Attitude, Arrangement, Alliteration, Allegory, Ambiguity!
Writers have to live with a certain attitude. Their own and that of others. ‘Oh you’re a writer,’ we often hear as though being a writer denotes us as having something wrong with us. Sometimes when we admit this we get bombarded with references to other writers as though we should follow their example as though we can never amount to anything without following the herd.
Writing takes attitude. We have to have a certain amount of self-belief because not only are we our own harshest critics we also have to put up with everyone else pouring scorn over our work. Especially other authors! Now that we are in the digital age, (okay we’ve been here a while!) the internet is the breeding ground for bullies and fake friends and… all manner of people. I am of the opinion that people believe what they do and how they act on the internet is separate to how they are in real life. Be prepared because when you do put your work out there people will tear it to shreds. There are a couple of well known websites where one star reviews are common and you know what, in most cases the reviewer hasn’t even read the book.
So if you think that writing is easy, it’s not. You have to have attitude. (along with discipline, courage, and self-belief but they don’t start with A.)
Take a line,
Now put it in order,
Remove a comma
Does that make it shorter?
Poetry is all about the arrangement of words. For years I’ve struggled with the question of whether I’m a poet or a writer. If I was doing well with my writing chances were that I wasn’t penning poems or if all I was doing was poetry then I wasn’t “writing”. Now I have balance and I know that I can do both.
Poetry for me is take pure forms of emotion and trapping them in verse. It’s about arranging words until they feel right. It’s magical when it goes well and hell when it doesn’t. I love developing new rhythms and twisting meanings. One of my recent works was about suicide and trying to explain (to self or others) why that was an option. Most people that read it believed that it was about a relationship that was ending. A poet can use AMBIGUITY to twist inflictions within a poem.
As per above, you can think it means one thing and instead they were writing about something else. Some poets using vagueness in their work deliberately to add ambiguity. Do you ever read something and ask ‘but what did they mean?’. A good poet does it to make you think, to keep you interested and a bad poet does it because they are unsure or they want to hide their flaws behind it.
Early on in my writing life I adored using ambiguity in my work. It was easy to pen something that could be read with a number of meanings. But poetry requires a certain dedication if it is going to flourish past the fledging stage. Now if you find ambiguity in my work it is not deliberate to hook or trick the reader but more because of your own interpretations because quite often you relate it to your experiences and emotions.
The strength of a poem relies upon your relationship with it not any tricks we poets put into it.
This is one of my favourite tricks in poetry, using the same letter sound on a line within a rhyme or verse, traditionally it was used on consonants but recently I’ve seen poets use it for vowels too. I try not to use it often because it can become stale sounding and tie you into formulaic style of writing. It’s a good tool for teaching poetry or word sounds to children.
The cold can of coke cools Colin considerably.
As the cotton-like contoured clouds clash
Like passionate pumped up powder puffs
before shielding the sunburst of the sun
For our Colin, he with the cold coke-a-cola can!
Is another of my favourite tricks, not just in poetry but in my other writing too. When writing flash fiction (short stories of limited words) I enjoy leading you down to a conclusion and just as you get there you discover that underneath it all there was another motive, another definition, a different interpretation. The definition is as follows:
- a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.(From Wikiepedia)