Waxing Lyrical: A Guest Post by Bestselling Author Andrew P. Weston @WestonAndrew #amwriting #writin
As time passes and my fan base grows, more and more people are becoming aware that I’m a published author of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal.
What many don’t realize is that I’m also a published poet. Now, I know that might seem odd to some of you; the thought of a roughie-toughie ex Royal Marine and cop scribing odes that would make Romeo and Juliet weep. But it’s been a passion of mine ever since I was a boy reading Edgar Allan Poe.
It takes an agile mind to tell a story, paint a picture, or make a point within the constraints of a poem. Constraints? Oh yes, there’s much more to it, you see, than penning a few random words that bounce along with the tempo of a limerick.
How much more? Well, what I’d thought I do is reveal a handful of different kinds of poetry you can find which are current, extremely popular, and exist beyond the ‘standard’ rhyming sonnets of Shakespeare and Wordsworth and Keats, we all used to learn at school. In doing so, you’ll see there’s a wealth of literature out there that will deepen your appreciation for the written word and expand your horizons.
And if I may, I’ll be using some published examples of my own to demonstrate the fun you can have, IF you put your mind to it.
One Sentence Poems: As the name implies, One Sentence Poems convey the message you want in a single sentence. The best ones are pithy and make a profound point people can relate to.
Any Other Day:
“Have you noticed how Sundays aren’t Sundays anymore?”
Our modern, fast-paced way of life made me think of this one. As a boy growing up in the 1960’s, shops closed at noon on Saturdays and were always shut on Sundays. The weekend was a time for family, church and relaxation. But now? Sundays are just like any other day taking up space on the calendar.
Narrative: At the other end of the scale, this form of prose tells a complete story from beginning to end. As you see, the skill lies in making an impact and keeping it short, without the reader thinking they’re being rushed.
Winds, bitter as teeth Flay my skin with iron barbs. Salt encrusted, my wounds scab over, Cauterized by the punishing spray That pierces rags and flesh alike With hornet stings.
This tiny crag, A tightly clenched fist of granite, Defying both tempest and sea, Offers no respite from my suffering. Stripped bare, It braves the swell as I dare not, For crab and gull await me patiently, Lusting for more than bruises And cracked and bleeding fingertips.
Better that I should have died with the rest Than endure this slow death by attrition.
And so, I cling stubbornly to life. A survivor, Through storm, through squall, And broiling sun. Enduring hunger and bitter thirst, I’ll prevail by sheer force of will if I have to, Refusing the embrace, That would end this hell on earth Forever.
I have written a couple of ‘epic’ forms of this type of poetry, and I must admit, I get the same amount of satisfaction from completing them as I do from a novel.
Haiku: An ancient form of Far-Eastern poetry that is very precise and limited to three lines of verse. Your aim is to mix disparate subjects into one theme.
I am the Einstein of the Big Apple, Times = m.c. Square, Ah, New York! The rest is up to you...
I enjoyed this one. How often do you get to read something combining one of the world’s greatest minds with Frank Sinatra?
Metaphor: This style relies heavily on a play on words to accentuate your point.
I am the Morrissey of happy endings, The Anti-Christ of wallowing angst, A second coming of bipolar rigidity, And the razor blade against ultimate gestures.
Bootleg reproductions of authenticity, Spawned this war of civil accord, Where the empty promises of diplomatic immunity, Wash the crimson tide of regret from our shore.
Life is like a ship in a bottle, The pretence of a journey lies before us, A voyage to nowhere within the freedom of my prison cell, Drowning, I’m sick from too much air.
This is another one I gained a lot of satisfaction in completing as I managed to lace it full of the contrasts I wanted.
Cinquain: As the name implies, these poems are brief – only five lines long – and inspired on a variation of Haiku. Their aim it to invoke the feeling, “I can relate to that!”
Heavy clouds shed tears of joy. I hear them at play As they trampoline upon taunt umbrella. Laughing, They dare me to join them.
Subjective: This kind of poem takes its style from the topic you write about. In this case, the form is provided by the theme: “Opticians.” Reading it will hopefully invoke such an image in your mind.
My outlook on life has always been pessimistic,
So I thought I’d better go for an eye-check at the optimist’s.
He told me to stop whining, face the board
And read the writing on the wall:
D O Y O U R E A L I Z E J U S T
H O W M U C H E V E R Y B O D Y
H A T E S Y O U N O T H I N G Y O U
D O W I L L E V E R W O R K E N D I T
A L L B E F O R E I T S T O O L A T E
His diagnosis confirmed a negative point of view,
So he prescribed a pair of rose tinted spectacles.
First time I put them on,
I cut myself on the thorns.
Fibonacci: These are incredibly difficult poems to write well, as you not only have to convey your message, but do so while applying the Fibonacci sequence and making it sound as natural as possible.
(The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical series where the following line is the sum of the two that precedes it:
1; 1 + 0 = 1; 1 + 1 = 2; 1 + 2 = 3; 2 + 3 = 5; 3 + 5 = 8; 5 + 8 = 13, and so on.)
Heartbeat Pounding, Surfboard thrumming, I paddle furiously To catch the wave’s edge. In moments, I am engulfed in liquid resonance, An aquamarine conduit that connects me at a level few will ever know.
How many of you counted the words in each line above? Go on, admit it. Ha!
I have visions of fingers pointing at the screen as you read each section, fascinated to see if they totaled to the amount they should.
