Poetry Lab #1


Movement in Animation
Three-layer animated composite


The image above, if carefully examined, displays three differently animated levels distinguishable by their relation to velocity and, by consequence, Time. This animation device has been used to display certain feelings in a much clearer way: her face is animated carefully and slowly, every frame is fluid, to inspire serenity and placidness. Her hair is animated frantically, with frames leaping between animation with little fluidity, alluding to a chaotic exterior and high intensity movement. The background, although blurred, also happens at a time different from the other two layers, presenting a both static and simultaneously – moving – backdrop. This allows for a certain displacement through the fluidity of our space, allowing Art to perforate the emotional human sensors without replicating at all what those sensors are used to, by thematic association. Our world feels much like that of the animation, it constantly moves, yet we cannot fully absorb all it’s evolutions and changes, in turn, accounting for a hollow movement that we can only relay through “mental bookmarks”, like special occurrences, producing a more stop-still version of reality (similar to the one animated above), instead of flowing realistic approach to time.

In fact, Art has a plethora of examples using different composite time frames to convey a sense of “overlook” or “outlander” sentiment among its viewers, mainly present in sensorial arts like music or painting.

To literature – an Art intimately connected with the frugality of time and how it can be controlled within its frames – this device most likely has been used, but never deeply explored. In this first edition of poetry lab, I will attempt to harness my marginal composing experience to translate those planes of time dissonance into the realm of poetry. As I’ve done a good amount of experimental poems in my short time here, I’ve never taken the time to explain the processes or missions behind those experiments, and now I’m headstrong on taking you on my composing journey:


First, we need to figure out how to distend time properly within a written line of text. Poetry, by its very sonorific nature, makes this superficially easy by use of verse length and syllabic control:

I dreamt of latent love, yet within, darkness still reigns unkind, (11 words, 15 syllables)

Air to flame, implored by sinuous shadows, (7 words, 11 syllables)

Extinguish their fear to die. (5 words, 7 syllables)

Following an ordered decrescent sound, each verse has the same amount of syllables as the words of the verse that precedes them (11, 15), (7, 11), (5, 7). This, however, inspires a singular timeline instead of multiples ones, giving a sense that time is accelerating and thus, “running out”. But why not the contrary? Why does it not recall time just slowing down? This is annulled by the temporal references in all verses, displayed in a gradient from past (dreamt, implored), to present (extinguish, to die).

Like mentioned above, this does not relay multiple times but instead, just one flowing in-unit but changing exponentially. We can, however, salvage this later when we compose full stanzas by separating their descriptive nature through the usage of this method. So, instead of separating verses according to time, we will separate stanzas according to what line they represent by giving them symbols:

Stanza 1 – first tempo (11, 15) (plane of interior occurrence, introspection, visual devices must appear here)

Stanza 2 – second tempo (7, 11) (plane of exterior sensorial captures, noise, static, distortion and interruption, sound devices must appear here)

Stanza 3 – third tempo (5, 7) (plane of universal awareness, no sensorial, visual or sound devices can appear here, detached information must not contain emotional draws)

This is merely scratching the surface of what this method can produce, as a shift in the structure mid-composition can relay powerful messages of emotional re-focus, or give a sense of expanding/shortening of knowledge at any given point. The main objective here, however, is that the poem is able to speak to itself and the conversation won’t sound too unphased, so we will stick to the good ol’ repetition, by creating one more set of stanzas with same structure, but different in essence.

As the composition is mainly experimental, I will utilise common meanings I’m familiar with for the sake of my mental sanity (and short amount of time per day I have to compose), those of love and solitude in a frugal world where such things are generally devalued:



Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 21.40.22

As demonstrated above, I initially compose the first part of the composition within a relatively ordered and rhymed structure, using the lines written above as a visual guide to building the remaining verses. Although this version partially gets the job done, it’s still rather obscure that frames shift between stanzas, and I attempt a more lax yet word-based second part in an attempt to compensate the rigid/restrictive shape of the first version:

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 22.06.31.png

I’ve since let a day pass before writing that second part, as to refresh my information absorption and be less likely influenced by the same recurrent pieces of reception still being digested within (a great advice I’ve accidentally left out of my poetic tips). This second version, although not apparently very different from the first in terms of how it was constructed, manages to convey both the message, the subject and the quest of time much better than the previous, not by means of its structure, but by how words are ordered coupled with how they intertwine, generating a sense of shift from when they fuse and when they don’t (thus, sound shifts).

I must now refine and finish the composition on my own, and publish it similarly to all other poems on the website, but that boring part I intend on doing by myself.

I’m not a professional or academic in this subject, therefore, all conclusions are from my viewpoint and might conflict with certain academic standings out there (although from my research, I’ve found none), but none of this is fact or close to it, I’m just trying to have some fun with words and I hope you’re entertained as well!

PS: Tell me what you think of posts similar to these, I’m planning a bunch more since I have about 20 pages of notes about different composing methods I would like to attempt!


