My Writing Process: How to Write a 10-Line Poem

For the past eight weeks we have been looking at various 10-line poems, studying forms that were invented by fellow poets and teachers. Today I would like to showcase one of these forms, the Ercil, a decastich created by James Gray in honor of Arkansas poet Ercil Brown. And in particular, I’m going to show you by way of a video demonstration the process I went through to write one of my Ercils, namely, “Carolina Wren.”

Continue reading “My Writing Process: How to Write a 10-Line Poem”

The Nuts & Bolts of Poetry: Rhythm, Meter, and Rhyme

Many of us write poetry, but what is it, really? What is poetry? What distinguishes it from prose? I would like to answer these questions and define a few terms specific to the genre of poetry, for those of you who truly wish to join me in digging deeper and improve our poetic writing skills.

What Is Poetry?

Poetry is a literary form that uses a distinctive style and rhythm to express emotions and ideas. It may be rhymed or unrhymed, short or long. It almost always has rhythm, but sometimes the rhythm can be measured, while at other times it seems as random and as natural as normal conversation.

The opposite of poetry is prose. Prose lacks rhythm. Short stories and novels are written in prose.

Let me ask you a question—or better yet, give you a pop quiz of sorts. Suppose we take one of the sentences from above, and perform an experiment.

Poetry is a literary form that uses a distinctive style and rhythm to express emotions and ideas.

Now, I’m going to break that sentence into shorter lines, like so….

Poetry is
a literary form 
that uses a distinctive style and rhythm 
to express emotions 
and ideas.

This sentence is obviously prose, but did I turn it into poetry by merely creating line breaks? Continue reading “The Nuts & Bolts of Poetry: Rhythm, Meter, and Rhyme”