Pouring Imagery into a Volta

While writing some new poetry yesterday, a large division appeared that organized my works into two categories depending on the implementation of imagery. Though I unknowingly (or subconsciously) modified my techniques throughout the writing process, once I finished and reflected on the day, I realized that I had used to different methods of composing “vivid imagery” in the drafts.

The Diverse Ways of Using Imagery Techniques in Poetry

I am obsessed with imagery. O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. While I write, I slow down at every line hunting for abstract language that can be replaced with a concrete image. Generally, my imagery functions as symbolism, setting, reader transference, mood and even just straight up “trippiness.” For example, I would replace “He was useless” with “he was a soaked paper towel,” something like that.

During the building of the first poem, I focused on the image as a symbol (in terms of comprehension), while attempting to double up on an image’s “vibes” or “trippiness.” The images weren’t supposed to paint a picture, but take the reader on a journey toward a certain understanding which can only be described as insight or a feeling– which the reader experiences at the end (volta). To bring it all together, I wrestle with a metaphorical theme, and I want to say some semblance of story. However, in these poems there really isn’t any story; there is no chronology at all. I don’t have a term for it other than “nonlinear” work. A classic example of this type of writing is Jim Morrison’s poetry.

The diverse use.s of imagery in poetry..

The next few poems that came out were significantly shorter, linear, not surreal and uncomplicated. One was a haiku; the other two were brief (like four-six lines, one or two stanzas) and free verse. Instead of symbol, each image was, well, what it was. There was a golden pickup truck, water spilling, two dogs I’ve never seen before…etc. Each image functioned to bring together not a picture, but a tiny movie scene or even a gif.

Notably, a significant overlap occurred at the ends of each poem. They all had an image (surreal or realist) that resulted in a volta. So–maybe, I’m actually more obsessed with voltas, if all the use of my concrete imagery must produce a volta? Am I bashing these images into a funnel? I’d prefer to think that I’m pouring one ingredient at a time which then results in the volta product–like the action of stacking, or the opposite of stacking (depending on how you look at it).

Then, I ask myself (and you, of course), are the surreal poems linear because they must be organized in a particular way in order to produce a poignant or insightful volta? Another question– Can a piece of writing be linear without chronology? Or does linearity automatically imply some sort of chronology?


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