Friday, June 5, 2009

Poetry Tips: Forced Poetry

What I mean by “forced poetry” is when someone asks you to unexpectedly come up with a poem for a momentous occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, birthday, eulogy, or any special occasion in general. My parents often ask me at the last minute to come up with a poem for, say, a 50th wedding anniversary, and I end up trying too hard and coming up with a poem I’m not at all satisfied with. While the receivers have never complained I’ve always wished I had more warning and could have come up with better lines. I’ve learned that there is a silver lining to this recurring event, however: Sometimes the original poem will grow and bear fruit if you keep it with you and return to it for future related occasions. For example, I was completely dissatisfied with an anniversary poem for my own parents but one full year later I had been able to change the old poem into a new and much more improved poem that it was worth the “last-minute stress” from the previous year.

So the next time someone asks you at the spur of the moment to come up with a poem, consider saying “Yes, I’ll do it!” Then hang onto it to so that you can grow it into a better poem for the next year. You may end up thanking the person who pressured you into the poem just as much as the recipient who gets the “new and improved” version.


Thanks for reading, please stop in next week…

5 comments:

Glynis said...

I have just finished writing one for my son's wedding. I will save the 'throwouts' for editing and someone else. I hadn't thought of doing that, thanks.

Poet Hound said...

Happy to hear you'll be hanging on to the rough drafts! You'd be suprised what you'll come up with later when you come back to them.

Crafty Green Poet said...

you've got a great point there!

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Ballerina said...

That's good advice. You know what I also do, when stuck for a few lines for a friend's speech? Especially ones I don't know too well. I look through some of the invitations writers on http://www.gatheringguide.com/ec/invitations_design.html and see if any come with good phrases that I can use. It is sometimes a good way to start and jog the creative juices.