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I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature.
When I walk down my memory lane, one image looms large and that is how much effort one of our English professors put into explaining the poetry of Tennyson and Wordsworth. While the latter was relatively easier to understand, the former much more complex and obviously we didn’t like the one who was more challenging.
Real challenges came my way when ‘Paradise Lost,’ an epic poem by John Milton was not taught in the class (or if it was, I must be mentally absent) and even when it was discussed, it didn’t evoke any interest!
While prose can be an effortless reading unless it is stream of consciousness writing, poetry can become quite boring if we are not familiar with its techniques and tones. Despite the tests and trails, I continued to like poetry and slowly discovered that it is a genre par excellence. It can say a lot through literary techniques, which only an admirer of Literature can understand. I still struggle to understand some subtle messages conveyed through poetry.
My mind hurtles back once again; my interactions with teenagers get refreshed, all their expressions, yawns and glances stand before me, bringing those lovely memories of hate-love relationship we had with poetry; when we would try to convince each other why poetry is good or bad and how we could understand it better.
I am not an expert but I have figured out a few ways to understand poetry:
All readers have their own approach and interpretation but how imagery is used defines a poem. Can you read between those special words to fathom their depth?
It is better to read slowly. Stop and ponder over at the word that seems simple but abstruse.
Be curious. Inquisitiveness and interest are two important elements that lead to our understanding of a poem.
Poetry can’t be scanned and understood like prose as the former demands concentration, attention and gentle reading.
If you read a poem in a hurry, you would miss the real meaning. Many times words are used as metaphors.
You have to be familiar with most common literary techniques like simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, alliteration and assonance.
Imaginative flights of poets can’t be predicted, we have to fly with them to figure out their proficiencies.
Critical analysis of a poem reveals the nuances of its theme, undertones and other signals, which remain hidden to a scanner.
Some poems are ambiguous. Probably they relate to the poet’s past or buried memory, which he wouldn’t like to reveal but gives a vent to his emotions through writing.
Ambiguous ideas in a poem provide a food for thought and chisel your creative skills.
Who has the time and the inclination to read and re-read a poem in this fast-paced world? Only poetry lovers do!
Thank you so much for dropping by to support Balroop! We hope that you will take your support even further by picking up a copy of her book. We ask that you also please ‘LIKE’ this page, leave a comment and share it on social media before leaving. To follow along with the rest of her tour, please drop by the RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author forum. Would you like this kind of support? Join Us at RRBC!
I am thrilled to be the first host of the first #RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR Blog tour of 2020! Congratulations to Forrest Stepnowski for landing in this hot seat!
Take it away, Forrest!
When did you start writing and what inspired you to write?
Answer: I began writing when I was twelve-years-old after experiencing one of the most depressing times of my life. The summer of 1987, I attempted toend my life. I struggled with a great many things, such as identity and traumatic stress caused by events that occurred during my earlier childhood. Events I do not talk about very often, but one day I will put them pen to paper, as they say. Anyways, during the fall of 1987 I was lucky to have an incredible English Teacher by the name of Mrs. Carr. Now our school was not the prettiest or fanciest, but we were lucky to have passionate instructors who truly loved teaching.
Mrs. Carr commented on my writing style during a 1:1 session. She asked me if I ever thought of becoming a writer when I grew up and I fell off my chair laughing at her. She had a great sense of humor generally, however, she made it clear she was being quite sincere. She said she saw great potential in my writing style and with everything I had gone through in my life, she felt it would be quite therapeutic for me. In an effort to appease her, I said I would think about. I will admit I was quite resistant to writing, as we were in an impoverished East San Diego region called “El Barrio Logan.” The school was in the middle of the barrio where is was riddled with drugs and gangs. Anything artistic was not considered exactly “normal” in this part of town.
The day after Mrs. Carr and I had our conversation, she decided to spring on the class what she called a “pop writers challenge.” Even though it was not much of a contest, she would present these “challenges” with passion and great hype. The challenge that day was to write a poem about our past summer vacation. She implored us to make it lyrical. I remember her words to this day, “I want you to tell me a story through your poem… I want to laugh with you if it was a funny event… I want to cry with you and feel your pain if it was a sad event.” She liked playing music during these challenges and for that day’s challenge she played “Moonlight Sonata”. To be honest, the first couple of minutes of the challenge I froze. My summer was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions as I stated earlier. I let the music take me into my emotions and that day I wrote my first poem titled “Freeze”.
My teacher liked to showcase our work to the class, so the following day Mrs. Carr did her usual impassioned speech on how impressed she was with each and everyone one of us but stated a few of the authors from yesterday’s challenged that stood out. The poetic works that were shared were ranged from romantic, well as romantic as a 12-year-old could be, to the extremely humorous. The last poetic works she shared was “Freeze” however she did not disclose the author to the class. She said, “after I read this poem, I will leave it up to the author whether or not they want to share their identity.” She tearfully read my poem, as if she was in my soul and was feeling the pain I endured. My peers were in awe, making comments like “I want to give them a hug whoever they are” and “That poem should be published.” After the tears shed from my peers and continued statements I slowly stood up. This is how this author was born.
Excerpts from “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” by Forrest Robert Stepnowski
You are the warmth of my embrace, and the endless rhythm of my heart,
The whisper of the wind and the song of endless dreams realized,
How fortunate am I, when I’ve always thought I was one of those unfortunate souls?
You are the angel I have always dreamed of, but always thought never existed,
The sparkle of the heavens and the dance of a falling star,
When did I become the lucky one, to be captured by your light and love?
