Sometimes, poetry and science seem to come from entirely different worlds. It’s easy to find poems that tap into romance, fantasy, even horror. But a science fiction poem? Those feel far and few between.
I wouldn’t say it’s outwardly nonexistent or impossible to write. The root of science fiction lies in science. So it's logical that by turning to actual science for inspiration, we can find all sorts of interesting topics to utilize in poetry. So turn on a space documentary or a series describing undersea exploration. And if you don’t want to invest the time to watch that, here’s a list of sciencey things for your consideration to get you started.
Grandfather of the mystery genre and horror writer Edgar Allan Poe’s impact lingers throughout literature. His works continue to be adapted for the screen, ranging from the upcoming Fall of the House of Usher series coming to Netflix, to The Simpson’s retelling of “The Raven”.
Probably his most recognizable poem, “The Raven” tells the story of a grieving man haunted by a raven that speaks one word over and over — “nevermore”. The man interprets this message as proof that he’ll never see his loved one, Lenore, again, even in heaven. The poem ends with the man telling the audience that the devilish bird still remains in his study, serving as a reminder that his love will return “nevermore”.
The poem spins a narrative that keeps you on your toes. It’s an effective piece of horror, and Poe manages to build tension and suspense as the poem progresses. Here’s a look at some ways I believe he mounts suspense in his poem.
Poetry as a literary form has a bit of a reputation as being a medium through which Victorians declare their undying passion or 2000s emo teens write about how sad they are.
However the masters have channel this wolly art form to the greatest purpose of all: giving their readers some laughs. And in this day and age, I think that we have earned ourselves some funny jokes, so without any further ado, here are 4 funny poetry forms.
As a disclaimer I would not go over the limerick since it is the most popular, and here “we’re not like other poets”.
The shortest poem I have read would probably be Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro”. It’s only two lines: “The apparition of these faces in the crowd: / Petals on a wet, black bough.” Merely describing an image, this poem doesn’t need to be any longer. It gets the message across in a poignant manner. To me, it poses the question, when should a poem be longer or shorter?
Shrinking or stretching a poem might happen in the midst of writing, or during your editing stage. By “shrink” or “stretch”, I mean cutting lines and ideas or expanding on images and themes, respectively. If you’re working on a free verse poem and can’t decide whether or not it’s the right length, consider these recommendations.
A plethora of poetry formats exist in the literary world. From the cyclical sestina to the rhythmic limerick, from the luxurious sonnet to the short-and-sweet haiku, these structures accomplish different tones and feelings for the writer and their audience. Experimenting with different structures will not only expand your literary horizons, but develop your writing capabilities and challenge your word play as well.
Wind in a dark night. Moonlight on an empty path. These small miscellanies are what make up a horror piece. Fiction structures almost no boundaries — descriptions go on and on and on only restrained by the paper’s white edges. But poetry is less forgiving. There are so few words and so little time. How then, should one create poetry with horror as muse? In The Highwayman by Alfred Noyles, the chilling atmosphere of the gallops leading up and away from the old inn, of watching your lover by the moonlight, of glass windows shattering from gunshots in the middle of the night are all attributed to the development of one thing -- setting.
When thinking of horror in terms of poetry, it’s natural to recount the works of Edgar Allan Poe. But other poems fall into this genre as well. A personal favorite is My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.
At first glance, it seems like a straightforward ekphrasis: a rich nobleman describes a newly painted portrait of his deceased wife. It’s written in rhyming couplets of iambic pentameter, with only one long stanza that serves as a sort of monologue. The narrator (presumably a Duke) speaks directly to the reader and refers to them as “sir”, showing that the Duke assumes the reader to be a male of similar status.
Continued from the previous article.
In this second-to-last line, the narrator recalls burying a handmade Batman costume in his backyard, then not being able to find it again years later. They end this stanza with the famous lines “How can something be there, and then not be there? How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?” The narrator wishes for parts of their childhood that they can no longer find; a Batman costume can represent so many things — the dreams that became overshadowed by reality, the heroes they can’t look up to anymore, the battles to protect what they loved, the exciting uncertainty of i-could-be-anything, etc.. As time passed, the protection of the costume — the ideas of innocence, of dreams, of heroes and idols, has disappeared. The other detail here is that the costume was put together with a bundle of unmatching clothings by the narrator. This disorganization could either indicate the carefreeness of childhood, or it could be that the narrator’s upbringing had been skewed in some way, so that even in their youth it took efforts to pretend to be Batman.
Since the 14th century, talented poets have been appointed as laureates by governments and various organizations and institutions. A poet laureate composes poems for important occasions and events to help commemorate the festivities and memorialize the events in verse. For example, during the Biden inauguration, the U.S.A.’s first youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman recited an original poem titled “The Hill We Climb”. A laureate holds a prestigious position reserved for a select few talented wordsmiths.
But how does one obtain such a title? It seems so mysterious and allusive, yet people clearly reach that goal of poetic infamy. So, what’s the process?
Continued from last week’s article. If you don’t feel like scrolling back, just see this as a “pick a quote and get a tragedy” game. Or free therapy. Or the opposite of that.