Friday, February 5, 2010

Begin with a bang

Last time, I talked about lopping off the end of the poem--a way to avoid that temptation to come full circle and tie it all up neatly with a shiny satin bow. Although we almost never have ribbon in the house, I am drawn to a good knot at the end of a poem.

Now, I'd like to take a look at the beginning--that first line. Often, good advice says to lose the first line or the first stanza, or it says, "The poem really starst for me here." Good to listen to that.

But on January 20, I read on the Verse Daily and Poetry Daily two poems that had knock-out first lines, the kind of first lines that make you read to the second line.

Then, it isn't just about where you start or when you start, but how you start--and trusting that a dynamite first line will lead to fireworks in the second line (even if they are subtle, whispering fireworks) and that the poem will charge forward from there.

It's a theory. Will it work?

I don't know, but I'm already paying close attention to end words and beginning words and the end of the poem and titles (so much time and agony on titles). Now, I'm going to spend a lot more time on that first line.

P.S. I hope to have pictures, including party pictures, posted soon.

P.P.S. I'm reading The Anthologist, and I hope to post more on that soon, too.

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