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Found 81 results

  1. Hi and Welcome! This is an open thread, intended for poets to help one another on GA. It's not tied to any one piece, but a forum where we can exchange ideas, get feedback on a project we're intending to post, or one that's already up. Questions and advice are always welcomed, so don't be shy about stopping by now and again to say 'hey.'
  2. i count every hour every minute every second to see your face to touch your hand to feel your skin to see your delighted eyes to see your smile:) for just a second... i just want to die after these i want to take my last breath from your smell iwant to take my last look of your face i want to have my last touch of your skin i want to kiss your hand while dying,having your hand in my fist just let me die slowly... concentrated in your eyes.... yes, i want this.
  3. . Night Blooms Haibun Early the other morning, I couldn’t sleep anymore from all the memory-filled dreams I was having, so I took the dog outside. Standing in the garden, all the world peaceful and sweet, I saw a truly Mid-western moon – the type I grew up. Placid and nearly full, and yet hidden within the glory of its own eerie light. Moons like this remind me I have no home anymore, not with my parents now gone from the world. 5 AM, the moon playing night-bloomer with clouds smells Angel Trumpets. ~
  4. I had problems falling asleep last night and this popped into my head unbidden and fully formed. Then insisted I write it down before it would let me rest (you can picture whatever Muse is to blame standing behind me, his sharpened quill-pen ✒️ at my throat) : My beautiful rose made of shattered glass, glittering in the sunlight and morning dew. Beautiful from afar, but made of sharp points and rough edges which cut & scar when you try to hold it too close, hold it too tightly. Your fragile beauty falling apart in the heat of the midday sun. I wrote that thinking of Mr P, who I knew before C and I got our relationship going. Sexually-fluid, gender-queer, skin like smooth chocolate, beautiful lips, a body that was… mmmmm… did I mention the boy was pretty? Damn was he pretty. Lace & corsets; mascara & lip gloss; muscles & strength. Mostly, but not entirely, gay; mostly, but not entirely, a top. Starting in a hole he had no hand in digging and determined to climb out, but he kept sliding back in. Looking for a Daddy with a firm hand and love but afraid of finding what he needed. Someone called him a Butch Queen, which I'm sure they did not mean as a compliment, but which is probably the best label for him. Though he hates labels as they bind you as much as they identify you and he never wanted to be tucked neatly into any box. The trust between us finally wore away but I still wonder how he is and what may have been. He lost himself to the shadows in the hole and I am afraid it will bury him.
  5. Poems with an accent I like to write. However, why attempt to write in a language other than the one I learned first. One reason: Over 130 Million people speak German (https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/culture/the-german-language-surprising-facts-and-figures) More than 3 Billion people speak/understand English. Duh. I’ve come a long way from There is a cat. The cat is fat. The cat lies on a mat. to my first novel long story written in English. Red Running Shoes. Which I could only accomplish with the tremendous help of my first editor @Lisa. I could write a whole essay about how much she helped me. Anyway, it doesn’t matter how it sounds when I read a story to myself. When one reads it in their head, they hear no accent. At least not my horrible accent. Of course, I had to write poetry next. I blame @AC Benus and his poetry prompts. However, poetry is an entirely different matter than prose. There are those pesky things like meter, rhyme, and rhythm among other phonetic hurdles. Fear not, I won’t launch into an explanation of poetic devices now. There are people who are much more competent than I am. The point is: It is important how a poem sounds. I had this conversation with Irri about oregano of all things. In English it’s oregano. In German it’s oregano. Depending on which language you hear in your head it can screw with meter. Better not try poetry? Once started, I couldn’t stop. To me, a poem is a condensed moment. A poignant thought. A clarified feeling and many more. And always a song. Since @Valkyrie introduced me to the NaPoWriMo challenge, I learned how the perspective of my world could change for a month, an interesting, and addictive experience. I know my poems are not perfect. I grudgingly stopped aiming for perfection some while ago. It has to feel right. Therefore, I stubbornly continue writing poems with an accent.
