Experimental Poetry Form: Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Today’s experimental poetry form is called Halloween.  It is an acrostic poem of the word Halloween with additional attributes.

First, the lines that start with consonants rhyme and those that start with vowels rhyme.

Second, each line has nine syllables (as many as there are letters in Halloween).

Third, every other line is indented two spaces.

Here is what the form looks like:

H – R1, 9 syllables
  A – R2, 9 syllables
L – R1, 9 syllables
  L – R1, 9 syllables
O – R2, 9 syllables
  W – R1, 9 syllables
E – R2, 9 syllables
  E – R2, 9 syllables
N – R1, 9 syllables

Here is an example poem written in the form:

Goblins

Halloween has arrived on this night,
  and upon the lanes the goblins roam,
like ghosts of smoke they stay out of sight,
  like apparitions they fear the light.
O’ their dark deeds could fill a large tome,
  with tales of dark fear and such great fright.
Everyone out should surely go home.
  Each goblin lurks as its mouth does foam.
None should be out till the sun shines bright.

Experimental Poetry Form: four columns

Today’s experimental poetry form is called four columns.  It is the same basic notion as yesterday’s experimental poetry form, but instead of three columns, this form has four.  In the form, there are four columns, each with ten lines.  Each column has approximately the same width.  Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

The man stood
upon the land
looking out
to mountains
and thought that
in their height
and all their size
he saw himself
as there he stood
upon the soil.
The man stood
breathed inside
and felt the air
from all around.
In the moment
what he breathed
he thought inside
was timeless
as in it went
and out again.
The man stood
watching the fire
as all the flames
upon the wood
danced about
and mesmerized
as the smoke
in wisps
drifted away
to the sky.
The man stood
within the sea
and felt the waves
move around
his legs and waist
as he stood
and looked out
before they ended
with a crash
upon the shore.

 

This poem is about the four elements and pride.  The first column is about earth, the second air, the third fire, and the fourth water.  This notion fits with the four column design.

In each column, the man sees something or himself as great and does not realize his lowness.

Experimental Poetry Form: three columns

Today’s experimental poetry form is called three columns.  As the name suggests, it contains three columns.  Each column has ten lines and each column should have an equal width.  Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

The dog is going
to the vet today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the vet,
is important.
The man is going
to the doctor today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know,
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the doctor,
is important.
The child is going
to the dentist today.
He doesn’t want to go.
He doesn’t know,
he’s going to go,
but still,
he doesn’t want to go.
Still,
going to the dentist,
is important.

 

This example poem takes the idea of the three columns further, and uses a pattern.  In each poem, the being going somewhere is changed and where they are going is changed.  Everything else is the same.  The idea in this case is to reinforce the idea about a being getting needed medical care, not knowing they are going to get it, and them not really wanting to go.

Poetry topic idea: the death of a pet

Today’s poetry topic idea is the death of a pet.  After M. Sakran’s dog Shadow died, there was a commemoration on this blog.

When a pet dies, writing poetry about it can sometimes help.  It can be a way to deal with emotions and express things.  It can give a person something to do related to the death that feels like active mourning.

When a poet writes about the death of a pet, there are number of things they can write about.  A poet can write about:

  • The sadness they feel.
  •  

  • How the pet died.
  •  

  • Memories of the pet.
  •  

  • What the pet was like when it was alive.
  •  

  • What their life is like now that the pet is gone.
  •  

  • How they mourn for the pet.
  •  

  • How other people perceive their mourning for the pet.
  •  

  • How they feel more generally after the death of the pet.
  •  

  • How they are memorializing the pet.

Here is an example poem:

Shadow,
the calculator says,
it’s been three years,
six months,
two weeks,
and three days since you died.

Somehow,
it doesn’t feel like that long.
It feels like it was a month ago.

Your photo,
is still on the computer.

The little resin dog,
painted to look like you,
is there on the shelf.

Outside,
your friend is squeaking now.
He probably wants a treat.
Hold on just a minute.

Alright,
he got some treats.

Somehow,
although you are thought of,
it isn’t enough.

It seems,
like something more should be done,
like somehow,
it affects you.

At least,
there is this.

This is something.

You are missed,
you funny little dog.

Poetry topic idea: professional wrestling

Today’s poetry topic idea is professional wrestling.  A poet could write about:

  • The contrast between professional and amateur wrestling.
  •  

  • Themselves as a wrestling performer.
  •  

  • How professional wrestling reflects society.
  •  

  • People’s perception of professional wrestling.
  •  

  • Professional wrestling as a metaphor for other situations.
  •  

  • A professional wrestler.
  •  

  • A professional wrestling match.
  •  

  • Injuries in professional wrestling.
  •  

  • Costumes in professional wrestling.
  •  

  • Professional wrestling story lines.
  •  

  • Professional wrestling characters.
  •  

  • Something in the style of a professional wrestling interview.

