The last of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices
Tone: The accumulated effect of style, coloration, and texture. Like atmosphere in a short story or like mood in symphonic music, tone in poetry is the result of particular choices which affect the reader’s overall feeling toward a poem.
One of those choices is “context.” If a poem is part of a collection of poems, the poems often work together to set a tone.
A few years ago, I started working on a group of poems based on the concept of self-portraiture. Each poem was titled “Self Portrait: [here I would name the speaker of the poem]. It was a fun exercise. I wrote what I thought were credible (if not true) assessments of myself through that person’s eyes. I tried to pick people who know me well, and also people who only know me in a certain context (for example, “The Doctor”).
I am going to share with you one of these self-portrait poems because, by itself, its tone is entirely left up to the reader. Where I placed it in the collection, however, would set the tone for the reader; do you agree? Thanks for reading! Continue reading
The “S” of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is
Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem usually with octet/sestet separation of eight- and six-line formations, usually with a RHYME scheme in either Shakespearean or Petrarchean sequence.
I break from the norm here and, rather than share an original poem, share something from the god of sonnet-writing, William Shakespeare. Continue reading
The first of today’s poetic devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is
Rondel: A simple song, usually in strict stanzaic form (see STANZA), using REFRAIN, RHYME and METER.
Unfortunately, and, some might argue, unforgivably, Packard does not describe the stanzaic form (or rhyme scheme or meter) in any detail. I, therefore, had to call in the big guns of Thrall, Hibbard and Holman and consult with my centuries-old A Handbook to Literature (see photo) (I really do have to get the updated version – it’s an essential tool).
Here is the only rondel I have ever written. Thanks for reading! Continue reading
There is one entry under “Q” in Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices, which makes the decision-making process easy.
Quatrain: Any STANZA unit of four lines, whether rhymed or unrhymed (see RHYME). The quatrain is the most common stanza form in English poetry, and when rhymed it tends to fall into one of the following four categories:
Shakespearean rhyme a/b/a/b
Petrarchean rhyme a/b/b/a
Omar Khayyám stanza a/a/x/a
I revised this next poem, so that the first three stanzas are quatrains. I attempted the Petrarchean rhyme scheme. Regardless of whether the poem is successful, I enjoyed revisiting a years-old poem and working with it, applying a fresh set of expectations. Thanks for reading!
The next device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices:
Prose Poetry: Poetry having a high incidence of sight and sound and voice devices, but with no formal line arrangements; prose poems resemble loose paragraphs and are sometimes called vignettes.
So many, many, many poets do prose poetry well. I am not one of them. Still, this is what I signed on for, so we shall suffer together, dear readers.
I share a prose poem that has found its way in and out of a full length manuscript of mine over the last couple of years. Thanks for reading! Continue reading