  6. MichaelS36


    Okay … so here are some haiku. Six to satisfy the prompt from AC's Zero to Hero Guide. waxy lily pads keep the green leaping frogs dry between awkward jumps the smiling dog runs his lolling tongue evidence of his happiness puddles line the walk jumping feet leave small footprints one of springtime’s games leaves change colour now donning coats of red and gold a glowing farewell coloured leaves taken by cold breezes fly and drop making bright carpets warm houses and cold make icy patterns on glass like dancing snowflakes
  7. MichaelS36


    Oh, writing Tanka, following AC's new Guide.. Here they are good or bad. Walking through the snow it squeaks under my black boots; I tighten my coat however when I reach you there's no coolness in your arms Snow tops the feeder before I add fresh birdseed; the brave nuthatch waits unconcerned about my size; sure of his heroic heart
  8. Back on July 16 @AC Benus posted a status update looking for volunteers to look at one of his poetry prompts. i thought about it, and decided to try. (it's here, if you're interested https://www.gayauthors.org/profile/18130-ac-benus/?status=134349&type=status) i'll show you the evolution in just a sec, but first i learned a couple of things i wanted to share. These authors who post poems here are a very talented group. They also work very hard on these offerings. It's not like they just spit the words out onto a page and VOILA! it's poetry. For the ones i know best, it's a long process. It could be days, or weeks before what they've written coalesces into something other than a pile of words. i've likened it to a painter, who blends the primary colors into just the PERFECT shade to convey the feeling. Our poets do that with words. Finding just the RIGHT word so their thoughts and feelings come though the page for the reader. The poets here at GA are also brave. They've put their hearts onto the page, bared their souls for all to see. That, my friends, is bravery. So, to AC's Poetry Prompt. i really wanted to do it, so i PMd him and said i'd volunteer. He sent the link and i downloaded it, and read it. Not just once, but many times. i started writing, and my first attempt was darn close to the syllable count (57577 is what a Tanka should be): the lights on the tree sparkle and dance bring butterflies to my stomach waiting for the morning was never my strength But there wasn't anything that tied together why waiting until morning is hard, and there was a hard stop after the third line, so back to the drawing board. The next attempt is a bit better but the syllable count is still off and there's still that pesky hard stop: the lights on the tree sparkle and dance on on the packages below, i'm giddy inside to see what's in them Whenever i had some quiet, or some downtime, i'd open the document and start to noodle around with it. i kept in touch with AC and shared some of my work. He was, as he always is, gentle and supportive in his critiques and his guidance. i thought a lot about his last email to me where he talked about how a person can say the same thing in many different ways, that blending of just the right words i talked about earlier. He said that putting the words in one order sounds like "everyday speech" but moving the exact same words around can make it musical. He went on to say that it takes practice, and that anyone writing poetry has to just write a lot to get a feel for it. Here's the final evolution: from across the room the brightly wrapped packages reflect the lights from the tree above and i can't wait to see what hides inside i used the "self-check" tool that was in the prompt, and it seemed to check out. AC agreed. He also reminded me not to be too hard on myself as writing poetry takes work, and practice. Then, as is his style, he invited me to revisit this when the new prompts come out. Am i glad i did the prompt challenge? Yes, i am. There were several times when i just wanted to stop, to give up. i was getting frustrated that i couldn't get it. But it's not in me to do that, so i did the best i could. Could i keep working at it? Sure, but i think i have learned what i needed to. And i gained some insight into the process, and perhaps a better appreciation for the poets among us. Will you be looking at the new prompts?
