This is an exciting time for everyone. We have new poets, new subscribers and, this fall, an anthology of poetry will be published. As we continue to grow, learn and enjoy the best poetry (and now prose) on the Internet, we also want to be sure that you, the reader, are happy with our newsletter. So at the end of the newsletter you will find a questionnaire to fill out. We hope you will take a moment to respond and help us make Digital Passions the best literary Newsletter on the Internet. Passions is already the best site for poetry!
We have a lot to get to in this issue, an interview and poem by one of the forums original members, Michael Mack (aka Balladeer); an article about copyrighting your work, some letters (and poetry) from our readers and of course the questionnaire. But first, as always, Ron's Rambles.
by Ron Carnell
This issue of Digital Passions introduces the first of several major changes we're going to be implementing in the course of the next few months. You may have already noticed that the Contents menu above now has a new section called "Bonus Features." What, pray tell, is that all about?
Just as Passions has grown tremendously in the past year, so too has our digital magazine. The turning point, of course, was when the lovely Poet deVine took over the helm, recruiting Sunshine and Balladeer as Editors, along with a whole staff of talented writers from the forums. About the only thing I do with Digital Passions any more is send it out the virtual door when PdV tells me it's ready and complain just about every month that it's getting too big.
Complain? Unlike many newsletters, you see, Digital Passions is personalized for each subscriber. Right now, that just consists of adding your name and appropriate unsubscribe data. Effectively, that means each issue of the almost 8,000 I send out has to be sent individually, rather than using bulk email like so many newsletters employ. And the bigger the magazine is, the longer it takes to send each copy.
Well, I got a little tired of complaining (and I'm
sure PdV got tired of hearing it). More importantly, I got tired of seeing some really,
really great articles and poems cut from every issue just to make it smaller. So, I did
the only thing I could. I created a brand new web site, whose sole purpose will be to host
the new, expanded Digital Passions.
Over the course of the next few months, Digital Passions will become
more and more personalized. Are you especially fond of Love Poetry? Don't really care for
the Interviews? Soon, you'll be able to tell us exactly what you want to see in YOUR ISSUE
of the magazine - and the system will select articles and poetry to match your specific
interests. Every copy will be different, consisting of JUST what you want to see. Can you
spell f-l-e-x-i-b-i-l-i-t-y? I KNEW you could! :-)
Power of a Poet
How to Copyright Your Work
A Copyright is secured automatically at the time of creation. Publication and registration with the Library of Congress is not a prerequisite to securing a Copyright.
A work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. An author's thoughts, whether on paper or computer are automatically protected by the Copyright law.
Use of a copyright notice on an author's work is no longer required by the law but may be beneficial as it informs the public the work is protected by copyright. It shows the year and name of the author thereby eliminating the possibility of "innocent" infringement in the event of an infringement suit.
Registration of Copyright with the Library of Congress is not necessary but is highly recommended. It establishes a public record of the author's claim to copyright. If registration is made prior to any infringement of the work, the author will have available the right to claim statutory damages and attorney's fees. Without prior registration the author can only claim actual damages and profits made by the defendant. This alone makes prior registration advisable. In the event of an infringement issue, registration must be made prior to a suit being filed in court, but if an author waits until an infringement has occurred before registering, the availability of suing for statutory damages and attorney's fees is lost.
You may submit your collected works as one, with a title and index to the Library of Congress. The fee is $30. It is recommended that the material be sent certified or registered with a return receipt requested (certified is the more affordable option) if the author wants to be assured that the material was received by the Library of Congress and the date of receipt since the Library of Congress cannot give that information out over the phone. The date of receipt will be the official registration date and a certificate of registration will be issued in approximately 8 months from the date of receipt.
To speak with an information's specialist or to order registration forms, you may call the Library of Congress at (202) 707-3000 or TTY at (202) 707-6737, Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET). They may also be contacted at: http://www.loc.gov/copyright
or at their mailing address:
There are also links in the FAQ section of Passions at http://netpoets.com/misc/faq.htm#steal for anyone desiring further information about Copyright, registration and International Copyright issues. I strongly recommend that every author check out these links.
