was the large-breasted God-mother of Israel (cf. 2 Samuel 20:19) and that Jesus compared himself to a hen.
"Often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings," he said. [See Matthew 23:37]
The present haiku modifies our liking. The monster we link up to here, could be a mother-in-law from old Denmark? The long Beowulf poem seems to smell indelicate mother-in-law-like dragon encounters, or what?
In some fairy tales the monster is more or less like a rhinoceros, crocodile and hippopotamus rolled into one - and if vomiting fire (gusto) it is a dragon that must be killed in order to save a lovely dame and get rich by.
In Hindu iconography, Sri Krishna is often portrayed as a juvenile-looking flute-player, and also thought of as a good friend. Sri Krishna is also credited with ecstatic love and dances in the woods. Later in life he took 18 000 nature-spirit (apsaras) as concubines in addition to his other wives. In Indian religions, apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings, youthful and elegant, and superb dancers. English translations of the word "apsara" is translated as "nymph," "celestial nymph," and "celestial maiden."
Toward the end he did not hinder that all his houses, his children and wives drowned, for he was aware of a good reason: they were too good - they would have dominated the world.
Esoterically, in tantra lore, flute sounds refers to hidden sounds of the nadis in a living body. There are yoga techniques for listening in to sounds of that kind. Some are described in books about nada yoga.
Handsome control in life is fit too.
"I'll cross that rainbow bridge . . . and find the gold!" is from "Rainbow" by John Farrar (1896-1974). And Yogananda sang: "I'm building a rainbow bridge". The hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may be taken to mean 'higher self' in secret disciplines.
The ancient Taoists had a fairly lax view of the ups and downs of life. Events that looked good or bad to begin with, might not be so in a long while. It may not show up at the time what is good for someone, and what is not. Very often the neighbours are mistaken! [An ancient story of twists and turns in life]
Accicents happen due to lack of foresight. Many children get terrible problems if their parents and elders don't secure their immediate surroundings in fit ways. Home security and "Safety first" must work to the benefit of loved ones. Good rules and work pay-offs may be installed. Cream proverbs or adages help also. I hope you stand up to the challenges wherever you are.
A mother needs to be sustained to give birth to the dawn of life of her child.
Suppose that transcending this and that includes transcending transcendence itself (that one is not difficult).
Indian teachings are full of teachings on how to get illuminated. Gurus of the best kind are good friends and the best friends of a lot of followers, even millions. That's what we are told.
To see God the Father is equal to giving up one's life; that's in the Bible in many places. And yet, many saw God and lived. That's in the Bible too. Go for evidence]
There is hope in that observation. The apostles that saw God talk with Jesus on the mount of transfixion, they lived on anyway. And that's not the only example.
The best is perhaps to take a neutral stand and mend one's fences (boundaries) and all that, trying to be at least as practical as one's neighbours and one's setting permits, one way or another. For often life is made easier and longer by sound precautions in time, mobilised into a way of being along with filters. Fences tend to "filter" too. At first it may seem ruthless towards weaker individuals, neighbours and captured animals. But what works for a family tends to work for good too. That could come first.
It may seem elegant but not be fully fit to dress in the clothes of others and walk in the shoes of someone else, but winning fitness is better. Go for it and emulate it. A little may do, and maybe not.
Maybe you should ally yourself with the university setting some way or other. Good and solid overviews formed by professionals is good help at times, if you maintain much savoury or respectful distance - enough to eliminate the succumbing to them, aided by warm and sociable humour and nimble, smart members of the opposite sex, eager to help you - who knows?
Divine avatars are called descended godheads, descensions of divinity some way or other. Sri Krishna is said to be a darling. Milk-maids and married women dropped their household duties and worried to join him in ecstatic dancing in the forest. That is part of what the Srimad Bhagavatam tells us. Tales of Sri Krishna household tales far and wide. [Sh]
Here are two sad stories.
Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. . . . Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. . . . When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched."
