Posts Tagged ‘Terza Rima’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

Take a walk with me on this chilly day. The temperature dropped during the day yesterday from a rainy 55 degrees to a frigid 35 degrees with winds close to 20 mph. Bundle up in your winter coat and gloves. Did you bring your wool socks? As we walk past the bayou and along the road, we come to an open field. Watch your step because the ground is uneven here, and you may step in a puddle.

There near the neighboring house is a tree that looks like it may have been struck by lightning. It’s leaning slightly, but oh! It’s bright with pink blossoms. Flowers in winter? I think Japanese magnolia likes to be the first to show off her new spring dress.

My poetry swaggers group had a difficult challenge this month, given by Catherine Flynn. Terza Rima, she suggested, a form none of us had ever tried. But it’s from Dante, she delighted, not knowing yet that we are no Dantes.

Nevertheless, I gave it a shot. The first results lacked greatly. After a few rounds with my writing buddies, they helped me patch it up to present today. A terza rima is not going into my book of forms. This was a tough code to crack. Here’s a link to some confusing helpful guidelines.

A Japanese magnolia takes a chance
on blooming ‘fore the risk of frost is gone
with warming trends alive inside its branch.

Perhaps a passing storm had left it torn
in this winter field alone and gray,
when leaves of life from limbs are yet unborn.

Bold flowers burst bright pink and lift away
a fog; flamboyant beauty flirts for view
when wind blows chill across my path today. 

A Japanese magnolia takes a chance.

Margaret Simon, draft #5

Visit the Poetry Swaggers Sites for more (and better, if you ask me) Terza Rima poems.

Catherine Flynn
Molly Hogan
Linda Mitchell
Heidi Mordhorst

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Poetry Friday is hosted this week at The Opposite of Indifference with Tabatha Yeats

Poetry Friday is hosted this week at The Opposite of Indifference with Tabatha Yeats

Today, for Poetry Friday, I have a guest post from Sandra Sarr. Sandy is completing her MFA program this summer from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, Whidbey Writers Workshop. To hear her talk about this low residency program, I feel her enthusiasm. While working on her MFA, Sandy has been writing a novel, “The Road to Indigo.” (To read about our meeting and my poem for her, click here.) Sandy’s MFA program required that she write in all genres. She wrote this poem while taking a poetry class. I was intrigued by this Terza Rima for a number of reasons. One, I am especially interested in learning about form, and two, I loved diving deep in the ocean with her turtles. And three, Sandy uses our nation’s Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, as a mentor. I have also included Sandy’s commentary about her process. Even though Sandy’s concentration is in fiction, I personally think she is also a wonderful poet.


After Natasha Trethewey


Underneath, turtles sweep in threes—
their sea wings caress the deep warm wet
long night fading in day’s dreams.

Out past the pull of tide, newlywed
swimmers shadow angels. Dawn-lit bay
gives way to the abyss where night ones fed.

Shore fades. Two pursue three out way
past breaking waves. One more mile, breathe deep,
clasp hands, sprout wings, turn back, now pray.

Today, this longing—this primal need
to taste what came first—urges a feast
of what drifts out, flows in, floats out, flows free.
–Sandra Sarr, all rights reserved

About the poem:
“Matinal Oceania,” represented Washington State in YARN literary journal’s 2012 National Poetry Month’s project, Crossing Country Line by Line.

In “Matinal Oceania,” sea turtles wing their way through the morning ocean. Newlyweds shadow them into unknown—even dangerous—depths on an ancient primal path in which they innocently pursue their watery origins as a species and their uncertain destiny as a couple.

The tidal waters off the coast of West Maui inspire the poem’s unnamed setting. I choose Natasha Tretheway’s “Vespertina Cognitio” as inspiration for poetic form and go further by adding rhyme in a braided aba, bcb, cdc pattern of end words. “When the rhyme patterns link up, weaving a bracelet of sound across the stanzas, we’re reading terza rima,” writes poet Wendy Bishop in Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Poem. I arrange my terza rima’s stanzas in step-indented format to evoke in the reader a sense of flowing waves reflecting the poem’s subject. (I apologize, in WordPress, I was unable to format the step-indentation.)

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