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January, 2008

Stan Grimes

Writing Poems
How do I start?
By  Stan Grimes

Initially an entire poem can seem as large as a universe but break your poetry down.
The answer is as big as the universe (almost). A poem comes in many forms.

Most poems I read today are free verse in style, meaning there is not necessarily a rhyme or rhythm (beat or cadence). This style of poetry has its obvious advantage. It doesn't tie the author down to a lyrical creation. However, some poets find it much easier to create a poem that rhymes. There are at least four billion rhyming dictionaries on the market making rhymes much more complex than, "I fell in love with a turtle dove." Still, I haven't been able to find a rhyme for "garlic."
For the sake of simplicity let's begin with free verse style. I used to go fishing with my Uncle Vince. Vince approached fishing like he approached his job. We were out on a huge lake early one morning and Vince began a story. He told stories better than anyone I know. Wow, could he tell a story.

"Stan," he began, "Smitty and I were on this very spot a couple of years ago. We pushed the boat into the water around five in the morning. There was still fog on the lake. We could barely see ten feet in front of us. All we could hear were the frogs and crickets, beautiful morning for fishing. Smitty and I put our lines in the water and bang! The bass started hitting everything we threw in the waters. I had almost caught my limit by seven, and then all of sudden the wind picked up and the clouds got black. Smitty wanted to get out of the water, but I told him we would stay until it started lightening. Well, guess what, lightening began streaking through the air like flying spider webs and the thunder sounded like a train wreck. I'll tell you Stan it was like all hell broke loose . . . ."
When he finished, I was smiling. It not only was a great story, but I was thinking to myself, "That's the stuff poems are made from." Think about it for a moment. The story was so vivid. I felt like I was there, looking at the entire event. A good poem is the same way. Let's see if we can create a poem from Vince's story. Let's start with a catching first line. How about, "The early morning fog thick like gray feathers." How's that sound? I added the simile "like gray feathers" for imagery.

What is a simile? A simile is the comparison of two unlike things generally using the word "like" for the comparison, for example, "dumb like a fox."
How about a second line? "Silence broken only by sounds of nature." That covers the crickets and frogs. Want to try for a third line? "Armed with poles, we harvested our prey." OK, OK. it's a little overdramatic, but let's try it anyway. Another line, "Suddenly spider webs of lightening." Notice I used two words with the same first consonant: "suddenly" and "spider." This is called alliteration – the use of two words together with the same initial consonant to add a musical quality.
I think we're doing pretty well so far. Let's add another line to connect the fourth line:"and train-wreck thunder surround us." Not the greatest, but it might work. One  more line. "Smitty grabbed an oar, we pressed shoreward." Yet another, "Harvest in tow, we headed home." Finally, "with memories in our pockets.

Now, let's see what we have created:

The early morning fog thick like gray feathers
Silence broken only by sounds of nature.
Armed with poles we harvested our prey.
Suddenly spider webs of lightening
and train-wreck thunder surround us.
Smitty grabbed an oar, we pressed shoreward.
Harvest in tow, we headed home
with memories in our pockets.

Now you have the idea, right? Right. Together we created a poem from a story told by someone else. Try this little exercise on your own. Or, try a story you have heard, or maybe one you have shared with others. Go for it. After all, you are now a poet.
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Stan Grimes is a graduate from Indiana University and works in the real world as a social worker. He has written a number of articles for the American Chronicle and Stan has published a number of poems and short stories in various anthologies and on his website at AuthorsDen. He has published three science fiction/suspense thriller novels. His latest, Deacon, can be found at Double Dragon Publishing Inc.

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
The Long Life Of Poetry
Marketplaces For Your Poetry
Haiku: Highest Art
What Am I Doing Wrong?
Lyrically Speaking
Writing Poems
The Mind Of A Poet
A Poem Is A Little Path
Seeing Like A Poet
Speaking In Tongues (Excerpt)

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Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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