Writing poems is an act of construction, you negotiate white space and build across it. Lines are scaffolding, line length dictating where to put your words like footsteps. Poems are machines, verbs are engines, forms are wheels.
I’ve been collecting words recently to put into poems. I’ve been collecting them from Ted Hughes poetry collection Birthday Letters. Because I have it on kindle I can look up the meanings of words really quickly, just by touching the word for a few seconds the definition comes up. So I’m trying to expand my vocabulary by inserting these fresh discovered words into my free writing. It’s pretty obvious where the words are!
I take my eight hour shift, try not to choke,
shove it to the back of my life
a purlin to balance on.
No astringent biting chew
to Titan’s guts tonight,
but calm waters.
In other thoughts on how to construct a poem, Magma’s 25 rules for editing poems blog post is really helpful.
Number 23. Is your ending an effective and imaginative response to the poem’s tension or simply an easy (but cleverly disguised) retreat from it?
- Letter from Ted Hughes to his son (turbotalkblog.wordpress.com)