Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Poetry writing

We had some discussion on the shoutbox in the past week about poetry, and I was surprised how many said they actually write or read poetry. Here I thought I was just an old fossil. After consulting the “the admin” it was agreed that we should start with a topic and if it grows really huge a larger section might be created. For the moment, I’d say just tack anything onto this one topic and that way we won’t miss it.

I’m curious to know what poetic forms interest you, how much poetry you generally write (in comparison to prose,) and whether or where you may have actually published any poems.

I’m rather old fashioned about forms. While I like reading free verse as much as anyone, I prefer to write in the traditional forms. Most particularly, I like the sonnet, but I’ve dabbled with other metrical rhyming structures. I’d like to try a real epic tale in rhyming couplets (Homeric style) or possibly the Teutonic alliterative verse style (like Beowulf.) I’ve been dabbling a bit with the alliterative lately.

I have notebooks full of verse dating all the way back to high school (somewhere) but haven’t done so much poetry in recent years. On the other hoof, I just got a poem onto QuarterReads last week, and I’m quite pleased with it. It’s even “furry” if you count reptiles as a legitimate part of the furry world, since it’s written from the viewpoint of a tortoise. And yes, though I’ve written probably hundreds of poems, that’s the first one I’ve ever published anywhere.

So, how about it, folks?

I’ve been writing poetry a long time. I was fortunate to study under two different mentors who had an excellent grasp of technique.

For many years I wrote almost exclusively in blank verse, though towards the end of my productive period (I write poetry only rarely now) I started trying to get away from what I had come to see as the rigidity of verse.

I published my first poem when I was fourteen. I don’t remember where. I’ve had poetry published in various places since then…there was a place called “Thought Fragments” and another called “A Fractured Reality.” Maybe some others? I don’t remember.

By “blank verse” I assume you mean literally unrhymed Iambic pentameters? Not as restrictive as a rhyming form, and bound only by a fairly easy meter. I’m surprised you found that constrictive. I’ve written free verse, which has neither meter nor rhyme and is defined as verse largely because I say so. :smiley: (And because of the way it’s printed on the page.) I don’t think I ever tried the formal blank verse unless it was for some long ago school assignment, best forgotten.

Anyway, good to know you’re also a poet. Who else will 'fess up?

One reason for my username (that later turned into a fursona name) is that I started out writing and submitting poetry long before I was submitting fiction. I had various poems published in a few dozen different poetry zines/literary magazines in the late '90s to early 2000s, and my husband and I edited and published our own poetry zine, Limestone Circle, from 1999 to 2002. Gradually, though, my interest in writing poetry diminished as my fiction writing/sales took over. I still enjoy reading poetry, and I’ll still write poems if/when they come to me, but it’s not something I’m as devoted to as I was.

My preferences (reading and writing) are for free verse that’s vivid, lyrical, and accessible. I’ve only written a few poems in one form or another, and it always felt too much like an assignment, even when it was relatively successful. Favorite poet is Mary Oliver, though I probably have more favorite poems than poets.

(And if anyone’s curious, there’s a sampling of poems on my website.)

I started writing furry poetry a couple of years ago, when I had an idea that I liked but wasn’t right for a short story. There’s a Poetry folder on my SoFurry account, and last year I had a (furry!) poem published in Apex magazine: http://www.apex-magazine.com/afterwards/

My poems always tend to work out around 20 lines long, and I use the same two or three rhyme schemes over and over, so I’m trying to be a little more adventurous and have a go at some different forms.

Yes. And I think a great many things can come to feel like a straight-jacket if one does them too much.

Poetigress-- I had wondered before whether your name meant you wrote poetry. Thanks for the pointer to the samples. I enjoyed reading them. Particular favorites are the one about the charcoal grill, and the one about rice.

Huskyteer-- Nice one. Though I’m afraid if I got “melded” with my horse I’d come out as a centaur. Not sure what to think about that one.

I have been writing poetry off and on ever since high-school. I still have some of it, despite computer crashes, hard drive wipes and many years passing. Most of it is pure doggerel, rhyming verse with little to recommend it. Even more so when I started writing poetry for the geocaches I was finding. I wanted something to be unique about my online logs since a lot of people’s logs tended to be nothing special, mere acronyms.

800 logs later and my verse is simply awful, since there are only so many ways to write about that stuff. :slight_smile:

I have written poetry for a long time, but recently I haven’t written much of anything outside of fiction. It’s been an effort to get back into the habit I dropped after college. I believe I’ve lost more poems than I’ve retained over the years.

As for what I like to write, I like rhyming couplets and free verse, but have tried my hand at many different forms and meters. It’d be interesting to write furry poetry.

As for what I like to read, I’m a fan of surrealist poetry and think most of my recent stuff has floated towards that. I like double meanings, hard enjambments, and poems that have vivid imagery that’s more than just window dressing. That said, I read just about everything if given the chance.

I look forward to talking more about poetry soon. :3

A couple of poetry bundles for anyone who’s interested.


Thanks for sharing everyone - this is an interesting topic and look forward to reading more as it flows along. Congratulations also to Altivo for his publication in QuarterReads.

As I guess you all know, [adjective][species] is currently calling for poetry submissions. Hopefully those of you sharing your poetry here will submit a selection to Lu, who is curating the final selection. By the sounds of it, he will have a difficult job on his hands. In any event, the discussion here is a really positive sign for the initiative, and I don’t see any reason that [adjective][species] can’t make this a regular event.

