Welcome to the Teacher's Corner! In this special nook of our site, we
are going to offer a great variety of subject matter we believe
beneficial to the budding poet....information to excite, entice,
teach and inspire!
Here you will find in depth research on particular areas of poetry as well as concise lessons of differing poetic styles; authored by Doctoral Students and Professors of English. Also, gracing this space will be shared poems and inspirational accounts by published poets; publishing tips from agents and editors, historical facts and more!
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Andrew Verrett is a speach writer and poet currently residing in Central Florida. He is an avid reader, for both work and pleasure. Of his poetry he admits that it is mostly for his wife. You can read about this author and his latest book, The Roses of Haye at Andrew Verrett's website
Take poetry a step further! Start working on your novel...
If a poetic novel is to reach mainstream Americans, it must be presented to them in a format to which they can easily relate. Most Americans were taught in school that poetry is written as a series of phrases that end in successively rhyming words. Hence, many readers recoil in abhorrence when they see a work described as poetry without a rhyming scheme. Secondly, a novel suggests to a reader that it contains a logical progression of events (a plot) rather than a collection of individual works or streams of consciousness. Keeping these concepts in mind, one must approach the act of writing a poetic novel as both an art and as a science.
The art is the same as in writing any fictional novel. There must be a good plot that is believable. The story should be a balance of the predictable (happy endings) and the unpredictable. There must be a hero, a heroine, and a villain. Characters should be realistic; their personalities should be steady, yet have shifts when under stress. They should have emotions, visible thought processes and respond to events as real people. In this, the poet has a particular advantage in the romance genre where searching for and expressing emotions are key elements.
The poetic form is a marvelous way to tell a story. In no way does a rhyming scheme detract from the plot, rather the couplets serve to enhance it. To demonstrate this point, the following examples, from The Roses of Haye, are given.
The poetic form is a natural means of embedding song and musical verse:Then every evening throughout his first few weeks,
His mother held him close and kissed his chubby cheeks.
She rocked him in her arms at night whenever he would weep
And sang him lullabies until he drifted off to sleep.
"Little sweet prince, please don't cry,
Little sweet prince, please don't cry.
Little sweet prince, please don't cry,
When imagery is necessary to the tale, poetry beats standard prose any time:But she too had things unto the children to teach,
Like how bees made honey and the taste of a peach,
How the leaves turned colors in the early months of fall
And how deep in the forest is where the trees grew tall.
Dialog may seem a bit tricky at first, but poetry does lend itself well to depicting a scene between main characters and between villains. Here are a few excerpted stanzas to guide the way.
Main Characters:Harry led Gaye toward an empty table and chair.
But they were intercepted before they made it halfway there
By an older barmaid carrying a tray in her hand,
"So tell me, Gaye, who is this handsome young man?"
Gaye seemed frightened. To Harry she was just a stranger.
Villains:When you come in to make your attack,
Place your sword in the middle of her back.
No one will want her hurt, so they'll readily agree.
And when you have the money, take the girl and flee."
"How will I know which girl to take?" Asked Fred.
"And what do I do with her after we've up and fled?"
Clews answered, "You'll know her by this ribbon in her hair.
As to what to do when you're through - I really don't care."
Lessons taught to your characters within the story (and in turn to your readers) also lend themselves well to rhyme.
Once inside she showed him how to make a perfumed candle.
Roll it and pack it tight so on the inside there is no seam
The science is in framing the work in a rhyming scheme with some semblance of meter (at least within each rhyming couplet). Obviously, it is necessary to stay away from words like orange and elbow. It is also advantageous to select names for people and places that easily rhyme. Additionally, for characters, it is essential not only to choose first and last names that are easily rhymed, but that each has a different number of syllables. For instance, if the first name is one syllable, choose a last name with two, as in Ray Ellow. This will help with the meter in the rhyming couplets. You will then be able to use any combination of the name such as Ray, Ellow, Ray Ellow, Mister Ellow, or Mister Ray Ellow to give you the opportunity to adjust the number of syllables in each line.
The real challenge in this art form is being able to weave the story line within phrases that can rhyme. Since much of any story is in the dialog, inverting the sentence by moving the subject or verb to facilitate a rhyme is not recommended, unless conveying foreign speech patterns. Yoda, from George Lucas's Star Wars saga, could get away with speaking in an order other than subject-predicate-object, as it did well to convey his other-worldliness. Rhyming schemes give the author a chance to be clever with the story line, which the reader will appreciate.
"When do we get back together to split up the loot?"
Writing a novel is a HUGE undertaking; writing one in poetic form is a MONUMENTAL task. In reality, it is no different than writing a ballad; it just takes a whole lot longer. Use the eating the elephant principle - one bite at a time. Once completed, it becomes a piece of art that, in my experience, captivates the reader in two ways. The reader is first engaged (as in any story) in the plot, and then subsequently fascinated with the rhyming scheme as well.
Good luck with your first poetic novel!
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