At Long Last–Imitation is more than flattery

I should be ashamed to show my face–lots of good excuses for ignoring my pledge to post once a month on a topic of interest to performers and writers alike–but really–its a lot of days since February. So, there will be a flurry of posts coming

Imitation is More Than Flattery

Near the end of my time as a Tupelo Press 30/30 poet, frantically crafting poems to be posted each day, one of the poets issued a challenge. She asked us to try writing in the style of one of the others. The young man she assigned to me is a stylish, wonderful poet–award-winning and creator of sharp staccato lines and images. Oh dear. So, I studies the poems he posted and researched more about him and his work. Then I put forth my pen (okay, keyboard) and attempted something in his style.

The exercise was more than simple fun. It was a tremendous learning exercise. That young poetry master taught this old poetry novice more than a few tricks–without even sending me an email. In order to copy him,I had to analyze his use of words, line , rhyme (if any), lyric, etc. What effect did he achieve with each poem? How did his use of poetic elements lead him to that? I chose a topic, I attempted to work within his mindset and then I wrote. And posted.

What went on creatively was that I followed an old tried and true technique–copying old masters (young in my case). By copying the masters we can then better branch out to find our own style. Some people get stuck in the copying mode, but if you have original thoughts and your own voice, then the analysis involved raises your work to a higher plane. I know it has helped me. Since that effort I have tried branching out into other forms of poetry and I am taking one of the free Stanford University courses on poetry to learn more about he masters and the old forms. (10 Premodern women)

Study the old to transform your work into something new–a mantra that is helping my work improve. Just the simple exercise of writing more each day brought my work a step higher and I have had several poetry acceptances since the Feb 3030–essays too. Since Feb I finished book four of my Desert Breeze Series and am working on the Book Club Questions and press releases for these.

Also, my collection of short stories is almost out–publishing issues–but now Cane Hollow Press personnel are well and ready to roll and that too, will soon be out–working on a class outline for teaching Ekphrastic Storytelling for that one.

More to come! I hope to have another post with useful information in it by mid-June. Meantime, expect a couple of book reviews and maybe some news on Turkey.

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One response to “At Long Last–Imitation is more than flattery

  1. I agree with you entirely. Trying to assume the literary voice of another writer is a good way of discovering a new perspective on writing and also an excellent method of developing your own literary voice.

    Like

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