Prose writers shouldn't have all the fun of storytelling. Sure, essays, short stories, and novels are where we expect to find stories, but poems also can tell stories effectively. From the earliest epics, right up to the present day, people have built poems from stories--sometimes fictional, sometimes true. Gary Snyder's "Hay for the Horses" is a poem that tells a story, as are William Stafford's, "Traveling Through the Dark," Robert Frost's "Out, Out--," and William Wordsworth's "Strange Fits of Passion I Have Known."
Everyone has a personal and unique way of writing. And even with the same poet, different poems follow different paths from inspiration to publication. Even so, it's possible to envision a general process that can help us see where we are at and where we are headed as we work on our poems.
The ideas in this section are intended to help you keep moving ahead with your writing.
These are similar but not identical concepts. Rhythm refers to the overall tempo, or pace, at which the poem unfolds, while meter refers to the measured beat established by patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables. Poets who write free verse, generally de-emphasize or ignore meter and focus instead on refining and tuning their natural speech rhythms to suit the poem's tone and content. Or as Ezra Pound put it, they "compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome."