Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brod Bagert - Personification

How to Make a Poem that Flies
                Brod Bagert

If you want to put some life in a poem,
a little extra heart,
you might find that personification
is a pretty good place to start.

Make things act like they’re alive!
It’s a poetry delight.
Watch how I use it now to say—
“It was a stormy night.”

     The clouds began to growl!
     The wind began to cry!
     The moon got scared and disappeared,
     she didn’t say goodbye.

So in your poems, or in your prose,
or in your conversation
look for little clever ways
to insert a personification.

It’ll get to be a habit,
one of those everyday things,
one of the ways a poet learns
to give a poem its wings.

Then if your poem can find someone
to read its words out loud,
those wings will fill with air and soar
above the highest cloud.

© 2010 Brod Bagert. All rights reserved.

Brod Bagert writes poetry that begs to be performed - whether by him or by teachers or by kids or by anyone who's lucky enough to get their hands on them. This is no accident, by the way, as he began writing poetry again in earnest (and started to put his legal career to bed) when he wrote a poem for his daughter to read aloud in school. You can hear more about how he writes for performance and see him perform a few of his pieces in this video interview - it's well worth a peek.

As I mentioned last week, I'm a sucker for poems about poetry, and I have a soft spot for poems that define English language concepts, too, so Personification was a slam dunk for me. I particularly love how personification is not only defined by example but also demonstrated after the definition. And yes... I plan to perform this poem soon and have a blast, particularly since the poet did the hard work and already brought it to life. I look forward to a chance to hear Brod Bagert in person, but until then I'm thrilled to have him here as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday David L. Harrison had us all Lookit! Tomorrow...  Cousins of Clouds by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


tanita✿davis said...

What excellent advice!
This would also have been great to have on hand when I was teaching!

Anonymous said...

Very fun. I'd love to see a collection of poems like this defining poetic technique.


Greg Pincus said...

I realized today that this is the second lawyer-to-poet featured in 30 Poets/30 Days, along with Janet Wong last year. Perhaps this should become a tradition!

Kelly Polark said...

This comment smiled with delight over the fun poem!

Jane Heitman Healy said...

Brod Bagert delightfully demonstrates the case for using personification! To quote Oliver Twist, "Please, sir, may I have some more?"