Protecting the exclusive rights to your work is probably the most prudent step that an author can take in avoiding possible infringement issues in the future.
Marge: If you could return in your next life as any poet in history - who would it be and why?
Balladeer: Why, me of course! Get another go around at life! Oh, you mean like famous poet? Easy, Shel Silverstein. Most of the famous poets led such tragic lives. I would have loved to be able to write like Edgar Allen Poe but wouldn't want to live the life he did. Shel was extremely talented, had tons of fun writing and got invited to all of those Playboy mansion parties!
Marge: You seem to be easily inspired to write. What do you look for to stir your pen?
Balladeer: My active imagination stirs it. I can see anything like newspapers, TV, daily activities and just let my mind wander and create different scenarios until I find one I like and then write about it. By listening to a song, I wrote the poem featured here. From watching a video, I wrote The Fourth Tenor. From looking at a pretty girl in the car next to me in traffic I wrote Night Travelers. Possibilities are endless. Fertile imagination is everything.
Marge: Your style is uniquely reminiscent of the minstrel men, songsters who would travel from village to village singing to passersby. When did this form of writing come to you and why do you think it did?
Balladeer: It came very early. The first poem I ever wrote, at age 5, was "Dirty Sheet, the Ghost". I like to tell stories in poetic form. I consider poetry a form of entertainment and I try to entertain the reader. Many of my poems have little morals built into them because I feel that a message in story form has more impact than just the lesson. Many poets write for themselves but I blatantly write for the reader - and I love doing it.
Marge: It appears that form in poetry is very important to you. What do you look for in the poetry of others?
Balladeer: I look for good imagination and unique ideas and, yes, I look for form. I really enjoy good free verse but, if someone is going to write in form poetry, I expect them to make the effort to do it right. Nothing sounds better than good rhymed poetry in my mind and nothing sounds worse than bad rhymed poetry. For me personally the greatest satisfaction I get in writing is to be able to say what I want to say by following the rules of the form I am using. That's the challenge that makes it rewarding. When we write we put our own lives on that paper. So how do you want to present yourself to your readers? There is a Spanish saying that says "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are." I say "Show me your poetry and I'll tell you the same thing".
Marge: Have you any formal training in writing?
Balladeer: No. None. I just play it by ear. I write mainly for the fun of it. If I was to become more serious about it, then formal training would be necessary, I'm sure, but I'm happy the way I am.
Marge: You also express a wonderful sense of humor in much of your writing. Is this the real you?
Balladeer: hehe. You can take that to the bank! I have a hard time speaking with sentences that don't have puns in them somewhere! I love to laugh and I love to make people smile. Send in the clowns!
Marge: I was asked to pick my favorite of your writings - and I did not hesitate for one minute in choosing 'Abraham, Martin and John' I was pleased to know that you also considered it a favorite of yours. Why?
Balladeer: It was just the scenario of it that grabbed me. When I was in high school, every year they had a talent show where the students would have the chance to get up on stage and do whatever they did best -sing, dance, play instruments, etc. I never participated because I didn't do anything well. But, every time, I would hear some singer sing a beautiful song, I imagined that it was me in front of the high school singing it and shocking everybody with my incredible voice. I had the same daydream when I heard Abraham, Martin and John being sung by Dion and then my imagination kicked in and I thought, "what about if this was back in the past and someone were singing about what would happen in the future?" The poem was created.
Marge: As the captive has met the requirements of his release, Balladeer is hereby returned to the field of play of his heart - Passions in Poetry. (Psssssst ! This was fun!)
We find the best things in our mailbox sometimes. Luisa sent this letter and after getting her approval, we are posting it here (along with her poem). Enjoy!
