On Grammar and Worry

As usual, I am running very close to some end of month deadlines. I had four sets of submissions to send and have only managed to finalise one set. That went off a couple of days ago and I have jut been informed that one has been accepted. It is only a senryu, so it’s almost embarrassing, as it’s still hard to see three lines as a poem.

Try as I might, they still seem like fragments rather than poems. I know it takes more work to get it right in three lines, but it doesn’t look like much of a result for month’s effort. To make it even harder, the subject was Ekphrastic poems. I only discovered the term three or fours years ago, so will explain it – it’s a poem about a work of art. If you already knew that, I apologise for being condescending. If you didn’t, these examples are interesting, as you will know some of them, even if you weren’t aware of the term.

At times like this, I think of all the poets who include English degrees in their writer biographies. They spent years learning all this stuff and then they find themselves in a journal rubbing shoulders with people like me who just pile words up  without a clue what I’m doing. There’s an editor who sometimes writes back to me with suggestions based on points of grammar. I would hate him to know this, but there are times I have to go to the internet to find out what he is talking about.

Last time this happened I was amazed by the number of people discussing a point which I had never needed to know about in over 60 years. And having learnt about it, I forgot it again.

I wonder if there’s room in the world of poetry for an Ekphrastic poem on the subject of Fowler? My only worry is that if I start to think about my language too much I may become too fearful to write. I already worry about it being good enough, but what if I add the additional worry about being correct?



6 thoughts on “On Grammar and Worry

  1. tootlepedal

    Rules of grammar are inventions. Invent your own, I say. There were a great number of people shouting in the street, there was a great number of people shouting in the street . . .the couple in the dance off is Tony and Janine the couple in the dance off are Tony and Janine. Do you really care which is right? I tend to like the ‘incorrect’ version better anyway.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Good example, as it’s one I know but never think about – as long as I understand what is being said, that’s good enough. I actually read something about it a few years ago and found that grammar writers disagree on it, so why should I bother.

      Thank you, I feel liberated now! 😉

  2. Lavinia Ross

    Congratulations on the acceptance, and keep creating! Who cares if you have an English degree or not?

    I learned a new term here, Ekphrastic. 🙂


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