Monday, April 8, 2013

Warrior Poets of Mars

Alright, so. I'd resolved to both read and write more poetry, because that's the sort of writer I want to be, and to a certain extent I feel like getting away from poetry has dulled some of the imagery I reach for. It's had the unexpected, but pleasant, surprise of me writing a few things with more emotional involvement, rather than intellectual process (at least in the rough, obviously rigorous intellect goes into editing) and I didn't realize until I sat down and wrote very personal poetry how much of that wasn't going through into the fiction I've been doing of late.

I've been reading quite a bit more poetry as well, and checking out what the markets are for things. I'm a few years back into the strange horizons archives, and I had started making a list of my favorite poems to share on the blog, but ended up stopping once I realized I was putting more poems onto the list than not. I think what I'm going to do is just keep a rolling draft post open, paste poems into that, and present them to the blog in chunks as it fills up.

The Beetle Horde by James Valvis
The Three Immigrations by Rose Lemberg
After, Ever by Caitlin O'Brien
Cave Bear Dreams by Ann K. Schwader
I Understand Video Games Aren't Real by Leslie Anderson
Atlantis by Caitlin R. Kiernan
In the Court of the Khan by Lisa Bao
The Vampire Astronomer by Chris Willrich
Carrington's Ferry by Mike Allen
Loki, Dynamicist by Michele Bannister
Fallen by Shannon Connor Winward
Imageography by Robert Frazier
The Theater for Cloud Repair by Sandra J. Lindow
Bone China by David Sklar

I also made some observations.

Here are some things I've been finding I really like:
  • some lovely images
  • a really nice sense of irony between what's being said and what's being meant
  • ideas that are beautiful but aren't really stories
  • tips of unconveyed stories
  • poems that are broken into smaller sub-poems that make good use of the format to build a larger, more nuanced argument
Here are some things I find put me off poems:
  • the persistent address to an unidentified you
  • poems that don't work without having read the work from which it is derived, especially when the alluded work is not particularly specified.
  • poems with simple language and little metaphor
  • really, really long poems, in most cases. By then you need something more than language and emotion to tie it together, and poems can be pretty obtuse ways to tell stories.

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