Hello all, and welcome back for Day Five!
Today’s featured participant is The Central Texas Introvert, where the loveless love poem for Day Four has a softly surprising ending.
Our last two days’ poetry resources focused on memorizing and reciting poems. Well, what about recording them? Online poetry journals are increasingly providing .mp3 files of poets reading their work, alongside the written words. This can be surprisingly helpful for understanding the poems – giving distinct cadence and emotional tone to lines that the reader might otherwise have trouble with. It also gives readers who might not be able to attend an in-person reading a more intimate experience of the poem and the poet. Another valuable aspect of recording poems is to help poets know what they sound like to others. Listening to yourself read a draft of a poem can help you pinpoint weak spots, or areas where your rhythm has stumbled. If you’re interested in recording your own poems, whether to share with others, or for personal use, the Kenyon Review has posted these tips and tricks. They’re meant to aid poets making recordings for the magazine’s website, but there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of their advice!
Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely. Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (Not sure where to find some Dickinson poems? Here’s 59 Dickinson poems to select from).