Once David was clothed in a robe of fine linen. David also wore a linen ephod. As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal, the youngest daughter of Saul, David's wife, watched from a window. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, with shouts and to the sound of trumpets. When she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart. [1 Chr 15:27-29: cf. 1 Sam 14:49; 18:27; 2 Sam 6:14]
When David returned home, Michal came out to meet him and said, "Disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!"
David said to her, "I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this." [2 Sam 6:20-22]
A wife did not approve of her husband's dancing wildly in the streets. She got no children, says the Bible.
An alternative: David's son Solomon, had with Batsheba, who had been the wife of a man that David had cunningly put in harm's way to get killed because David wanted his wife, this son found that "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. [Ecclesiastes 1:14]
"Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind." [Eccl 1:17]
Now, this Solomon got at least one wife too many, turned from Israel's Lord and was severely punished, after first having been promised by Yahweh in a dream that he would be wise - really wise. That wise man found that wind-chasing is wise. He also made his dynasty - promised by Yahweh to last forever in a passage - crumble and fall. This wise one was outstanding before Jesus, said Jesus. [1 Kings 3:5; 4:39; Matthew 12:42]
Face the furtive goals in the discourse by finding facts.
Speaking of chasing the wind, there is a good side to it if you can find it. At least you get exercise, which should be good for you.
I knew . . . my life was to be that of . . . wandering from country to country, over seas, across continents and mountains, through deserts . . ., seeking, seeking for I knew not what."
Back to the poem - or song, if a tune goes along with it: To chase rainbows - not to speak of climbing them - may give rise to such an illusion-realization, but only by ignoring that illusion is in itself illusory (Ramana Maharshi's wisdom [in Osborne 1971:16]). On the other hand, so far as dances are followed up and become love-making, some of them lead to the greatest "art" - new-born humans formed by "forming" a replica of the parents, carrying genes from far and near perhaps, unless inbreeding hampers it. The best artwork of humans are then quite equal to their makers if tended with care and handy good will.. This suggests: "Fertile man and woman can cooperate in arts and be naturally good artists - sort of."
The art of loving is one form of art. But David did debase himself when he had Uriah positioned so that he would rather likely be killed - to get to his wife - the one he had Solomon with. David had a large harem too, in accordance with the customs. Thus:
Mythos may not be easy to come by, and is not so easy to get rid of. You may get a good night's sleep, refreshing, helpful, and often presented matters to deal with - addressed to your deeper levels in the form of video clippings with long scenes and other scenes. At night the mental "video" is turned on: there will be dream periods in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Some dreams carry "stiff" significance. Others barely - or if they do, they fail to seem striking enough. Some repeated dreams are like that. Other dream sequences may look like myths, but hardly all of them. Allow for variations and fecundity of ideas.
Lack of sound encounters and not ideal surroundings tend to get reflected in the dream life at night, due to what may be called servo-mechanisms in the depth of the human mind somehow.
Sound and deep sleep is found when havoc and dreams subside. Many foremost persons of the Bible had guiding and warning dreams, and others had dreams to instruct them. A few of them, according to the Bible: Solomon, Daniel, Joseph - his dream saved the life of baby Jesus.
Here is a delicate problem for divining guys: Dreams and visions may intermingle. Many prophetic utterances are from visions and some perhaps from dreams. They can be interpreted - guess they are so too. [Cf. Ezekiel]
Mental clarity may be helped by transcending (rising above) myths. Think about it: a lot of myths can be taken to reflect dynamisms and forces deep inside ourselves. That could be where gods and divine ones come into the picture - perhaps in the form of archetypes, in the analytic psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.
Some humans struggle with anthropomorphic thinking of the creator of the universe. "God is a He" say some. "God is He and She," say a few others, and "God is a She," say still others. There are other options too. "God is Bhagavan (A Blessed Lord)" is a good one.
