The issue, of course, isn’t whether anyone should write free verse or formal; that decision should come out of the poem’s requirements, out of the integration of form and content. Free verse, after all, has form, too. And it could also be said that each individual poem, whether in free verse or a traditional form, has its own unique, specific form. (139)
Free verse is an open form of poetry with room for experimentation, but a traditional form can be restrictive, which forces the writer to be more resourceful with their language. Many students in the poetry workshop had a difficult time composing a villanelle or found poem. I chose the found poem to teach to the class because I thought it was an interesting concept that could lead to fun and inventive work; however, I did not expect the students to have a considerable amount of trouble with the exercise. I realized that found poetry is a challenge because it forces the writer to work in strict defined boundaries. Some traditional forms of poetry have the restrains of meter, a rhyme scheme, or some pattern of repetition that the writer must follow, but the found poem requires the writer to explore another’s work in order to create something new. The writer, then, may not feel that the found poem is truly their own because it has been taken from another source. However, it is still beneficial for students to explore and become familiar with various forms because it provides them with new avenues in which to create.
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...should learn how to make strong line and stanza breaks and how to recognize weak breaks. A weak line or stanza break can disrupt both the voice and rhythm of a poem.
The issue of titling a poem seemed to be a common criticism in the ENG 407/507 workshop. Many students were not fond of one-word titles or of having a poem’s first line be its title. Dobyns remarks on the importance of titling, he writes, “One can’t title a poem until one knows what it is about. One reason a reader reads is to discover the purpose of the title. After all, the reader wants to know why the poem was written” (177). I can understand Dobyn’s argument because a poorly titled poem does not attract one’s attention or curiosity. A title should either stand out or connect to the poem in some way. Also, according to the students in 407, a title should not be named after a flower or snow.
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