Stick the landing in your Poem
This was from a FB post by Ed Ahearn, Managing Editor for Fairfield Scribe's Microfiction about a month ago. With his kind permission, I am reprinting it here.
Three of my poems are running this month in Verse Virtual, and Tom Montag, a poetry teacher commented on them. I'd like to claim that I'd carefully parsed out the endings, but it was mostly fumble-feel: When I teach, I like to tell students that when ending a poem they need to (to use a term from gymnastics) stick the landing. What do I mean? The last line(s) have to sound as if something is concluded, often with the broadening of vowels, repetition of sounds, and stresses adjacent to each other.
And already in poems at the beginning of the December of Verse-Virtual issue, I find good examples of poems which do this, and do it well. In Ed Ahern's "Putting it in Context," the overall architecture of the poem is shaped by the repetition of "I come from..." and at the end this changes to "I arise each day...." The final lines are: I arise each day content to abide in the dog's breakfast I come from There is the chime here of the long i in "arise" and "abide;" the long e in "each" and the long a in "day"; the chime of the "con" in "content" with "come"; the chime of m's in "come from"; and the adjacent stresses in the last line with "dog's break-" and "come from." You feel the landing. The last lines of Aherns' "The Lead Stereos" read: leaves us all with little sense of permanence and place. The first thing I notice: the long e of "leaves" and the long a of place. There is the chime of "sense" and "permanence." There is the repetition of p in "permanence" and "place." Again, you feel the landing.