Tuesday, April 12, 2011

poetic form fun

I just spent 21 days writing from prompts by Maya Stein’s Feral Writing Quick and Dirty Poetry online writing course. I excavated a lot of material from my writings and am renewed, inspired, and ready to write more. (Postings to come)!

I want to put some of my work into poetic forms, so I pulled out one of my favorite and most invaluable reference books, The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms edited by Ron Padgett. I have been thinking of creating a collection of pantoums* or sestinas and the Handbook is perfect not only for reference but for ideas.

Coincidentally, Ron Padgett is having a poetry reading on April 13th at St. Mark’s Church - The Poetry Project. I urge you, if you live in New York City, to check it out. I miss being able to go to a reading, watch a band, watch a play (or participate in a reading, band, or play) any night of the week. Creative culture is truly a gift.

In the meantime, I'll create my own culture by writing some poetry. Maybe I'll see you at a reading soon enough!

* Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Padgett’s book:

Pantoum is the Western word for the Malayan pantun, a poetic form that first appeared in the fifteenth century, in Malayan literature . . .

The Western version of the pantoum is a poem of indefinite length made up of stanzas whose four lines are repeated in a pattern: lines 2 and lines 4 of each stanza are repeated as lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza, and so on, as shown below:

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 5 - same as line 2
Line 6
Line 7 – same as line 4
Line 8

Line 9 – same as line 6
Line 10
Line 11 – same as line 8
Line 12

And so on.

Sometimes the final stanza has a neat twist: although it fist and third lines are as usual the same as the second and fourth lines in the stanza above it, its second and fourth lines are the same as the third and first lines of the very first stanza. This way, every line in the poem is used twice, and the first line of the poem is the same as the last. Rhyme is optional . . .

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