I’m writing my first page length poem for the Writers Studio course I am taking. (internal link) This initial assignment won’t be critiqued but that doesn’t put me at rest. I’m concerned that people won’t know it’s my first long poem. The only poetry I’ve written, in fact, were a few stanzas, decades ago.
The non-poet in me thinks I’m lazy for not making it rhyme, but so much free verse exists that I probably shouldn’t be concerned. I’m also aware of how much more important individual words are when there are so few of them compared to an essay or article. A full story has to develop within a limited word count. Every word tells.
While researching a poem to emulate, I discovered one of my favorite books is now online, Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. (external link) I’ve written about Rexroth before. (internal link) Deeply aligned with nature and exotic landscapes, Rexroth’s translations introduces us to country that is far from city life. People’s problems and worries remain, universal themes predominate, but in fresh settings that makes us pause and reflect, rather than rushing through.