I am not being very formal these days, not by my old standards. But I am using a lot of seven and nine-line stanzas. That’s something.
Hey, maybe it would be useful to make a list of poetic/formal things I like and don’t like.
This is an exercise that R, a friend from Poland, told us he performed with his NYC experimental theater company. They were worried that their style was getting too repetitive. So they made a list of everything they hated – it included things like musicals, one-man shows, and Shakespeare – and they decided to do productions including everything from the list they hated. It really stretched them. I think it’s a great idea.
Maybe I can have my students do this? I suppose the problem with it as an introductory exercise is people who are approaching poetry writing for the first time, or who have never really thought about technique, might not have any formal preferences. I wouldn’t want them to feel bad about that.