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A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

24 thoughts on “Poetry Lab #1”

  1. I enjoyed reading your explanations to the method of obtaining your poetry and was literally dumbfounded by the work involved. I read through the III part of the first offering. I am usually anxious to try out a new method, but honestly, I don’t believe I would enjoy the result of all that work. Instead, I search for the beauty of the life we have, some philosophy, nature and what it bestows on our lives, love and the need to love, some children’s verses, and my love of God. I would hate to have to reduce everything to the third factor or the 10th. I understand that we are unique and choose our own way of doing things but let me illustrate one line from the initial presentation, first stanza, line 3: “I’m translucent as digital rain.” That is really reaching for a correct word, but doesn’t give much to your poem. Otherwise I thought that stanza was quite good. I hope I haven’t offended and would welcome your review on some of my work. Next time, fill out the contact page so it won’t be so hard to find you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Marie, not at all! I appreciate the feedback immensely, you wouldn’t believe it.

      Regardless of the level of involment you have with your work, or I have with mine, poetry is a broad spectrum of artistic display that can be beautiful both in it’s reductive state and in it’s more drawn out, worked form.

      I work so hard on my compositions because to me, they are that, they are compositions, pieces of written music that comprise a myriad of emotions that I cannot fully translate by slapping a couple of free verses down and expecting God to guide my artsy hand. Hundreds of poets before me have worked incredibly hard on their poems, and believe me, compared to certain greats, this is not a lot of work at all.

      (Digital rain is a reference to Johnny Jewels album of the same name, an album made with similar emotions in mind as this poem, before I forget, haha.)

      Either way, I have both looser compositions and more formal, strict lyrical ones, and this one was neither, it was really just an attempt at trying something new within my poetic capabilities, and the fact you’ve read it and payed attention to it means the world to me, thank you so much Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And, I, have thoroughly enjoyed your reply…it seems that your answers were easier for me to grasp. I will ask something of you if I may, How about reviewing some of mine? I love the replies that I receive, but have not had any reviews. I don’t know how many there are, but they are in the same location , https://gardengirl.blog they are all lots of them there. Sections are separated by two words: OLDER POEMS as long as you are interested. There are also some articles in there. If you have time to do this it would be great, but I know the other side as well, so if you can’t or would rather not it is not a problem. Thanks for the reply. (Send me another or tell me how to find one.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. All of mine are at caliath.com, you can click on Index and you will have some links available, one of them takes you to a 110 page document filled with poety I’ve written in the last few months. Or you can just normally browse the blog too, since Monad compositions aren’t there!
        I will surely review your work, I intend to do so on a seperate threat on my blog though, so I can redirect some people to your poetry as well!


  2. I really enjoyed this post and your pieces. Poetry is not my favorite genre, aside from a few favorites, but I loved your reflection on time and how the language we choose can examine, explain, or even determine structures and interpretations of time for the reader. In my limited knowledge of poetry, this makes me think of Ferlinghetti and how he often structured his poems to elicit specific breaks, re-alignment of focus, emotions, etc. At least that what it does for me. Thanks for this – I will definitely be back to your site to explore more and would def enjoy more writing on your thoughts and processes. I think it will help me as a writer, even though I don’t write poetry.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Karla, I’m immensely flattered a librarian/academic such as yourself has taken interest in my production. I have limitless respect for your line of work, as I owe most of my little knowledge to libraries in Lisbon when I had no means to own books myself.
      Furthermore, I do not know the influence this post can have on any other realm than poetry, but if you managed to salvage something, I’m already overjoyed.
      Endless, endless thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are too kind. More than only salvaging, I think a discussion of time, timing, space, tempo, fluidity, and the like are extremely important to any writing. Probably art as well, definitely music. I don’t write poetry but I do write and I fancy myself a bit of a storyteller, and for that, timing is everything! There’s a tempo to prose and even academic writing as well, IMO, that can elicit similar emotion or reflection. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately since I have begun writing more again; not anything very creative but it’s surprising how creative one can get when writing a good book review or even a history of libraries in South Africa. 🙂

        I am so glad you had libraries to support you! My main focus as a librarian is to tear down that traditional notion of library and expand it to include any sort of information service that makes sense in a community, with the goal of empowerment. I focus on the Global South and impoverished areas where people may not need a library as I know it, but a library as they would build it. But I digress.

        It’s a pleasure getting to know you; I do hope we keep in touch! Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful. The thought of using the musical aspect of poetry to represent frames, really beautiful.

    You know what this might be really amature but once i started working on shrinking the size of poetry. It went on to trying one word per sentence to one syllable per sentence and so on. It occured to me if I could make a poem out of one word. Not just any word, something that will be a push to think but will be complete. I dont know why a word stuck with me “what”. Which seemed very suited for the job. Its the first question that we ask when we are fully blank on something. Its not a stop but conplete on its own. It might as well be just a foolish notion.Well one word poetry mightbe too much. But let me know what you think about sizing a poem to its bare minimum ideas, not the scene(which i agree adds to the idea, but still), bare minimum to an extent that the idea is there as a very focused hint but just an hint.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Minimalism in Poetry is still a proeminent branch of composing still to this day! Italy is known for many minimalistic authors, such as Ungaretti, who constructed many verses with just singular words.
      The entire poem being a single word, I’m not enterily sure how that would be achieved, since its hard to give the reader an orientation.
      But I will support any interest or investment in poetry, they are all beautiful and uniquely worthy.

      Liked by 1 person

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