By Tracy Astle
Have you ever let someone or something you love slip away only to reconnect with them/it later and wonder why you ever let that distance creep in? This month I've reconnected with an art form I had forgotten I love so much. Poetry.
Over in the ANWA critique group we have been celebrating National Poetry Month with a daily challenge. Every day there's a different form given for us to try. Thankfully, it's a jump in or out whenever you like kind of thing. I must admit that with my time constraints at this time of year, I haven't jumped in and written too many poems, but I have been staying up later than I should each night just so I can read what others have written. I've been educated, entertained, enlightened, engaged and moved by what I've read.
A poem is such a beautiful thing. Whether it's whimsical or serious, personal or public, thought provoking or a simple distraction, a poem by its nature distills the subject at hand down to it's essence. Although there are some longer forms, most poems are much more like a snapshot than an epic motion picture. Because of that, the author has to think very precisely about what they want to convey and then make every word work to share that vision with the reader. I know every word counts in all forms of writing, but in a poem there are so many fewer words to carry the load. It's like the difference between listening to a soloist as opposed to a choir. In a choir you can have some weaker voices and still have a great choir, but a soloist must be strong since every note they sing is noticed. There's no room for slacker words in poems; every single word has to do its job.
Here's a little sample, one of my favorite stanzas of a poem set to music, taken ffrom our hymnbook -
How great, how glorious, how complete
Redemption's grand design,
Where justice, love and mercy meet
In harmony divine.
So much clarity and power in so few words!
So, let's here it for poetry! I'd love it if you'd share one of your favs in the comments. I'd love it even more if you'd come join the fun over on the crit line. Try your hand, if you like, but at least come read. Consider this your personal invitation.