Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Limerick

After watching Saturday Night Live the last few weeks, limericks and clerihews have been rattling around in my head. I thought it might be fun to write some limericks this week.

Limericks are humorous nonsense poems that were made popular in English by Edward Lear. Limericks not only have rhyme, but rhythm. The last words of the first, second, and fifth lines all rhyme, and the last words of the third and fourth lines rhyme. This means the rhyme scheme is AABBA. The rhythm of a limerick comes from a distinct pattern. Lines 1, 2, and 5 generally have seven to ten syllables, while lines 3 and 4 have only five to seven syllables. Here is an example from Lear's book.
If you can't read the text, here's the limerick in the 5-line form usually seen today.
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
   Two Owls and a Hen,
   Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
You can read Lear's A Book of Nonsense online, which includes 112 limericks.
 
I hope you'll join me this week in writing some limericks. If you feel politically inclined, that would be fun too. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Rhupunt

I am still reading and pondering the forms in Robin Skelton's The Shapes of Our Singing: A Comprehensive Guide to Verse Forms and Metres from Around the World. The Rhupunt is a Welsh verse form. Lines are 4 syllables long, with the last line rhyming with the last line of the following stanza. Stanzas may be 3, 4, or 5 lines long. Here is the pattern for these versions.

3-line

x x x A
x x x A
x x x B

x x x C
x x x C
x x x B

4-line
x x x A
x x x A
x x x A
x x x B

x x x C
x x x C
x x x C
x x x B

5-line
x x x A
x x x A
x x x A
x x x A
x x x B

x x x A
x x x A
x x x A
x x x A
x x x B

Since the lines in each stanza are generally thought to be portions of a long line, they are sometimes presented as a couplet with lines of 12 to 20 syllables. Written this way the rhupunt would look like this:
x x x A x x x A x x x A x x x B
x x x C x x x C x x x C x x x B

You can read more about the rhupunt at The Poets Garret.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a rhupunt. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Poetry Sisters Write Villanelles

This month the poetry gang wrote villanelles with the theme of brevity or shortness. The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. It is made up of five tercets and a quatrain. The rhyme scheme is aba aba aba aba aba abaa. The 1st and 3rd lines from the first stanza are alternately repeated so that the 1st line becomes the last line in the second stanza, and the 3rd line becomes the last line in the third stanza and so on. The last two lines of the poem are lines 1 and 3 respectively.

I started poems on 4 different topics, but ultimately couldn't get away from politics. My apologies for that. It's too bad really, because some of the other ideas were interesting. I'm going to keep working on the poem built around Shakespeare's quote "brevity is the soul of wit." It was the first thing I thought of when I began brainstorming ideas for this form and I just couldn't get it out of my head. I also worked on poems about winter days and revising poems. 

Here's the poem I'm sharing today. I thought about calling it "The Relativity of Trump," but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Untitled Villanelle

Time is relative they say
sometimes long and sometimes brief
it just depends upon the day

November seems so far away
yet we’re still filled with disbelief
time is relative they say

We want Obama’s yesterday
when our hearts weren’t filled with grief
but it depends upon the day

We read Twitter with dismay
and with impatience seek relief
but time is relative they say

Now we must make our way
with this narcissist in chief
so hope depends upon the day

We cannot run away
we must hold to our belief
time is relative they say
it just depends upon the day

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by  Penny Klosterman at Penny and Her Jots. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Things To Do

In honor of Elaine Magliaro, who has a new book coming out on February 7th, I thought it might be fun to write "Things To Do" poems.

Elaine wrote a terrific post way back in 2010 describing how she got started writing things to do poems. Inspired by the poems of Bobbi Katz, Elaine took to writing list poems in this format with her second graders. The post, The Super Duper "Things to Do" Poems Post, includes example poems written by/with her students, as well as links to original poems Elaine wrote in this form.
Elaine's book, Things to Do, is filled with poem that describe "things to do" if you are dawn, a bird, honeybee, an acorn, the sky, and more.

Here's an excerpt from a poem that didn't make it into this collection.

Things To Do If You Are a Castle

Stand on a stony cliff
overlooking the sea.
Wear a thick wall of armor.
Sprout tall turrets.
Be a haven.
Drop your drawbridge
for damsels in distress.

Read the poem in its entirety.

I hope you'll join me in writing a "Things To Do" poem this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Week's Poetry Stretch - Zeno

I'm teaching Monday and Tuesday evenings this semester, and I'm a bit overwhelmed. It was on my run this morning that I realized I hadn't posted a stretch yet. My apologies for sharing this so far into the week. I've picked a short, challenging form for us.

The Zeno is a poetic form that was invented by J. Patrick Lewis. Here's Pat's explanation of the form.
I've invented what I had called a “hailstone," after the mathematical "hailstone sequence." It has nothing to do with Mary O'Neill's Hailstones and Halibut Bones, but it would no doubt instantly be confused with it. Hence, "hailstone" is problematic. So I call the form a "zeno," so named for Zeno, the philosopher of paradoxes, especially the dichotomy paradox, according to which getting anywhere involves first getting half way there and then again halfway there, and so on ad infinitum. I'm dividing each line in half of the previous one. Here's my description of a zeno:

A 10-line verse form with a repeating syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1.
The rhyme scheme is abcdefdghd.
Here are two examples.
Sea Song
A song streaming a thousand miles
may sound like a
fairy
tale,
but it’s only
love’s bulk-
mail
coming out of
the blue...
whale. 
Why Wolves Howl
Gray wolves do not howl at the moon.
Across a vast
timber
zone,
they oboe in
mono-
tone,
Fur-face, I am
all a-
lone.

Poems ©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
I hope you'll join me in writing a zeno this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Poetry Friday - Pied Beauty

I need this today ...

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

Read the poem in its entirety. (You can listen to it too!)

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Violet Nesdoly. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Décima

The following description comes from my April 2015 interview with Margarita Engle.

The décima is a rhymed, metered poem that most commonly has ten eight-syllable lines in a rhyme pattern abba aa abba.

Here's an example.

BIRD PEOPLE
by Margarita Engle

In a time when people were stars
in deep, hidden caves of the sea,
a fisherman ventured so far
that a hole in the cave set him free.

He burst from the cave up to sky
and reached the bold shimmer of light.
No longer a man who could cry,
he was silent until darkest night.

Then the song that flew from his heart
was the sweetest song ever heard,
a melody about the start
of life as a winged, singing bird!

Poem ©Margarita Engle, 2015. All rights reserved.

In this poem, Margarita used twelve lines with a rhyme pattern abab  cdcd  efef. As she said, "Changing a décima is perfectly acceptable!  When they’re used as the lyrics of rumba songs, they are often improvised."

You can learn more about the décima at NBCLatino.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a décima. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.