Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Golden Shovel

I know, it's Tuesday again. I'll just chalk my lateness up to my summer schedule.

I've been thinking a bit about this excerpt I read in this interview with Max Ritvo.
"I’ve never really understood the point of poetry, if not to expose you to different forms of mentation. You can write about whatever you want to write about, it’s your prerogative as a poet, but at the end of the day, what a poet does is let you inhabit a different way of thinking for a brief moment of time. For a very very brief bit of time, logic tacks together in ways it never has, and you’re able to have a series of free associations that’ve never been in your brain, or hopefully in any brain, before. I think that this endures so much more than the message of any poem."
I like thinking about poetry as a different way of thinking, though I've always thought of it as a different way of seeing. I write (usually) with a scientist's eyes, practicing the art of looking closely. I also write with the heart of a mathematician, because I love to puzzle through form and structure.

This week let's puzzle through the form Golden Shovel. This form was invented by Terrance Hayes. In writing a golden shovel, you must first borrow a favorite line or lines from a poem to create your own. The words in this line become the end words of your poem. If you choose a six word line, your poem with have 6 lines. If you choose a 12 word line, your poem will have 12 lines. You get the idea. Remember to credit the original poem/poet in the title or an epigram.

Here's an excerpt from Hayes' poem.

The Golden Shovel
by Terrance Hayes

     after Gwendolyn Brooks

I. 1981

When I am so small Da’s sock covers my arm, we
cruise at twilight until we find the place the real

men lean, bloodshot and translucent with cool.
His smile is a gold-plated incantation as we

drift by women on bar stools, with nothing left
in them but approachlessness. This is a school

     Read the poem in its entirety.


Hopefully you can see Brooks' poem (We Real Cool) in the end words of each line.

So, there's your challenge. I hope you'll join me this week in writing a golden shovel. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Englyn cyrch

If orange is the new black, then Tuesday is the new Monday! My apologies for failing to post yesterday. I got caught up in the end of summer school and grading.

The Englyn cyrch is a Welsh poetic form consisting of any number of quatrains. In each stanza, the lines are composed of seven syllables, with lines 1, 2, and 4 sharing an end rhyme. The end rhyme of line 3 rhymes with a middle syllable (3rd, 4th, or 5th) or line 4. Here's what the pattern looks like.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x b
x x x b x x a

You can read more about Englyn at Wikipedia.

That's it. Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing an Englyn cyrch. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Diatelle

I've been searching a bit online for some "new" and different poetry forms. I discovered a site, The Writer's & Poetry Alliance Club, that not only explains traditional poetic forms, but includes numerous invented forms as well.

The diatelle is syllabic form with a rhyme scheme. It looks a bit like a double etheree, but it is different. Here are the guidelines.
syllable pattern: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1
rhyme scheme: a b b c b c c a c c b c b b a

That's it. Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a diatelle. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Poetry Seven Write "In the Style Of" ... Kay Ryan

Sigh ... I really procrastinated this month and now I'm not so happy with my poem. I guess that's alright. My energy has been focused on summer school, so writing has been coming in fits and starts.

The poem I chose to write in the style of, as did a few of my poetry sisters, is entitled Turtle.

Turtle
by Kay Ryan

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.

Read and listen to the poem in its entirety.


I had a hard time settling on a subject. I started a poem on the heron, inspired by a morning walk and watching our local heron wade through the mud near some sunning turtles. It didn't go very far. I also tried mongoose, cockroach, and bat. I suppose this was hard for me because I'm fascinated by these animals and don't see too many drawbacks to their design. I finally settled on the naked mole rat. The poem is entirely too didactic, but I enjoyed working on the internal rhyme in the piece. In fact, I ran it through The Wall Street Journal analyzer. (Props to Laura Purdie Salas for sharing this!) Their algorithm breaks words into component sounds and then groups similar-sounding syllables into rhyme families, which are color-coded. You can learn how they did it at How WSJ Used an Algorithm to Analyze ‘Hamilton’ the Musical. Here's what a portion of my poem looks like.
So, without further ado, here's my first draft, along with a picture of the animal that inspired it. I'm not sure I'll be revisiting this exact one, but I like Ryan's poem as a mentor text and will definitely try to tackle another subject.
Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Naked Mole Rat

Who would be a naked mole rat who could help it?
A wrinkled mess with random whiskers
and excess hair between her toes, she does not know
that beauty escapes her. She’s a prime
example that form follows function. Living
a lifetime underground, it’s no wonder
she is built for digging, skilled in
wielding her prominent teeth and snout
to excavate her route. Fate determined
by birth, she labors for her queen.
Keeping chambers clean, finding food,
minding pups, life is busy enough.
Neither mole nor rat, she’s tough
to define, closer relation to the porcupine.
Despite the strangeness she’s
undeterred, unaware of how absurd
her subterranean life is.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2016. All rights reserved.


You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below. Andi's not sharing a poem today, but she's always with us in spirit.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Climbing Rhyme

Climbing Rhyme is a form of Burmese poetry containing a repeated sequence of 3 internally-rhymed lines consisting of 4 syllables each. Since Burmese is monosyllabic, this works well, but in English this might be difficult. Instead of 4 syllable lines, let's try writing in lines of 4 words. (If you're feeling brave, go ahead and try four syllables!)

The rhyme scheme for climbing rhyme is internal. That means the position of the rhyming word changes. The rhyme appears in the 4th word of line one, 3rd word of line 2, and 2nd word of line 3. The pattern continues as a new rhyme appears in the 4th word of line 3, the 3rd word of line 4, and the 2nd word of line 5. This continues on, giving a stair-step feel to the poem, hence the name climbing rhyme.

For those of you who need to see this visually, here it is. Each x stands for a word. The letters stand for rhyming words. Just remember the 4-3-2 pattern.

x x x a
x x a x
a x b
x x b x
b x c
x x c x
c x x

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

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Septercet

Today's form comes from the mind of Jane Yolen. A septercet is her newly invented form, a modified tercet. An actual tercet is composed of three lines of poetry, forming a stanza or a complete poem, though this one also has a line syllabic count of seven.

Here's an example.

Human Work

“The wild can be human work.”—Helen Macdonald

The wild can be human work
If we reset the balance,
Keeping our thumbs off the scales.

If we bring back, return things,
Not just take it all away,
The wild can be human work.

Restoration is hard graft,
Almost more than creation,
Which is why God needed rest.

But we humans dare not rest
Till we’re done with restoring:
Eagles in their high aeries,

Whales singing in their sea lanes.
Wolves commandeering forests.
All the wild come home again.

©2016 Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.


Cool, isn't it? I love syllable counting, so this should be fun. I hope you'll join me in writing a septercet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

And thanks to Jane for sending this and allowing me to share it with you!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Sonnet (Italian Form)

In my estimation, there is never a bad time for a sonnet. Here's a great example.

Since I normally write Shakespearian sonnets, I thought I'd offer up the Italian form this week. Here are the basic guidelines to follow.
  • sonnet is composed of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter.
  • The Italian sonnet is divided into an octave (8 lines), followed by a sestet (6 lines).
  • The rhyme pattern for the octave is a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a. For the sestet the pattern can be c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-c-d-c.
You can read more on sonnets in this great post by Kelly Fineman.

So, there's your challenge for the week. I hope you'll join me in writing a sonnet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.