Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Haibun

The haibun is is a poetic form first created by Matsuo Basho. It is a form that combines two modes of writing—prose and verse.

Here are some of the "rules" of writing haibun, as suggested by the Haiku Society of America.

Prose in Haibun
  • Tells the story
  • Gives information, defines the theme
  • Creates a mood through tone
  • Provides a background to spotlight the haiku

Haiku in Haibun
  • Moves the story forward
  • Takes the narrative in another direction
  • Adds insight or another dimension to the prose
  • Resolves the conflict in an unpredictable way, or questions the resolution of the prose.
  • Prose is the narrative and haiku is the revelation or the reaction.

In a haibun, the prose can come first, last, or between any number of haiku.
Haibun also have a title, something haiku generally do not.

You can read some examples and see different haibun forms at Writing and Enjoying Haibun and More than the Birds, Bees, and Trees: A Closer Look at Writing Haibun.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Landay

Late again! I can't seem to get my act together this semester, so please forgive the late post.

The landay is an Afghani poetic form. It's described as "an oral and often anonymous scrap of song created by and for mostly illiterate people." Formally, a landay is composed of couplets, with 9 syllables in the first line and 13 in the second. Sometimes the couplets rhyme, but there is no requirement to do so.

You can learn more about the landay and read some fine examples in this Poetry Magazine feature.

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

Friday, September 09, 2016

Poetry Friday - September

Today I'm sharing an aptly titled poem by William Wordsworth.

by William Wordsworth

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

No faint and hesitating trill,
Such tribute as to winter chill
The lonely redbreast pays!
Clear, loud, and lively is the din,
From social warblers gathering in
Their harvest of sweet lays.

Read the poem in its entirety.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Happy poetry Friday friends!

The Straight Poop on Who Pooped in Central Park?

Way back in 2009 I wrote a post entitled Low-Brow Topics That Make For High-Brow Reading. Here's how it began.

On Tuesday I finally threw up my hands in frustration over the proliferation of "boys don't read" articles in the last few months. Here's an excerpt from the post entitled More Boy Bashing - Here We Go Again.
Can we please give boys and young men just a bit of credit for their reading habits? If we constantly push potty and other forms of low humor on them as something they'll read, aren't we just setting the bar a tad bit low?
I was thinking about this last night as my son and I were reading a portion of Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (And Others) Left Behind, written by Jacob Berkowitz and illustrated by Steve Mack. Yes, this is a book ostensibly about poop (see that word in the title?), but it is SO MUCH MORE. The book discusses fossils, fossilization, carbon dating, history, archaeology, and the work of several different scientists. My son was drawn in more by the dinosaur connection than anything else, but since reading it he has been endlessly fascinated with the notion that you can learn about the past from things (artifacts) that are left behind, poop being one of them.

There are a number of books on low-brow topics that we hand to reluctant readers in an attempt to encourage them to read. However, the base nature of these topics and the quality of the work don't need to be mutually exclusive. (Oh, a book about poop? Must be crap!) So, in an effort to elevate some topics and/or titles perceived to be low-brow, here are some books (nonfiction all!) that will interest boys AND girls by the very nature of their FABULOUSLY INTERESTING content.

That list was filled with books on poop, toilets, underwear, and more. Why mention this in a book review? Because I've found a book (heck, a whole series!) that could easily be added to this list.

Gary D. Robson has written 20 books in the Who Pooped in the Park? series. Just take a look at this map to see some of the locations covered. I had no idea there was a book for Virginia! I'll be picking that one up for my outdoor education workshops soon.
You can learn more about the series at Gary's web site.

The latest book in the series is WHO POOPED IN CENTRAL PARK? SCAT AND TRACKS FOR KIDS. Emma, Jackson, Lily and Tony spend a day walking through Central Park, beginning at the Central Park Zoo and ending at Farmer's Gate. At the beginning of their walk they meet a worker named Lawton who tells them he can identify animals by their scat and tracks. As the kids move through the park, they stop along the way to make observations, talk to people they meet, and look at poop and tracks. It's certainly an interesting way to spend the day, and the kids are fully engaged with their explorations. Back matter includes additional information (scat and tracks) on ten of the animals observed directly or indirectly through the signs they leave behind.

While I like the story and, I was even more enamored of the informational boxes on most double-page spreads titled "The Straight Poop." These boxes, added to the text, provide readers with a wealth of information. Here's an example of what you'll find in these boxes.
Groundhogs (also called woodchucks) build long, underground tunnels with special rooms just for pooping, so you won't find much groundhog poop above the ground.
Even though this book is set in Central Park, folks in the northeast, particularly in urban areas or close to state and local parks, will find this a useful guide. Even kids who don't live in and around NYC will learn something about the myriad of animals depicted. And really, who can resist a book about poop? Certainly not me.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Englyn Penfyr

Since I've just been working on Welsh poetic forms, I thought I'd continue on with another Welsh form this week. The Englyn penfyr is a poetic form consisting of any number of tercets. In each stanza, the lines are composed of ten and seven syllables, with all lines sharing a rhyme pattern.

The first line has ten syllables and the seventh, eighth or ninth syllable of the first line introduces the rhyme. This rhyme is repeated on the last syllable of the second and third lines. The fourth syllable of the second line echoes the final syllable of the first through either rhyme or consonance. Here's what the pattern looks like.

x x x x x x x a x x
x x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x x a

You can read more about a variety of Englyn at Wikipedia.

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

Friday, September 02, 2016

Poetry Seven Write Clogyrnach

This month the Poetry Seven crew wrote in the form of the clogyrnach (clog-IR-nach). The clogyrnach is a Welsh poetic meter that falls under the poetic form of awdl (odes). They are composed of any number of 6-line stanzas. Each stanza has 32 syllables. The first couplet is 8 syllables with an end rhyme of aa, the second couplet is 5 syllables with an end rhyme of bb, and the final couplet is is 3 syllables with an end rhyme of ba. In some variations the poem is written as a 5-line stanza with the 5th line composed of 6 syllables. 

I had several false starts as I noodled around with this one. I'll admit I'm not a fan of this form, and I generally love form. Ultimately, it was the earthquake in Italy that I kept coming back to as a topic.

Terremoto in Amatrice

Under the olive tree we stand
among the ruins of this land
cradling hearts numb
as aftershocks come
our hearts drum out of hand

We mourn those lost in rubble heaps
toppled homes wet by tears we weep
medieval town
broken and cast down
quiet sounds of pain deep

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2016. 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 Penny Parker Klostermann. Happy poetry Friday friends!