15 Poets In, and I’m Struggling a Little

This next section of poets include Rumi, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, William Carlos Williams, Mirabai, Emily Dickinson, Rabindranath Tagore, Langston Hughes, and Anna Akhmatova. I had fewer poets that I actually connected with. Williams and Mirabai were especially difficult to connect with, and as such, my writing wasn’t as good. ¬†Generally, I write only 2-4 poems for each poet, but for Dickinson I wrote 1 poem, and for Rumi I wrote 9 poems (most of them were single quatrains, like he writes). I have written a total of 26 poems for these 8 poets for a total (so far) of 44 poems.

This group of poets was interesting in that I had fewer people who used specific poetic forms, so in my imitations, I more often used their common themes rather than forms. In the past few days, I haven’t been able to grab onto the main theme, but I will write several poems just based off one idea from just one poem, and those have actually been quite fruitful (not usually on the first try, but by the second or third, they turn out well). With the absence of form as a guideline, I’ve been writing mostly free verse poetry. I struggle with the fact that free verse is when I feel the most unrestricted in writing (it’s how the words flow), but I’m not entirely sure if what I’m producing is poetry or just pretty words with strange line breaks and cool metaphors. I might try using more structure in my last few days. As a side note, I’ve been wondering exactly what separates good poetry from exceptional poetry, how the poets I’m reading came to be regarded as masters of their craft.

I have continued to do more with reading and writing and not much editing. I like letting poems sit a while before I can make significant changes. After I finish my 20 or 21 poets and the writing, I will probably come back after a month to do my biggest editing. I have more mediocre poems in this batch (just because I struggled more with connecting to the poets and form), but I do have some poems with potential.

Comments

  1. Brianna, I think it is amazing that you can use your creative gift for a research project, and (as someone not at all gifted in the poetry department) I find it very impressive. Moreover, I love that you’ve taken a creative and somewhat abstract process and created a framework for it by studying and attempting to imitate famous poets. I think it’s a fabulous idea to study and learn from the masters by imitation, as one does with any form of tradecraft. I sure that despite the struggle to connect with certain poets, this creative exploration will have a positive impact on your poetry. I agree with your premise that simply by expanding your knowledge and exposing you to different styles of poetry you will gain experience and confidence, even if not a single poem was to your satisfaction. Good luck!