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Friday, July 12, 2013

Poems can put FUN back in funny

Poems in literary journals occasionally reflect dark times or a dark mood with humor sharply drawn toward someone else. My humor sensors often take that as a put-down or sly form of word weaponry, but if dark humor appeals to you, examples abound on television or movie screens. There, you’ll also be likely to find an assortment of heightened drama with no comic relief whatsoever.

At its lightest, humor releases laughter like an unexpected intermission, interrupting high tension.

At best, humor stays good-natured, adding levity where none previously existed. If anyone gets targeted by light humor, the fun pokes at oneself – sort of like a cheery confessional.

Humor also increases the entertainment value of a story in these refreshing Ways:

Way to surprise by connecting this with that where no relationship or similarity seemed to exist

Way to connect with your readers

Way to overcome age barriers

Way to get a reader’s attention at any age

Way to help people remember more readily

Way to show off wit a bit :)

Way to keep it short and pointed with no jabs to anyone but oneself

Way to play around with words and alliterative sounds

Way to play with heavy, endline rhymes, preferably paired with words of 3 or more syllables

Way to bump up the beat with a lively, foot-stomping, howdy-partner-rhythm

Way to use clich├ęs creatively with little change in sound but quick change artistry in meaning

Way to spice haiku with an amused insight, adding extra seasoning beyond the traditional references to one of the four seasons

Way to win nonpoetry-readers over to poetry as our former Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins and our former Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman have been doing.

After you have a chance to study the amusing and often insightful works of those prized poets, we can talk about ways toward humor as seen from a literary perspective. For now, here’s a light example of bouncy humorous verse on a topic Sandy Brooks, the director of the former Christian Writers Fellowship International, once asked me to write about – marketing!

As a close friend, Sandy knows how much I dislike to market, which admittedly made me take forever to put together a book of poems and also drag my feet from getting caught in the Internet marketing web. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too, but you might connect with this poem even more if you’ve ever signed someone’s copy of your new book in pen only to discover you’d misspelled the person’s name.

Book Promo From Lake Como
by Mary Harwell Sayler

I've twittered, linked, and booked my face
on social network pages.

I've mailed and emailed into space
and sought advice from sages.

I've written flyers, book jacket blurbs,
and releases set in tinsel.

So please buy my books at a roadside curb,
and I'll autograph in pencil.

© 2013, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Poem previously published in a 2009 issue of Cross & Quill newsletter for CWFI.


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