The Right Word
As a poet I look
through book after book
for just the right word -- to get it.
But if I can't find it,
I really don't mind it;
I file it away -- why sweat it?
For I know that in time
the correct word or rhyme
will ask to be heard and I'll let it.
Then I put up my feet
'cuz my poem is complete,
and the waiting? I never regret it.
First published in The SCBWI Bulletin, May 2011
reprinted in The Journal of Children's Literature, Spring 2014
(c) B.J. Lee 2011 All Rights Reserved
1. The right metaphor - Often this is the hardest, yet most crucial part of poem-making for me. But once I find the metaphor, usually the rest of the pieces fall into place easier.
2. The right angle - What do I want to reveal about my poem's subject and how will I accomplish that?
3. The right form - What form will best suit the subject matter - free verse or any number of other forms. Some of the forms I work in include the limerick, roundel, triolet, villanelle, pantoum and haiku. I also like to try forms I haven't tried before as well as put my own spin on existing forms.
4. The right voice - What voice will best suit my subject matter - third person or first person or even, sometimes, second person? If third person, will it be omnipotent or limited? If first person, is an object/character speaking (mask poem) or is the poet speaking to an object/character (apostrophe poem)?
5. The right word - Finally, after all these considerations, it's time to actually write the poem, time to consider each and every word, to find the best words to make the best poem. Some of my favorite word-seeking resources include Roget's Thesaurus and Rhymezone's Synonyms/Related Phrases function.
For me, much patience is needed in the creation of a poem. But the end result is well worth it! Waiting for the right metaphor, the right angle, the right form, the right voice and the right word equals satisfaction!
"Then I put up my feet 'cuz my poem is complete..."
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this theme. What is your poem-making process like?