Experimental Poetry Form: Three stanzas

This experimental poetry form is called three stanzas.  As the name implies, it consists of three stanzas.  Here are the other qualities:

Stanza one has four lines, stanza two has five, and stanza three has three.

Stanza one is not indented, stanza two has each line indented five spaces, and stanza three has each line indented three spaces.

Stanza one has four syllable lines, stanza two has six syllable lines, and stanza three has five syllable lines.

Each stanza is an acrostic stanza for a different word.

Here is what the form looks like:

****
****………………Word one acrostic
****
****

     ******
     ******………..Word two acrostic
     ******
     ******
     ******

   *****
   *****…………..Word three acrostic
   *****

Here is an example poem written in the form

What is that noise,
heard in the dark,
amongst shadows,
this quiet night?

     Certainly just a dream,
     of fears and dreads of dark,
     made of glimpses and sounds,
     entirely of fog,
     silently in shadows.

   Not falling backward,
   over the cliff’s edge,
   where fear reaches out.

 

P. S. Happy fifth day of Christmas.

 

P. S. S. As Monday is New Year’s Day, there will be no new blog post on the blog that day. Happy New Year.

Poetry essay: Using metaphor and symbolism in poetry

Metaphor and symbolism can be very important parts of poetry.  The idea of talking about something without directly saying it can be a very effective tool for expression.  If you read through some of the poems with explanations on this blog, you can see examples of the use of metaphor and symbolism.

The idea of the clarity and obscurity of expressing ideas through poetry, which relates to the idea of using metaphor and symbolism, was written about in a previous poetry essay on this blog: Clear vs. mixed clear and obscure vs. obscure poetry.

Metaphor and symbolism can be ways to add depth to whatever a poet is writing about.  If the subject matter is light, metaphor and symbolism can make it seem deeper than it is.  If the subject matter is significant, metaphor and symbolism can be a vehicle for expression that lessens the directness but makes the idea more subtly impactful.

Look at this poem:

his life did wane,
beneath the sun,
and in bright days,
no one did mourn

This poem sounds significant.  It seems to be about someone dying and not being mourned.  The poem has a sound of depth to it.

In reality, this poem is about something light: the melting of a snowman.  The poem was written in a way so as to make something little sound like something more.

Writing a poem in this way can have different affects.

On the one hand, it might appear to some to be silly.  A poet writing with depth about something so small.

On the other hand, some might view this poem as a way to express an idea.  The death of the snowman is symbolic.  It is speaking of some larger or more important idea.  For example, imagine if someone saw a snowman melt and it reminded them of the death of someone they knew.  With this view, the symbolism fits the situation.

One caution to writing a poem in this way, is that if a reader learns the true meaning of the poem, they might feel deceived.  Think about a song that you liked and thought was significant, until you learned it was about something small and light.

Here is another poem:

Snowmen,
twenty in a row,
a memory

The arc of time,
moved with pace,
so few are left

The spring will come,
the day will come,
when the field has flowers,
but no snowmen.

This poem is a little like a mirror of the first.  This poem is explicitly about snowmen.  It is basically talking about them disappearing through the winter.  There is a sadness to the poem, even though it is overtly about something light.

This poem though has more depth.  It is really about soldiers from a war many years before.  You may have seen a picture of soldiers of a past war lined up for a photograph.  Imagine it has been fifty years since the picture was taken.  Many of those soldiers would have died.  At some point, all will be gone.  That is the real meaning of the poem.

This poem uses metaphor and symbolism to express something significant, in a way that stills feels significant, but is less direct.  The poem still has emotion, but it might not hit as hard as if the poem had been overt.  Given that though, the poem might seem more reflective and more able to stimulate a sense of thought than a more direct poem might.  The poem is more subtly impactful.

 

Metaphor and symbolism are important for poetry.  They allow a poet a means to express ideas without just saying them.  They can impart meaning to things that are mundane and add subtly to things that are significant.

 

P. S. Happy fourth day of Christmas.

Poetry topic idea: ribs

Today’s poetry topic idea is ribs.  Here are some ideas for using ribs in poetry:

  • A poet could write about the creation story of Adam and Eve. They could use the story of Eve’s creation as the basis for expressing other ideas.  They could write about husbands and wives, as well as women, men, and their relationship to each other.
  •  

  • A poet could write about a boxer with hurt ribs. They could write about the pain, the difficulty breathing and the difficulty moving.  They could write about how each blow brings more damage.  They could use these ideas as a metaphor for life situations.
  •  

  • A poet could write about cooking and eating ribs. They could write about the process, the time and the recipe.  They could describe the appearance, smell, taste and texture.
  •  

  • A poet could use a rib cage as a metaphor for something else. They could either talk about it as containment or protection.

 

P. S. Happy third day of Christmas.

Poem with an explanation: Hi there, it’s nice to see you.

Hi there,
it’s nice to see you.
You look great.

A smile,
some words,
a float in the air.

 

Hi there,
it’s nice to see you.
You look great.

A smile,
some words,
a fall in a pit.

 

This poem is about a difference in intent and perception.  There are three people in the poem.  Person A says stanzas one and three.  Person B experiences stanza two.  Person C experiences stanza four.

In the poem, there is a party.  Person A is the host and greets people as they arrive.  With Persons B and C, the greeting consisted of the same words, yet different intents.

Person A likes Person B and so the words of the greeting are said with a mild sense of sincerity.  Person A is genuinely greeting Person B, even though the greeting is mainly part of a social norm.  When Person A says it is nice to see Person B and that Person B looks great, there is a sense of truth in the words.

Person B also likes Person A.  Person B has a genuine response to the words of Person A.  Person B smiles, returns the greeting, and, metaphorically, floats into the party.  The situation is very light, happy and calm for Person B.