As I said, this form of poetry is particularly challenging, and good for helping you keep on your cerebral toes … Or in my case, “Brain hurt, drink more coffee!”
So there you go. For those of you – especially authors – who haven’t considered poetry as a taxing form of exercising the mind, perhaps now you’ll think differently.
Until the next time here at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven, “thank you” for indulging in a side of my writing that isn’t as well known as my books.
Title: Prelude to Sorrow
Author: Andrew P. Weston
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Perseid Press
The task force dispatched from Arden to eradicate the Horde menace failed, and for those few left alive, the tenet by which they have survived for so long resounds as never before.
Fight or Die!
Now marooned, out of time and out of place, the survivors lick their wounds and struggle to recover while the Horde gather their strength for a final strike that will change the course of history forever. The fate of the galaxy – and more – hangs in the balance.
But fate, it seems, isn’t done with the Ninth, and our heroes find themselves forced to mount a last-ditch attempt to end the threat once and for all.
Will the darkness be vanquished, or will our heroes’ efforts finally signal the beginning of the end of their adventure?
Pain, as overwhelming as it was uncompromising, dominated Revan Caspar’s world.
Each ragged breath impaled him afresh upon a bed of internal nails. Every time he attempted to clear his airway of blood, he did so at the risk of forcing his esophagus against what felt like shards of glass embedded in his throat. And any endeavor to move only served to threaten the eggshell fragility of his skull.
Revan knew he was dying, but he was beyond caring. So frayed were his senses, he truly believed his nervous system had been pulled from his body and stretched across a torture-rack of flames and ruin, where they were now being mercilessly strummed by a demented emperor he’d once read about from Earth’s history.
Helpless to do anything else, Revan submitted himself to misery and lapsed into unconsciousness.
When his eyelids fluttered open once more, Revan had regained his sensibilities enough to realize he was still strapped into his seat, even though that seat seemed to be listing to one side at a crazy angle.
The emergency restraints must have triggered. He stared blankly around. But that can’t be right. This doesn’t make sense.
A jungle of smoldering, blackened reeds and bulrushes intruded where the main screen of a pristine flight deck should be. To one side and slightly behind his station, the remains of a starship command-and-control center lay in ruins. Shattered and twisted, instrument boards and display panels were scattered in a haphazard fashion among pools of oily water. Popping and sizzling, most spat sparks and vented acrid fumes into the air as their interior components continued to burn.
Light, blazing and bright, crested a distant ridgeline, forcing Revan to squint and turn away. Sunrise, here? But it’s the wrong color . . . However, the dawn brought with it a clearer picture of his surroundings, along with the truth of his predicament. Within a heartbeat, Revan was reliving the horror:
The advance against Exordium after the Omega Protocol had been enacted; the disciplined bustle of ingrained procedure as the order was given for low-orbit cold-start ignition of the Slingshot engines; the chill that had frozen his spine as the vortices commenced ravaging the night sky, ripping a hole in reality and swallowing them whole; the terrible realization that in the face of such storming might, the three-mile long, state-of-the-art dreadnaught was nothing but chaff.
Revan would never forget the terrible shrieks resounding through the Shadow of Autumn as she protested the abuse wrought upon her, nor the calm tenor of Seraphim’s voice, issuing orders and dictating events for the record as if this were just another day and all the fuss would soon be over.
Then the contractions had started. Rhythmic compressions that rendered any form of logical thought impossible and made him feel like every molecule in his body was being compacted into a screaming nub of insignificance. That was the instant Revan thought he might die. But fate, it seemed, had other ideas, for the crush of oblivion abruptly gave way to relief; a kaleidoscopic rush of blue and white and star-spangled midnight as the Shadow of Autumn was vomited free of the maelstrom like an armor-plated pinwheel on steroids.
At the time, he hadn’t appreciated they were somewhere else entirely. Not until the pull of the brave new world claimed them, and made haste to gather the condemned shell of Arden’s pride to her bosom. In fact, so sudden was the transition that Revan was reminded of the instant you emerge from a waking nightmare. One moment he was spinning; weightless, senseless, oblivious to circumstance, and the next his bowels were gripped by an unseen hand and wrenched up through his diaphragm and into his throat.
The descent into madness had consumed him.
Graced with a forward outlook, Revan had been forced to watch as spars, struts, antennae and thermal panels were plucked from their moorings like feathers and consigned to the kiln of virgin atmosphere. Reacting on instinct, he fired all forward-facing thrusters and deployed whatever air-brakes remained. To no avail. Now fully in the grip of the planet’s gravity, a terrible juddering shook the Shadow of Autumn from stem to stern, and as the great craft lost integrity, she rolled and pitched violently. The shuddering worsened as more crucial systems sheared free, and a tympani of strikes began reverberating through the hull. Revan knew each musical chime announced the loss of another vital component. When the forward sensors eventually shorted out, Revan was aghast to see the ground still rushing up toward them at a mind-numbing twenty-six thousand megs per hour.
I'm one of the authors participating in N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s March Pot ‘O Gold Giveaway:
Enter today! Contest runs March 1 – 31. Good luck!
Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.
An astronomy and criminal law graduate, he is the creator of the internationally acclaimed IX Series, along with Hell Bound & Hell Hounds, (Novels forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Science Fiction Association, British Fantasy Society, and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.
Social Media Links: