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How to Write: Week 24: Academic Poetry: Sunday (Style)

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    Academic poetry is typically described as poetry based on forms, meter, rhyme.      Academic poetry is focused on technique sometimes in spite of the emotional content or connection.  They key to great and transcendent academic poetry is to find a way to keep the technique as well as have the emotional connection to the audience.
    When one considers academic poetry they think of “old, dead white form poets.”  Unfortunately this is mostly true, but thankfully more diversity is coming to what might be considered the “mainstream” of poetry.  Academic poets are the ones most often able to subsist on their poetry alone.
    Their diction is most often perfect or at least enunciated in such a way that the work seems stilted at times.  It is sometimes hard to hear the emotion from the words and audiences have a hard time connecting.
    Our goal will be mastering the techniques used while harnessing emotional content necessary for poetry.
    The best way to become familiar with academic poetry is to seek out academic poets.  Poets who have been chosen as United States Poet Laureates are a good place to start.  Not all of them are “old & white.”
    Expand to university presses, particularly teachers.  This is not a cardinal rule either, some teachers would be considered nonacademic poets.
    As you do this week’s assignments, make sure to read poetry by established academic poets.
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Azriel Johnson is an inkspatter analyst by day and a serial writer by night. He runs a small, not money losing publishing press and a weekly open mic with monthly features called Writing Knights Press.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be interested in seeing what you say about academic poetry. I think you're mixing together academic poetry, meaning the poetry that is studied in college English classes, with academic poetry, meaning the poetry that is being printed in university presses (by which I assume you mean literary reviews, which are run, typically, by MFA programs). But these two are completely different, and in many ways opposites.
    The type of academic poetry that is published in literary reviews detests rhyme, and is deeply skeptical about form and meter.
    And US poet laureates are a completely different kettle of fish as well- this is, of course, first and foremost a political appointment (although everybody likes Billy Collins).