Traditional Poetry Forms – The Haiku

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This might be a needless post, but since I have been discussing invented poetry forms on this site, I feel I should probably try tackling a few traditional forms as well. I have no doubt you are already familiar with the haiku, since it is certainly one of, if not the most popular poetry forms being practiced today, and definitely known by almost every school child in the world. However if you do need an introduction, haiku is, of course, a short traditional poetry form originating in Japan consisting of usually (but not always) 17 syllables in 3 lines or phrases (5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, and 5 once again in the last line). The subject matter is often about nature, and most haikus contain a seasonal reference.

Actually this all has been both just a ruse and an excuse for me to share my one of my own haikus inspired by the wintery weather we have been experiencing in my area yesterday and today. I hope you enjoy it!

Winter Haiku

Hear Winter’s anthem –
whine and whir of wheels on ice
going nowhere fast!

 

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Be Spoken For

I am so gratified that Eugenia has taken up the challenge and has penned a perfect bespokennet with her lovely poem “Be Spoken For”….

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We gather here today to observe and –

Behold lovers readying for that special day.

Their fluttering hearts beat like none other.

Beckoning advice and proper words to say.

A fingernail moon nestled in knitted clouds.

Began to conspire with stars in the Milky Way.

A once inky sky became a marmalade glow.

Bewitching brillance made the universe sway.

Valentine lovers enchanted with the spectacle.

Believed it was magic that gifted this display.

What an astounding masterpiece for all to enjoy.

Before this marvel, lovers passions used to stray.

Lovers writing lovers share what’s in their hearts.

Belief in the pen, its verse create a lovely bouquet.

§

This post is in response to a challenge provided by Pauls Poetry Playground – InventedPoetryForms-TheBespokennet

Please stop by my other blog,BrewNSpew

Eugenia

featured image – lovethispic.com

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Invented Poetry Forms – The Bespokennet

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Today I would like to share with you an invented poetry form that I created to honor “BeSpoken”, a delightful open poetry reading that is held on the last Wednesday night of every month at the Starlite Bar & Art Gallery in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The bespokennet is a fourteen line poem in which every other line shares the same end rhyme (thus the rhyme scheme can be expressed as abcbdbebfbgbhb). What makes the form quite unique and rather unusual is that each alternating line (the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, & 14th) also starts with either the word or prefix “Be”. If you decide to write one, please keep in mind as the name suggests, the bespokennet is intended to be recited out loud.

As you can imagine, because of the peculiar rules, writing a bespokennet tends to be a challenge. But I hope that won’t discourage you from attempting one. For  inspiration, here is the original bespokennet I wrote (and far as I know the only one in existence, but with your help, maybe there will soon be more…):

An Invocation (For the Poets at BeSpoken)

We all gather together tonight to hear and
Behold poets, and their clever musings, soulful outbursts.
Some won’t get it, others will get it so bad, they themselves will
Begin to obsess with rhyme, start to think only in verse.
Poetry’s strange, over-praised yet maligned, off-putting but
Bewitching, a weird art form that can either seduce or coerce.
It’s power surges through the room, burrows into your ears.
Before there was the poem, there was the prayer and the curse,
Hexes, incantations, invocations, conjuring spells,
Belief that just speaking words could make things better or worse,
Alter our existence, change the world in a real way. I
Believe that is still true with poets who recite and rehearse
What’s in their hearts for all to hear. It’s time to let your own words
Be spoken, release the magic of your poems into the universe.

10 Great Quotes About Poets and Poetry by Robert Frost

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“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”

“A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

“A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.”

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.”

“Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.”

“Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.”

“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

“Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”

“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.”

– Robert Frost

10 Great Quotes About Poets and Poetry by Archibald MacLeish

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“A poem should not mean, but be.”

“Journalism wishes to tell what it is that has happened everywhere as though the same things had happened for every man. Poetry wishes to say what it is like for any man to be himself in the presence of a particular occurrence as though only he were alone there.”

