Conventions in poetry refer to the structure which includes stanza, free verse and sonnet. Analyzing the conventions of poetry can help reveal how the rhythm and sound elements are linked to the content.
In addition to the structure of poetry, other patterns and techniques contribute to the meaning of the poem. For instance, narrative poetry focuses on telling a story while lyric poetry emphasizes the emotions and feelings, as well as sensory reflections and thoughts.
No matter the type of poetry, the meter emphasizes the relationship between the stressed and unstressed syllables. Metrical variations include trochaic foot, anapestic foot, dactylic foot and spondee.
Poetry often involves rhyming, alliteration and other methods of artistic ornamentation. If you intend to pursue a career as a poet, especially an independent poet, sans academia, it is important for your knowledge base that you know the styles of poetry, the construction of older poetry, the poets who have lived and created before you, their life and times. You also need to know how the world of poetry functions today and how to make money within that world -- that's the conventional side of things. But, inside your work and the poem itself, the conventions of poetry should to be broken on a regular basis. If you embrace the thinking of the post structural theorists, you will find the impetus to strike out on your own poetic journey. Hear the encouragement in Jacques Derrida's words:
Genre and Post Structuralism: Three Quotations from Jacques Derrida
We've witnessed a breaking down of the restrictive barriers called genres imposed upon writers by
last century literary gatekeepers. Of course, those genre guidelines were created, named and renamed
through the centuries. In the still early, twenty-first century, it's time for a reorganization or better yet a
letting go. The post-structural sage, Jacques Derrida, called for genre barriers to fall in the latter part
of the last century:
"I submit for your consideration the following hypothesis: a text cannot belong to no genre,
it cannot be without or less a genre. Every text participates in one or several genres, there is no
genreless text; there is always a genre and genres, yet such participation never amounts to
belonging. And not because of an abundant overflowing or a free,anarchic and unclassifiable
productivity, but because of the trait of participation itself, because of the effect of the code
and of the generic mark. Making genre its mark, a text demarcates itself. If remarks of belonging
belong without belonging, participate without belonging, then genre-designations
cannot be simply part of the corpus."
-- Jacques Derrida: “The Law of Genre
"So, each text has a mark, and that mark marks the text’s genre–which is the thing that
makes a text a text. But the mark itself does not belong to the genre, and is only supplementary
to the text itself (even though it’s also constitutive)."
-- Jacques Derrida: “The Law of Genre”
"The clause or floodgate of genre declasses what it allows to be classed. It tolls the knell of
genealogy or of genericity, which it however also brings forth to the light of day. Putting to death
the very thing that it engenders, it cuts a strange figure; a formless form, it remains nearly
invisible, it neither sees the day nor brings itself to light. Without it, neither genre nor literature
come to light, but as soon as there is this blinking of an eye, this clause or this floodgate of
genre, at the very moment that a genre or a literature is broached, at that very moment,
degenerescence has begun, the end begins."
-- Jacques Derrida: “The Law of Genre” (212-213)
*Derrida, Jacques. “The Law of Genre.” Trans. Avital Ronell. Critical Inquiry 7.1 (Autumn 1980).
Many writers/authors/poets have challenged traditional genre guidelines and accomplished their tasks well. A quick internet search will provide examples. Also, more of Derrida's statements concerning literature can be found in my book entitled Post Structuralism and Related Quotes: from Jacques Derrida, Judith Kristeva, and Many Others. http://amzn.to/1jGPb3x On the first page of this website, http://esmithsleigh.weebly.com/ or http://bit.ly/iionKS , you will find a video of Derrida discussing his writing process.
- e. smith sleigh, pioneer in discussions and blogging about post structuralism on the internet.
Below is an example of one of my poetry riffs in a post structural mode:
white roses on black and white film are still white but you have to guess
lazy gray rainy Sundays have no end am I wasting time or living my life
black roses on black and white film are still black but you have to guess
or not who calls me through this late afternoon grayness disturbing this late winter’s silence
“you have things to do”
looking for the secrets of the universe inside a tissue box or a black and white film
or losing your lunch in a parking lot can be …
roses on black
--e. smith sleigh
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