The Cross Keys Poetry Society, 6:30 PM
at Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library,
100 King Street Northumberland, PA
Tuesday, September 2nd
Tuesday, September 16th
(1st and 3rd Tuesdays)
The Cross Keys Poetry Society is a group for poets and poetry lovers alike. We are currently studying Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, and midway through we find a chapter on a topic many modern poets find themselves struggling with, poetic meter. We’ve grown up in an age where free verse is the norm, but as Mary says regarding metrical rhythm:
–it is clearly the whole cake, while what has been written in the last hundred years or so, without meter, is no more than an icing . . . Free verse, after all, developed from metrical verse. And they are not so very different. One is strictly patterned; one is not. But they both employ a choice of line-length, occasional enjambment, heavy and light stresses, etc.
So, while Oliver doesn’t push for an all-out return to the writing of metrical poetry, she does make a good case for how an understanding of it will improve a poet’s free verse, which after all, at its best, is not so free and easy as it sounds.
As a group we discovered that we really hadn’t a lot of experience with writing metrically. Knowing what iambic pentameter is, and actually writing in it are two different things. And the write-up on Oliver’s page for the book says that it ”imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a short space.” And so we decided to take a little extra time to digest the section on The Line, pages 35-57.
Next time, on Tuesday the 2nd, we are inviting the eminent master of metrical verse, Dr. Seuss, himself! The good doctor will help us grasp patterns of stress and rhythm in verses that we already know and love.
On the 16th we’ll learn about various forms, including sonnets, sestinas and even limericks.
So whether you write poetry or just want to have fun learning about it at your local library, please come and join in!