Sunday, August 13, 2017

noticing a good line-- hugging poems before they're born.

one night while i prepped dinner in the kitchen, my niece, lillee grace hetrick, busily worked at her art (i love how much she is always creating art in her life) on a nearby counter. she noticed an older sampling of her own art on my fridge, held up by a magnet, and commented about remembering it. 


i interjected, telling her that what she voiced about the weathered art flowed as a good line. usually, i simply say, that's a good line ! since she's newly into learning how to play the electric guitar (and thus test out lyric-writing), she grabbed a clean sheet of paper and wrote down a lightly revamped version. at first, she said something like, i remember i made these alien frogs holding balloons. 

soon, i explained that unique phrasings, very specific and visual, are often poetic. and sometimes dissimilar words just sound good together, in a fresh approach. they can be unexpectedly, oddly, and whimsically beautiful. and especially when detailed imagery is involved.

i also gave an example of poetry-teaching through asking her what she thought sounded better, to say she made a piece of art or that she drew it, since she did technically draw these creatures and their sky-reaching reminders of glee. since drew is so much more specific, it is not only better and more accurate writing but also more poetic. so her revised line is below, in her then eight-year-old handwriting.



we talked about how sometimes you just hear a good line, and it's something hopeful for the future, good to write down, capturing it to save to stand on its own or to use in a more lengthy patch of poem or song later.

my traveling poetry class students are used to hearing me say, that's a good line. write it down. and sometimes they don't act, so i say, i mean it ! i think a lot of us have the self-bias of not realizing our own value sometimes, and that can certainly happen with a good line. but if you train yourself into listening for good lines from within you and from those around you, like anything else, with practice, you pick up on stirring quality more and more easily.

and the prospect of just writing a single line here or there, to save for later or just let carry itself on the page, is something i highly recommend. it also teaches you to plant more poetry in the world by giving it the vibrancy of simply letting it be noticed versus anything less.

so let yourself just be a spy for good lines sometimes. it is a benefit for the heart and for the page. and in our world today, it seems poetry will have continually more value in difficult times when we need beauty, hope, and the chance to believe the blurry complexities of our culture can get and be better-- across more people standing up for the greater good and supporting each other through newfound compassion through our evolving bumps upward in consciousness. awareness is everything, and that plays into poetry very directly. onward with poems.

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