Friday, September 17, 2010

A Poet's Perspective for Writers: Charles Rafferty's "Maxims and Observations"

A Less Fabulous Infinity
by Charles Rafferty

In keeping with our conversations on creativity, our  guest this week is poet Charles Rafferty, whose insightful and elegant prose stirs the creative soul.  A National Endowment for the Arts grant winner in 2009, Charles offers much wisdom to writers:
  • There is a difference between the predictable and the probable, between the vague and the mysterious, between deviation and variation. The poet must learn when each is acceptable. Reading widely helps.
  • Exclamation points are too often a cry of wolf. I prefer people to scream when they are actually on fire.
  • Some poems end like surgery—the problem solved, the pain a memory, the stitching so tight that nothing leaks. Other poems end like a diagnosis.
  • We respond to clichés the way we respond to form letters and junk mail — something the writer didn’t bother to craft, a kind of boilerplate for the soul.
  • Having too strict a meter can be like having the bass up so high on your stereo that you can’t make out the harpsichord. Too loose a meter can be like static.
  • There are no five-leggers. Nature prefers symmetry.
Charles' books are available on Amazon.

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