Seven learning styles. Bother - and I had been told there were four. Ah well - depends upon the management consultant in charge, I suppose. But yes - I agree that people have different learning styles and xara may well find one that works for her. After all (apart from the masterpieces Steve and you produced) we aren't claiming to write poetry here - just jingly-jangly verse.

And I love you too - just don't tell your husband.

xara - rhyme and rhythm, particularly when regulated in acknowledged verse forms - sonnets (my poor example above), limericks, terza rima, villanelles and the like - are very difficult to handle 'poetically'. Only the very best poets these days can do it. For most of us, doggerel is the best we can do. I suspect that this is the reason why so much poetry these days is written in 'free verse'.

It might be worth remembering that poets like Keats, Shelley and Byron (to take Romantic poets who also seem romantic to us) were actually punctilious craftsmen. They had been brought up on great poetry, had practised rhyming, alliterative verse, metrical experiments and the like in their youth, so that by the time they were in their late teens and had something special to say, poetry was natural for them. Even so they made innumerable drafts of their poems - and what sounds so spontaneous to us today was not just "profuse strains of unpremeditated art", but amazing craftsmanship as well.

If you want to achieve that craftsmanship, unfortunately, practice is the only way. It doesn't matter what you wish to write about - practice rhyme and rhythm. Restrict yourself to the tough forms - the villanelles, the ottavia rima and so on - and keep the words coming. Try it with diffcult rhymes. Try to use long words and still keep your rhythm. Then, some day, when you find yourself overflowing with emotion, and want to let it out somehow, see if formal verse will do.

Remember that almost any great artist was first a great craftsman.


the sunshine warrior

ps. for Jackie: Dollabella was the principal female character in Wintersol. (How's that for an uninformative answer?)