At the January 8th meeting, Dr. Laurence Musgrove, author of books of poetry and chair of the Angelo State University Department of English, presented “The Five Sources of Beauty in Poetry.”
Musgrove began by listing the five sources: shape, line, voice, repetition, and analogy. It is usually easy to spot poetry on the page: it is not a solid block of text like prose. Poetry on the page takes different shapes: long lines that extend almost across the page or skinny lines snaking down the page or lining the edges. The shape of the poem often hints at its style. Long lines implying perhaps description or observation, short lines providing contrast or emotion.
The nature of the individual line of poetry can also be revealing: lines can simply end, but the poem continue on the next line. Each line might be a complete sentence, ending in a period. A stanza or an entire poem might be one long articulation, a blast of stream of consciousness.
The voice of the poem relates to the speaker: young, old, sad, hopeful. A poem can also be voiced by the reader and so convey the emotion and beauty set out by the writer.
Repetition is a tool like that of the refrain of a country song. It reinforces some idea periodically. A poem could examine a situation from different points of view but be anchored by the same line or lines repeated throughout.
Analogy is a powerful tool for poetry; a tool to understand one thing in the essence of another.
from Metta Meditation
How your breath moves in and out,
Wave after wave breaking upon
The beachfront of your upper lip.
Musgrove read several poems and passed out three as handouts: two of his own, Metta Meditation and Happy with That, and one by Maggie Smith, Good Bones. Musgrove recommended three books of accessible modern poetry, Good Poems edited by Garrison Kellor, Best American Poety, an anthology published annually, and Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry edited by Billy Collins. The “180” in the title refers to a 180 degree turn, a turning back (there are also 180 poems in the collection).
Musgrove brought hard copies of several of his books: One Kind of Recording, Aphorisms, Local Bird, Texas Weather, and Still There: Poems with Dogs. All of these titles are available on Amazon.