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
Today’s first device from Packard’s A Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is
Ode: An extended lyric, on a single theme or subject, often of considerable length and usually using recognizable STANZA patterns. The word “ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and the form may have had its origins with Sappho in the middle of the seventh centruy B.C., because her surviving work includes one complete ode and four stanzas of a second ode. The later Greek poet Pindar wrote triumphal odes, and the Roman poet Horace wrote odes as well as SATIRES and EPISTLES.
I am sharing here the first two stanzas of an original poem entitled “Ode to Today.” It is quite lengthy, so I won’t post the entire poem. The “single theme or subject” is the kind of sadness that is brought on by loneliness or rejection. As for recognizable stanza patterns, there are not any; at least, not the way I think Packard means. The stanzas get “fatter” on the page (the lines get longer) and build to a middle, a crescendo, before they shrink again. That effect was not anything I tried to achieve consciously, but it is suitable for the poem. Continue reading
Those of you who know me personally, know that my monkey mind just cannot stand the thought of something incomplete. I never finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled. The novel is 535 pages in length, and I quit with 120 pages to go. Stopped. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. I found the novel exhausting and frustrating, and finally reached a point at which I decided no “conclusion” was going to be satisfactory to me. Now, at that time, I was the already-exhausted mother of a toddler. I needed “beach lit,” not Ishiguro’s astonishingly complex, mysterious Sartre-like journey. Anyway, at the time, I knew quitting it was the right thing to do … and the fact that I did quit haunts me to this very day.
So here we are: I have been absent from this blog for several days, the second such period of quiet, and I had committed to myself that I would write or share a poem every day, using William Packard’s book, The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Prose, as a jumping off point.
Well, please don’t think I have been neglecting poetry. In fact, I was too tired to write here on Sunday because of preparation for an upcoming ensemble reading that I have been asked to be part of (more on that later), and I have also been neck deep dealing with the poetry that is “family.” Enough, however! I must set this thing aright. I said there would be 30 posts in April, and 30 posts it shall be.
Watch this space …