You are my life, my love, and my laughter during the endless darkness that tries to consume me,
The shield of the knight in shining armor when the dragons and demons appear to be on the attack,
How you make me feel just by your glance and the caress of your touch?
You are the beauty that I never could imagine in my deepest fantasies,
The mystery discovered and the joy of the sunshine upon
the cascading waterfall and the rainbows end,
How incredible I feel when I look at you and know that I am home?
You are the warmth of my embrace, and the endless rhythm of my heart,
The whisper of the wind and the song of endless dreams realized
How fortunate am I, when I’ve always thought I was one of those unfortunate souls?
Unfortunate soul, I am no more.
Freeze (written in 1987)
Feeling sorry for myself,
Seeing death as a way out,
Showing scars in memory,
Feeling sharp steel against my flesh,
Drops of red coloration fall upon the ground,
Life is flying past thy eyes,
Horrible memories come into mind,
Life is healing,
Loved ones are near,
Good memories appear,
Love is in my mind,
Drops of red fade away,
I am alive,
The ice has melted…
Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey (Available on Kindle and Paperback)
About Forrest Robert Stepnowski
Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, writer, social worker, and performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important it would be to share his work with others, who may have tread similar paths of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes that they find they weren’t alone. Helping others who have been deemed as “different” because of varying sexual orientations or identities to realize that they are not deviants nor are the “against human nature” has always been of grave importance to him. He wants this group of beautiful people to know they are part of a collective, on an island where being different is embraced and accepted.
I broke my foot on Friday the 13th,
tripping over our black cat.
I dislike mushrooms.
Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of
nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing
its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of
its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments
you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the
reader into all the seasons of a soul.
Excerpt from Just Her Poetry: NATURE
Fall and Winter
D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages
everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay
Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the
Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types
of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always
treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by
towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed.
Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult
paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her
adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.
It is my pleasure today to host Balroop Singh and her newest book of poetry!
Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in
time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy
that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to
our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this
book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life
sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all
her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.
Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan
and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad
moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of
moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this
collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose
to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between
the lines to pen my thoughts down.
Balroop Singh, a
former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.
She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a
doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not
a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on!
No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are
trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your
path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.
turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen
robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it
is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.
Balroop Singh has
always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch
birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend
to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and
the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the
flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San
To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.
Roaring white, pounding the granite
The air is
heavy with anticipation
over me like a lover’s touch
heart with sweet floral ecstasy
I relax into
carries away my worries
My eyes fill
rushing liquid serenades me
praise of this paradise
different directions converge
brief resounding rumble
and continue on their way
moment where the rivers meet.
As I sit
perched up high on our lanai
on my recliner in the shade
draws my gaze
and emerald water calls me
While the blue
pool floats in its space—uninviting
I hear the
sea’s song as it smashes onto the shore
ride its motion
snorkelers gaze into its depth
swimmers float on its perception
attraction is undeniable
one of air, one of water
and I must respond
myself up to the hidden world
I answer, embracing the ocean completely.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.
We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:
D.L. Finn has released a new book of poetry! And, I am pleased to present it to you here in her own words!
Thank you, Jan, for having me on your blog to talk about the release of my first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”
I’m a pile maker. When I put things away, I am unable to find them later.
My first attempt at driving in the snow, I ended up on top of a tree. I slid off the driveway onto a small cedar and got stuck. We made it a snow day and stayed home.
Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.
D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.
I had so much fun last week trying my hand at a form of Japanese poetry, Haiku, that I decided I’d continue on this week with Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge.
This week, the words are Cold & Storm. You can only use synonyms in creating the poetry.
The rules were simple: Follow the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of five lines written in the first person point of view. This is important because the poem should be written from the perspective of the poet.
My words for this Tanka poem are FRIGID & BLIZZARD
A frigid north wind
My breath fogs the frosted glass
When will he return?
He promised he’d be home soon
Love ending – the blizzard wins
I don’t know if I am supposed to attach a visual, but this one grabbed me. 🙂
I’ve watched from the sidelines for some time as Colleen Cheseboro issues a weekly poetry challenge. This week I decided to try my hand at Haiku – a form of Japanese poetry that consists of 3 lines with a 5/7/5 syllable count.
HERE’S THE CATCH: You can’t use the prompt words! SYNONYMS ONLY! The prompt is MYSTERY AND ATTRACT.
Let me know what you think – honesty only! 🙂 I love trying new things when it involves words!
As I always do at the beginning of each new year, I seek a word for the upcoming year through meditation and self-reflection.
For 2019, the word I received is CONFIDENCE!
While many who know me may wonder why I would need that word, to me it made perfect sense.
Confidence to keep pressing forward, to keep pursuing a publisher and to keep writing is exactly what I need! If I can believe in myself and my work, then it is a thousand times more likely someone else will also believe in me.
So, to honor that commitment for 2019, I made a list of goals. Trust me, I never do that, but somehow I felt the inspiration this year. The goals are not earth-shattering, but instead simple.
However my #1 Goal is: I will publish a new book in 2019.
There. I’ve said it, now I must follow through. 🙂
I’ve learned so much about poetry from Colleen Cheeseboro and while I didn’t make it into the timeline last week to submit this Shadorma, I’ll post it here and credit her for the challenge.
Basically a Shadorma is a six line stanza with the syllable count: 3/5/3/3/7/5
So, here goes!
Time to let it flow
Let it go
Let it show
Trust the Universe, it knows
Your best way to grow
I’d love to hear from you how you approach a new year!