January 10 2011 ❄ December’s leaf

6 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on poetry. I am sorry your article did not get republished because I think it is something that the general audience would appreciate. I am a high school teacher who would like to learn more about the craft of poetry; first, because I love poetry and second, so that I won’t ruin it for my students. I want to understand enough about form so that I can become a better reader of poetry and teach my students to become better readers. I am relieved to find people still out there who think form is important. Unfortunately, I believe the study and writing of poetry has been spoiled by the mistaken belief that we should not restrict students with rules of poetry. I am only a beginner in my journey with poetry, and I look forward to reading more posts from you. I hope you’re able to find the balance between writing your posts to an unseen audience and being with your girls. I too feel torn between my children and my work as a teacher. I believe teaching is a craft, and I work very hard to perfect it. As you are self-taught, perhaps you can give me advice on what do read. I especially need help in identifying meter.

    • Hi Debra, I enjoyed your comment.

      //I believe the study and writing of poetry has been spoiled by the mistaken belief that we should not restrict students with rules of poetry.//

      It’s certainly true that in any other field, like mathematics, music or the sciences, even sports, we begin by learning rules. The idea of creativity, I think, is a fairly recent concept (last century and a half perhaps). Before then, the presumption was that all students should be grounded in a foundation of rules (rhetoric) and that something like creativity sprung from the inventive application of those rules. Our modern concept of creativity (hearkening back to the romantics) seems grounded in the belief that true inspiration springs, unformed, from the ether of ones imagination. But we may have swung too far in the direction. My own experience has been that students enjoy grappling with rules. It gives them a sense of mastery. They feel challenged. By contrast, I’ve seen many students utterly loose interest in poetry because it seemed as flighty and undisciplined as a doodle. If anything goes, then why bother? That was certainly the case with me. I had no respect for poetry or poets until I finally found a Shakespeare Sonnet and began reading Frost. Then there was some mystery to it and I wanted to know what it was.

      //I hope you’re able to find the balance between writing your posts to an unseen audience and being with your girls.//

      I struggle. Each parent finds their own solution, or not. I go back and forth.

      //As you are self-taught, perhaps you can give me advice on what do read. I especially need help in identifying meter.//

      I would be glad to. As for meter. There is only one book you need to read: Shakespeare’s Metrical Art, by George T. Wright. Everything I’ve written is grounded in that book. You can also read my posts on Donne and Shakespeare. But… I’m here. Ask away. :-)

  2. I love your haiku, Patrick! The image is both vivid and real, hence, it elicits that ‘aha’ moment. But this first blush deepens into thought. In your haiku, I empathize with the leaf as having nowhere to fall in the wind-blown snow. On a higher level of thought, the haiku makes me think of everything or anyone caught in circumstances beyond control as in natural calamities where there are no choices but “ride with the wind” until it stops blowing and lets fall whatever or whoever has been flying or floating on its whim. And all these is what I love in your haiku. I won’t say “good” because I’m not confident enough for saying so. You are the wonderful critic and I’m still constantly learning from you!

    Thanks again for the time you pour into the pages of this blog, time that you could spend with your girls. Thanks so much for having taken on the role of a “teacher” in a classroom of which you have no control–cyberspace!

    Thanks for faithfully, patiently following up on “students” like me. That jornales’ readership has somehow grown is an achievement not mine alone but yours and those few more who believe I can write. You had once made me a subject of your post–“the under-appreciated” and I haven’t thanked enough for your faith in me!

    Thanks again and again.

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