Hi Ron! I read the newsletter and I think it's great. It was fun and also an inspiring magazine to both amateur and professional writers. I'd been hooked in doing poems since I was 1n my teenage years. I am now 24 years old, and thank God my passion in writing didn't subside, as I grew older and wiser. Hope so! Thank God I discovered netpoets.com. You see I was really looking for a site where I could really relate and share my passions in poetry. I think there's always a place for each person and I think I have found my place now. I think you're one of the main reasons why netpoets.com is now enjoyed by many people who appreciate good writing and beautiful poetry, and thank you for creating this site for us. I believe writers are the most generous people of the planet, for they always want to share what they feel and what they know, thanks for sharing all your time and talent. I hope your passion never ceases!
Here's a sample of my poem, please give some advice, I really need to know if my work is worthy of reading. Thanks!
The Final Word
I Know You
|I know you.
You are the child, now grown,
hypnotized by the rhythmic cadence of Mother's voice.
You are the toddler, always falling,
exploring dark and hidden places, forever reaching.
You are the school child, still learning,
the word "Why?" imprinted on your psyche.
You are the teen, hormones flaring,
engulfed equally by love and lover's grief.
You are the adult, living life,
discovering joy and pain anew every day.
You are the man,
you are the woman,
you are the writer,
awash with memories,
drowning in feelings,
teeming with desires,
a vortex of wise answers
and wiser still questions.
I know you.
You are my brother, my sister, my other self.
I know you. I do.
You are a poet.
How to Write Sonnets
by Nancy Ness
When is a poem a sonnet? When is a "sonnet" just a lyrical poem? Its derivation is "Little Song," so why can't we just sing a love song that rhymes correctly and call it a sonnet? Why can't we simply write fourteen lines of romantic verse with a conforming rhyme scheme and do the same?
Today's literary world is full of poets who are dubbing their poetry as sonnets, without really understanding the true classic format. Their work may qualify as beautiful poetry, but still fall short of the actual specifications of a sonnet.
Well then - what's to learn? Let's begin with an overview, and then touch on the semantics of form.
The sonnet originated with the "Italian" or "Petrarchan" form, and later progressed to a well-loved poetic form through the unsurpassed influence of the "English" - more specifically that of "Shakespeare."
William Shakespeare's undeniable knack for writing in perfect iambic pentameter and his propensity for the sonnet form surely are responsible for its interminable popularity. Another acceptable framework is also an English variation called "Spenserian," named after its originator.
|You can't rightly break the rules unless you know what they are|
Although the mode of the twentieth century has been to deviate from these standard formats, I admit that I remain pretty old-fashioned and continue to write them according to plan. I adamantly believe that you can't rightly break the rules unless you know what they are... I follow them myself, simply because I don't yet consider myself proficient enough to break them. (perhaps some day). Furthermore, breaking the rules - and doing it effectively - necessitates a thorough understanding of them.
Ergo - Let's cover the basics. It's easy - you'll see!
Theme is of ULTIMATE importance in a sonnet. You must present a conflict of sorts in your opening stanzas and a resolution in your closing ones. Think carefully of what you want to write and how you want to develop your work before you begin writing.
The use of imagery is another important consideration. A sonnet is a very compact piece, and as such is a great format for extended metaphors. Try to incorporate some simile, metaphor, or other types of imagery into your work.
Let's move to the structure, starting with meter - This is the easy part.... A sonnet, properly written, is done in "iambic pentameter." That means that every line will consist of five "iambic" feet. Each line of your poem will follow this pattern....
|"How do I love thee - Let me count the ways"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's lines would read as
Ms. Barrett Browning loved her sonnets. Read this wonderful one in its entirety - It's just superb, isn't it? It's certainly understandable that it's so famous.
|How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints -I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and, if God choose,
But I shall love thee better after death
|Rhyme schemes may give a poem its character, but the meter is the basis for its lyrical flow|
Another great poet who adhered to iambic pentameter was Keats. Read his "Oh Solitude, If I Must Dwell With Thee" - You'll be amazed at how smoothly his verses flow. Rhyme schemes may give a poem its character, but the meter is the basis for its lyrical flow. A poem that deviates in its meter simply doesn't sound like a "Little Song."
