Friday, December 20, 2013

Poetry Friday - Poems from CRICKET NEVER DOES

Knowing I would be hitting the road this holiday, I finished my shopping ages ago. This means that while everyone around me is whipped into a shopping frenzy, I can relax and browse. That's just what I was doing earlier this week (while procrastinating on my grading) when I stopped into my favorite used bookstore and treated myself to this little book.
CRICKET NEVER DOES: A COLLECTION OF HAIKU AND TANKA, by Mrya Cohn Livingston, is a seasonal collection of poems beginning with spring and ending with winter. Here's one of the winter poems.

Here we are, Winter,
just you and I in the snow,
freezing together

And because I love the book title, here's the poem those words come from.

Not wishing to stop
his chirping the whole night long,
Cricket never does

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog. Happy Poetry Friday all! And best wishes to each of you for whatever holiday you celebrate this season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Nonet

When I sit down to write I find I am more compelled by form than topic. It's also easier for me to wrestle with form than it is to compose on a specific topic. (I was the kid in English class that stared at my notebook page when told to "free write." Guidance and guidelines do wonders for me!)

That's why I like to tinker with forms in these challenges. This week I'd like to try the nonet. Here's a description of the form.
A nonet is a nine line poem. The first line containing nine syllables, the next line has eight syllables, the next line has seven syllables. That continues until the last line (the ninth line) which has one syllable. Nonets can be written about any subject. Rhyming is optional.
You can read more about this form and see a few examples at Poetry Dances - Nonet

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poetry Friday - Superstition

On this Friday the 13th I am sharing a poem by Amy Lowell. This piece was published in 1919 in a volume entitled Pictures of the Floating World.

by Amy Lowell

I have painted a picture of a ghost
Upon my kite,
And hung it on a tree.
Later, when I loose the string
And let it fly,
The people will cower
And hide their heads,
For fear of the God
Swimming in the clouds.

This poem and the book it was published in are in the public domain and have been digitized and made available by Google. You can read the entire volume simply by downloading a copy.

Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy Poetry Friday all! 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Sijo

Last week the fall semester came to a close. We still have exams and final projects to wade through, but the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. It wasn't until Friday that I realized I had completely missed the Monday stretch! Not so this week . . .

I'm quite fond of the poems in Linda Sue Park's lovely book Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems. 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.
And here is the description from the jacket flap of Park's book.
What is sijo?
A type of poem that originated in Korea.

But what is it?
A sijo has a fixed number of stressed syllables, usually divided into three or six lines.

Like haiku?
Kind of. But a sijo always has a surprise, an unexpected twist or joke, at the end.
The poems in the book are full of these wonderful surprises. One of my favorites is entitled Long Division. It is the poem that gives the book its title. Another favorite is Summer Storm. It is 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.
Now that you've read a sijo, you'll know that the challenge this week is to write one. 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. 
Park writes:
I try to think of where the poem would logically go if I continued to develop the idea of the first two lines. Once I've figured that out, I write something that goes in the opposite direction--or at least "turns a corner."
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a sijo. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.