Of Writing Formal Poetry and Free Verse

A free verse is an unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern.  In most cases, the free verse is initially thought to be easier than writing formal poetry mainly because it is not governed with any metrical conventions and anyone could just readily rush into writing lines and make them form like a poem.  However, I find writing free verse much harder than writing a formal poem, mainly because you don’t have any idea how to start.  The length of each line is an arbitrary choice of the writer. Also, I find writing free verse very demanding than writing formal poetry because in the first place, free verse requires you to have a well-tuned ear to be able to achieve the right and appropriate rhythm as it approximates your line breaks.  Since the line break is also an arbitrary choice of the writer, free verse entails a lot of revisions especially if there is a variation of rhythms in a poem.  Without a particular meter, it is difficult to decide when to pause or when to cut your line.  Some pauses naturally (caesuras) while some writers prefer their lines to be enjambed – where there is a continuation from one line of verse into the next line without a pause.  And this decision is crucial, as it is more prone to poetic flaws, like awkwardness in readability, and misinterpretation.  The appropriate usage of them would accentuate and supplement the emotion, tension and the rhythm of the poem.  Writing free verse, for me, should be done with utmost subtlety, and the writer should take into consideration how to deliver the intended effect that he/she has in his/her mind through his/her line breaks.

On the other hand, formal poetry puts greater premium and focus on formal elements such as rhymes, meters, rhythms etc., but it is not as easy as arranging syllables to fit a certain poetic convention, because one must also take considerations that the poem, in the first place, should make sense.  In formal poetry, form is an aesthetic attribute.  I find writing metered poems really pleasurable because I like experiencing the constraints as I meet a certain metrical expectation.  Moreover, some words naturally (or in some time) resist being ‘co-opted’ in the metrical pattern, but this only inevitably urges me to strive hard to get the right meter.

I find writing metered poems easier than free verse, which is ironic because I thought that the latter is easier before since the poems you’ll make would not be subjected in metered expectations.  At some point, I even forgot that I was actually writing a metered poem – there are times when the words and phrases are naturally arranged in the required meter.  What so good about writing metered poems is that you end up feeling satisfied after writing the poems, and the whole process of writing is pleasurable.  Free verse is hard to write mainly because you have to justify the arbitrariness of line breaks.  Moreover, free verse requires so much from a poet – you have to have a good ear to be able to get the right pace or rhythm of the poem and to experiment the variation of rhythms.

In any case, I would prefer to read a poem with complete naturalness of rhythmical expression, smooth and seamless, not rough and chopped sentences.


Creative Writing Through Other Arts

For me, creative writing serves as a tool for the creation of the other arts as well such as movement arts, music and visual poetry – although in the case of the latter, it can be the other way too.  Incorporating rhythm, meter and rhyme to enhance the form of the genre (eg. poetry, lyrics) is equally important aside from establishing a very effective content and this is where both movement arts and music flourishes.  With these, movement arts and music are said to be effective especially if one carefully chooses the appropriate words to assign to a specific tone, theme, rhythm or melody.  This would produce a very powerful effect for the spectators.  Personally, this is evident in speech choir presentations and performances in movements in poetry.

Contemporary writers usually use at least a single concrete imagery to convey their fresh insights that they have in their minds.  Such use of concrete metaphors instead of abstract ideas renders the image vivid and picturesque.  And this is where the mental imagery that one gets from reading a literary piece comes in:  when it is depicted through visual arts, whether natural or artificial, or whether by photography or graphic arts.  As exemplified by Horace in his treatise, The Art of Poetry, the use of imagery (eg in poetry) merits the same attention or treatment as that of the painting (ut pictura poesis – like painting, so is poetry).


The beginning of my transformation from a super darling tot to a very modest lady (well not really, but to add a bit of flavor, let it be that way anyway) started when I was in elementary.  I remember back then when I used to join in a war-play, where instead of throwing missiles and bombs – stones became a necessity to win the game.  I, of course, manage to come out unscathed, because I played the role as the captured princess, between the two supposedly warring states, (all my childhood friends were boys), and so they were all trying to snatch me from the clutches of each other, and vice versa.

When I was in the later part of my grade school years I outgrew these kinds of things – playing with guys outdoors were starting to be really awkward.  And having a crush – a childish attraction to one of my playmates became really confusing for me.  Finally, it’s as if an invisible force separated me from them.  The feeling to sever ties between us was mutual too.

Now, that I am in college I realized how cool it was to be a kid – you don’t have to think about a lot of serious stuffs, and you would gladly appreciate anything in this world.  I have lost that kind of feeling for quite a while.  I sure want to take those back.

Midsummer Madness

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I miss those times when I was still taking a Shakespeare subject, and one of the stories that I will never forget is Midsummer Night’s Dream.  You know, the one about the political nobles, middle class workers and laborers and supernatural beings unified in a unique and amusing comedy story.  Instead of the conventional love triangle, it becomes a love quadrangle for Lysander, Hermia, Helena and Demetrius!


One interesting fact about this play is that it incorporates three distinct plots embodied in three different worlds which tie up a unified theme or idea. The three worlds include (a) young lovers in the court of Theseus (b) world of Oberon and Titania and (c) the artisan’s world.  The comedy starts when they all meet in the woods where laws are totally suspended, and a character named Puck messes up with them.  A tangled love affair!