- but like them in some ways
Myths are often expressive and allow for interpretations on different levels. And they can be taken to mean this and that on one level too, according to whims and understanding of their background and the like. Proficiency in interpreting should also get into the endeavour. [Norse mythology]
Also, many old myths relate to the sky with the sun, moon, planets and constellations. [◦More star lore]
Why do the next best if the best is available or attainable? Why not let there be straight talk from deep inside, talk in constructive no-riddles? What about "Those who can dream, accomplish dream stuff. Those who can't end up crazy"? Studies of sleep deprivation shows how far the latter point is true. Dare to dream. Sound sleep and dreaming - sanity and a future depends on it.
Poems can be suggestive, and yet able to describe things well. Some carry allusions to mythology and other worlds; other poems don't. At the bottom of this page are books that describe Greek and Roman myths, Hindu myths and Norse myths, since elements from them are referred to in stanzas or commentaries above.
And since the stanzas are of an abrupt sort, like haiku poems and some modernist poems, some books on how to write haikus and other poems are there too.
Myths and dreams are related, and poems, dreams and reveries can be too. Science and dreams go together also, in ways that Arthur Koestler has shown in his The Act of Creation. (1967)
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream," said Anatole France.
Blass, Rachel B. 2002. The Meaning of the Dream in Psychoanalysis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ⍽▢⍽ Compare Jungian dream analysis.
Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite. 2009. Japanese Verse. Rev. ed. London: Penguin Classics.
Bugeja, Michael J. 1994. The Art and Craft of Poetry. Red. Christine Martin. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books.
Burroway, Janet. 2007. Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Academics.
Buzan, Tony, and Barry Buzan. The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life. Harlow: BBC Active / Pearson, 2010. ⍽▢⍽ Keep your common sense too.
Crossland-Holland, Kevin. 1980. The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings. London: Penguin.
Dimmitt, Cornelia, ed., and J. A. B. van Buitenen, tr. 1978. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University. ⍽▢⍽ Poets take to imagery, and imagery is found in classic tales of gods and heroes. Many forms of art has been added to the tales.
Dixon-Kennedy, Mike. 1998. Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ⍽▢⍽ Some famous poets, like W. Yeats, are known to have drawn on mythology.
Eubanks, Philip. 2011. Metaphor and Writing: Figurative Thought in the Discourse of Written Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grant, Michael. 1995. Myths of the Greeks and Romans. New York: Meridian Books /Penguin.
Guy, David. 1997. "The Hermit Who Owned His Mountain: A Profile of W Y. Evans-Wentz." Tricycle, the Buddhist review. Vol. VI, No.3 (Spring 1997), p. 14-17.
Hakutani, Yoshinobu. Haiku and Modernist Poetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.
Hall, James A. Jungian Dream Interpretation: A Handbook of Theory and Practice. Toronto: Inner City Books, 1983.
Harper, Graeme. 2010. On Creative Writing. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Higginson, William J., with Penny Harter. The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.
Koestler, Arthur. The Act of Creation. New York: Dell, 1967.
Kooser, Ted. 2005. The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets. Lincoln, NE, and London: University of Nebraska Press.
Larousse. 1987. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. Trs. Richard Aldington and Delano Ames. Introduction by Robert Graves. New York: Crescent Books.
Lear, Edward. 1904. Nonsense Books. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Co.
McRae, John. 2003. The Language of Poetry. New e-ed. London: Taylor and Francis.
Mock, Jeff. 1998. You Can Write Poetry. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books.
Morley, David. 2007. The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Osborne, Arthur ed. 1971. The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider. ⍽▢⍽ Also online.
The Poetry Center and John Timpane with Maureen Watts. 2001. Poetry For Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing.
Smith, Robert Rowland. 2012. On Modern Poetry: From Theory to Total Criticism. London: Continuum.
Snowden, Ruth. 2011. Exploring Your Dreams: How to Use Dreams for Personal Growth and Creative Inspiration. Oxford: How To Books, 2011. ⍽▢⍽ Some poets tap myths, others nightly dreams, imagery and words, and some tap both sources more or less..
Whitworth, John. Writing Poetry. 2nd ed. London: A and C Black, 2000.
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