Poetry eZine ~ April 2012

Wednesday, April 25

April 25th Prompt and Question

In honor of the Community Poetry reading tonight (a celebration to say "thank you" to all the poets and writers in the are - and showcase the poetry of those who were published on this blog) and to continue the theme of revision, today's prompt focuses on the speaking or performance of a poem.

Find an old poem (or write a new one) and write above your lines all the places that you want to pause to breathe. A fun symbol that can be used to denote a breath break is a caesura ( || ) which denotes, in music and poetry, a complete pause and was used heavily in Old English poetry. After you have have places to pause, decide on the rhythm that the pieces of the rest of your poem should take. Are there certain lines you want to read quickly? Are there other lines which should be spoken slowly to allow the listener time to absorb the information you're presenting? Finally, decide on a tone in which you'd like to deliver your lines. Does your poem demand to be spoken with a smile? Does it want to find its life in tears? Each poem has a character to it - revising poems with this idea in mind will help you to find the poem's voice. Happy writing!

Today's question is also inspired by the question of performance and poetry. Simply put:

What is the place of poetry?

Should poetry be performed or written for performance? Should it be written so that, as one teacher stated, the reader can "swim through" the poem? Is it more ideally a mix of both? In short, this becomes a question of where poetry belongs. Does it belong to the public, or does it belong to the individual? Is it neither? Or both?

Regardless of this question's answer, be sure to check out the Community Poetry Reading which starts at 7:00 tonight at the Midwest Writing Center located on the 3rd floor at the Bucktown Center for the Arts at 225 E. 2nd Street Davenport, IA. It's a great chance to hear some awesome poetry inspired and written by the community! Hope to see you there

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