  9. Hi everyone! I’ve only recently joined the site, but it’s felt so warm and welcoming that I thought it’d be interesting to share something for discussion. I write poetry in both English and Spanish and only recently have begun to blend both my languages within poems. I was having in interesting exchange with a professor at my university this year where I confessed that sometimes I felt pressured to offer translated versions of my writing, while sacrificing the value of what a Spanish word or phrase was adding to my poem in order to please non-Spanish speaking readers. I mentioned I had begun blending the two languages without offering translations and he said I shouldn’t feel obliged to offer translations. He said readers shouldn’t force a type of language or culture censorship where the value of a piece is diminished because they can’t simply put the effort to translate words and phrases themselves or research the context of a piece. I’m curious if anyone else has thought about this dilemma of culture and language in your poetry and whether you share the professors opinion or have something else regarding it. It’ll be lovely to discuss!
  10. I know it's a bit early, but it seems like there are quite a few new poets on site. So I thought I'd post a shout-out for National Poetry Writing Month, which starts April 1st. The goal for NaPoWriMo is to write 30 poems in 30 days. There's no structure as to how to accomplish that goal, although most writers strive for one per day. It's a great time to go through AC's poetry prompts. I've been stockpiling a few prompts of my own, which I will post here. I also receive daily prompts via email from a lady who has done this for years. If anyone is interested in receiving these prompts, please PM me your email address and I will either forward them to you or send her your email so you can receive them directly; it's entirely up to you. Most people post their NaPoWriMo poems in a weekly "chapter", although some people prefer to post daily. To get an idea of how past participants have done it, check out my own "April Musings", Parker Owens "Parker's NaPoWriMo 2017", or Aditus' "Going to the Movies". Participating in NaPoWriMo is a lot of fun. I hope to see a lot of participants in April!
  11. It's been difficult lately for tim, and frustrating for me. Depression is such a hard thing to live with, both for the one that suffers through it and the people around them. Try as he might, and I am not surprised by it, tim tries to push away the bad things he feels. It is a constant fight for him. People say he's a man, he should put the past behind him. Move on, fuhgeddaboudit! he does, a lot, but with his dad's passing, well, I wish the brain had real door that can be locked. It doesn't and it's the same for all of us I think. If your past wants to catch up with you, you rarely can out run it. Yesterday it caught up with him. Like a runaway train, it caught him, and flattened him. he is okay ... but my frustration brought out some words: Darkened Days I know that he suffers I know his world is grey Nothing that I can do, Will take his pain away I can love him with my body I can kiss away the tears But I will never be man enough To banish forever, his fears I try and show him life is good I try and point out sunny skies But it's life that's done this to him And it's that I cannot disguise He clings to me on darkened days He clings to the light I offer All I can do is hold him tight And whisper: I always be your harbour I love you, boy xo
  12. Been an emotional week around here. tim is going through something, and I can only watch and wait. But words run through my head after he comes to me, needing me. Last night he asked me to just hold him, as he tried to sleep. I did and he did. But I know him very well. Know his heart and the kind of human being he is. It's why I love him. And why I wrote this: You tell me you need my arms about you tight I know there's something, and I whisper tell me the name of who is in your heart this moment, Your head bows, there's damp on your cheeks But it isn't my name there, or on your lips And I hold you, strong against me, and smile As you say: you know I love you, don't you? I know and we are bound together in many ways Yet, I know the man in my arms, and his heart aware I am not alone in it. There are others you love, desire and care for But I am wise enough to know, forbidding this Or trying to cage you, would drive me from the Very heart I love with all of my own To keep you, I must free the butterfly So if sharing who you are and your heart Means I can love you, then share you I will I am not sad, or afraid, because you're here We always will be, until one of us must go I hope I am left, for I'd not want you to suffer alone. I know one day, you'll be gone from my arms But I don't want to know that emptiness yet. Don’t want to think of not kissing this soft skin I am your caretaker, your man and you're my boy And if eternal love exists, then that is mine, for you.
