Book-length poem

PLEASE NOTE: THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE FALL, 2011 — IN REORGANIZING MY SITE, I HAVE COPIED IT OVER INTO MY BLOG.

I started writing my epic poem this week. It’s a story that I have been thinking about for 15 years now. I’ve decided now is as good a time as any to write it, and stop thinking about writing it. I started it once, about 15 years ago, back when I didn’t write poetry. It was going to be a novel, but it was quickly abandoned. I think poetry is the better medium for this particular story anyway.

While this is quite the undertaking, with one small exception I did nothing different in preparing for the writing of it than I normally do: I wrote out my outline of intention as it relates to a dramatic poem, then started to write.

The story is that of my children’s four grandparents, how were reared, how they came together and how they drifted apart. From the standpoint of time, from the beginning of the poem to its end, it really is an epic, not just a book-length poem.

This is basically what the outline of my poem looks like. As time goes on, more detail may be filled in, but I already know the story in my head, so any reason of more detail has more to do with clarifiying the story’s purpose than the story itself.

WORKING TITLE: PRINCIPLES OF BELONGING

Stanza: Quatrains throughout
Theme: Journey of the soul
Topic: Travel
Point of View: Narrator (as opposed to character)

Sections by Character and Chronology:

1947 — Jnanabrata
1952 — Patrick
1957 — Dinah
1962 — Deborah
1977 — Deborah/Jnanabrata | Patrick/Dinah
1987 — Jnanbrata | Patrick | Deborah | Dinah

Sections by Theme:

The Gathering Principle — Quest (four sub-sections): Jnanabrata | Deborah | Dinah | Patrick
The Social Principle — Arrival (two sub-sections): Jnanabrata and Deborah | Dinah and Patrick
The Reflection Principle — Return (one section or four sub-sections): Jnanabrata | Deborah | Dinah | Patrick

QUEST:

JNANABRATA
Topic: Indian partition
Verse: Sankrit
Voice: Melodramatic

PATRICK
Topic: Travel as son of a diplomat
Verse: Blank (Iambic Pentameter)
Voice: Resigned

DINAH
Topic: Vacationing to Ocracoke Island
Verse: Anglo-Saxon
Voice: Cautious

DEBORAH
Topic: Travel to India
Verse: Welsh
Voice: Defiant

**ARRIVAL AND RETURN NOT YET BROKEN OUT**

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