According to Mr. Mand true poetic license (TPL) dictates that there is no bad poetry. You can write whatever you want, however you want too. You can even make up words (as seen in my work), add in punctuation where ever you want and capitalize whenever you feel like it. With rules like that you can’t fail. On other hand, with rules like that everyone can write and be “a master.” That is why there are so many who write subpar poetry like the above example. This does not make their poem bad when shared with loved ones and friends but submission into the poetic stream of consciousness gets them turned away and they do not understand why. I realize that in large part it is due to ego and pride, we all believe that what we created is far superior to all else.
Should poetry be examined more in primary school? Be a full semester elective in middle school? Should Caught in the Quite by Rod McKuen be a textbook in High School? Do I ask too many questions? You bet I do.
My answer to the above is, no. Well, yes, just because it should be focused on more but no for this particular example. All that really needs to be taught is that there is a time and place for everything in life as well as in True Poetic License. Don’t add TPL just because you can. Only add it out of necessity within the context of the story. Let me dissect a poem that contains all the TPL elements but works within the context of the story. One could argue the point because the poem is written by me however I believe it fits.
Ode To The Romantic Within
An unloved lover in a dreamer’s dream.
Prince Charming within unheroic minds.
Liquid souls dance upon a moonbeam,
Try contemplating this for all lost time.
Breathtaking rhymes flowing in conjunction,
Means nothing to the unfelt compassion.
How can words stand primordial function,
If they cannot comply their vogued fashion.
The constant beauty found within my head,
Falls stone cold to my hideous outside.
Constant commotion of pain almost dead,
Within my own reality I hide.
I and Cyrano are long lost brothers,
We are the real outcasts of true lovers.
What have we got? Again with the questions! An ode that seems to work on a comma, period, comma, period principle basically wrapping the sentence or breaking it into small sections. However the first and second lines are both periods, why? Line one is actually a complete sentence. Line two, while fragmented, does not flow into line three so we need to use TPL to have the lines make sense.
Now we have two made up words: unheroic and vouged. Unheroic, the subject wants to be Prince Charming, noble, bold, handsome and to rescue the maiden but in real life will not even talk to someone of the female persuasions let alone have a heroic bone in his body therefore he is unheroic. Vogued means to have been in vogue for a long time. What is interesting is that no one has ever questioned those words so either they make sense within the context or people don’t want to ask and feel stupid that they do know what the word is. I hope for the first but believe the truth comes from the latter.
Capitalization, I have a habit of capitalizing for no reason, even in everyday writing, you should have seen this before I proofed it. The caps to start each line, even after a comma, are a personal, conscience, decision. I think it makes the poem look more uniform.
Finally, what the heck does Liquid souls dance upon a moonbeam mean? Interpretation should always be left up to the reader with the true st knowledge of the meaning being kept by the author. I wrote that line while thinking about how the moonlight looks on rippling water. Not so interesting anymore is it? That, I promise, is my last question. Or is it?