  13. Here's a poem and my translation of it. El Desdichado de Gérard Labrunie, ou Gérard de Nerval Je suis le Ténébreux – le Veuf – l’Inconsolé, Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la Tour abolie: Ma seule Etoile est morte – et mon luth constellé Porte le Soleil noir de la Mélancolie. Dans la nuit du Tombeau, Toi qui m’as consolé, Rends-moi le Pausilippe et la mer d’Italie, La fleur qui plaisait tant à mon coeur désolé, Et la treille où le Pampre à la Rose s’allie. Suis-je Amour ou Phébus ?… Lusignan ou Biron? Mon front est rouge encor du baiser de la Reine; J’ai rêvé dans la Grotte où nage la sirène…. Et j’ai deux fois vainqueur traversé l’Achéron: Modulant tour à tour sur la lyre d’Orphée Les soupirs de la Sainte et les cris de la Fée. The Desolate by Gérard Labrunie, aka Gérard de Nerval I am the tombs – the widower – the unconsoled, The prince of Aquitaine in his tower abandoned: My one and only star is dead – my strings unfold Melancholy's black light whose sun is most weakened. In the night of the graves, your tears held me controlled, So now return Posillipo, Naples' fair wind, The flower my afflicted heart liked so much of old, And the trellis where grape and rose were jointly pinned. Am I Venus or the Sun...? Brave king or coward? My brow is still flushed from the kiss of the sovereign; I dream yet of the grotto where swims the siren…. Twice crossing the river of the dead, I scoured For my turn on Orpheus' lyre to play For saintly sighs, and the cursed screams of the fey. ---------- Note: The poem was published in 1853 as part of a series of twelve Sonnets written while the man was incarcerated for mental instability. The title is Spanish means “the desolate”; “the wretched”; “the unfortunate” etc. For some interesting and detailed analysis of the poem and its images, see here: https://everything2.com/title/El+Desdichado
  14. Poetry Prompt 3 – Lyrics Let's Write some Lyrics! I'm not talking about writing a song, at least not yet. But now that we have begun to think in terms of structure, and have been introduced to the concept of lines of poetry being made up of a set number of syllables, it's time to look at the most popular form in the western world. 'Lyrics' for my intents and purposes refers to a set of alternating lines of syllables - a discernible beat created through a repeating of line length. Like the rhythm we have seen from Japanese verse of 5 and 7 syllables playing back and forth, the most common equivalent in lyrical Western verse is an 8 and 6 pattern. A little birdie has told me Irritable1 has a fantastic prompt coming up talking about the internal rhythm within a line, but for now let's just look at how lines can form lyrics by using two different syllable lengths. Emily Dickinson had an innate way to construct poems. They are often very lyrical, as in this example: Nature and God—I neither knew Yet Both so well knew me They startled, like Executors Of My identity. Yet Neither told—that I could learn— My Secret as secure As Herschel's private interest Or Mercury's affair—[1] This is a perfect example for us to look at. For one, 835 (as it's known) is flawless as it alternates back and forth between 6 and 8 syllable lines. These lyrics also not no bother with rhyme, which we will get to in later prompts. For now, we can just read it and feel the connection to Tanka and Haiku, and we can build on it to write our own lyrics. And speaking of connection, I personally never feel I can understand Dickenson's poetry except in a queer context, and this poem once again reconfirms that for me as she speaks of feeling like Nature and God have never known her; that seems a very familiar doubt that every LGBT person has ever felt. Here's another Dickinson example (known as 551): There is a Shame of Nobleness— Confronting Sudden Pelf— A finer Shame of Ecstasy— Convicted of Itself— A best Disgrace—a Brave Man feels— Acknowledged—of the Brave— One More—"Ye Blessèd"—to be told— But that's—Behind the Grave— The prompt: write two stanzas of lyrics. Follow the 8-syllable/6-syllable pattern as you go. Base it on the first emotions you remember having when you woke up this morning. This is practice, so it is up to you if you wish to incorporate rhymes, and feel free to make the poem humorous if you like. [1] The analogy in the second stanza is an interesting one. Hershel was a chemist who published multiple papers on his experiments with mercury. The play of that science (i.e. Nature) with the mention of the god Mercury's not-so secret (and same-sex loving) love life brings in the element of spirit (or of God) to contrast it.
