Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Refrigerator Poetry

A personal emergency has briefly taken me away from writing and I noticed that I'm going through withdrawal after an old box of magnetic poetry caught my attention. Remember those? It was a strange fad that swept through a few years back of tiny magnets with individual words on each magnet. The idea was to stand in front of your refrigerator and be creative. (As a side note, I wonder if it increased or decreased snacking habits...)

I bought a set years ago, but it didn't last long when the words kept falling off the refrigerator and the cats tried to eat the magnets.

In a angsty, anxious, obsessive-compulsive need to be creating something, anything for at least five minutes, I've put some of the words back on the refrigerator. I think the pack holds somewhere between 200 and 300 individual magnets and I've thrown about 50+ or - on the refrigerator, forcing myself to work with what I've picked at random.

So, in my first entry in this little experiment, I decided to write a haiku. Remember those? I think everyone has to write one just to escape grade school. I will try to work my way through some more complex and unique poem styles, though I don't expect to get up to a true Shakespearean sonnet. Not on my refrigerator. That's just twisted. Maybe an aubade or two.

I drift back to poetry a couple times a year. It's like visiting my childhood stomping grounds. It's where I started writing oh-so-many years ago. It's through poetry that I've developed my appreciation for language. No, my appreciation for individual words. With prose, you can lose some of the focus you have when writing poetry. What's one word in prose when you have to write more than 100,000 of them.

But with poetry (with maybe the exception of epic poems), each word has to be carefully chosen because there are going to be so few of them in the poem, so little time to make your point and draw an emotion from the reader. Each word has to be weighed, tasted, balanced against the rest of the sentence, the rest of the poem. So much depends on that one word (to paraphrase a great poem that haunted me through college lit). It's something I try to remember when writing my stories.

Oh, and tonight's haiku:

In case you can't read it:

"Chain me to the moon
Raw & bare and wanting you,
my love, on the sun"
An astute reader pointed out that I did not technically write a haiku. Since the focus was on people rather than nature, I wrote a Senryu. The name sounds familiar. I must have shoved it in a misc. mental folder from college.... I've got lots of those. Thanks for the heads up! I'll try to write an actual haiku next time.


Freedom Star said...

I always meant to get a set of those words but I never got around to it. Oh well, maybe I'll get a set for my apt next year.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you ever need another creative outlet, check out my poetry website I made. Maybe it's for you. Peace

daydream said...

Mhm, this is really good and I love poetry too, but I have to tell you that this is not a haiku. Although it has the structure and syllable count of a haiku this is a Senryu, since it handles people. Haikus handle nature without human presence in the poem, while Senryu handle the human presence. Both have the same structure.

Either way this is truly brilliant and well I feel the same way with poetry. It's an art.

Chandra Rooney said...

That's eerie. I like. :)

Never did haikus with the magnetic poetry, only free verse. I remember I had odd words.

Jocelynn said...

Thanks for the heads up, Teeny Poet. I'll check it out.

Daydream: thanks for pointing out my error. I made a correction to the post. The name "senryu" sounds familiar. I'm sure I learned it somewhere, but it just didn't stick.

Chandra: yeah, there's some strange words in the mix. I guess I'll just have to be really creative.

daydream said...

I'm always there. To tell you the truth I learned this not awhile ago, when an erudite poetry wiz pointed out to my grand humiliation that a whole 30 of my haikus were Senryu! I was blushing and blushing, since I was so proud and told everywhere about my haikus. Bad mouth, bad, bad.