Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE #1

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Cinnamon Bear
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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:01 pm

Now that I have finished my rant about free verse, I will post one of my very few efforts in this genre. I wrote it for a college freshman writing course. I was living in New York City and dating a man at the NY Maritime College (popularly known as Fort Schuyler). I'm not sure how I got an "A" in freshman writing, since I mostly dreamed my way through the course. :D


The Sailboat

You stand on deck and grip the rail—
You feel the sea gently rocking, rocking.
And then a gust of wind and you go faster, faster—
Feel the wind in your hair, salt spray hitting your cheek,
Hear the rush and roar of waves breaking on the shore.

And then…

An unfeeling passenger offers you his seat—
You are not rocked—but jolted.
Not a cool sea breeze you felt--but a draft.
The roar of waves was but a rumbling of wheels upon the tracks.

But wait—a gull is screaming somewhere in the distance…

Screeching brakes and you are coming to a stop.
You climb up on the dock—

But it is only a subway station.

Cinnamon Bear

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glorybee
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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by glorybee » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:00 am

Cinnamon Bear wrote: Who wants to compete with the likes of Walt Whitman or the author(s) of the psalms? :(

Cinnamon Bear
I understand what you're saying, because I've felt that way many times myself, and not just about free verse poetry. My confidence in my own writing plummets whenever I read something beautiful written by someone else.

However, if you take that to its logical conclusion:

Why ever write Christian fiction as long as Lisa Samson is around?
Why ever write a legal thriller as long as John Grisham is around?
Why ever write a historical romance when people can just read Jane Austen?
Why write rhymed poetry when we have Emily Dickinson?

You could substitute other genres and other writers, but you get the idea. If we buy into that mindset, we'd all just stop writing altogether. Surely there are other reasons to write than just being as good as the masters.

I'm preaching to myself as well, as several of my friends will attest. In fact, this post has got me thinking about my next lesson: stay tuned!
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glorybee
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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by glorybee » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:03 am

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Now that I have finished my rant about free verse, I will post one of my very few efforts in this genre. I wrote it for a college freshman writing course. I was living in New York City and dating a man at the NY Maritime College (popularly known as Fort Schuyler). I'm not sure how I got an "A" in freshman writing, since I mostly dreamed my way through the course. :D


The Sailboat

You stand on deck and grip the rail—
You feel the sea gently rocking, rocking.
And then a gust of wind and you go faster, faster—
Feel the wind in your hair, salt spray hitting your cheek,
Hear the rush and roar of waves breaking on the shore.

And then…

An unfeeling passenger offers you his seat—
You are not rocked—but jolted.
Not a cool sea breeze you felt--but a draft.
The roar of waves was but a rumbling of wheels upon the tracks.

But wait—a gull is screaming somewhere in the distance…

Screeching brakes and you are coming to a stop.
You climb up on the dock—

But it is only a subway station.

Cinnamon Bear
I actually think this poem has a lot going for it--up until you kind of lost confidence in yourself with that last line. Great imagery, interesting 2nd person perspective. For a first try, this is good stuff!
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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Cinnamon Bear
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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:29 pm

Thanks for your replies, Jan.

I am not sure why I wrote the poem in second person. Maybe I had been influenced by something I read at the time. I normally dislike writing--or reading--in second person.

Regarding the last line: I frequently rode the New York City subways with friends who were also dating men from Fort Schuyler. Usually we were straphangers (or rail hangers?), because there was standing room only. To make our rides more pleasant, we came up with the idea of pretending that we were sailing. :)

Cinnamon Bear

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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by KatKane » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:31 am

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=49524

I've pasted the link for the autobiography challenge.

I didn't start off intending to write free verse. Poetry is definitely not my natural strength but, for this piece, I could not make it work in prose - poetry was what this piece seemed to want to be. I tried it out with a rhyming scheme but found I was sacrificing content in order to make it rhyme, so I decided to get rid of it and go with free verse. That decision gave me the freedom to focus on content. It's fair to say it ended up being free verse by default rather than design.

I used different images to describe the two schools - war for the primary school and metamorphosis for secondary. Not sure how well this worked.

It hasn't done especially well by the judges' standards, but the number of reads (121 by Wednesday) suggests that something about the poem worked - but I can't put my finger on what.

I guess this piece has taught me the single most important lesson about writing: at the end of the day, the first priority of anything I write for the challenge is to glorify God so that it can be used by Him to minister to others regardless of whether or not it places. For that reason alone, I'm glad I did persevere and enter (I wanted to throw in the towel quite a few times with this genre). But next time I attempt free verse - and there will be a next time because I loved it! - I want to do it better :D
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"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." Martin Luther

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Re: Be a Better Writer--FREE VERSE

Post by glorybee » Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:55 pm

Well done, Kat! I suspect that I'll see you moving up quickly through the levels!
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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