Over the course of the semester, I’ve certainly grown, in nearly every respect, though especially as a writer. Of course, my knowledge of poetry, its techniques, and its authors has grown, but I feel that much of this semester has been a lot of reinforcing and gradual improvement of my poetic voice. Rather than a radical shift in my style due to exposure to new poets and works, I found myself improving in how I conveyed that style, adopting new techniques and sensibilities. That said, there is certainly much to be talked about when it comes to my evolution, even if the difference is not as radical as others.
Of course, to cover how I have changed, I must also cover what has not. In particular, many elements of my poetry remain the same from before the semester began. Most of my poetry uses vivid imagery to convey quiet or contemplative moments. Whether it's the silent frustration in my sonnet or the calm lunch in my haiku, my poems are typically either calm or reflective.
As for that which has changed, there is plenty to cover. Probably most apparent is my growing use of repetition, particularly in my villanelle and my ode, the former of which has repetition in every line. After reading Steve Kowit’s “The Grammar Lesson”, which features heavy use of repetition to hammer in its message in spite of its initially chaotic appearance, I found myself quite drawn to the use of repetition, using it in my work to focus in on something, be it the monotony of studying at home or the many people who I used to know.
Another slight change I’ve undergone is the shortening of lines. While before, I would often write long, extensive, and needlessly verbose lines of text to say something, working with haiku has made me appreciate more concise work. Most of my poems this semester tend to have brief lines, the lack of words as important to imagery as their presence. Overall, managing word economy early in the semester has helped me develop far more than I initially thought, as I can now see its effect in retrospect.
Hand in hand with my management of word economy leading to what I believe to be more impactful, short lines, is enjambment. Though I got to utilize it to some degree writing the haiku and very briefly in the villanelle, Writing Journal Exercise #11 allowed me to really have fun with the technique, and my free verse poems all utilize it to varying degrees.
Along with changes in the length of the line is the virtue of vocabulary. In conjunction with trying to say more with less, I’ve also worked to be less cliche in my writing. In an attempt to sound more unique, I use more abstract lines to convey a certain temperature or season. For example, in my free verse poem “Burning”, rather than simply saying something like “It was as hot as a summer’s day”, I use imagery like steam rising off the pavement, and the sky burning to convey the season.
Overall, the course of the semester has been quite kind to my poetic repertoire (certainly much kinder than everything else), with significant change in my use of words, both in the amount of words and the kind used. While the themes, subject matter, and atmosphere of my poetry may remain the same as it was before taking English 24A, the quality by which I can convey them has certainly improved.