So then - Let's get on to the rhyme scheme. Guess what? You've got a choice here, and you'll still be adhering to the "rules." You can opt for any one of the following:
First, let's look at the original "Italian/Petrarchan" style - which consists of an octet (eight lines) followed by a sestet (six lines).
The conflict is presented in the octet and resolved in the sestet. This option allows you less conflict, but more "resolution" time, if you should need it. The rhyme scheme is "a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a/c-d-e-c-d-e."
Occasional poets, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the above sonnet, will incorporate some variations in the scheme of the final sestet.
Second is the most popular "English/Shakespearean" sonnet. In this style the conflict is presented within three quatrains (four lines) of verse, and resolved in a final couplet. The Shakespearean format is "a-b-a-b/c-d-c-d/e-f-e-f/g-g."
Here's Shakespeare's Sonnet #12, a perfect example of his timeless brilliance.
|When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;
Then of thy beauty do I question make
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed to brave him, when he takes thee hence.
The final, and less known format is Spenserian. This format is most similar to Shakespearean, as it incorporates three quatrains and a closing couplet. In either format, you'll need to develop your conflict in the quatrains and resolve it in the couplet.
The Spenserian format is "a-b-a-b/b-c-b-c/c-d-c-d/e-e." Like the others, it still maintains a meter of iambic pentameter.
|...the reader is the ultimate interpreter|
So - Is a poem with fourteen lines and a fitting rhyme scheme really a sonnet? Who's to decide? As in every piece of prose or poetry, the reader is the ultimate interpreter. I personally don't expect too much. As a reader, I need to feel the rhythm of the iambic pentameter - I need to see a great story unfold in those short fourteen lines - I need to see a rhyme scheme that flows - I love to see a writer incorporate some great imagery Then I'll admit that it just might be a sonnet. I'm not too difficult to please, am I? Nah!!!
|Nancy Ness is the resident English teacher at Passions and runs our very popular Poetry Workshop in the forums. You can find her poetry at her web site. And here's a list of her poetry at Passions.|
Lots More Visitor Feedback
I get many of my best ideas from the visitors - and just about all of my inspiration and encouragement. Frankly, Passions probably wouldn't exist without the intermittent pat on the back, and I know there wouldn't be over 9,000 pages on the main site alone without their encouragement. The occasional kick in the butt is probably good for me, too.
One of the greatest rewards, though, is when I get a letter from one of our Resident Poets with the news theyve just had their first book published. And thats been happening a lot, lately!
Been a while since I've been in contact. Wanted to thank you for publishing my poetry and inform you that at long last--I did it! I published my first book of poetry, "Until It Ropes Likes Okra: Rhymes in the Vernacular" which is now available at Amazon.com.
Open the attached Adobe Acrobat file for more information or visit my website at http://sea_cur.tripod.com.
Time has passed since my last letter, now I am a little writer, always a poet. I have published my first book in Italy, soon I will have another.
You have the first site I start to write on. I will be always thankfull for the opportunity you gave me.
God bless you, Alberto
Hi There! My name is Nic and I'm a free-lance writer and occasional poet. Whilst surfing the net the other day I happened across your web page and I have to say I was suitably impressed...so much so that I felt compelled to send you a petit composition of my own!
THANK YOU, FINDING THIS SITE HAS BEEN A LIFE SAVER TO ME.
Ron, Just stumbled across you. I like your site, the mix and your layout. When I get more time, I will submit poetry and link you to my site.
I just wanted to tell you that I really really appreciate your website. I am so glad I found it...my girlfriend is from NC...I sent her one of the poems from your site ( the one called "2 am" under the cyber romance-section)...and she really enjoyed it...I can't describe it....We are both in love with eachother... ;-)
Keep up the good work!
Ron, Thank you. I am gratefull for your cooperation. You pages are a wonderful place to go.
