Experimental Poetry Form: Four blocks

This experimental poetry form includes the elements of layout on the page, line count, word count and repeats.

The form consists of four blocks.  They are laid out as follows:

Block 1                           Block 2

Block 3                           Block 4

The blocks as a group are centered (or roughly so).  Block 1 is to the upper left, Block 2 is to the upper right, Block 3 is to the bottom left and Block 4 is to bottom right.  There is more space between the columns than the between the rows.  The actual distances can be varied.

Secondly, each block consists of four lines of twenty words total.  There is no requirement regarding the number of words per line.

In terms of repeats, at least two words from Block 1, must appear in Block 2.  A different two words (at least) from Block 2, must appear in Block 3.  Finally, a further different two words (at least) from Block 3, must appear in Block 4.

Here is an example poem written in the form.  The repeated words are noted by being bold (first set), italicized (second set) and underlined (third set):

    Two fantail goldfish,                                                            The two knights battle,
    swim through a resin log,                                                   each with a steel long sword,
    eat amazon and rosette sword plants,                            upon a wide log,
    and play in the small bubbles.                                           that spans the fast moving river.

    The battle went on for days,                                                For days they fought on,
    over who would own the lone river,                                   beside the turbid flow,
    that flowed speedily beneath,                                             their swords moved speedily,
    the tank’s filter.                                                                      as each sought to claim the land.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Perseverance

Pound, pound, pound, pound,
hammers swing against the posts,
pound, pound, pound, pound,
the concrete shakes as it all moves.

Falling, falling,
a stumble goes,
falling, falling,
down the path.

Distance flees,
distance flees,
as metal strains,
and sprockets fly.

Race,
and triumph,
goals,
and dreams,
are over hills,
and over seas.

Race,
and triumph,
goals,
and dreams,
are over hills,
and over seas.

There’s the bell,
there’s the hope,
falling down,
climbing up.

There’s the bell,
there’s the hope,
someone please,
pull the rope.

Movement goes,
movement goes,
empty speaks,
empty speaks.

The bell does ring,
the bell does ring,
and there on steps,
stillness lays.

 

This poem is about a boy in the late 1800s running to the center of town, to tell the people that his house is on fire.  The idea of the time period was to have a plausible setting for someone to have to run to get help for a fire.  A time period without cell phones, for example, was needed.

The poem starts with the boy having already run a great distance.  He is tired and his legs are heavy and they hurt.  He feels the effort of each step (Pound, pound, pound, pound) and feels the pain of each movement in his legs (hammers swing against the posts).  His legs feel heavier with each step (pound, pound, pound, pound) and he feels as though he is going to crumble (the concrete shakes as it all moves).

As he continues to run and tire, his movements get less controlled (Falling, falling) and it is like he is stumbling continuously (a stumble goes).  His running is like a constant effort to stop from falling (falling, falling) and this happens as he moves down a path to town (down the path).

In the distance, he can see his goal.  It is a civic building of some sort in the center of town.  As he moves though, because of his strain and effort it seems that the building is running from him (Distance flees, distance flees).  Metaphorically, the boy’s skeleton is like a metal frame.  In his weakness, it is straining (as metal strains).  It is like his body is a machine that is moving too much and too fast and is falling apart as it goes (and sprockets fly).

The boy is going through great effort.  This effort though is meaningful as opposed to effort that is meaningless.  The boy is not running a race (Race), he is not hoping for any sort of glory (and triumph).  He is not running because of some personal drive (goals) or because he hopes for some achievement (and dreams).  All of those ideas are far from him (are over hills, and over seas).

The boy is running a race though (Race).  He is racing to save his home and family.  There is a sense of triumph (and triumph) should he succeed.  His success is his goal (goals) and dream (and dreams).  He is trying to achieve this by running over hills (are over hills) and through water (and over seas).

As the boy runs, he nears the building.  The building has a bell to alert the town to crisis or call people to action (There’s the bell).  Having the bell ring, is what this boy hopes for (there’s the hope).  As he runs, he weakens (falling down), but keeps trying (climbing up).

The boy gets closer and his mind is fixed on the bell ringing (There’s the bell, there’s the hope).  Although he can’t speak, because he is winded, in his mind he is crying out for help (someone please, pull the rope).

The boy finally makes it to the building and people start moving about him (Movement goes, movement goes).  With great effort he tells them his home is on fire (empty speaks, empty speaks).

The people hear the boy and sound the bell (The bell does ring, the bell does ring).  The boy then collapses on the steps (and there on steps, stillness lays).

This poem is about perseverance and effort toward a worthwhile goal.  The boy is very focused on something and internally deals with the pain as he pursues it.

The main form element of this poem is that of repeats.

In stanza one, lines one and three are repeats.  Additionally, those lines are each composed of a word repeated four times.

In stanza two, lines one and three are again repeats.  In those lines a word is repeated twice.

In stanza three, lines one and two are repeats.

Stanza four is repeated in stanza five (although the meaning changes).

The first two lines of stanza six are repeated in the first two lines of stanza seven.

In stanza eight, lines one and two are repeats and lines three and four are repeats.

In stanza nine, lines one and two are repeats.

An additional form element is one rhyme (ignoring the rhymes of repeated lines) that is in stanza seven with the words hope and rope.

*****

Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

Experimental Poetry Form: Word counts, word groupings, and repeats

This experimental poetry form is based off of word counts, word groupings, and repeats.  The form consists of six lines.  Each line has eight words.  In the first three lines, the words are grouped as follows: [Words 1 – 4] [Words 5 – 8].  Those groups are then used for the repeats in the next three lines.  Here is what the form looks like:

Line A: [A Words 1 – 4] [A Words 5 – 8]

Line B: [B Words 1 – 4] [B Words 5 – 8]

Line C: [C Words 1 – 4] [C Words 5 – 8]

Line D: [B Words 1 – 4] [A Words 5 – 8]

Line E: [C Words 1 – 4] [B Words 5 – 8]

Line F: [A Words 1 – 4] [C Words 5 – 8]

 

Here is an example poem written using the form:

The man went somewhere he had never known.