  15. INTRODUCTION During my brief time here at GA, I’ve noticed that a number of authors have ventured into writing poetry pieces, which have often been very powerful in terms of emotion and rhythm. However, I haven’t seen much variation in set form. In an earlier life, I took some poetry classes. I enjoyed the chance to play with some of the techniques and structures that are available to poets as frameworks for the thoughts and emotions they wish to express: internal rhyme, broken meter, pantoums, sestinas, sonnets, and so on. Sometimes the experience was horribly frustrating, other times it was inspiring, sometimes it focused my thoughts, other times it kept pulling out new ideas… but it was always a mental workout and I usually felt afterward as if I were in better control of both my prose and my poetry. Sometimes I even got a decent poem out of the deal. I was talking with AC Benus about this in June, and we agreed that as we are both form nerds, we would love to co-chair a set of prompts based on poetry forms. Renee has kindly given her consent for us to use this forum. Every once in a while we’ll toss out a poetry form that one of us knows and likes, sometimes with a required subject, sometimes without. As forbidding as some of the structures can seem, they don’t have to be. We’ll treat it like putting a toy on a table, and we hope that other authors and editors at GA will feel like picking up each form and playing with it a bit… and maybe even publishing a poem based on that structure. So that’s from me, and here is the v. erudite AC Benus to write the very first poetry prompt. AC, take it away….. *** Poetry Prompt 1 – Tanka Let's Write a Tanka! A what..? I know, I can hear you asking what a Tanka is. When Irri first suggested combining forces to create poetry prompts with the idea of promoting verse in set form (that is, not 'free-form'), she floated the idea of Haiku. I too thought as much, but I knew that there could be no real understanding of Haiku without first seeing what that shortened form originated from. Tanka, which is also known as Waka (or Japanese verse), is very ancient. Fujiwara Sadaie edited an anthology in 1235 in which he collected verses and presented them sequentially. The first one dates to approximately the year 660, and the last from the year the anthology was collected. Hyakunin Isshu, or The Issue of a Hundred People, provides one Tanka each from one hundred poets. In the 20th century particularly, many fine Japanese poets have seen the potential in the Tanka's open form, and revived it richly to modern tastes. So specifically, Tanka consists of five lines, which are arranged in the following syllables: 5–7–5–7–7. This is like a Haiku, but there are two extra lines at the end, and this makes all the difference. Tanka are emotional poems, where the observer is present and speaking to us directly. In Haiku, the observer (and his or her emotions) is suppressed; a good Haiku is supposed to be untouched by human hands, while the Tanka is all about connection from heart to heart. Let's look at an example. Here is a translation of No. 3 by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro from the Hyakunin Isshu: Still on a mountain, A mountain bird's tail stays still, But it all seems like A long, long life is adrift For one who yet finds no rest. This poem puts you there, with Kakinomoto as he watches a pheasant slowly move. There is an impromptu feeling to the poem, but also one of great and timeless connection to the way things will or have always been. Let's look at another one. Here is a translation of No. 70 by Riozen-hoshi: In sadness complete My roof from others is set, As if depriving The twilight too of the same, We watch the autumn evening. These examples are enough to show you how much 'I' is in Tanka compared to Haiku. They also show another aspect of all Japanese poetry and traditional song, and that is a seasonal reference. Both of these poems mention autumn; Riozen does so directly, and Kakinomoto achieves it by mentioning a pheasant, which is hunted in the fall. For a Japanese-style poem to be true to form, such an allusion must be included. But I wanted to show that they can be subtle and casual. For instance, summer can be brought to your Tanka in the form 'suntan lotion,' 'public pool,' '4th of July,' 'beach blanket' – anything that puts the reader in the hot season. Likewise, for winter, 'robin' (which is associated with Christmas in Britain), 'furnace grate,' 'road salt,' 'heating bill,' 'creaking roof,' 'tire chains,' and on and on and on can serve to put the reader where you are in the time of year. I hope you get the idea and are inspired; anything that says season to you is fair game for a Japanese-style poem. Now, the challenge: write your own Tanka and set it in the season of year wherever in the world you are right now. The Tanka should use a seasonal allusion that has a powerful effect on you specifically. Although you think the allusion may not be meaningful to anyone else, poetry is meant to touch by random connections, so do not be afraid. As final inspiration, here's one I wrote, but can you guess the season? Rain etched on the glass – On one side of it, nature, On the other, my finger; While the drops fall and I try To let one feel real to me.
