Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Rules of Poetry


Sir, I write regarding your story about Mr Pindar’s success as a prize-winning poet (Abingdon Herald, April 7). Firstly, I must congratulate Mr Pindar on his poetic success and wish him more to come.

However, I must take issue with his comment that, and I quote: “people ask what my poem is about, and I say it means what they want it to mean”.

The rules of writing poetry are simple and few in number, and simply state this: poetry is the best words in the best order, it must take the reader on a journey, be interesting, be uplifting, be sad, but leave the reader wanting more.

People like to enjoy the reading experience and fully understand the subject matter.

Poetry is not an IQ test and has no room for ambiguity or confusion.

Hard to understand does not mean better.

Poetry, painting, story writing, sketching or sculpture and others are forms of communication, and deliver a message to the reader, viewer or listener and must be unambiguous at least, so as not to spoil the pleasure and enjoyment.

Maurice Shea Hadland Road Abingdon

Letters page, The Abingdon Herald (28th April 2010)

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