A Life Of Fiction CLXVII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Find Your Own Voice: I’m not sure if I’ve covered this before. I find that I am running out of interesting things to say on this blog. So apologies if I am retreading the same ground as before.

In poetry, and in writing in general, you need to find your own voice. I think that, even after writing poetry for more years than I would care to admit, I am still searching for a unique voice.

Think of the poetry of somebody like William Blake. His poems, from the Songs of Innocence and Experience, or from elsewhere, are nearly always recognisably his. You aren’t going to confuse his works with those of John Keats. William Blake had found his voice.

I think that my voice is not a modernist one. I don’t think that I am the sort of poet who is ever going to get published by somebody like Bloodaxe or Carcanet.

But why should every modern day poet be a modernist? Why abandon all of the forms of the past? If you want to write unrhymed blank verse that is fine, if that is your voice, and it speaks from your heart. But I don’t think that you should feel under any compulsion to do so. If you want to write a Petrarchan sonnet then go and write a Petrarchan sonnet. or you could try to invent some rhyme scheme of your own, if you find that that is the best way for you to speak to other people. It’s easy. Here we go: a poem about personal darkness and depression. We don’t want it to sound like a nursery rhyme, so we’ll try a rhyme scheme ABCBACDEFEDF and see what the result is. If we don’t like it, or feel that it is not really our voice, we can file it under the drawer Do Not Open.

Each day I wake to thoughts of doom

I fear the passing of the hours

Each knock upon my duplex door

Each frailty of my mental powers

I hide inside my darkened room

And fracture just a little more.

One day, perhaps, I’ll be like you

You people who all seem so well

Who cope with fear and laugh it off

And aren’t a slave to living hell

One day, perhaps, I’ll live anew

And not exist in ways so rough.

Just a little ditty, in my voice. And I feel a little better for getting it off my chest (poetry as therapy, I guess). But still a little bit too rhyming. And was that really my voice, or just the way that I think that it should sound?

What voice would you give the above? How would these words spill forth from your pen? Perhaps like this:

Bad thoughts wake me

The hours haunt me

Visitors enfrail me

I am alone in darkness

Fractured, enslaved, and doomed.

There are many ways of putting your thoughts onto the page (or the computer screen). What you, as a writer, need to do is to find a way which is yours, and does not ape anybody else.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I suspect that I will come back to this theme at some time in the future.


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