Sunday, November 9, 2008

How Many Words?

"Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words." ~ Paul Engle

"Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them."
~ Charles Simic

"A poet who makes use of a worse word instead of a better, because the former fits the rhyme or the measure, though it weakens the sense, is like a jeweler, who cuts a diamond into a brilliant, and diminishes the weight to make it shine more." ~ Horace Walpole

How many words does it take to say what I want to say? How many does it take to say all I need to say? I always thought that you should use lots of flowing flowery words to "dress up" any story or poem that you wrote. I even thought that you had to use a certain amount of fancy words just to make it look good. I was recently informed that I was wrong about that. I had always known about word counts. Years ago when I took one of those by the mail writing courses, that were so popular back then, they talked about word counts a lot. Of course they had to set limits because the story did have to actually fit into their magazine with lots of space for the other writers stories and articles too. Not to mention the classifieds and pictures required to make a good magazine.

But word count in poetry? My dark poetry teacher called it the extra word law. He said take out every single word you can! Then read it over a few times to make sure you got them all. But to start out knowing you can only use a set amount, and a small amount at that, of words is often scary. I have tried to entice my poetry club into trying it. So far they all say I am limiting them too much. It is new to them and they can't imagine saying anything with less than a page full of words. I will eventually woo them over to at least try it I hope!

Today's poems were all written by prompts. Each of them gave a one or two word prompt plus a word count limit. So that we not only knew how many words we could use, but also the subject of our poem. However we are always able to interpret the word or words or even sometimes, pictures, in our own way. Maybe some of you have a word in mind and want to send me a word and a word count. Maybe you have a picture you'd like me to try and write something from. Just remember that some subjects require a few more words than others. But being me, I'll give almost anything a try. I hope you enjoy these poems. Have a great day!

#1) PROMPTS: spiral, malleable, stranded ~ use one, two or all three.. your choice. 30 (thirty) words. ~ Emma

Behind a Wall
Hammers of your words
strike again and again.
My soul spirals downward
uncontrolled. My malleable
heart forever twisted by
wicked words. My Love stranded
behind an unbreakable wall of Pain.

written By: Patricia Sawyer

#2)PROMPTS: surreal, sunset; use both or use just one. you decide. ENTER♥
~ mesmerized--x

Old gray heron
wades knee deep
along ponds edge.
Fiery reflections dance
across still waters.
Bass leaps through

written By: Patricia Sawyer


#3) 35 words or less. no rhyme. anger and unrest found in the youth of the worlds cities today.
~ Norman

Pieces Of Me
On City sidewalk corners
stands anger, Desperation and Pain.
Buyers, Sellers, Pushers!
Stop; Look around
faceless stranger lays dead.
I calmly walk away.
Pieces of me dripping
into the river of unrest.

Written By: Patricia Sawyer

#4) Prompt: Manhattan chill - 30-40 words -Brevity and imagination are the key
~autumn gypsy

A Long Way Up
Big city socialites
Barely there dresses.
Midnight chill kept off
their shoulders by thick
chinchilla fur. Champagne
filled bellies.Strutting their stuff.
A wiggle in their midnight walk.
Frozen smile. Eyes as dead as the
animal about their skinny neck.

written By: Patricia Sawyer


Big Time said...

Those are all good but I have to say my favorite one is "Sunset" I can see it so well. Love you! Reuben

Sunshine said...

Hmmmmm...I like flowery words too. Patsy, you do a fine job even with less words! I see all of the poems as if they were pictures in my head. Try these when you are bored...

40-50 words (rhyme if you like)

escape, travel, love

Pblacksaw said...

Sunshine~ I will will come up with something from those words.and stick to the word limit.. I won't promise to rhyme though. I rarely write in rhyme.. We'll see. As always thanks for the prompt. I give special consideration to prompts I get from this blog.. They always get put on top of the list!

Bigtime~ I agree with you.. I wrote that one sitting on the bank of Mr.Griners pond, while Dave was cutting okra and tending the garden, the last time The Griners were out of town. I love that place. I would live out there if I could. I wrote what I saw that day.. one of the few times a prompt worked out so well.. I love you!

Thanks for reading my blog today! Have a wonderful day!