Dramatic Monologues: October’s Form of the Month for Mindful Poetry

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on September 30, 2009 0 Comments


This form will be very approachable, but what I’m going to ask you each to do might be a challenge.  Quite likely many of you have written dramatic monologues to some degree.  See if you can guess where I’m headed with this.

From Poetry.org:

Dramatic monologue in poetry, also known as a persona poem, shares many characteristics with a theatrical monologue: an audience is implied; there is no dialogue; and the poet speaks through an assumed voice—a character, a fictional identity, or a persona. Because a dramatic monologue is by definition one person’s speech, it is offered without overt analysis or commentary, placing emphasis on subjective qualities that are left to the audience to interpret.

One of my very favorite poets who writes in this style it’s almost mind-numbing is Ai.  And here is an example that reveals perfectly what I mean by mind-numbing:  Grandfather Says.  In this poem, she does “break” the criteria suggested in the definition of Poetry.org.  That site says there is little commentary or stated analysis.  In the poem, Grandfather Says, the narrator concludes the poem with great insight.  Despite this rule-breaking, both the form as detailed above and the poet are irresistible.

And here’s the challenge:

First, write the poem.  You can do that.  Then take the poem and read it aloud, taping yourself.  Then post the video here on Gather to Mindful Poetry.  If you are up for it, take the piece to a local poetry slam and perform it there.  Here is a powerful example of slam poetry to which you might aspire.  


Last month’s featured form, Than-Bauk, elicited at least twenty submissions.  Look at them here for the first few days of October.  After that, they’ll be un-featured so that the new Form of the Month can take its place in the spotlighted area of our group page.

About the Author ()

"Always try to add a little fizz and ginger to everything you write." --Matthew Stibbe

Leave a Reply