  16. Poetry Prompt 2 – Haiku Let's Write a Basho-style Haiku! It's arguable that Haiku is now the most popular set form of verse in the English language. Today more Haiku are written around the world than Sonnets and all the other forms put together. Haiku, or Hokku, arose out of Tanka and a variation on that form. The natural way in which the five lines of Tanka can be broken into strophes of three and two lines, in either combination, was known as Renga, or linked verses. These witty poems, which often took the form of question and answer, were light and popular entertainment. That all changed with a Gay genius. Basho Mastsuo (1644-1694) spent his life sequestered with the men he loved, first with the teenager with whom he was raised almost as a brother within a samurai family, and then later as a lay Buddhist monk with several men who formed his acolytes and partners. In the summer of 1684 (when he was forty years old,) he set out with his partner Chiri (who was thirty-six,) to see the country. These adventures resulted in the flowering of his poetry and the widespread dispersal of his brand of Haiku. Later, his most influential travel collection of verse was finalized the year he died as Oku no Hosomichi, or A Narrow Path through Open Country. Its posthumous publication in 1702 ensured his poetic immortality. So, Basho's form was a serious attempt to redact out the subjective view of the poet, and in this regard he was influenced by Zen thought that the "I" is an illusion. Within a very limited form he tried to capture the corporal impressions of an event, and trusted that the reader would insert his or her own emotions into what they were shown. By corporal I mean the bodily senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. His most famous Haiku is this: Furu ike ya Kawazu tobikomu Mizu no oto. Which translates literally as: Old pond to (or, into) A frog jumps Water's sound. There is a particular anthology of one hundred English language versions of those eight simple Japanese words, and all of them are different, and all of them are in proper Haiku form. The Haiku is based on a three-lined structure, and has the following syllables: 5,7,5. Like all Japanese poetry and traditional lyrics, a seasonal word is essential. In the frog poem, the frog is a symbol of summer. Another summer poem that illustrates his totally subjective style is this one from Oku no Hosomichi: In complete silence, A cicada's voice alone Shakes the temple stones. The prompt: write two Haiku. One inspired by a sight you witnessed outdoors, in a secluded patch of nature (either in your yard, a city park, or the great untamed wilderness). And a second one inspired by an urban sight (something that catches your eye on the street), or that happens indoors. You must be true to the form and include a seasonal word within both poems, but remember, words like 'surfboard' and 'bug spray' speak of summer just as much as 'frog' and 'cicada' do. Think outside the box and just use a sight that speaks to the season in the part of the world you are right now. To be a true Haiku, do not use words or concepts like "I," "my," "mine," etc. Stick to plain scene painting, for if the sight moved you, it has the potential to move others too. _
  17. Since this is an open discussion forum, So I thought I could express my opinion here and see if other poets out here share my thoughts.... To be honest, I am no superb poet or anything....In fact I started writing when I was at the worst stage of my life and had no one to share my thoughts or feelings with....And so I started writing in hopes to give words to the turmoil in my heart...That is when I started wondering that maybe tragedy of life is a strong motivator or inspiration for a poem...Since, emotions are common all over the world so no matter which language we write our poems in, the meaning always touches us......I wonder if the poets out here would agree with me?
