April-June Poetry Challenge

In his book, Richer Entanglements, Gregory Orr suggests that there are four temperaments to a poet. He explains:

I’d like to propose that poets are born with a certain innate form-giving temperament that allows them to forge language into the convincing unities we call poems. This form-giving gift is more important than any other a poem might possess. Different poets are born with different temperaments, and the nature of their temperaments determines essential qualities of the poems they write.

To my way of thinking, there are four distinct temperaments. If a poet is born with one temperament, then he or she grows as a poet by developing that temperament, but also by nurturing the others. The greatest poem is one in which all four temperaments are present in the strongest degree, though no one in English but Shakespeare could be said to exhibit all four in equal vigor. The main point is, great poems show the presence of all four, though in varying proportions.

To celebrate poetry month, I challenge you to write four poems. Each poem will concentrate on a specific temperament. (Think of this as going to the poetry gym to lift mental weight–isolating parts of your poetic self to make a healthier writer.)

Please post your poems in the comments for feedback. And enjoy the process. 🙂

A Glance at Characteristics and Dynamics

The four temperaments are: story, structure, music and imagination.

  1. Story: dramatic unity—beginning, middle, and end. Conflict, dramatic focus, resolution.
  2. Structure: the satisfaction of measurable patterns. It is akin to higher math, geometry, theoretical physics—the beauty and balance of equations. It manifests itself in sonnets, villanelles, sestinas (closed structures) and, to a lesser extent, in metrical lines, rhymed couplets, and repeated stanza patterns (open structures).
  3. Music: rhythm and sound. It includes syntax, the syllabic qualities of English that determine rhythm (pitch, duration, stress, loudness/softness), and the entire panoply of sound effects (alliteration, assonance, consonance, internal rhyme, ect.). (I realize that music is an old metaphor for the texture of rhythm and sounds in a poem, and perhaps not a very adequate one, but I’m going to use in anyway.)
  4. Imagination: the flow of image to image or thought to thought. It moves as a stream of associations, either concretely (the flow of image) or abstractly (the flow of thought).

(Gregory Orr, Richer Entanglements, Pages 3-4)

April Poetic Discovery #1: Mother Writers Making a Difference in Haiti

E Victoria Flynn, founder of the group Mother Writer, created a t-shirt to help raise funds for the recovery efforts in Hatti. Many Mother Writer members responded to her call for assistance. One such writer was Tania Pryputniewicz.

Tania runs the blog Feral Mom, Feral Writer. Her words are always insightful and a joy to read. She is also extremely generous with her support for other writers.

Victoria and Tania are model examples of individuals who take the time to create not just art, but an artistic community. For this (and many other) reasons, I would like to introduce the work of Tania Pryputniewicz as my first poetic discovery for poetry month.

Tania Pryputniewicz

I wrote before I was a mother and thought I was dipping down beneath the skin to the core. But childbirth and the experience of raising my three little ones continually propels me through a radical 360 degree experiential view of the human psyche. And how about that simultaneous warbling up of one’s childhood memories as one’s children move through time. I mother, I write, and I can’t imagine giving up either self.

Lets Have Coffee at AWP!

Happy Poetry Month Everyone!

It should be a highly creative time for everyone.

This months Bees’ Knees will be on a constant search for poetry. I will be posting random poetry findings–or rather projects that I find that are making the world a more word-filled place one line at a time.

In addition to my findings, if you have a poetry project you would like others to know about–please email me your information and I will be happy to post it on the Bees’ Knees. (NicelleCDavis @ gmail. com)

Also, this weekend I will be attending AWP in Denver. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk poetry. If you see me in Denver, please say hello.

Best Wishes to All, Nicelle Davis