Thursday, February 09, 2006

Women and Metrics and Forms, Oh My!!!

Robin is starting a new discussion forum based upon, well, upon discussing the use of form. It's geared towards woman and metrics, but it also appears as if it will be friendly to metrically-inclined males as well. I'm not a big "joiner" but after some serious thought, I've decided to give it a go....there aren't enough people around to discuss "form" with and who am I to diss something based on a possible slant/bias towards one sex or the other?

Truth is, I don't know how many times my poetry's been dismissed:
A. because I am female
B. because I write mainly in metrics and rhyme.

I'm hoping the number is small on both counts. At the risk of showing my own ignorance/ego, I've never really thought about either as a possibility. I generally figure if people don't like something, it's because it's just not good enough to like. End of story - promise do better the next time.

My favorite poems are not specifially written by men or women, but they are specifically written in metrics, which leads me to believe I might find something of value in Robin's new group. Lord knows there is little enough of contemporary formal poetry around anymore. (My bias, no one else's)

That being said, I don't think women poets bring anything to poetry that their male counterparts do not....other than an inevitable woman's point of view, of course. What they do bring, what we all bring, is our own unique view of the world. I can't speak for anyone else, but what I bring to the table is what I've seen and done and observed, not as a female, but as the kind of human that I am...what I've done for a living, where I've traveled, what I've seen and observed. I can't not be a woman, of course, but I also can't not be a medic or a firefighter or a mother or a neurotic hermit. I don't write as a "woman", I write as a "me". I read poetry the same way.

Reassuringly enough, there are as many bad male poets around as there are female ones.....there is no sexist line drawn which protects one sex or the other from writing bad verse. (I just threw that in there because I am increasingly distraught at the number of bad poems I've been reading it no mind, it's irrelevant to the current rant)

What is relevant is the fact that I do believe in my heart-of-hearts that the reason so much poetry is bad is because it is not metrical. To me (and I realize I am in the vast wasteland of poetical minority here) poetry should sing - and in order to sing it needs rhythm - and in order to have rhythm it needs to be metrical....(wheels go 'round in circles)

I've heard it argued that meter is constricting - Meter is not constricting, quite the opposite, it opens up the world of writing into all sorts of beautifully constructed things. The ebb and flow of poetic language itself can only properly unfold in metered precision. Just as there is no "random" in the tides or in the sun's rise and set, neither is there random in word choice or placement in a good poem.

There, I've said it.



Rob Mackenzie said...

" order to have rhythm, it [poetry] needs to be metrical."


I agree that meter, used well, is anything but constricting.
But poetry can have rhythm without being metrical!
Indeed, one of the challenges for free verse poets is to inject rhythm into their poems without the help of meter, a challenge some have risen to better than others. But some have risen to it very well.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Hmmm. Still says 0 comments even though I've commented. Oh well.