Facets of Poetry

Some lead notes from Ken Franklin before the Zoom Meeting.

Poetry has many facets. It has been claimed that one “who can reconcile poetry with truth and wisdom is the only true poet in a real sense.” This is a bold claim and an honour that few will aspire to - and even less achieve.

Probably the greatest stimulus to writing poetry is reading the poetry of others. This might be the work of the acknowledged ‘greats’ or the poems of more recent writers - and preferably both.

It can offer insights, challenges and raise a range of questions that provoke the search for answers. It can also focus attention on the structure of poems and why particular forms have been chosen in preference to others.

By fairly general consent, one of the most popular and well-known poems in English is Dylan Thomas’s Do not go gentle into that good night. What is less well-known is that this poem is a Villanelle, a fixed verse form comprising  nineteen-lines of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately at the end of each subsequent stanza until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. This condensed Wiki definition may tell us more than we want to know and leave the reader somewhat baffled. But it is a pointer to the fascination of poetic form and an intimation of what can be gained by examining the structure of poems more closely.

There is much truth in the claim that the best way of learning is by doing. Appreciating poetry is perhaps aided by making it oneself and, particularly, when engaging with forms that are less familiar.

The Society is offering the opportunity to come together in a fairly small group to explore various aspects of poetry and share our insights.