We know full well that not many people care about poetry. On the few occasions that [adjective][species] has featured poetry - we have published one of Lu’s poems, as well as writing about poetry in general - it gets little attention compared with our usual fare. But the site has never been about popularity or attracting eyeballs; the focus is intended to be a bit more thoughtful. Topics like poetry are interesting and valuable, and so we’ll continue to feature them in the future.

Shining River, writing as a guest contributor, looked at mainstream animal poetry last week, and featured a handful of 20th century greats. I thought that was great, and it’s the sort of thing that could happen more often. So if anyone wants to write about poetry, perhaps looking at specific aspects or genres of furry/animal poetry in a bit more detail than SR’s broad brush, I’m sure it would be received well. There are instructions for submissions on the site, should anyone here be interested.

I’ve been enjoying the poetry week on a:s. When I started getting interested in furry poetry there seemed to be very little of it, and very little interest, so it’s great to see everyone coming forward here.

PT: just read the Poetry page of your website. I especially like the otter one!

This is incredibly exciting for me to see so many furry poets!

I also started writing in poetry before prose. There was a comfort for me in strict rhyming schemes and the likes. Oddly, I found sonnets the most challenging and only attempted writing them twice- one for a school assignment and the other just to see what I could do with it. It turns out sonnets were my breaking point for strictness of rhyming scheme. I toyed with a variety of them though, and poetry later became the only way I really knew how to express myself through gradeschool. It wasn’t until well into high school that I broke out more into short stories and a bit of fan fiction, finally giving myself permission to survey the darker areas of my fictional ideas.

I don’t write poetry near as much as I used to. Sometimes a few lines will get caught in my head and I’m actually in the position to get them down and explore them. During one of my moves back in 2007 though, I lost my poetry journal. It had well over one hundred of my own poems, and fifty from various friends over the years. It was crushing to lose it, and I think that’s was when my poetry writing dropped the hardest.

I had a couple of my poems published through poetry.com way way back, but there’s no real way for me to track it down since the site had been overhauled since then. I have recently submitted a small gathering of poems to QuarterReads, and have one or two already published there. Still waiting to hear back if they’ve accepted the others.

I have a question for you wonderful poets out there.

What qualifies, within a poem, as a complete story? What might be considered as too vague or open-ended?

Admittedly, what spurs this question is an email from QuarterReads. Of the nine poems I had entered, three were accepted. One of the reasons given was that some of the denied poems didn’t tell a complete enough story, and it made me wonder what might qualify.

That sounds like they’re trying to make poetry fit within the same kind of beginning/middle/end narrative structure of fiction, which isn’t always going to be a good fit. I think they’re the only ones who are going to be able to answer that question, and frankly it sounds like just editorial preference that isn’t worth spending too much time analyzing. If in doubt, send them fiction instead. :slight_smile:

Actually, they’ve done that with fiction too. I think their idea of a “complete” story just isn’t very up to date. There may be things unresolved, or hints of more to follow.

I sent them a quite complete story that happened to be a flashback within a novel. Made the mistake of telling them it was excerpted from a longer book. Rejected because it “wasn’t a complete work” but if I hadn’t told them, I think it would have gone through.

Poems are often vague or open-ended, and very often just show a moment or a vignette rather than a structured story. Sounds to me like a form response gone wrong!

(Many of my favourite poems tell a story, though. I especially like poems with a real ‘wham’ in the last line.)

I write poetry, though it’s more of an occasional affair than my primary output. That’s mainly just because I have qualms about calling myself a poet - I do write in traditional verse styles, such as alliterative, epic (I’m writing one of these), but I mostly worry about doing anything in free verse, as I feel things in it can very much be said to be just prose with random line breaks.

The vast majority of the poetry I do write doesn’t feature anthropmomorphism, so I can’t really say it’s “furry”.

Anyway, it is good to hear that there are more poets around!

It’s good to see so many voices and new faces. Apparently we have a lot of “closet poets” about. Now let’s see some of the poems. Adjective species is looking for submissions right now. QuarterReads accepts poetry submissions. The critique section here will entertain poetry discussions. And for that matter, shorter poems could be shared right in this topic.

Welcome to all of us, let the party begin. :smiley:

Ho boy! Okay, let’s see here. I’ll start with my QuarterReads poems, then later add the ones that didn’t make it to the site X3

Two Children: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=940
It was originally meant to be free verse, but I had some fun with a rather loose rhyming scheme.

The Meaning of Life: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1061
I loved Shel Silverstein growing up. This isn’t nearly as great as his, but I’d like to think it at least wouldn’t be an embarrassment X3 Basic AABB rhyme scheme.

Bridges and Tantrums: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1066
Written as an answer to an ex’s poem, I hesitated to post it at all. AABC rhyme scheme.

True Courage: https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1069
Yes, I like simplicity in my poetry- so sue me! I’ve seen people who seem the weakest when they’re at their strongest, because that transition is never really a pretty sight. This poem is dedicated to those who show true courage, face their fear, and do what they have to despite what anyone else might think. Basic ABCB rhyme scheme.

There was a time when I was far more adventurous with my rhyme. It’s been nice in the past number of years to bring it back to basics though.