Category Archives: ENGL 2307 Poetry

Materials useful for ENGL 2307 Creative Writing in Poetry

When You See a Fork in the Road, Take It, Concerning “A Fog Pushed”

I was lucky in high school to have been asked to help edit the first literary journal in the school. One or two poems were even selected to be in the journal, named appropriately as the sixties ended, Wildflowers. Temple was a small town, so the local paper promoted the journal and quoted one of my poems. I was even asked to visit a lady’s group and read some poems. What kind and sweet people to be so kind to such an innocent, struggling boy! I doubt if my father knew any of this. If he did, I don’t think it impressed him. Continue reading

When the Soul Visits at Dawn

I am a poet. You are, too, and I hope you think of yourself as one. Believing that you are a poet can be both the easiest and the hardest thing you can do. It is the easiest because, to believe you are a poet, all you have to do is believe. Just say, “I am a poet.” Who, really, can deny that of you?  If believing doesn’t work for you, then pull out a sheet of paper right now—actually, if you have a notebook, and you plan to read this book/series of blog, and stay with me for a while, go ahead and get the notebook—and write out a short sentence. Like this: Continue reading

Ted Hughes, Alliteration, and Old English

The first poem we read in class is by Ted Hughes. I would simply like to add a few things about what I have learned from Ted Hughes.  When I was young he was one of the great rebel poets–kind of an outsider on the inside of the poetry establishment.  His book Crow was all the rage.  What I learned from Hughes back then was that there was a real place in poetry for the “ugly sounds” in English (my phrase).  Reading Shakespeare and Wordsworth and such, I thought poetry had to be beautiful–L’s and O’s  and U’s and V’s and soft S’s.  Hughes taught me that K’s and short A’s and P’s and G’s and J’s also had their places and effects. Continue reading


A  poet in an online class has asked a very good question:  What is enjambment for?  I want to first say, that here is an example of why I think distance learning/on-line classes are a bit troubling.  In a traditional face-to-face class, we could just stop for a few minutes, talk about it, and move on. In an on-line class, we kind of have to wait until everyone has found the time—the entire week—to read this post, think about, write something, and consider the responses. Continue reading

Rhymes and Rhythms

I am thinking that there is a way to think about poetry as a creation made of different kinds of rhymes and rhythms. These two concepts from the basis of what has been considered “traditional verse” or “formal verse.” As you know, this semester, I have steered you away from formal verse and toward what is called “free verse.” T.S Eliot said that no free verse is really free, and I would agree with that. I agree with it because the free verse poet has substituted different kinds of rhymes and rhythms into his or her poems. The free verse poem is usually not successful if it is totally free, because it seems that success depends upon some Form in the poem, as opposed to mere shape in the poem. Continue reading

Rhyme, Quaint and Contemporary

So I kind strayed from the topic when talking about rhyme question.   So a student asked: Is exact rhyme “quaint”?  And the answer is that “Yes, many, if not most contemporary “serious” readers of poetry think so.  Why?  Because 1) most “serious” academic-type poets write in some version of unrhymed verse, and 2) most people who do exact rhyme in poems are writers who are a) nostalgic for times and poetries past or b) closet song writers and influenced greatly by contemporary pop songs and not by contemporary poetry. Continue reading


A student will always ask about rhyme.  Should we or shouldn’t we?  It is a huge question–one of those elephants in room–for contemporary poets.  I am going to give you my opinion.  In my opinion,  everyone of us must wrestle with this question him or herself.  Everyone will have an opinion.   Maybe I should describe these “opinions” as studied stances, but there are many people who advocate for one type or another of poetry. My view is that it’s all good, if it is good.  This, it is good if it moves me, if I feel some artistry in the language.  It is bad if I roll my eyes because it is predictable.   Continue reading