The challenge this month was to write in the form of bouts-rimés. In The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, Ron Padgett describes the form this way:
A bouts-rimés poem is created by one person’s making up a list of rhymed words and giving it to another person, who in turn writes the lines that end with those rhymes, in the same order in which they were given.
This post by Lady in Read Writes has an infographic on the history of the form. What must be mentioned is that the tradition is to write 14 rhymed lines in the form of a sonnet.
We didn't follow the rules for rhymed word generation exactly, but we came up with a creative variation. As we began to plan for our Sunday Zoom, we started putting pairs of rhymed words in the Slack channel for our October challenge. Mary Lee was gracious enough to create a Google doc that included an outline of different sonnet forms, along with our rhyming words. The word pairs were listed in the order they were submitted and labeled A-G. That means we had 28 words for 14 end rhymes. This meant that the sonnet form you chose largely dictated which worlds you were required to use. For example, Petrachan and Spenserian sonnets would use words only from lists A through E, while Shakespearean would use words from each list.
I decided to try something different, so I went with the terza rima sonnet. This sonnet is named for the terza rima, which is a three-line stanza that uses a chain rhyme. The rhyme scheme of the terza rima sonnet is ABA BCB CDC DED with a final rhyming couplet that usually echoes the first rhyme: AA. The poem Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost is an example of this form.
Here are the words we suggested. The words I chose to use are in green.
I listed the end words first and then began to write. I did rearrange a few of the lines once I had a sense of where this might be going. I tried so hard to follow the rules, but I really wanted to replace the word hilarious with ridiculous because it makes more sense in the poem. Doing so would mean I'd FAILED to bend this form to my will and make my lines fit the prescribed end words, so I've left a less desirable option to stay within the bounds of the challenge. The misuse of hilarious notwithstanding, I'm pleased with the result.
The World Abstruse
The world amazes even though abstruse
Give up on understanding just resign
yourself to sing its praises most profuse
Blue sky and clouds you ponder while supine
as morning flocks sing most gregarious
You rise to wander up the steep incline
step lightly to the edge precarious
Views sublime soon call you to move higher
what vexed you once now seems hilarious
compared to all those praying for ceasefire
What will it take to make hard hearts transform?
To pull societies from the quagmire?
You hope beyond all hope for peace
This world you love amazes while abstruse
Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2023. All rights reserved.
You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below.
Would you like to try the next challenge? Next month, we’re writing in the style of Valerie Worth. You can learn more about Valerie Worth and read some of her poems at Spotlight on NCTE Poets: Valerie Worth, with Lee Bennett Hopkins, a post by Renée M. LaTulippe at No Water River. Are you in? Good! We are continuing with our 2023 theme of TRANSFORMATION. If you’re still game, you have a month to craft your creation and share it on November 24th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!
Do take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in My Orchard. Happy poetry Friday, friends!