Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Clerihew

clerihew is a short verse that is biographical and humorous. Here are the rules for writing a clerihew.
  • The poem must be four lines long.
  • The rhyme scheme must be a/a/b/b.
  • The first line should consist of the name of a person.
  • The poem should be biographical and humorous. Often times clerihews poke fun at famous people.
You can learn more about clerihews at Poetry for Kids and Wikipedia. You can get some advice on writing clerihews at Giggle Poetry

Here’s one by Paul Janeczko:
Harry Potter
Was a magical plotter
At Hogwarts he became a master
After many a goof and disaster.
So, what kind of clerihew will you write? Will your subject be literary or political? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments. Have fun with this one!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Hay(na)ku

I've found another new form that I would like to try this week. It's called hay(na)ku and was created in 2003 by poet Eileen Tabios. Here are the guidelines.
Hay(na)ku is a 3-line poem of six words with one word in the first line, two words in the second, and three in the third. There are no other rules and no restrictions on number of syllables or rhyme.
You can learn more about the form at Poetry Form. I love this example posted there.

   adds up.
   Love isn't math.

Poem © Dan Waber

Need some examples? You can find some at the Hay(na)ku Poetry blog. (Look for the Hay(na)ku contest winners.) There is also a thoughtful essay about the form at Dragoncave.

As you'll see from the examples, some folks create poems comprised of several hay(na)ku strung together. So, what kind of hay(na)ku will you write? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Sijo

Originating in Korea, sijo are poems divided into three or six lines. These poems frequently use word play in the form of metaphors, symbols and puns. Here is a description from AHApoetry.
More ancient than haiku, the Korean SIJO shares a common ancestry with haiku, tanka and similar Japanese genres. All evolved from more ancient Chinese patterns.

Sijo is traditionally composed in three lines of 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle; it resembles a caesura but is not based on metrics.
I'm quite fond of the poems in Linda Sue Park's book Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems. Her sijo are full of little surprises. One of my favorites is entitled Long Division. It is the poem that gives the book its title. Another favorite is the poem below.
Summer Storm

Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!
Which draws grumbling complaints or even crashing tantrums from thunder--

He hates having his picture taken, so he always gets there late.

How do you write a sijo? Here is a brief summary of the advice Park gives at the end of her book.
Three line poems should contain about 14 to 16 syllables per line. Six line poems should contain 7 or 8 syllables per line.

The first line should contain a single image or idea. The second line should develop this further. The last line should contain the twist. 

So, your challenge this week is to write a sijo. If you need a little inspiration, check out the winning entries in the 2013 Sejong Writing Competition.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Almost As Good As Wizard's Chess

For your viewing pleasure ...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Terza Rima

I've been reading poetry this week and have iambic pentameter on the brain. I thought we should try a form that uses this meter, so this week I've chosen Terza rima. The Handbook of Poetic Forms defines terza rima in this fashion.
Terza rima is a tumbling, interlocking rhyme scheme that was invented by the thirteenth-century Italian poet Dante for the creation of his long poem, The Divine Comedy.

Terza rima (an Italian phrase meaning "third rhyme") consists of a series of three-line stanzas (tercets) with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc ded and so on. It can go on as long as the poet wishes. At the end of the poem an extra line is often added to complete the structure: yzy z.
You can read more on this form at Here is a poem written in terza rima by Robert Frost.
Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
You can read another example in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem, Ode to the West Wind.

So, what kind of terza rima will you write? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - List Poem

I could list all the reasons why I've been absent, but thought a poem would be better.

Why Poems (and Blog Posts) Aren't Written

The end of school
beginning of summer
laundry needs folding
house needs cleaning
mind and body never in the same place at the same time
sleepless nights
pens out of ink
pencil points broken
computers crashed
inspiration flown the coop

In all honesty, my mom was in the hospital for three months and the travel and worry made it really hard to be present anywhere. She's home now with 24-hour nursing care and a plan in place that says there will be no more hospital visits. I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my heart and mind around what that means.

In the meantime, I'm teaching summer school and getting on with the business of life. I'm sorry I haven't been here. I have missed you and missed blogging. I hope you'll join me this week and write a list poem. I'm going to keep going and see if I can't write something a bit more inspirational.