I will never forget when Lysander said ‘the course of true love never did run smooth…’ to Hermia, it is my favorite line in the play.


So why Midsummer Night’s Dream?  In his epilogue, Puck said that all mistakes he made during the course of time should be forgotten and should be thought as a dream.


Art For Art’s Sake

The Art for Art’s Sake philosophy pioneered by Jose Garcia Villa is about creating an art solely for the purpose of art, and it doesn’t have any socio-political colorations or commentaries that some people may deem significant.  It puts a high premium for beauty, as well as ‘form’ aesthetics.  It doesn’t have to be about a certain society issue, as long as it gives pleasure to the readers.

It is evident in Villa’s sonnet I “First, a poem should be magical” because if you interpret it using critical theoriesfrom any of those sociopolitical ones (eg.  Marxism, New Historicism, Cultural Studies) the poem will not make sense because the poem uses a lot of juxtaposition of images that are not ‘logically’ correct.  But there is something in the poem that is beautiful, and pleasurable, and I think it is the rhyme, rhythm, imagery, and its overall versification, which are pleasing to the senses.

Golden Glitters

bullion coinI love coins.   Rather than bills.  Even though more or less coins are generally considered as cheaper in terms of value, still one good thing that you appreciate in them is the fact that they stay for a longer time (compared to bills, of course). Which makes coins in general, ideal for collection to some people.  You see, there’s a kind of history that is associated in coins – faces of notable men in history or unique insignias of any country.  True enough, coins carry a sense of regalia and rarity in them.

An example of a notable coin worth having is what they call bullion coins. Bullion coins are popular among coin collectors and enthusiasts because of its regal features and designs, coupled with special historical significance that are engraved on the metal.  A bullion coin is what the coin collectors call, “a precious metal.”  Simply put, these coins are widely stored and distributed, and extremely in demand in the market. Continue reading

Survival :)

Okay, just a year end report of last semester’s experience.  To start with, I got an extra load for a subject last semester.  And thankfully enough, I survived first semester.

So what really happened last semester? I finished the draft for my thesis manuscript, wrote a novella, studied asian literature, wrote a one act play, learned business writing, studied folklores.  It was a hectic semester I say, and I did really invest a lot of effort and time just to get through with it.

It helps to have friends to help you get through the  day. Continue reading

A Random Memory

When I was in highschool you could say I am not the kind of person who would deliberately study for an exam or pep myself for a short quiz. Especially if it’s math. I used to be an average student who gets enough amount of sleep and rest.  I didn’t even depend on tight schedules, or routines, or even priorities.  I could say that I am more goal-oriented as of the moment now that I am in college.

Highschool.  They say it was the best time of your academic life.  The smell of first love, the feel of youthful vibrance.  This is the time when it feels like everything is opening up, blossoms up to whole new possibilties of growing up.  And I agree with all these things.  High school is definitely unforgettable.  Continue reading

Twitter Diaries

Because it’s semestral break already, I’ve been reading my favorite books (which includes collections of stories by Lorrie Moore, Kathe Koja and Nadine Gordimer), watching anime shows (Inuyasha: The Final Act, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and tweeting on Twitter.  Anything to unwind myself. But most of the time I really tweet a lot. 

I first registered on Twitter last year, exactly September 11, 2008 after I heard about Ashton Krutcher’s deal against CNN Breaking News to be the first one to reach the 1 million follower count.  I was really fascinated how Twitter works so I thought I might try this site. That time I just acquired my Facebook account so it was a full blast cyber life.  Ever since then I considered myself as a Twitter addict. 

Twitter became my online diary willing to be shared to other people  in few words, every day, and in any instance. I was able to speak up my mind about anything under the sun.  So in just a year, it’s no surprise that I came up with 7,578 updates (as of October 28, 2009, 4:53 pm) and of course, still counting. 

Follow me @khareen. Have a good day!

Future Cars

I just watched Discovery Channel’s episode on Future Cars, and I’m so amazed on the car designers’ visions of the future. The feature presented the sort of ‘brand new DNA’ for automobiles, wherein there is a convergence of revolutionary technology and artistry for the cars in the future. How would you react on a future car that has no engines, no drivers, no limits and no steering wheel? I think this one is so amazing, indeed, the future never ceases to surprise us.

So what would they look like? The cars. For one thing, the shape is different, but it doesn’t defy the conventions, after all, according to Tom Peters, ‘if you understand classic design, then you’ll understand future design’. Right. There is that unusual blend of form and function and convenient fluid efficiency. The visibility is unpredictable, converging high fashion and high technology. I think these changes are so cool – the car upgrades, model changes, the idea of ‘no-steering-wheel’ – and probably just joysticks to manipulate the car. The GM gathered all the best car designers to design on that skateboard: no engine, and petroleum-free, wherein these designers can attach different shape bodies, attach car parts in different positions – well, to put it simply, they can do anything above the skateboard. The designers came out with really unique revolutionary ideas.

The idea that the future car would be ‘drive by wire’ thus eliminating mechanical linkages and is flexible, totally interests me. Not only that – the future car would have minimum weight and perfect aerodynamics, low resistance mobility, and very efficient. Moreover, the cars would have totally different wheels – new wheels that would eliminate the potential ‘flats’.

I just love the show. So cool!