“If you commit yourself to the art of poetry, you commit yourself to the task of learning how to see, using words as elements of sight and their sounds as prisms. And to see means to see something worth all the agony of learning how to see.”

“A poem should be palpable and mute as a globed fruit.”

“Poets are literal-minded men who will squeeze a word till it hurts.”

“If the poem can be improved by the author’s explanations, it never should have been published.”

“Poetry which owes no man anything, owes nevertheless one debt – an image of the world in which men can again believe.”

“If the art of poetry is the art of making sense of the chaos of human experience, it’s not a bad thing to see a lot of chaos.”

“Young poets are advised by their elders to avoid the practice of journalism as they would wet socks and gin before breakfast.”

“Poetry is the art of understanding what it is to be alive.”

– Archibald MacLeish

Rereading Old Notebooks… (and Resurrecting a Forgotten Poem)

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Having started writing poetry long before I ever owned an iPhone, tablet, or even a computer, I have accumulated a massive collection of old notebooks and journals filled with poems and random thoughts I have penned throughout the years. Every once in a while, (especially when I am at a loss for new ideas), I will grab one at random, and reread it. This is a practice I would highly recommend for every writer. Though this act can be a bit embarrassing, by revisiting your past words, you can track your progress as a writer. You also might even rediscover some hidden gem that you wrote but totally forgot about. Recently I found a fragment of an unfinished poem that I was able to rewrite and resurrect as a piece I am now quite proud of. But more often, I will find poems that make me squirm when I read them now, stuff that I have no idea what to do with. So here is my brainstorm: why not publish them on this blog?

Here is one that I just unearthed the other day. I never got in the habit of dating my work, but my guesstimate would be that it is from the mid-1990s, detecting some influence from slam poetry I was listening to back then. I can’t say if I feel it is bad or good, but one thing, it is certainly something I would never write today. Please let me know in the comments what you think.

Old Man on the Street

On a city sidewalk,
where eye contact
can be a punishable offence,
he still smilies at passing strangers
who analyze his motives,
and question his character.

Sometimes a pretty passerby
will toss the old man a look.
Sometimes he steals one uninivited,
gazing openly at smooth lips
and vacuous blue eyes.

He has been warned
the streets are no place
for social situations,
people are too condensed,
too concerned with just
coming and going,
there are more appropriate arenas
to make friends or acquire acquaintances.
But the street is now the only p!ace,
this old man knows.

In the frigid afternoon,
a college boy (wearing
an unreadable expression)
hands him his leftover coffee,
saying human interaction
is an old fashioned concept,
that hip people today meet
on the internet falling in love
over miles and miles of fiber optic cable.

The old man knows when he is being
told a joke, and smiles with jagged teeth.
The boy returns his gesture,
and will again the next time they pass.
Perhaps a smile, not microtechnology,
is still enough to dissolve the curse
of being alone and lonely.

10 More Great Quotes About Poetry by Carl Sandburg

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“Poetry is statement of a series of equations, with numbers and symbols changing like the changes of mirrors, pools, skies, the only never-changing sign being the sign of infinity.”

“Poetry is an enumeration of birds, bees, babies, butterflies, bugs, bambinos, babayagas, and bipeds, beating their way up bewildering bastions.”

“Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration.”

“Poetry is a sequence of dots and dashes, spelling depths, crypts, cross-lights, and moon wisps.”

“Poetry is a kinetic arrangement of static syllables.”

“Poetry is a sliver of the moon lost in the belly of a golden frog.”

“Poetry is the arithmetic of the easiest way and the primrose path, matched up with foam-flanked horses, bloody knuckles, and bones, on the hard ways to the stars.”

“Poetry is the report of a nuance between two moments, when people say, ‘Listen!’ and ‘Did you see it?’ ‘Did you hear it? What was it?'”

“Poetry is an art practiced with the terribly plastic material of human language”

“Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stacks, waffles, pansies, people, and purple sunsets.”

 – Carl Sandburg