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that i really enjoy reading your poetry. I also like to write my own, about my feelings toward my own little world. And how i feel about today or tomorrow. Especially when I'm feeling down, I like to write out my feelings on a piece of paper. It makes me feel a lot better. But i have never let anyone read my poems because their personal to me and it's just like a diary to me. I don't know if you'll ever get this message from me but i just want to say "I Love Poetry"...and that i enjoyed your poetry. Thank you for your time reading this message.
I read your netpoets website all the time, i have never put a poem in because i think they are corny bla bla bla bla bla, right? Maybe you know what i mean, but anyways...don't close the submition down. Let everyone put thier poems in, its great and its really a good thing. Why not make more website or something and tell them which one it went to? Or start another website that people can submit poetry and give it out on your webpages. Just don't shut it down
My wife was very taken by the poem Heart and Soul by Kate Jameson on your website (In the Sad Poems about Death category) as it described her own feelings about her father's recent death. She wanted to email the author and tell her how deeply it had affected her. Any help would be much appreciated.
I am now 23 years old and have been writing from the age of 12. I have quite a collection of poems and would like to have them published. I have been led to believe that poetry is dead and that being a South African, it won't get me very far. I tend to disagree with this because I believe that poetry is like therapy for both the reader and the writer.
I have read some of the articles you print in your newsletter and I have to admit that I get all excited when I find myself identifying with the writers. I have finally found people out there who share my feelings about writing, all I can say is that this is powerful stuff. I don't think anyone who is not a writer can truly understand the sense of freedom and power we experience as poets.
Thank you for creating this little piece of heaven on earth for us poets.
Thank you Ron, I love poetry so will enjoy receiving always. I also write it and love doing that too.
I just found your Website the other night & just spent about a half hour reading some of the many topics. I am excited and hope I can soon become one of your many submitting poets. I have been writing poetry since highschool, through college and beyond. I have a BA in Journalism from California University of PA, but my Passion has been Poetry for years. I have been published most often in LUCIDITY, a Poetry Journal (quarterly for years, now going twice yearly as of this current issue) out of Eureka Springs, AR. Editor is Ted O. Badger. Perhaps you've heard of Ted or Lucidity, perhaps not, but from what I've read about the poems you accept, the two of you seem to be in the same ball park.
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA TO TELL THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE HOW YOU ARE FEELING WHEN YOU CANT FIND THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY. THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME DO JUST THAT
Thank You for sharing such a wonderful collection of poetry!I sometimes spend hours there reading,some of them make giggle and some make me cry,and then there are the those that make me feel all gawgaw inside :) Thank You
I would like to say that your site is Great!! I really enjoy it I am a poet and am interested on HOW YOU GOT STARTED
thank you Gina
Thankyou very much for allowing me to read your selections of poetry. I cant begin to tell you how much I enjoy your site and i hope one day my name will be among the name talented authors you have....
Blessed Be, beth
I love poetry very much, but I can't write any though. I wish I could. You have done a great job with posting these poems. They really do touch my heart, there is alot of talent in there. thanks
Thanks so much for my first copy of Digital Passions. I really liked it. I was wondering how many Digital Passions newsletters do you make in a year? Well, I mean how many do you send in a year? This was just a quick note to thank you, but I will write again. I hope it's all right that I send a copy of Digital Passions to my friend.
Thanks a lot, Cecile
Thank you for responding so quickly to the poem I submitted. I found your sight through a search, and thought it couldn't hurt to submit a poem. Your e-mail reinforced that with me and I want to thank you for that.
i love all the poems you have collected there all so beautiful and fantastic i love to read poems but out of all i love your buffet of them the bestso please could you find a way to to email the new poems that come on to your buffet each time new ones should happen to arrive that would be great
thank you, lindsay
I love to read your poems. They are wonderfull. I have one to write ya, will ya that it and, If it is good post it for me or tell me how to post it??
Ron, Just a note to say I have enjoyed this site tremendously. Once the poems are put on the site are they protected? Keep up the good work and Happy reading.
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Passions In Poetry