This is the third in a series of short articles in which Poet Laureate Jan Wood shares valuable tips for poets.
Try to imagine another direction for that thought to travel. For example, if the poem sums up a year, it might end “the year is gone.” Adding another direction, the poet might say “so are my umbrella and your rain boots”. (This gives a hint that the weather/relationship during the year was not sunny.)
Sometimes a new insight can be forged by presenting an opposite into the final line “the year is gone”… e.g. “another looms." Sometimes the last line can be pressed even deeper into its own statement “the year is gone”… “let it go.” When using this particular technique the tendency to sum up the last line in synonym/personification is always a temptation. e.g. “the year is gone”… “it waved goodbye.” This only encumbers the poem and doesn’t enhance its meaning. Carefully examine your poem to check for this type of repetition. Occasionally a leap can be made from the existing summation line, “the year is gone”… “it’s time I cried.” This can change the direction and the perspective of the poem opening it up to a larger audience.
Lynda Monahan : Canadian Poet 1952–
• Monahan’s first book of poems, a slow dance in the flames, was printed by Coteau Books in 1998.
• She has been published several times in a variety of literary magazines.
• Several of her poetry suites have been broadcast on CBC Radio One.
• She teaches creative writing classes at SIAST in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
• She facilitates workshops for small groups and classrooms.
• She is an active member of the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild.
• Her second book of poetry, what my body knows, was printed by Coteau Books in 2003.
• Monahan has the ability to refine the shape of a poem into its bare necessity.
• Her poems are sharply defined and often arrive at a conclusion in the second last line.
• as shown in the quote from an untitled poem from what my body knows (Part I);
• Monahan's work can be viewed at www.roommagazine.com.