Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Poetry Rules...

...or at least it does in this household!

On a serious note, however, following social media reaction to Helena Nelson’s blog post with a list of Thirty Poem Snags (see here) that she encountered in her recent submissions window at HappenStance Press, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of rules for poets.

By my invocation of rules as a term, I don’t mean the slavish following of norms. Instead, I’m referring to the idea that the rejection of metrics/punctuation/standard grammar/ conventional line endings, etc, tends to my mind to be more successful if the poet first gets to grips with them before jettisoning them to specific effect.

In other words, I’m not usually convinced by poets who simply eschew the learning and understanding of rules and decide to plough their own furrow from the start. In those cases (to this reader’s eye and ear), the poems often don’t manage to argue their rule-breaking case sufficiently.

Of course, there are always exceptions to that rule too… 

1 comment:

  1. I think everybody internalises a set of 'rules' when they write poems. Just some people are less aware than others which ones they are subsconsciously following. The wonderful mystery is that it is possible to come across a poem that overtly follows an explicit set of rules (eg rhyme and metrical form) and is wonderful, just as it is possible to find one that deliberately breaks every rule and equally strikes one as wonderful. Either way, there is an art to it. And if art were not mysterious, why would we be so drawn to it?