I have just published my seventh book of poetry entitled An Act of Courage. It is a collection of poems I wrote during 2016 and it marks a change of pace for me, since I experimented with different styles and subjects. The book contains a selection of 53 poems chosen from the output of a rather prolific year when I produced more poetry than in any other previous year.
I tend to start off a poem with a certain phrase that seems good to me and then follow a line of images that come to my mind by describing them using metaphor and simile until the poem is finished. Whenever I reread one of my own poems those images come back into my mind like a little movie playing in my head. One of the things I have to watch out for, though, is making sure I seize a subject from the start and run with it, rather than rambling on without really saying anything tangible. Hopefully, I have achieved substance over miasma in this book.
I used to think that poetry was the result of articulating some strong emotion and the stronger the emotion the better the poetry. Unfortunately, the tendency to work up strong emotions can kick in and ruin a poem rather than enhance it. On the other hand, when I actually start a poem with something specific in mind that I want to say, usually the result is something that is usable. I’m not saying that there is no emotion that goes into poetry. All I’m saying is that, for me at least, that is not enough. When you can achieve both in a poem then you have a chance of producing something decent, or even great.