Posts Tagged ‘poetry forms’

SOL #6

SOL #6

Join the roundup with Robyn Campbell.

Join the roundup with Robyn Campbell.

World Read Aloud Day was March 4, 2015. Sponsored by LitWorld.

World Read Aloud Day was March 4, 2015. Sponsored by LitWorld.

On Facebook my poet/friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted that she had some slots left for World Read Aloud Day Skype visits. I responded, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Not long before an email came. I will not go into all that it took me logistically and technically to make this happen, but on March 4th after a few test runs, Amy called my classroom. Squeals!

Amy was incredible. She even made a snowman for us. We are in South Louisiana, and we never have snow. At first we thought it was made with cotton balls like the ones we make. No, this one was real snow complete with a mini-carrot for a nose. Amy read a snowman poem to go with her snowman gift.

Amy and snowman
She Asked

My students had prepared what they wanted to share with Amy–their own poems and poetry forms. Erin shared her staircase poetry form. Here are the rules:
1. Each line has to be longer than the other.
2. Make it as long as you want.
3. Make it unique.
4. Just have fun!

Reed and Nigel shared their PsyKu form. They challenged Amy to take the plunge and write one. The rules are here, and if you follow the link, be sure to read all the poetic contributions in the comments. Some crazy Psyku going on. The phenomenon spreads.

And Emily read some of her poems aloud. Amy invited her to send some poems for her to post in her Spotlight on a Student section of her blog, The Poem Farm. (Note: Amy’s site is a wonderful resource for poetry in the classroom.)
Emily and Amy

Kielan didn’t want to talk, but immediately after the visit, she created a PowerPoint tribute to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

Skype with Mrs. Amy Vanderwater!!

And Reed wrote this post including his favorite contributions to the PsyKu collection.

Many thanks to Amy and her snowman friend for spreading poetry love on World Read Aloud Day!

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Join Poetry Friday with Diane at Random Noodling

Join Poetry Friday with Diane at Random Noodling

G is for ghazal. I am no expert in poetry. I have a degree in elementary education and a masters for teaching gifted. I have only studied poetry on my own through workshops, reading, and internet research. My list of publications in poetry is short. But I do enjoy trying out new forms. One of the ways I try out writing new poems is by consulting with an expert.

My chosen expert for ghazal is J.K. McDowell. Jim published a book of poems that were all written in the ghazal form. I met Jim at a poetry reading last year and again at a wordlab a few months ago. We are now Facebook friends.

To write this ghazal, I read Jim’s book, Night, Mystery, & Light, published by Hiraeth Press. I used his style of 3 lines that together form a unit that could stand alone as a poem. I collected some of his lines and words. When I later researched on the internet, the definition confused me.

From Poets.org “The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5781#sthash.zcpOLhm5.dpuf”

Jim McDowell's book

Jim McDowell’s book

I asked Jim about the couplet and rhyming that I didn’t see in his style. This was his response: “The tradition form is two lines of 18. This can be rough in English, so Bly does three lines of 12. Six stanzas is also a Bly innovation, but common. Hafiz has some pretty long ones, he is the Master of the ghazal but not the Ladinsky translations, they are more free form. My limited understanding is to not rhyme but repeat a special word. Also the last stanza can refer to or address the poet. In a higher form the poem even begins and ends with the same word. I still think the most important is that each stanza be a stand alone poem, the leaping and multiple threads and flow the most powerful.”

Now both of these definitions sound rather scholarly and may be too much for you, and for that matter, for your students. But I gave it a good ole college try. I kept to the Bly tradition of 3 lines, six stanzas. Each stanza could stand alone, and each ends with the same word. I also refer to myself in the final stanza. Let me know what you think. I have to say I had fun with this exercise.

…writing bad poetry

A glass of white wine, maybe red, or some pale ale
smears my day’s end like a phantasm of words
echoed in sounds of prayerful poetry.

Charlie barks at a passing squirrel, pulls hard.
Loosen the leash, make release for his chase.
Mary Oliver, meanwhile, would write poetry.

I want to believe more deeply in pure joy,
sip coffee and look into your eyes for truth.
This delicate awareness becomes my poetry.

Mark time with a toast to events of the each day,
Symphony Day, Iris Blooming Day, Waltzing Day.
Give notice to the day that finds poetry.

I know this hunger that no food or drink subsides.
Will the sunset reveal a sepulcher of secrets?
Do these rambling scribblings mimic poetry?

Historians liken Margaret to a queen who waves
from high upon the royal steed. Did any
Margaret you know turn blue writing bad poetry?

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved


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rough draft
I know this is an ugly picture. This is my journal page after struggling all day long with the double dactyl form. Ugh! I almost gave up. It was like a puzzle or a really hard math problem. Although, had it been a really hard math problem, I would have given up hours ago. I shared this process with my students. They could see me struggling. I would call them to attention and test it out, then shake my head, “No, not yet.”

The double dactyl form has so many requirements. I used to think rhyming was hard, but rhythm is harder. A dactyl is a long, short, short syllable pattern. Then there’s this rule that the second stanza has to have a double dactyl word. And who has ever heard of a spondee?

Most of the examples I read had a person’s name for the second line. I decided to use a book character and who better than the tragic character of Miggery Sow from The Tale of Despereaux? I found out by reading my poem aloud to my last group of students that you can’t quite “get it” if you haven’t read the book. I have to credit my fifth grade boys with the last line. High fives all around when they came up with that one.

My students are writing poetry like mad over at our kidblog. Please check them out and leave a comment or two. They love comments.

Now for my attempt to capture Miggery Sow in double dactyl.

Higgledy Piggledy
Miggery Sow was a
young girl who longed to be
princess like Pea.

Handful of cigarettes
perfidiously swapped;
Birthday wave brings forth a
queen wannabe.


Join Poetry Friday with Robyn Hood Black.

Join Poetry Friday with Robyn Hood Black.

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