Nancy Hatch Woodward has
been a freelance writer for over 15 years and has published over 650
articles (the vast majority in national publications). She is
the co-author of Eldercare: Caring for Your Aging Parents
(National Institute of Business Management 2002). In addition,
she has published short stories, poetry, and essays in a number of
publications. Nancy has taught creative writing through
Chattanooga State Community college, college writing at the
University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and business writing for
corporations such as BlueCrossBlueShield of Tennessee. Nancy is also the founder of ChattaRosa, a writing and critiquing group for women.
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That is the idea behind forms of poetry as well. Did you know there are dozens and dozens of types of poetry? If you’re curious to know about some of them, check out 55 Types of Poetry. Some of them are incredibly restrictive.
Start with a Haiku – three lines:
First line – 5 syllables
Second line – 7syllables
Third line – 5 syllables
Originally it also had to refer to a time of year, a season.
Two of my favorites, one with a season, one without:
The sea at springtime.
All day it rises and falls,
yes, rises and falls.
After the storm
A boy wiping the sky
From the tables
-- Darko Plazanin,
Ehime Prefecture first prize,
1990 National Cultural Festival
Ever try a villanelle with its crazy rhyme scheme? Here’s the description from Poets.org:
“The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem's two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2.”
A great example is Elizabeth Bishops’ “One Art” – you may remember it from the movie In Her Shoes.
When the boundaries are set up for you, you must find a way to create within it, which can be easier because you don’t have to worry about how you are going to structure you poems.
So, why this emphasis? Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s almost April, National Poetry Month. And you know what that means? It’s time for the Poetry-a-Day Challenge by Writer’s Digest. I’m just helping you warm up.
Next week, I’ll tell you more.
Until then, for more advice, tips, and inspiration about writing, visit my blog.