 

Here is a poem that uses the idea of professional wrestling:
 
 
He trains three hours a day.

He knows seventy five different moves.

He’s on the road two hundred days a year.

He’s been in more than two thousand matches.

He’s been hit with chairs.

He’s been thrown through tables.

He’s fallen off of a steel cage.

His leg was broken.

His arm was broken.

He had surgery on both knees.

He had surgery on his elbow.

His back always hurts.

His vision is blurry in his left eye.

And people tell him

that what he does

isn’t real.

Poetry topic idea: sports

Today’s poetry topic idea is sports.  Sports is good topic to write about because there are so many different areas a poet could focus on.  A poet could write about:

  • Different sports. Some include: baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, rugby, cricket, archery, boxing, gymnastics, bob sledding, downhill skiing, sprinting, hurdling, medium distance running, long distance running, tennis, swimming, and diving.
  •  

  • Winning and losing.
  •  

  • Various social issues associated with sports. These include ideas such as gender, race, and economic status.
  •  

  • Playing a sport.
  •  

  • Watching sports.
  •  

  • Discussing sports.
  •  

  • Play by play announcing in sports. A poet could apply this idea to other things and give a play by play for them.
  •  

  • Retiring from a sport.
  •  

  • The change in sports over time.
  •  

  • An invented sport. A poet could invent a sport and write poetry about it.
  •  

  • Sports video games.
  •  

  • Sports merchandise.

 

Here is an example poem using the idea of sports:

Strike one!
Strike two!
Strike three!
You’re out!

Hold on.
Loading saved game.

Strike one!
Strike two!
Home run!

Too bad,
this only works,
in video games.

Poetry topic idea: bias in news stories

Today’s poetry topic idea is bias in news stories.  Bias in news stories can show up in a number of ways.  Some of them include:

  • Cherry picking of facts. There can be a number of facts about an issue.  Bias can occur when someone only selects those facts that support their point of view.
     
    For example, if someone wanted to say that a city had worse crime than it did in the past, they might look at crime statistics for the city.  If some crime statistics showed a decrease in crime (for example robbery went down), but other statistics showed an increase (for example car theft went up), a biased person would only show those statistics that showed an increase in their story.
  •  

  • Searching for an example. There can be a number of situations that can represent an issue.  A biased person might look for those situations that fit the position they have.
     
    An example might be a person wanting to show that cities that have a certain kind of something also have an increased rate of some other kind of something (either both good or both bad depending on the idea).  They might look for cities until they found one that fit the idea.  This is a bit like cherry picking of facts, but in this case the person would look one by one for the information they wanted until they found what they wanted, instead of getting a large amount of information and then picking what supported their view.
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  • Exaggerating the truth. The truth can be exaggerated in a number of ways.  For example, if a person found two cities that had crime rates of 1 and 2% respectively for a certain kind of crime and they wanted to portray one place as better or worse than the other they might say a statement such as:
     
    City A has twice (or double or 100% more) the crime rate of a certain crime than City B (if City A had the 2% rate and City B the 1% rate)
     
    They might also do something like show a graph with no numbers that shows City A’s rate to be twice as high as City B’s.
     
    In this case, the exaggeration comes because, although the statement is true, it makes things sound worse than they are (assuming rates of 1 and 2% are both considered low).
  •  

  • Choosing stories. An example of this might be a story related to minimum wage.  If a person wanted to show an increase in the minimum wage was good, they might find a person who got an increase and do a story about how their life was better because of it.  Conversely, if they wanted to show that an increase in minimum wage was bad, they might show a small business that had to close when the minimum wage increased.
  •  

  • A story can have a number of adjectives.  A report, for example, might be described as “shocking”.  An event might be called “unprecedented”.  Something perceived as good might be called “great” or “wonderful”.  Something else might be described as “routine”.  Adjectives are used to make something sound more or less than what it is depending on the point of view.
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  • What stories are told. Bias can appear when some stories are told and others are not.  For example, if one story supported a point of view it might be told.  If it didn’t, it might be ignored.
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  • Drawing conclusions. A story can have bias when it draws an unsupported conclusion.  This can happen for example, when something happens and someone gives an unsupported reason why it happened.
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  • A story can show bias by granting legitimacy to a person, group, or point of view.  By reporting about someone, some group, or some idea, and portraying them as mainstream and important, a story can grant that person, group, or idea legitimacy.  They are indicating that that something is important and is part of the conversation about some idea.
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  • Half the story. This idea was related above in choosing stories, but the idea here is that a person presents a view of something while ignoring opposing views.  They might not have facts or people that speak, but rather, they simply give one side of an issue while ignoring the other side.
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  • A story can have bias by implying urgency.  Is the story described as “breaking news”?  Are frequent updates given?  Are reporters “on their way now”?  Something that is portrayed as being urgent is similarly portrayed as being important.
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  • Story emphasis. Bias can occur when a story gets more or less time or space than some other story.  Bias emphasis can also occur when one story is more prominent (e.g. on the front page) than another story (e.g. somewhere in the middle).