By contrast, Person A and Person C do not like each other.  There is animosity between them.  Person C is coming to the party, not because they want to be there, but because of social obligation.

Person A greets Person C when they arrive.  Person A is sarcastic in their words.  Person A is saying nice things, but in a way that is meant to stick at Person C.  Person A speaks in an exaggerated way so that Person C will understand that they mean the opposite of what they say.

Person C feels the meaning of the words.  They respond in the socially expected way, by smiling and returning the greeting, but the experience of going into the party is like falling into a pit.  It is dark and filled with a sense of dread.

In the poem, Person A says the exact same thing to two people, yet the words have different intents.  Also, in the poem, each of the party goers hear the same words and responds the same way, but each has a completely different interpretation of the words and response to the party.

The form of the poem uses repeats with marked areas of difference to emphasize the point of the difference.

 

P. S. Happy second day of Christmas.

Bilingual Poem: That’s not right

the constrictor snake,
unfortunately had to give,
the mouse the bad news,
that its field mouse friend,
had mysteriously,
disappeared

it was okay though,
because it offered,
to console the mouse,
with a hug

 

la boa,
desgraciadamente tiene que dar,
el ratón las noticias mal,
ese su amigo el ratón del campo,
tenido misteriosamente,
desaparecido

fue bien aunque,
porque él ofrecido,
consolar el ratón,
con un abrazo

Poetry essay: using word and syllable count in a poem

Two elements of form that you can use in poetry are word count and syllable count.  They are similar in some ways and different in others.  Both have their uses in poetry expression.

Both word count and syllable count can be utilized in different ways in a poem.  One way that might seem most common, would be using word or syllable count per line.  A poet could also use ideas such as word or syllable count per stanza and total word or syllable count in the poem.

Within a poem, word and syllable count can be varied.  For example, some lines can have one syllable count and other lines another.  Additionally, word and syllable count can be combined in the same poem.

Depending on circumstances, word count can be easier to use for a poet.  If a poet is just starting out with poetry, word count can seem clearer.  There are potentially fewer gray areas than with syllable count.  Some words, for example, can have multiple syllable counts depending on how they are pronounced.  Also, word count doesn’t have to be “heard” in the same way as syllable count, which can make it easier to use.  Additionally, word count can be easier because it can be tallied by a computer.

If a poet is counting syllables or words in a poem themselves, syllable count could actually be easier to use depending on circumstances.  A poet used to working with syllables, might be able to “hear” each syllable and be able to count them with more ease than they could count words.  As stated above, the opposite might be true if a poet wasn’t used to working with syllables.

One drawback to word count, is that word count isn’t as clear an indicator of length as syllable count.  How long it takes to say something is more determined by the number of syllables than the number of words.  In any line, the number of syllables will be greater than or equal to the number of words within the line.

Syllable count has another advantage, in that it can be paired with meter.  When having a poem with beat, syllable count is in the basis of it.

Syllable count and word count can have a number of effects on poetry expression depending on the ways they are used.  Some examples include:

Same word or syllable count per line:

If each line in a poem is the same length in terms of words or syllables, this can add predictability of sound to a poem.  This can increase the “poetic sound” the poem has.  This effect is greater with syllable count than with word count because of the way each impacts the sound of line length.

One word lines:

Having certain lines in a poem contain one word can have an impact on a poem.  Having the words set apart can increase their emphasis.

Syllable count and meter:

Meter adds beat to a poem.  By its structure, it is based off of syllable count.

Using word count for the visual look on a page:

Word count can be used if a poet wants a poem to appear a certain way on a page.  For example, imagine a poem with the following word counts per line: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  This would look to the reader as increasing words then decreasing words.  This visual look, as well as others that could be obtained with different structures, might be something a poet wants as part of their expression.

Short line, stanza or overall poem length:

If a poet uses syllable or word count to have short lines, stanzas or overall poem length, this can have an impact on the expression in the poem.

If used correctly, brevity, in each of the instances, can increase the impact of the poem.  In some ways, it goes along the lines of “less is more”.  If a poet is brief in the correct way, they can say just enough to get the point across and increase the impact of the point.

Long line, stanza or overall poem length:

If a poet makes aspects of a poem (or the entire poem) long, this also can have an effect on the expression.

Individual long lines, can stress a point.  A longer overall poem, can give the poet an opportunity to have a more significant feel to the expression.  In some way, by using a longer length, a poet can make a poem more like a song, than a statement.

Longer overall stanza and poem length also gives the poet the opportunity to use repeats and refrains.  This can add emphasis to ideas in a poem.

Experimentation

Word and syllable count can be used when a experimenting with poetry forms.  A poet can try different structures to see how they impact expression.  For example, a poet can have one poem where they alternate long and short lines, and another poem, where the lines have a more complicated count pattern.  The poet can use the experimentations to learn about different ways to express ideas.

Experimental Poetry Form: line breaks and indentations

This experimental poetry form consists of line breaks and indentations.  The structure looks as follows:

*

 

     *

*

*

          *

 

*

   *

 

There are seven lines.  The first line is not indented.  Then there is a line break.  Then there is the second line on the following line.  The second line is indented five spaces.

On the line after the second line, is the third line.  On the line after that is the fourth.  Neither is indented.

On the next line, is the fifth line.  It is indented ten spaces.

After that there is a line break.  On the line after the line break is the sixth line.  It is not indented.

On the line after the sixth line, is the seventh line.  It is indented three spaces.

All of the lines of the poem are, in the structure of writing a document, separate paragraphs, as opposed to lines within a paragraph.

Here is an example poem:

The day was dark with clouds,

 

     and rain seemed near.

Something about the air,
 
just didn’t feel right.

          The car pulled up.

 

There was a sense of movement,

   and it was time to go.