Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Friday - A Potpourri

Today I'm sharing some thoughts on form and writing poetry. These are the views of Kevin Boland (known to his baseball-playing buddies as Shakespeare), the main character in Ron Koertge's books Shakespeare Bats Cleanup and its sequel, Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs.

Man, sonnets are hard: counting
syllables in every line, trolling
for rhymes. (SBC, p.16)

I'm still trying to slip in some inside
rhyme, just a few things that chime
a little but don't go bongbongbong
at the end of every line. (SBC, p. 61)

He calls rhyme a benevolent bully because it'll make a poet
look hard for the right word and then maybe he finds
an even better one! (SMTP, p. 11)

The sestina is almost impossible. I tried one once
and after a couple of stanzas threw myself onto
the nearest chaise and wept. Copiously. (SMTP, p. 80)

Poem excerpts ©Ron Koertge. All rights reserved

At the Storyteller's Inkpot, Koertge has written about working with a student/poet who refused to write in forms. It's an interesting piece that makes a good case for writing in form. And Koertge ends on a note that gives me hope. He says:
Most of my poems are failures, anyway, but as Samuel Beckett (Mr. Sunshine) famously said, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
When I embarked on my NPM project this month, it was in part a reaction to rhyme exhaustion. Often times I think and feel the way Laura Shovan describes in her piece Why I Hate Rhyme. If you haven't read it, you should. And ultimately, it's not really hate. Laura says:
In reality, I don’t hate rhyme. Instead, I recognize that using rhyme in a poem is a complex task. 
Amen and AMEN. Many forms that I write in actually use rhyme, but I don't feel boxed in when following the "rules," but rather feel free to play within them. In doing this, the rhymes feel less forced and more thoughtfully selected.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge. Happy poetry Friday friends!


  1. Love that sestina stanza! I'll have to check out Koerge's books.

  2. I've been curious about these books - thanks for the peeks inside, the sound advice, and the links!

  3. Trisha- I love the Shakespeare books, and I agree with Kevin, sonnets are hard! Thank you for sharing Laura Shovan's post about rhyme. I put on it on my reading list. There's so many great blog posts. I just wish I had more time to read all of them. : )

  4. Now I want to go back and reread all of Koertge's books! Thanks for the great quotes!

    1. I'm adding that Beckett quote to all my Growth Mindset quotes. Our class motto is "If at first you don't succeed...welcome to the club!"