How to Nurture Love for Poetry #NationalPoetryMonth

Symbolism and words

Poetry is said to be good for the soul, as it soothes our emotions, helps us dig deeper into  thoughts and dreams and makes us discern the aesthetic pleasures around us. If you avoid poetry and prefer thrillers, probably you have never been exposed to the love of reading a good poem.

Nurturing the love for poetry starts in childhood. If you are a parent, read a poem everyday with your child. Ask the child what s/he likes about that poem. If the child likes it, don’t hestitate to read it everyday but add another one. Begin with simple and short poems.

Encourage your child to collect little poems and make a scrapbook. You can browse poems for kids online. Think about your favorite poets and poems you liked as a child or as a youngster. Share those thoughts with your children or siblings. Discuss what makes you like poetry.

Encourage your child to write a short poem. Bette A. Stevens offers excellent guidelines for writing haiku (an unrhymed poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.)

Why is poetry disliked? Whenever this question haunts me, I try to look back to search some answers. The only poetry we were exposed to in schools, was the rhymes and that too in Kindergarten.

While reading story books is stressed upon but good poetry books are not easily available. Either they haven’t been written or their level is too high to be understood by children.

Some poems that we meet in textbooks fail to inculcate the love for reading of more poetry though ‘Mr. Nobody’ stayed in my thoughts and I love it even today.

Here is the fun poem: I wish more such poems could be written!

Mr. Nobody

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.

’Tis he who always tears out books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For prithee, don’t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.

He puts damp wood upon the fire
That kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud,
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid;
Who had them last, but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots,—they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
– Walter de la Mare

Whenever a door squeaks, I think of Mr. Nobody!

Poems for children and middle schoolers have to be short and simple. The following poem by Robert Frost could speak to them if imagery is explained by the teacher:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost

Love for poetry is also connected with how well the poems are taught by our English teachers. Some just read them and inspire children to analyze. While it may be good for developing critical thinking, discussions have to follow to share the opinion of others.

Creative writing workshops in schools that focus on poetry writing develop sensibilities at an early age. Do you have any memories of writing poetry in your school?

In honor of National Poetry Month, two of my poetry books are being offered for just 0.99 cents. If you love poetry, grab your copy now. Thank you. Please share this post at your favorite social networks.

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Why I Like Realism

I call myself a realist though most of my poetry rides on the wings of imagination. I know realism is boring and harsh; modern writers have almost abandoned it but it is ironic that this hypocritical world cannot do away with realities of life that stand before us every single day. However hard we may try to escape them, we can’t eliminate them. Who would like to read about them?

Before you conclude that literary realism is dead, I would like to introduce you to an outstanding book that I stumbled upon recently. When characters accept their imperfections, when they struggle to survive and show the willingness to turn back yet feel entrenched in the situation and no Godfathers come to save them – such stark realism would lack excitement. Strangely I didn’t find this to be true. I am amazed at the relevance of this story, so close to real life.

40179809._SY475_‘It’s A Long Way Down’ by Ian Canon is a realistic and honest saga of David, who had a loving wife, a successful career and the much-awaited award of excellence yet he let himself wander into the darkest alleys of addiction. He couldn’t answer his own question – why? Was it for pleasure, arrogance or escapism? “Success can be suffocating, happiness is hard,” he tries to justify his actions. As David slithered deeper into the abyss of self-imposed addiction, his body tried to react, sending signals of resistance, self-awakening hits him and his efforts to restrain himself are superbly narrated. Despite the theme, this book is brilliantly written, with each detail that keeps you spellbound, making you wonder – what next? What would be the end, detesting the obvious outcome that could be anybody’s guess!

Canon’s style of writing is perceptive, breathing the right emotion into the situation, he shares the depths of despair, the crevasse of self-doubt; human flaws stare at your face, mixed emotions of anger and angst gnaw at your bones, making you the mute spectator of desperation. With no help in sight, this lone journey of an addict is an eye-opener for all those weak-minded individuals who seek pleasure in momentary joy or misuse drugs. David may not evoke sympathy but exemplifies a scaffold of perfect doom.

Ian gets into the mind of his characters, each one perfectly drawn and understands relationships quite well. His delectable prose mitigates the curse words that may seem necessary for the junkies. The book ends on an exquisite note, leaving much to the imagination of the reader, hinting at the power of hope. I am amazed how such a dreary topic could be converted into an excellent book.
© Balroop Singh

Check my latest book release: Moments We Love

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Expectations Of Writers And Readers

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When a writer puts the first word on paper; a dream world opens before him, a world that ignites his creativity as well as fantasy. Former makes him produce his magnificent work but the latter makes him a celebrity overnight (in his dreams.)

