Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is It A Poem?

If it doesn't rhyme, if it doesn't have structured meter (such as Iambic pentameter), if it doesn't use imagery (like metaphor and simile), is it a poem?  Yes, it can still be a poem.  If you say it's a poem, if you think it's a poem, if it feels like a poem, it's a poem. 

When I'm doing a news print poem, I'm very limited because I can only use the words in the newspaper article and I can't re-order the words or add words.  Despite those restrictions, I can make use of some poetic techniques--rhythm, sound, image, emotion, rhyme, repetition, line breaks, etc.

For instance, rhymes:  It may not be a structured ABAB rhyme scheme, but I often get some internal rhymes and end-line rhymes going. It's fun when that happens.

Additionally, the poems create a mood, tell a story, or make a point. 

Free verse may seem easy because there are no rules, but it is also difficult because there are no rules.  "Roses are red, violets are blue" is easily recognizable as a poem, but when I write a poem without traditional structure it seems to me that I am convincing the reader that this is a poem be sheer force of will.