This week we focused on poetry and the devices used in it to make it effective.

Voice and tense, style, word choice and syntax:

The voice and tense within poetry is the way in which the poem is read and spoken in. The style in poetry is how the poem is written such as a haiku. The word choice and syntax in poetry is the words chosen and the way that the writing is structured.

Within this section we watched a video Benjamin Zephaniah’s video for his poem ‘Rong Radio‘(1). The poem is trying to portray the way that the media hides things and doesn’t tell the truth and how it has an effect on what people find out. Zephaniah’s tone is quite angry in this video as he is expressing how the situation makes him feel. Personally, I did not particularly like this form of poetry because I prefer to read it rather than listening to it being spoken or read out to me.


Line and Stanza divisions, Rhyme and rhythm:

To practice these skills we read a Frank O’Hara poem, Having a coke with you. We were then asked to rewrite the poem using a similar idea, but adapting it to our own thoughts.

The original version of the poem is:

HAVING A COKE WITH YOU
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

—Frank O’Hara

I really liked the tone to this poem because I thought it was a unique and intriguing way to describe emotions, as if drinking a drink can be the most incredible thing in the world if you drink it with the right person.

My own version of this poem:

DRINKING A COFFEE WITH YOU

is better than spending Christmas in New York City,

or walking through Central Park in the early hours of the morning,

partially because your smile is worth a thousand stars,

partially because New York wouldn’t be New York without you in it,

partially because you make me feel as though I’m wanted.

I look

at you and see the star that my world orbits,

I see infinite beauty,

I see something in you that nobody else sees,

the bright city lights could never shine brighter than you do.

Although my version was nowhere near as long as the original I liked the outcome of my writing because I felt as though it was very attuned to me as a person. When I write descriptively I like to use references to big cities, and city lights because personally, it paints a bright image in my head as I write it. Before I finished my version of this poem I was very insistent that I could not write poetry and that whatever I came up with would be of a bad quality of writing, but once I started to write the ideas started to flow pretty easily, I just needed to put the words in the right orders to make it sound unique. Overall, this task really opened my eyes when it came to writing poetry.


Descriptive Writing: Imagery, metaphor and figurative language:

For this task we were tasked to write a poem based on homelessness. Initially this task left me mentally stunted as I had no idea how to start a poem from scratch about a topic I wasn’t all that familiar with, but after doing some research I eventually came up with a short poem that I felt showed my understanding of the topic and poetry as a whole.

My poem on homelessness:

If I’m not the sky

I’m what the sky requires beneath it:

A rag aside the road,

A roadside bag of bones.

I can no more speak about the mind of air

Than its white animals require.

I surrender to their gestures and their threats.

I surrender to the cunning in a cloud.

Lying down,

Looking up,

I am lost.

A drunk dispersing the unity of my own body,

Where it lies in damp spaces.

Where it lies without laughter or answers.

Once I completed the writing of this poem I wasn’t sure if it made sense, and I still am not sure of it, but the way that I wrote it was supposed to show homelessness in a light that was different. I didn’t want to make it obvious that I was writing about homelessness so I decided to use words and phrases that could perhaps suggest that my topic was homelessness without explicitly saying so. Overall I was happy with this piece of writing as I feel that it helped me to understand how poetry writing occurs a little better, and it also increased my confidence in another style of writing.


References:

  1. Zephaniah, B. (2007). Benjamin Zephaniah – Rong Radio. [online] YouTube. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3HjMcY50Kc [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].
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