It was a good meeting at my writing group last week. There weren’t many of us but everyone had brought something to read and had also written it with a market in mind, including Woman’s Weekly, People’s Friend, National Women’s Register short story competition (restricted to NWR members only, unfortunately) and a Writers’ News competition.
But Iona had also written a beautiful poem that was looking for a home. It was a moving verse about a soldier trying to find peace. I liked the poem because it was accessible. It rhymed (and none of the rhymes were forced) and the language was easily understood. This led onto a discussion about whether poems should or shouldn’t rhyme and how some, much praised, poems are often difficult to understand.
I rarely write poetry (because I’m not much good at it) but when I do attempt the odd verse I automatically make it rhyme and try to give it some sort of recognisable meter. More often than not it tells a story too – I find purely descriptive poems difficult. But my poems usually end up sounding rather childish and I don’t know whether this is because of the rhyming or just a reflection of my poor writing.
Of course, not all free verse is difficult to understand, I’ve just discovered ‘You’re Beautiful’ by Simon Armitage – have a read, it’s wonderful.
What do you think makes a good poem? Should it have a recognisable form and meter or should the poet be free to compose however he or she wishes?
And just in case you’ve come over all poetic, I’ve found a free to enter poetry competition. Blue Mountain Arts is offering prizes of $300, $150 and $50. You can enter by email as many times as you like and the closing date is June 30th 2012. Full details are here. Interestingly they state, “Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better.”