More than merely illustrating a scene, he bathes the reader in the details: the temperature of a room, it's aroma, lighting, and so on. He taught me how to add dynamic texture to my own work.
6. Find the ambiance of your poem = atmosphere.
When I begin to write a poem, I focus on choosing words that will convey an ambiance to the reader. Will it be dark and edgy, (loathsome, vile), or light and soft, (dulcet, languid)?
The words I choose make all the difference in the direction the poem will take, and how it will intimately "feel." Here is an illustration of what I mean, using the line that I gave you in earlier posts.
Come and let us sit a while
These loathsome shoes begrudge my feet
Oh, how insidious and vile
That artless cobbler's remedy.
~~ or ~~
Come and let us sit awhile
Beneath these, dulcet, verdant leaves
Where we may rest in languid style
Engaged in pleasant reverie.
As you can see, there is quite a difference in how these two stanzas "feel," and in their overall atmosphere. Their rhyming schemes and rhythms are alike, so what is it that makes them so different?
Well, in the first stanza, I chose loathsome, begrudge, insidious, vile, and artless as illustrative negatives. In the second stanza, I chose dulcet, verdant, rest, languid, pleasant, and reverie.
In both cases, I allowed an attitude to predict the tone of the words; pessimistic words for a darker scene, and pleasant words for a lighter scene. Your choice of words makes all the difference.
In the stanzas above, I decided on an initial direction for each and chose the words as I wrote the poem. That initial direction became my guiding template. The rhythm of the first line set my meter.
Even when I have a complete image in mind to start from, the way in which I shape, size, and fit the pieces of the poem together, including my word choices, are almost always influenced by a initial template.
Continuing with Edgar Allen Poe, I invite you to read his wonderful poem, The Raven, by clicking here. Read it slowly, letting his words fill your mind, allowing them to linger, and then take another look at our line:
"Come and let us sit awhile ..."
(Dum ta dum ta dum ta dum...)
Does this line now lead you in a direction, to an idea or an image? Let whatever pops into your head be your guide, word by word, beat by beat. Just write it all down and then look at what you've got.
If nothing seems to come to mind, not to worry. Just try writing a "next line" below it, imitating it's meter. The idea here is to see where the line (above) will take you.
Feel free to use the following if you are stuck for words or ideas:
As always, you can reach me by clicking on the Add Comment link below, and leave comments, questions, and etc., for me. I'll respond as quickly as I am able to.