Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Advice Also to Writers: Poet Charles Rafferty's "Maxims and Observations"

In keeping with the Words for Words focus of conversations on creativity, we have guest posts from Charles Rafferty, a gifted poet whose elegant prose elevates the thought process to an art form.  A teacher and winner of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant in 2009, Charles brings the loftiest ideas within reach with his maxims and observations for poets.  All writers can learn much from his astute observations:
  • Some poems fail because of just one word — as troubling as a hornet on the railing of a crib.
  • One vase lets you see the scum and filmy water that power the bouquet of goldenrod. Another one doesn’t. Which is better? Beauty or the beauty that tells us where it comes from?
  • The predictable occurrence of stressed and unstressed syllables becomes more pleasing when the pattern is violated, here and there. We prefer a bouquet with a few broken petals for the same reason. We don’t guess for a moment it might be fake.
  • The thing that is most accessible is not always the best material for a poem. There’s a reason the pyramids were not constructed of sand.
  • On listening to poetry that I know is not: The wind can howl in the midnight pines but morning will find them standing.
  • Details should be chosen as carefully as if you were covering up a murder. A poem is a lie you must make the world believe.
For more information, visit Charles Rafferty/NEA. His books are available on Amazon.

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