Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Art of Losing Isn't Hard To Master...

I have written an article on villanelles, which has just been published at Poetry Thursday. I love to write about forms and I was so glad to have this opportunity. Enjoy!

3 Comments:

Marie said...

I don't know many forms but think it would make my poetry better...how do you approach forms like the villanelle? Does something just come to you rhythmically and you approach the page with an idea or two? Make lists of things you're obsessed about and go from there? I want to be a better writer/poet and know that discipline and modeling after people I admire will help me get better; but sometimes I just need to ask a poet from their point of view how they approach something...If you have a minute sometime this week and have some ideas, I'd love to hear them. I want to make a go at the villanelle for Thursday's post.
take care -

Jessica said...

Hi Marie --

Thanks for stopping by the site.

For me, I find it easiest to determine the refrains (or parts of refrains) early in the process, normally just after I determine the subject matter. And I do try to find a subject matter that is prone to confession or obsession. For instance, my closest thing to a successful villanelle was about weighing myself, something that can induce obsession.

But you can also use a villanelle to explain a story if you're that type of poet, as long as it is a story that can benefit from a refrain or repreating concept.

A couple of cheats -- you can reduce your refrain to just a few words, rather than a whole line. Kumin does that in her nuns poem, which I put in the article.

If you're concerned about the complexity of the villanelle, try to do just one aspect of it, like the refrain and ignore the meter and rhyme constraints. Or try just refrain and rhyme, and ignore meter. Or go for all three, if you're feeling brave.

It also helps me to plot out my villanelle, once I have the refrains, on lined paper. So my plot literally has two lines of space, then the refrains. Then, I doodle on separate paper the attempts at other lines, until I figure out what I want it to be. Finally, I enter it into the plotted out portion, line by line as they occur to me.

Okay, so you can see now that I'm slightly methodical (OCD). But this has been what's been helpful for me.

Good luck! I hope this helps!

marie said...

Thanks! This helped a lot...I think I'm going to do one about time as it is something I'm always worried about not having enough time to finish all I want to do before the day ends or before I die...I could stretch it out...

I love your OCD...it helps some of us who deserve more structure in their lives! Again, thanks for taking the time. I hope do you proud on Thursday!