If a poet wanted to write about bias in news stories, they could read, watch, and listen to news stories and look for examples of the bias above.  They could note what the bias is and how it was portrayed.  They could then write a poem about the issue and the bias shown.

A poet could also pick from the ideas above and apply them to situations in life.  For example, they might describe a boss giving a biased speech at some meeting.  They could work in different types of bias into the poem presentation.

As another idea, a poet could write a satirical poem containing overt bias.  They could go out of their way to use the different bias ideas above and present them in an overt way to emphasize bias regarding an issue.

Another idea might be for a poet to pick one of the ideas above and write a poem about the idea.  For example, a poet might write about the idea of cherry picking facts.  They could describe it, how it works, and how it is used.

For another idea, a poet could try to write a poem about something they have a strong opinion about without any bias.  They might write it normally first, and then look for bias in it and change those parts.

Another idea might be for a poet to explore reasons for bias in news stories.  They could look at the ideas of views, opinions, agendas, and so forth and explore why bias occurs in a poem.

A poet might also write a poem about the effectiveness of bias.  They might write about how people are influenced by biased information they read and hear.

Here is an example poem using the idea of bias in news stories:

Mars has half the crime of Venus!

Breaking news!

In a shocking report,
just released today,
Dr. Fluff,
chair of fluffology,
at the prestigious,
and renown,
Institute of Fluff,
has found that Mars,
has half the rate,
of spaceship theft,
compared to Venus.

Reporter,
Stretch TheTruth
is on the scene now,
on Venus,
for an exclusive report.

(Gritty urban environment,
sirens in the distance.)

“Yes mam,
tell us about the,
extremely upsetting,
theft of your spaceship,
here,
in the crime riddled streets,
of Venus.”

Stay safe out their Stretch.

Reporter,
Falsly Claim,
is on Mars,
with this story.

(Idyllic scene.  Sun shining.  Flowers blooming.  A cool breeze.)

“Here on Mars,
where most Martians,
seemingly don’t have locks on their doors,
it’s been impossible,
to find one spaceship theft victim,
here,
in the remote,
and unpopulated,
countryside.”

Enjoy your stay there Falsly.

There you have it folks.

Mars –
peaceful, serene get away.

Venus –
a tragic example of blight in the solar system.

Poetry topic idea: westerns

Today’s poetry topic idea is westerns: films, books, shows, and so forth depicting the time period in the American west from around 1865 to 1900.

Westerns can be an interesting idea to write about because there are so many things to them.  A poet could write a poem about the actual west, things in the west, the western genre, or interpretations of the west or depictions of it.

Different ideas a poet could write about include: western towns, ghost towns, cowboys, ranchers, Native Americans, settlement, homesteaders, expansion, western law, western technology, horses, railroads, telegraphs, barbed wire, cattle, cattle drives, sheep, western violence, farming, and prices and pay in the west among other ideas.

A poet could also write about western movie actors, western directors, specific western films, specific western television shows, specific western books, how old westerns related to the time period they came out, how old westerns relate to today, modern westerns, old westerns made in the modern era, and authenticity in westerns.

Here is an example poem about westerns:

So what,
if the sheriff’s horse,
had white socks,
in one scene,
and no socks,
in the next?

Maybe,
they got dust on them,
or maybe,
the white was just from the light,
or maybe,
the sheriff switched horses.

There are a lot
of very reasonable
explanations.

It doesn’t mean
they made a mistake
in the movie.

Poem with an explanation: scrub, scrub, scrub

In the morning,
scrub, scrub, scrub.

In the evening,
scrub, scrub, scrub.

The blemish remains.

 

This is a poem about a person dealing with guilt.  Symbolically, it is described as a person trying to get rid of a blemish on their skin.

The person goes to repeated (morning and evening) and extensive lengths (scrub, scrub, scrub) to get rid of the blemish.  This represents the person trying to get rid of the guilt they have.  The scrubbing is their mental attempts to deal with what they have done.  They try to “scrub” it so that it doesn’t seem so bad and so that it will go away.  They don’t succeed though.  The guilt they have remains.