Monday, November 17, 2008

crafting poems

The sign over a Johnson doorway reads, By Vermont Hands. Crafting a poem is like anything made by hand.

Here is Janice Mirikitani's definition of a good poem:

"To me, a good poem is a good poem if it works. And it requires discipline, it requires skill, it requires a gift, it requires depth, it requires perception, it requires vision. Those, to me, are the standards of good poetry."

Today I met with poet Kevin Young and discussed my poems, both children's and adult. We talked about choosing energy over flatness and how verb quality gives energy to a poem. In young children's poetry, musicality is so important, maybe more so than meter, and clarity is paramount. He pointed out the strong parts of my poems and advised me to trust my instincts and be careful not to editorialize!

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