Friday, April 29, 2005

National Poetry Month--day 29

More thoughts on formal poetry and free verse...

I came close to writing formal poetry vs. free verse, and then realized that would have made me part of the problem. I enjoy reading and writing both, but there remains a strong bias for free verse in this country. Most of the poems I have presented this month have been written in free verse because such poems are so plentiful.

Literary journals often stipulate in their guidelines, "Free verse only." Or "Rhyming poetry only if it is really good." The most irritating thing literary journal editors say in their guidelines is: "Free verse only--no rhymed poems." What is so irritating about that is that a number of forms do not include rhyme: the sestina, pantoum, ghazal, and all of the Asian forms. So then one has to write to the editor and say, "Did you mean no formal verse or no rhymed verse?" Or move on to a journal in which the editor understands poetry.

There appears to be a bit of a pendulum swing at this point, and more formal poetry is appearing in journals. That is a good thing, for formal poetry can help us to see more clearly the wonder of language.

Here is your poem for today.

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