|Reading a poem is serious business.
Septentrian Baronial Investiture 2015.
Photo by Master Eirik Andersen.
Once I have a topic (usually a person) I then carry out some research on them. I try to find out what their persona is (time and place), as well as what their interests are and specific bits of personal lore that I may be able to draw on (for instance, favourite colours, animals, activities, and so on).
Having determined the topic's time and place in history I then do some more research on the poetic traditions of that time and place. If the person I am going to write about has a 10th century Irish persona, then I will try to write the poem about them in a 10th century Irish style. This can actually take longer than writing the actual poem, as there are numerous poetic genres, forms and devices for every time and place. I began to keep a catalogue of this information (which I displayed at the Spring A&S Faire) so I would always have it easily accessible. I would urge other poets to do the same if they are thinking of writing in various styles.