Friday, January 20, 2017

Poetry Friday - Pied Beauty

I need this today ...

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

Read the poem in its entirety. (You can listen to it too!)

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Violet Nesdoly. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Décima

The following description comes from my April 2015 interview with Margarita Engle.

The décima is a rhymed, metered poem that most commonly has ten eight-syllable lines in a rhyme pattern abba aa abba.

Here's an example.

BIRD PEOPLE
by Margarita Engle

In a time when people were stars
in deep, hidden caves of the sea,
a fisherman ventured so far
that a hole in the cave set him free.

He burst from the cave up to sky
and reached the bold shimmer of light.
No longer a man who could cry,
he was silent until darkest night.

Then the song that flew from his heart
was the sweetest song ever heard,
a melody about the start
of life as a winged, singing bird!

Poem ©Margarita Engle, 2015. All rights reserved.

In this poem, Margarita used twelve lines with a rhyme pattern abab  cdcd  efef. As she said, "Changing a décima is perfectly acceptable!  When they’re used as the lyrics of rumba songs, they are often improvised."

You can learn more about the décima at NBCLatino.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a décima. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Poetry Sisters Write Somonka

And so, another year of writing poetry with my fabulous sisters begins! I can't tell you how excited I am that we are continuing to write together. We've mapped out our plan for the year and at Liz's choosing, we are beginning with the somonka and the theme of love.

The somonka is a Japanese form that consists of two tanka written in tandem. Tanka is a form of Japanese poetry that has been practiced for more than 1000 years. Tanka are composed of 31 syllables in a 5/7/5/7/7 format. Most tanka focus on nature, seasons, the discussion of strong emotions, or a single event of some significance. In a somonka, the first tanka is usually a declaration of love, with the second a response to that declaration. 

This is the point where I confess that I don't like love poems. I don't like to read them and don't often write them. In fact, the first love poem I ever wrote was just last month during our ekphrastic writing challenge. The image took me unexpectedly in the love direction, and so I went with it. Sitting down this time to write a love poem was a difficult challenge. I'm not sure I've followed the guidelines exactly, but I've got a poem or two I'm happy to share.


I'm a lucky boy
snuggled in my favorite chair,
so warm, belly full.
Could there be a better life
for me, than to be so loved?

He's easy to love,
all lean lines and handsome face,
a classic beauty.
It's easy to ignore his
flaws. Who doesn't love a dog?
 

How do I love thee you?
With poetry (not Browning),
with words unspoken,
with lasagna, chocolate cake,
in numerous mundane ways.

I married for food.
She captured my heart through my
stomach. Heaven knows
there are other reasons, but
I'm too full to think. That's love.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda at Teacher Dance. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Monday Poetry Stretch - Ya Du

Ya Du is a Burmese poetic form that uses climbing-rhyme. Each poem contains anywhere from 1-3 stanzas (but no more than 3). Each stanza contains 5 lines. The climbing rhymes occur in syllables four, three, and two of both the first three lines and the last three lines of a stanza. The first four lines have 4 syllables each, and the last one can have 5, 7, 9, or 11 syllables. The last two lines have an end-word rhyme. 

Here's an example of what the climbing rhyme pattern looks like.
x x x a
x x a x
x a x b
x x b c
x b x x x x c

Since ya du means "the seasons," the poem should contain a reference to the seasons.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a ya du. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Cybils Finalists!

I'm so thrilled to have served as a Cybils first round judge in the poetry category this fall. I'm very excited to share the list we are sending forward to the round 2 judges.
by Kwame Alexander

by Skila Brown

by Deanna Caswell

by Julie Fogliano

by Nikki Grimes

by Irene Latham

by Laura Shovan

You can view all the Cybils finalists here. Happy New Year and happy reading.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Somonka

Christmas is over, but Hanukkah is still going strong. The new year is just around the corner. I'd like to write about endings and beginnings, so a form written from two perspectives sounds like a good idea.

The somonka is a Japanese form that consists of two tanka written in tandem. The first tanka is usually a declaration of love, with the second a response to that declaration. While this form usually requires two authors, it is possible for one poet to write from both perspectives.

Writing somonka requires that we revisit the guidelines for tanka. Tanka is a form of Japanese poetry that has been practiced for more than 1000 years. Tanka are composed of 31 syllables in a 5/7/5/7/7 format. Most tanka focus on nature, seasons, the discussion of strong emotions, or a single event of some significance.

In her article Tanka as Diary, Amelia Fielden writes:
Tanka, meaning ‘short song’, is a 1300 year old Japanese form of lyric poetry. Non-rhyming, it is composed in Japanese in five phrases of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables.

In English, tanka are normally written in five lines, also without (contrived) rhyme, but in a flexible short/long/short/long/long rhythm. Due to dissimilarities between the two languages, it is preferable not to apply the thirty-one syllable standard of the Japanese poems, to tanka in English. Around twenty-one plus/minus syllables in English produces an approximate equivalent of the essentially fragmentary tanka form, and its lightness. To achieve a “perfect twenty-one”, one could write five lines in 3/5/3/5/5 syllables. If the resulting tanka sounds natural, then that’s fine. However, the syllable counting does not need to be so rigid. Though no line should be longer than seven syllables, and one should try to maintain the short/long/short/long/long rhythm, variations such as 2/4/3/5/5 or 4/6/3/6/7 or 3/6/4/5/6 syllable patterns can all make good tanka.
Here is an example, translated by one of my former colleagues at the University of Richmond. These tanka were sent back and forth between a nobleman named Mikata No Sami (Active C. 700) and his young wife, the daughter of Omi Ikuha (N.D.)

Tied up, it loosens,
untied, it's too long
my love's hair --
nowadays I can't see it --
has she combed it together?

Everyone now says
my hair is too long
and I should tie it up --
but the hair you gazed upon
I'll leave in tangles

Translated by Stephen Addiss in The Art of Haiku: Its History through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Masters (pp. 19-20)


I hope you'll join me this week in writing a somonka. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Bite-Sized Sonnet

Since we wrote a sonnet variation last week, I thought I continue with this theme. In Avis Harley's book Fly With Poetry: An ABC of Poetry, she include the bite-sized sonnet. This form follows the rhyme scheme of a "traditional sonnet," but it's not written in iambic pentameter. Instead, each line contains only ONE syllable. Here's Avis' poem.
A Bite-Sized Sonnet

House
sleeps.
Mouse
creeps
in
through
thin
flue.

Spots
cheese;
stops.
Sees
cat.
SCAT!

Poem 
©Avis Harley. All rights reserved.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a bite-sized sonnet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.