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Plotting Poetry

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Many of the writers I speak to consider poetry and stories two uniquely different things. Some have even expressed anxiety about writing poetry themselves saying either "I hate poetry" or "I just don't get it."

For me poetry is the purest form of story telling. It dates back to the English Language's oral traditions, where Scops would travel from one community to another, sharing the epic story of Beowulf. This story, as I'm sure you're aware, was told in the form of an epic poem, mainly out of necessity. The poetic elements--rhythm, rhyme, meter--were employed to help the artists remember the story so that they could deliver it consistently to their audiences.

When you consider poetry as a mode of story telling, it is essential to consider how plotting can help create a more engaging, accessible, and tangible poem. Give the video below a watch, give it a go, and let me know how it turns out.

For now, happy writing, and I'll see you online!

For reference, here is the text of the poem, "The Head I Held," which is quoted in this video.

The Head I Held

When I was ten, I held a dead man's head

and felt heavy, the scaffolding

of bone in my fingers,

the lifeless, organic tissue

kin to the flesh

that cradled it.

Lifting each earthen fragment

I envisioned his people

twisting their textiles,

bundling him with his effects,

wrapping him in linen

readying him for the bottom

of the Windover Bog.

Turning a piece of him in my hand,

I probed his orbits

scraping the recesses

for my own borrowed days,

regarding the gray matter,

that still held to its secrets,

and gazing through him,

I was filled with a cold need

to put him back.

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