You may be writing out of creative compulsions or the satisfaction of venting your voice could be your trigger, most writers harbor a secret wish – to be read, to be reviewed and admired. Admiration comes easily but you never know how hypocritical it is. Reality hits you when you see how much money you are earning from your books.

You may stay determined with the cliché – “never give up” but when you read others’ work and feel that many average books are overflowing with 5 star reviews; you wonder whether something is wrong with you when you feel like dropping a book that has been fetching 5 stars… (for whatever reasons!)

However, there are critical readers too. They know what they want, their discerning eye can’t be escaped. Their expectations are immeasurable.

You think you have the most original ideas, you would be the best seller but your readers feel you ramble, you repeat and the setting of your story is vague or the title of your book is a misnomer.youtuber-2838945__340

You think you write perfect English, your beta readers are excellent helpers and you have a long list of friends under the acknowledgements but your readers find typos and structural errors in your book.

Each reader expects an amazing book; he doesn’t want to think what were your compulsions or exhaustions. He doesn’t want to buy your excuses. He doesn’t want to digest your lack of finances for hiring an astute editor. All readers are not writers and they have every right to judge your book according to their own parameters. All readers are not kind enough to overlook imperfections in the plot, style of writing or characterization.

Then there are writers who focus on money. They write just what sells. The day writing becomes a chore for you, you are no longer a writer, and you become a businessperson, churning out book after book, devoid of any real emotion.

Your writing may not be “like a windowpane” or “impenetrable fog” but it has to be an “exploration,” it has to “enrich the life of those who read it.” If it is just inconsequential chitchat between a few characters, going around in circles, you may befool a few readers but not all.

Robert Frost’s definition is worth pondering: “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

Are you an “eye reader” or a critical reader? Do you drop a book if you don’t like it? What do you expect from your readers?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

Author Spotlight: Balroop Singh (Moments We Love)

I share only few posts at Facebook and I happened to share this one. I am amazed at the response from my old friends and students who still remember me fondly. Many thanks to James, an accomplished author and a wonderful blogger friend for giving me this opportunity to show my achievements. Please hop on to James’ blog to read the full interview, where I also share excerpts from my latest book – ‘Moments We Love.’

Book Readers and Reviewers

e-book-1209040__340When digital devices invaded into our lives and living rooms, people thought books would lose their significance. Debates were organized to discuss and create awareness and a new generation of readers cropped up. Smart phones became their books and that was probably the turning point in the habits of readers.

There are three kinds of book readers.

First are those who read just for pleasure or to pass time. They don’t care to write woman-2701154__340reviews, as they take a book like a stranger who passes by. Characters don’t inspire them, as they look at them from imaginative perspective. They don’t dwell on their fictitious troubles, which are dismissed the moment they close the book. They don’t have any TBR list and read whatever they come across. They have a few favorite authors though.

Second are those who read a book just to review it. They are fast readers, may even skip many parts of the book, focusing on the elements that could be useful for their review. Emotions can’t sway them; words don’t move them and nuances of life fail to affect them. They can whiz through pages like a wizard; they can read all genres without a word of dissent. They can read multiple books at a time like a ball juggler. I call them super humans, with magical reading and reviewing skills. I envy them but am glad that I have never tried to be like them.

book-4133988__340 Then there are readers who approach a book like a friend. They fall in the third category. Reading is an experience for them; they connect with characters, feel the emotion of each one, savor the words and highlight what touches them. They are committed readers, in no hurry to finish a book. They choose their books carefully and don’t like to go outside their genre. Their reviews are critically framed, inclusive of good and bad aspects of author’s style and characterization.

Can you connect with one of these readers or are you a combination of all three?

Book reviews speak for themselves whether they have been written by a quick reader or a thoughtful reader; the former would just summarize a book, without going into finer details or saying anything about characters. They don’t care even if their review contains spoilers. I avoid reading any reviews of the book I pick up, as it is a pleasure to tread unknown paths and meet new people from the comfort of my favorite couch.

Do think giving one or two stars to a book is justified?

Recently I have read ‘Where We Belong’ by Emily Giffin and really liked it. But some reviewers have called it “the most appalling book”. This book has such varied reviews…from one star to five stars! I am astounded by the uncivilized language some of the readers have used while reviewing this book, which deals with emotions and relationships brilliantly.

Reviews acquaint us with our imperfections, if they are honest. They also provide a learning opportunity. I like a bad review too; if it is constructive and offers an in-depth analysis into writing. A good review is like a fragrant breeze that wafts around me for many days, boosting my creative juices.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.