Poetry Workshop: The short poetic form in the last 100 years

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Poetry Workshop: The short poetic form in the last 100 years

By Donald Partelow
 
Author Marian Grudko presented a poetry workshop in honor of the Pawling Library’s centennial celebration. This was the second poetry workshop she gave to our library.
Ms. Grudko began her presentation by having each audience member read a short poem they’d written and brought to the class. None of the work was critiqued. Our host and the participants just listened as one by one each person read their poem.
The intent of the program was to examine a selection of short form poetry.  Ms. Grudko said, “When we reflect on the short form we’re talking about poetry that actually has rules as to the number of lines, or syllables, or the style that you work with. Many of these are traditional forms from centuries ago, and as they’ve evolved into our own time, most have become looser, and less strict.”
Probably the most famous short poem is called the haiku, which traditionally consists of 3 lines, and 17 syllables. But beyond any syllable or line restriction it is meant to capture a brief moment in time and illuminate that time. “You see a certain new meaning in life through those few lines. That’s the essence of haiku,” said Ms. Grudko who read a few beautiful examples of short form poems, including the cinquain and the villanelle.
She also touched upon poetry called haibun which is the combining of haiku and a prose poem. This style of poetry is also brief, consisting of a few lines, very vivid imagery, and nothing personal. “The poets who write haibun do not add their philosophical commentary or personal feelings, there is nothing subjective, so it’s very pure,” said Ms. Grudko. “I know when a lot of us write we want to put our own feelings into things, we want to express ourselves. That’s natural. But sometimes it’s good for us to try not to do that, it makes us stronger as writers.”
During the writing segment of the program each participant had an opportunity to write a haiku and read it aloud.
With a few minutes left of the program Ms. Grudko asked the question, what makes a good poem? “There is no right or wrong answer, it’s personal,” she said. Some of the responses: “There is something, in one or two sentences or phrases that makes you know when you are in the presence of a poem, a real poem.” “I think a good poem evokes emotion.” “It just takes me there, wherever there was or is.” “There is so much one could say; it’s simplicity and intensity with good words.”
At the end, Ms. Grudko thanked her audience.  “You all have the hearts of poets!”  And indeed this is true. We thank the talented Marian Grudko for another outstanding presentation.
Marian Grudko is the author of Lucinda Snowdrop and co-author of Claudine: A Fairy Tale for Exceptional Grownups, with T.A. Young. She is also a composer and storyteller, and her work can be seen on her new and evolving YouTube channel.
This online program took place on the evening of October 27th.
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Author: Harlem Valley News