Sunday, February 22, 2009

What constitutes good poetry?

I just finished my Jan/Feb issue of Poets and Writers and I came across another great article. "First Thought, Worst Thought" by Kim Addonizio. She specifically was writing an article about poetry exercises that inspire - and her main concept is that our first draft is not the best one. Revision as necessary. Now I know that there are some who would disagree, but that is not really what I wanted to comment about. She goes into a short dialog in the article and lists what she feels makes poetry good. I agreed on many of her items and thought it would be good stuff to incorporate in my poetry unit with my Juniors. I think the ideas Addonizio has are simple enough that my students would be able to use this list as a template to help them determine what they feel makes poetry good. Maybe that even becomes the topic of an essay later in the year.

Here is Kim Addonizio's list...
Sufficient thought
The parts contribute to the whole

Some of my comments on the list...
Surprise - Absolutely. I tire of reading poetry that is the same over and over and over.

Music - I would agree, but when the music takes over the poem then it brings me out of it as a reader.

Sufficient thought - I would hope so. I struggle with this when I am writing my poetry. I get a glimmer of an idea and then the poem doesn't follow that idea and goes off on a tangent. I need to work on putting forth the sufficient thought needed to make a poem good.

Syntax - This is another thing I need to work on. Addonizio says, "A good poet is a 'language master.'" And I certainly am not. I have problems with punctuation/grammar especially.

The parts contribute to the whole - I agree

Mystery - as she describes it the poem needs to come to life. So yeah, I like poems coming to life for me. I will agree.

So now...


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