April 29, 2010

The last of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices

Tone: The accumulated effect of style, coloration, and texture. Like atmosphere in a short story or like mood in symphonic music, tone in poetry is the result of particular choices which affect the reader’s overall feeling toward a poem.

One of those choices is “context.” If a poem is part of a collection of poems, the poems often work together to set a tone.

A few years ago, I started working on a group of poems based on the concept of self-portraiture.  Each poem was titled “Self Portrait: [here I would name the speaker of the poem].  It was a fun exercise.  I wrote what I thought were credible (if not true) assessments of myself through that person’s eyes.  I tried to pick people who know me well, and also people who only know me in a certain context (for example, “The Doctor”).

I am going to share with you one of these self-portrait poems because, by itself, its tone is entirely left up to the reader. Where I placed it in the collection, however, would set the tone for the reader; do you agree? Thanks for reading! Continue reading “April 29, 2010”

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 25

The “S” of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Sonnet:  A fourteen-line poem usually with octet/sestet separation of eight- and six-line formations, usually with a RHYME scheme in either Shakespearean or Petrarchean sequence.

I break from the norm here and, rather than share an original poem, share something from the god of sonnet-writing, William Shakespeare. Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 25″

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 18th

The first of today’s poetic devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Rondel:  A simple song, usually in strict stanzaic form (see STANZA), using REFRAIN, RHYME and METER.

Unfortunately, and, some might argue, unforgivably, Packard does not describe the stanzaic form (or rhyme scheme or meter) in any detail.  I, therefore, had to call in the big guns of Thrall, Hibbard and Holman and consult with my centuries-old A Handbook to Literature (see photo) (I really do have to get the updated version – it’s an essential tool).

Here is the only rondel I have ever written.  Thanks for reading! Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 18th”

April 28, 2010

There is one entry under “Q” in Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices, which makes the decision-making process easy.

Quatrain:  Any STANZA unit of four lines, whether rhymed or unrhymed (see RHYME).  The quatrain is the most common stanza form in English poetry, and when rhymed it tends to fall into one of the following four categories:
Shakespearean rhyme  a/b/a/b
Petrarchean rhyme a/b/b/a
Omar Khayyám stanza a/a/x/a
Monorhyme a/a/a/a

I revised this next poem, so that the first three stanzas are quatrains. I attempted the Petrarchean rhyme scheme. Regardless of whether the poem is successful, I enjoyed revisiting a years-old poem and working with it, applying a fresh set of expectations. Thanks for reading!
Continue reading “April 28, 2010”

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 17th

The next device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices:

Prose Poetry:  Poetry having a high incidence of sight and sound and voice devices, but with no formal line arrangements; prose poems resemble loose paragraphs and are sometimes called vignettes.

So many, many, many poets do prose poetry well.  I am not one of them.  Still, this is what I signed on for, so we shall suffer together, dear readers.

I share a prose poem that has found its way in and out of a full length manuscript of mine over the last couple of years.  Thanks for reading! Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 17th”

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 16th

Today’s first device from Packard’s A Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Ode: An extended lyric, on a single theme or subject, often of considerable length and usually using recognizable STANZA patterns. The word “ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and the form may have had its origins with Sappho in the middle of the seventh centruy B.C., because her surviving work includes one complete ode and four stanzas of a second ode. The later Greek poet Pindar wrote triumphal odes, and the Roman poet Horace wrote odes as well as SATIRES and EPISTLES.

I am sharing here the first two stanzas of an original poem entitled “Ode to Today.”  It is quite lengthy, so I won’t post the entire poem.  The “single theme or subject” is the kind of sadness that is brought on by loneliness or rejection.  As for recognizable stanza patterns, there are not any; at least, not the way I think Packard means.  The stanzas get “fatter” on the page (the lines get longer) and build to a middle, a crescendo, before they shrink again.  That effect was not anything I tried to achieve consciously, but it is suitable for the poem. Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 16th”

Compulsion! A Week in One Day?

Those of you who know me personally, know that my monkey mind just cannot stand the thought of something incomplete.  I never finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.  The novel is 535 pages in length, and I quit with 120 pages to go.  Stopped.  At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do.  I found the novel exhausting and frustrating, and finally reached a point at which I decided no “conclusion” was going to be satisfactory to me.  Now, at that time, I was the already-exhausted mother of a toddler.  I needed “beach lit,” not Ishiguro’s astonishingly complex, mysterious Sartre-like journey.  Anyway, at the time, I knew quitting it was the right thing to do … and the fact that I did quit haunts me to this very day.

So here we are:  I have been absent from this blog for several days, the second such period of quiet, and I had committed to myself that I would write or share a poem every day, using William Packard’s book, The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Prose, as a jumping off point.

Well, please don’t think I have been neglecting poetry.  In fact, I was too tired to write here on Sunday because of preparation for an upcoming ensemble reading that I have been asked to be part of (more on that later), and I have also been neck deep dealing with the poetry that is “family.”  Enough, however!  I must set this thing aright.  I said there would be 30 posts in April, and 30 posts it shall be.

Watch this space …