Friday, April 03, 2015

Poetry Seven Write Raccontinos

I blame Helen Frost for this one. If it weren't for her terrific book Spinning Through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214, I never would have stumbled on this form, and it never would have made the list of writing challenges undertaken by the Poetry Seven this year.

Here are the requirements of the form.
  • composed of couplets (any number)
  • even number lines share the same end rhyme
  • the title and last words of the odd numbered lines tell a story
When I sat down to write I thought that this might be a bit easier than our last form. Boy, was I wrong! I wasn't sure where to start, so I settled on a sentence for my story. I made a form (yes, I'm a type-A poet!), filled in the story words, and went to work. I'm not quite satisfied, so this is far from done. Here is the first version and a much revised second version. (Note that I've highlighted the title and the odd numbered end words to make the story stand out.)

Version 1 (First Draft)
Dear Poet, Be Advised …

The lines you write mean nothing
unless your heart fills the ink that stains

the page. Don’t spend your time on rhymes
that may amuse. Instead take pains

to choose the perfect words with
which to bare your soul. Let loose the reins

of your imagination. Write all your colors, even orange!
Empty all your feelings out, ‘til nothing else remains.

Version 2 (Many Revisions Later) 
Dear Poet, Be Advised …

The lines you write mean nothing
unless the ink that stains

the page is filled with heart. Pick rhymes 
with prudence. Take pains

to choose the ideal words with
which to craft your art. Let loose the reins

of imagination. Write all the colors, even orange!
Pour body, soul and feelings out, ‘til poetry fills your veins.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots 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 Amy at The Poem Farm. Happy poetry Friday friends! 


  1. Ooh. I had not heard of this form before, but I love it - and I love your effort, especially the second one.

  2. And I have YOU to thank for introducing me to this form, Tricia, and your raccontino is splendid. Even if nothing rhymes with orange, it's still one of my fav colors. And you, one of my fav people. :)

  3. Such a tricky little form! I, too, like your second version and your ending line: 'til poetry fills your veins

  4. This is a grand poem for Poetry Month! I love the seriousness of the poem itself and the giggles in the title/odd end words. A delight and a surprise! Happy Poetry Month, and thank you for teaching us all so much (cool form today too) during these 30 days. xo, a.

  5. When I read Helen Frost's book, my only regret is that she didn't tell that there was "another" story going on. I didn't know until the end, so re-read it. I am impressed by the form, & it doesn't seem easy, Tricia. Love that you all did this. Your poem is wonderful, the 'inner story" such fun connecting.

  6. This is such a wonderful revision, Tricia! Yes for poetry in the veins--let it bleed out all over. It's a great contradiction of weight and lightness from the poem to the end-word sentence...

  7. I love how the end words contrast the body's message. Pour out your heart, but know there isn't always a rhyme! You've done a brilliant job of teaching us this form by doing it!

  8. Tricia, I liked both of yours so much, but the revision of the first one shines. The last line especially sings - lovely. Also, since "Rhymes With Orange" is my favorite comic strip, bar none, and orange my favorite color, this is even better...!

  9. I am still SO grateful/thankful that you requested a year of working together. Maybe we can roll it into next year, too?

    Love the sly humor in your poem!

  10. I love both, but the second is my favorite!

    That book was my first read aloud this year. The kids still talk about it...

  11. Ha!! I love that you open this post with "blame" -- wow, this one got us good, didn't it? But your result is so lovely -- and I totally appreciate seeing two versions here, the changes so subtle but so important....

  12. Your revision is spot on, Tricia, and your little story IS amusing! I attempted this form too, remember? Here's my


    morning arrives masked
    in mist. sunk in the land,

    bluish pond ringed
    by shagged cedars and

    berry bushes. stout
    with winter fur, grand,

    silvered, he stands with
    rear feet into sand,

    dips and rinses his

    not to wash it three, four, five
    times, but to demand

    more feel in those fingered
    forepaws. claws fanned,

    he scoops with both hands,
    more human than planned.

    --Heidi Mordhorst 2015
    all rights reserved

    Thanks for all the cool forms to try!

    1. Heidi,
      Yes! I do remember this! I never managed a raccontino during the stretch that week. I found it too hard! This one did take a while. I'm not quite sure what the best way is to approach this one.

      Thanks for sharing again!

  13. Wow! And I thought a Golden Shovel was tricky! "Hey, why not throw a bit of rhyme in there for good measure!" Good grief. I can imagine how rewarding it would be at the same time, though, and I may just be crazy enough to try it. Thanks for posting both first and final versions of yours so we could see the transformation. Your final version is wonderful... it's pulsing through my veins and filling my head with ideas.

  14. Tricia, I was fascinated by your revision process. The creation of the poems is tricky enough and your revision showed perseverance and promotion of the art of finding the right words.

  15. Hi there Tricia, it's the first time I'm hearing of raccontinos. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for sharing the other links here as well.