Tag Archives: structure

16.16: Poetic Structure: Part II

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and Howard

How does a poem happen?

Absent an external structure, what makes a thing a poem?

The key word in that question may be “external,” because ultimately the poem on the page will be the implicit definition of its own structure—even if it borrows a “non-poetic” structure from another form.

Structure is as structure does. “Unstructured” is just a way to say “I am unfamiliar with this structure,” or maybe “I don’t believe that this structure is fit for poetry.”

And that might be a thing you are currently saying.  After all, “blog post describing a podcast episode” is definitely a structure.

Does the embracing of that structure make this thing into a poem?

If this thing is a poem, how did that happen?

Liner Notes:

  • Girl Hours” by Sofia Samatar (via Stone Telling magazine),
  • The Hill We Climb,” by Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman (YouTube from the Biden/Harris Inauguration)

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

Play

Write a poem inspired by the form with which you’ve chosen to structure it: take a numbered list of things, and use that numbered list to write a poem inspired by the list, and also organized according to that list.

The Space Between Worlds, by Micaiah Johnson

16.15: Poetic Structure, Part I

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and Howard

Rigorous structure in poetic form
is commonly pointed at when we declare
Poems have meters and rhymes, as the norm.

Yet words without patterns can roar like a storm
So why pay attention, why study with care
Rigorous structure in poetic form?

Just set it aside, surrender the gorm
(means “alertness”, a quite-handy rhyme I put there)
Poems have meters and rhymes as the norm.

Let some of it go, perhaps. Let it transform
beyond all the rhyming. Deny, if you dare:
Rigorous structure in poetic form

Okay, you can maybe keep some of it warm
Those toasty iambics by which you might swear:
Poems have meters and rhymes as the norm.

This episode text I wrote: does it inform?
Will all be confused when this couplet doth air?
“Rigorous structure in poetic form:
Poems have meters and rhymes as the norm.”

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson. The villanelle above was the first—and hopefully last—ever composed by Howard Tayler. Yes, the Writing Excuses tagline is a haiku. No, Howard did not know that when he wrote it in 2008.

Play

Write either of these:
Just one villanelle (Howard!)
or three full haiku.

Pay close attention
To the demands of their forms.
Constraints can inspire!

(Fifteen minutes long
Because you’re in a hurry
and this is haiku.)

“Resident Alien,” available on SyFy or through Amazon.

14.26: Lessons from Aristotle, with Rob Kimbro

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, and Dan, with special guest Rob Kimbro

Rob Kimbro joins us this week to talk about Aristotle’s elements of tragedy, and how they might be applied to our writing. The six elements are (in Aristotle’s order of descending importance): plot, character, idea, dialog, music, and spectacle.  We discuss this tool in terms of critiquing existing work, and in finding direction in the things we create.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Howard Tayler, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Play

Take something you’ve written, and then rank the elements based on how important they are in what you wrote. Now re-order the elements, and rewrite the piece to match the new ranking.

Aristotle’s Poetics, by Aristotle, narrated by Ray Childs