Archive | March 2014

“The time has come, the walrus said…”

Public Domain Reprint

Public Domain Reprint

Eve of NaPoWriMo. Poetry exercises done: 0. Ah, yes, the cruelest month, indeed.

My favorite book on writing poetry came from an unexpected source. I’ve been a fan of Stephen Fry since he and Hugh Laurie did their sketch comedy show on BBC and can’t read P.G. Wodehouse without his voice as Jeeves. But when I picked up a book called “The Ode Less Traveled,” I wasn’t linking the author’s name with either of those. Stephen Fry. Yes, it sounded a tad familiar but…Well, gosh dang it (as Rich Hall might say on QI, the Stephen Fry quiz show that I’m so hooked on as to not accomplish anything in my break time), the author is indeed that Stephen Fry. And I can hear his voice once again on every page.

“Ode” is not just a book about poetry or writing poetry but an exhortation to write poetry and play with poetic form–with “poetics,” in fact, the figures of speech, rhymes, rhythms. His exercises prod you to just put words on paper: but words in order, words that may rhyme or not, words that fit into the gallop of tetrameter or the Victorian flow of pentameter. And if they’re junk, well, so what. They’re your junk.

So…in that spirit. A short bit of iambic pentameter to prepare for April 1 and “a poem a day.”

The practice must begin with lines of stress

Pentameter must come before the rhyme

Let beats of rhythm pound within the breast

The planning out to come before the crime.

 

Zen and the Art of Writing Bad Poetry

003After many months away from this blog, I’m coming back to torment my followers by making this my site for National Poetry Writing Month in April. I’m hoping to start doing some practice work here over the next few weeks. And, no, not all my poems for April will be related to Mindfulness, Buddhism, Qi Gong, etc. but some may well turn out that way.

I love “form” poetry (as opposed to “free verse”), so I’m going to try to write in as many different forms as I can, from villanelles to haikus to, maybe, even a limerick. No promises that I’ll get in a poem a day. My grand word total for National Novel Writing Month–where the goal was 50,000 words–was just over 4000. But I did get a nifty little start on a mystery about a meditation retreat that I called “Being With Nothingness.” Maybe I’ll return to it someday.

Thus begins my scribbling.