First Delve into the Long Poem

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...

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Monday night was a class night.  We got thirty minutes of writing time, and, wouldn’t you know, I wrote the longest poem I have in one sitting so far.  It came to two and a half pages, and just under two full pages typed up.  Some things I noticed about the experience:

1 – Pressure.  The pressure to produce, similar to when writing essays, forces some leaps in imagination.  This of course results in interesting jumps.

2 – Revision.  Revision begins almost the instant a word comes into the head.  “No, not that, that’s not right… ok that works.”  And then it continues once on the page: “That should be on the next line, and that’s not the right word at all, that’s spelled wrong, and those two words are syntax-inverted.”

3 – Recursion.  The long poem begs for a pulling-in of a variety of sources and ideas… sometimes they get brought in and don’t come back… like a dangling modifier, they leave the reader hanging.  Others recur and recur and recur and recur, others are just right.

4 – Narrative.  Where is this thing going?  Even if not a traditional story, the reader is going for a ride, and you have to take them somewhere…

I’ll add more as I think of them.

 

– Eric

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