He saw things that he had never seen.

He had an experience he would tell about.

He saw things that he had never known.

He had an experience he had never seen.

The man went somewhere he would tell about.

 

This poem was written in stages.  The first three lines were written.  As they were written, the groups were marked.  Then the groups were cut and pasted to make the next three lines.  Then the lines were checked to make sure that lines 4 – 6 made sense.  Then any needed alterations to make the lines all make sense were made.

Experimental Poetry Form: Three repeats

Stanza: one
Meter: iambic tetrameter
Lines: twelve

General form:

A
*
*
*
B
A
B
*
C
*
*
C
 

This experimental poetry form has three sets of repeats.  Each repeat is two lines.  The form has one stanza with twelve lines.  The lines are written in iambic tetrameter.  The A lines are the same, the B lines are the same and the C lines are the same.  The * lines are each a unique line.

 

Repeats are useful in a poem because of the way they affect emphasis and sound, among other effects.

Having a poetry form with repeats, in once sense is easier than a poem without repeats, because once a line is written, the repeats of that line are then determined.  This means less unique lines, relative to an equal length poem without repeats.

On the other hand, repeats can make a poem more difficult, because, although poetry can often be abstract, it might be preferable in some cases to have the repeating lines make sense in the poem.  This can sometimes be difficult in a poem.  For example, if the first line repeats as the fifth line, this in some way might influence the second, third and fourth lines and/or some of the lines after the fifth line.  This can add a complexity.

Here is an example poem in the form:

Lemon juice in almond milk

It all did go without a thought,
the puffed rice poured into the bowl,
the cooled off tea did fill the glass,
and lemon juice was held in hand.
The juice was poured as words were said,
it all did go without a thought,
the juice was poured as words were said,
but not into the glass of tea.
It seemed as though the breakfast failed,
with lemon juice poured on puffed rice,
and later when the milk did break,
it seemed as though the breakfast failed.

Poem with an explanation: October

Outside things start to change,
colors change in minute ways,
the sun has less time for its rays,
outside things start to change,
birds leave over the days,
emerging blooms of wildflowers come out on the range,
redness grows as evergreen green stays.

 

The poem above is an acrostic poem of “October”.  The idea was selected because today is October first.  The poem has a form that is similar to other poems of this type that have been on this blog.  The letters in “October” that repeat, the “o’s”, are repeating lines in the poem.  The lines that start with vowels (the first, fourth, and sixth), rhyme with each other.  The lines that start with consonants (the second, third, fifth, and seventh) rhyme with each other.  The idea of the poem was to describe the beginning of fall.

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Stanzas, syllables, and repeats: Lists

This list of things is not random,
balloons filled up but not with air,
coals that smolder on a pathway,
water leaking from a faucet,
windows open during the night,
and blocks of calcium weighed down,
and all these things combined,
together make one thing.

Force, heat, flow, sense, and pain,
and all these things combined,
stacked up together like wood blocks,
inside the cubic foot of space,
and in front with no avoidance.

This list of things is not random,
a valve is turned and something flows,
water pours and smoke floats away,
a washer changed,
a window closed,
a weight is gone,
and peace returns.

 

(25/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Stanzas, syllables, and repeats

Experimental Poetry Form: Stanzas, syllables and repeats

This experimental poetry form has three stanzas.  The form is based on three variables: the number of lines in each stanza, the number of syllables in each line and repeats.

The first stanza has eight lines.  The first six lines are eight syllables long each, and the last two lines are six syllables long each.

The second stanza has five lines.  The first two lines are six syllables long each, and the last three lines are eight syllables long each.

The third stanza has seven lines.  The first three lines have eight syllables each, and the last four lines have four syllables each.

The stanza lengths flow from long, to short, to medium, and the line lengths flow from long, to medium, to long, to short.

In the form, there are two sets of repeats.  The first line of the first stanza is the same as the first line of the last stanza.  Also, the first six syllable line is the same as the last six syllable line.

The form looks like below.  The groups are the stanzas, the numbers indicate the number of syllables in a line, and the letters show the lines that are repeated.

8A
8
8
8
8
8
6B
6

6
6B
8
8
8

8A
8
8
4
4
4
4

 

The form has no meter and no intentional rhyming other than the repeated lines.

Although the description of the form is slightly lengthy, since the main aspect of the form is syllable count, it is not intended to be difficult to use.

The form has a number of attributes that could influence a poem written in it.

First, because the first line of the first stanza and the first line of the last stanza are the same, it provides continuity between them.  Near the end of the poem, the reader is reminded of some aspect at the beginning of the poem.

Also, the first stanza is tied to the second stanza because the first stanza ends with two six syllable lines and the second stanza starts with two six syllable lines.  In addition the first six syllable line of the first stanza, is the same as the last six syllable line of the second stanza.  This also provides a connection.

Additionally, the first stanza is also tied to the second and third stanzas because the first stanza is mirrored in the second and third stanzas.  The first stanza has a syllable count of 88888866 and the second and third stanzas together have a syllable count of 668888884444.  It can be seen that the eight and six syllable counts mirror each other.

In another potential influence, because the last four lines of the poem are shorter than all the rest, they can help bring the poem to a close.  This is because the lines sound different than the previous lines and because their shortness can force succinctness on ideas.

Lastly, because the stanza lengths flow from long, to short, to medium, this flow could have an effect on a poem that uses the form.  Similarly, because the line lengths flow from long, to medium, to long, to short, this also could have an effect.