  18. Poetry Prompt 15 – Free Verse Let's Write Some Whitman-Style Free Verse! Well, now I've gone and messed up the concept. The goal of these poetry prompts is to introduce set forms of poetry, and here prose poetry, or 'free verse,' is often seen as being free of the metre, rhymes and patterns that make up other types of poetry. Only part of that is true, and this partial misconception is why I felt we should dive into it with some critical examination. The best way to do that is start with its inventor, and arguably, still one of its brightest luminaries: Walt Whitman. It also helps that Whitman was one of the most open and sensual of same-sex loving poets in modern times. He published almost fearlessly in the middle of the 19th century about the young men he loved.[1] For me the interest in him as a person lies in knowing that he started off his writing career as a bon vivant, silk-scarf-wearing, opera-going critic for the newspapers, but one who reinvented himself as a working-class man among other sweaty men in the streets and taverns. How and why did he do this? It's a bit of an unknown, except that by 1855, his first volume of poetry was ready for the press: The Leaves of Grass. Whitman's great 'yawp' hit the world with not much reaction, except for those anonymous reviews penned by none other than Walt himself praising the book as the greatest volume of poetry ever published. And success was not far behind either, for by 1860 and the third edition, the book and poet were reckoned as formidable.[2] As I have hinted at before, The Leaves of Grass introduced something new to the English language, prose poetry, which is also known as free verse. At first glance Whitman's poems seem to lack structure, or pay only passing interest to the rat-a-rat semantics of metre and poetic 'feet.' And so it is, mostly. But let's look at some examples and examine his internal structure at closer range. Here's one as it appears in print: I am a man who, sauntering along, without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you, and then averts his face, Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you.[3] But, if we break it down by the natural cadence, which I will show you with the syllable counts at the start of each line (yes, horror upon horrors – its metre, lol), the following reading becomes the way the poem is experienced: v. I am a man who, v. sauntering along, vi. without fully stopping, viii. turns a casual look upon you, vi. and then averts his face, v. Leaving it to you vi. to prove and define it, viii. Expecting the main things from you. So here you can see the free-form has a very definite form indeed, and it's a lovely one; 5-5 6-8 6-5 6-8. The flow is built in, and poem is rock-solid because of it, no matter how it is shown on the page. This is the type of internal structure I hope to show you exists, and which you can become aware of as you write your own prose poems. Let's look at another example. You would wish long and long to be with him – you would wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and he might touch each other.[4] And the natural breakdown…? x. You would wish long and long to be with him – x. you would wish to sit by him in the boat, ix. that you and he might touch each other. Sometimes you encounter prose that is extremely poetic. If you stop to examine why you think that is the case, you will often discover it is due to exactly this type of internal structure of syllable counts, or its metre. Here's an example from an author whose work I believe inspired Whitman to invent prose poetry in the first place. Appalling is the soul of a man! Better might one be pushed off into the material spaces beyond the uttermost orbit of our sun, than once feel himself fairly afloat in himself![5] And the natural breakdown…? ix. Appalling is the soul of a man! ix. Better might one be pushed off into ix. the material spaces beyond the ix. uttermost orbit of our sun, than once x. feel himself fairly afloat in himself! You can bring a sharper focus to your prose poems by being cognizant of how the internal structure is formed. And you can use this new outlook to enhance your reading enjoyment of other free verse pieces. To that end, let's look at one of Whitman's best known and admired pieces; one he wrote to sum up his feelings on the assignation of President Lincoln. Passing the visions, passing the night, Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades’ hands, Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul, Victorious song, death’s outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song, As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night, Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy, Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven, As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses, Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves, I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring.[6] The prompt: write at least one Free Verse poem based on your personal reaction to the following scenes from the 1985 film, Room with a View. Use any syllable count you like or number of lines that come to you, but please keep in mind the internal structure of your prose poem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-gFsXfbF08 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKbBwrsEV5A ---------------------------------------------------------------------- [1] Whitman's adult life spanned the age of total innocence where men could live in relative openness with one another without fear that their love would be demeaned, to the hysteria, criminalization, and total debasement Gay men faced by the end of that century. See Jonathan Ned Katz's Love Stories, Chicago 2001. [2] An inexpensive, and unabridged version is available. Get Leaves of Grass, 1860, Jason Stacy, introduction, Iowa University Press 2009. All citation for the quotes will refer to the 1860 page numbers where the poems can be found. [3] Pg. 187. [4] Pg. 294. [5] From Book XXI, Pierre by Herman Melville, New York 1852 [6] This poem first appeared in the 4th edition of Leaves of Grass in 1865 as part of the 'Captain, O my captain!' set of mourning poems. Few people realize or comment on the fact that 'Oh, my Captain! my Captain!' is a direct quote from Melville's Moby-Dick. In chapter 132 Starbuck reaches out for one final connection to Ahab's humanity by reminding the man about their families waiting for them back on Nantucket. The attempt proves to be too late.
  19. Ode to the caesura. It brings our thoughts to a stop. It laps at our minds like a sop. And halts coloratura. How glad the many millions of notions are prevented from finding full expression in the boundless words of the world, for then, once spilled on paper, how might we ever gather them up again; how might the bottle be re-plugged; how might the heart be re-assembled, if fancy-free reigned evermore…? So, hurray for the period, our friend, our lifesaver, our paramour saving us from the worst excesses of our best selves. Thus hail the caesurae. You allow the needed rest. You trump all efforts with the very best. And cut through the heart of the imperfect ‘I’.
  20. I just thought I'd put all the links in one easy-to-access place Poetry Prompt 1 — Tanka Poetry Prompt 2 — Haiku Poetry Prompt 3 — Lyrics Poetry Prompt 4 — Metre Poetry Prompt 5 — Rhymes and Couplets Poetry Prompt 6 — Elegy Poetry Prompt 7 — Blank Verse Poetry Prompt 8 — Quatrains Poetry Prompt 9 — Sonnet Poetry Prompt 10 — Italian Sonnet Poetry Prompt 11 — Haiku #2 Poetry Prompt 12 — Rondo Poetry Prompt 13 — Ghazal Poetry Prompt 14 — Ballade Poetry Prompt 15 — Free Verse Poetry Prompt 16 — Carol Poetry Prompt 17 — Childhood Verse Poetry Prompt 18 — Rubaiyat Poetry Prompt 19 — Lullaby Poetry Prompt 20 — Found Poetry
  21. April is National Poetry Writing Month. The challenge is to write thirty poems in thirty days. This is a great time to visit or revisit AC Benus' poetry prompts, which can be found in the Prompt forum. Feel free to share your work either here, in a blog, or posted as a collection. Most people post weekly, in order to avoid clogging the story queue. I'll be posting every Saturday in my "April Musings" poetry collection. I hope we get as many, if not more, participants as we did last year. I look forward to reading everyone's creations.
  22. Becoming Poets You and I, we have a strong bond Like brothers, like lovers; We disgust the world with our vain perversions, our inane attachment with the word and the seas of heresy part at our command revealing the shells of untruths hiding beneath the silt of social justice. Ecstasy beyond judgement is what we share in the binding fallacy of corporeal pain battling to win over the spirit. Our ascension begins at the alter of ego. Broken down pieces of the mirror of self-hate, we tread upon our steps to immortality. Morality, ethics, civility, higher power are all suspended in space as dwindling starlights, reaching us from the outer edges of cosmos. You and I, we have a strong bond. Like brothers, like lovers; We step over millions of corpses to reach the quintessential truth, the poesy of nature. 21/03/17 Paranoia When I see you talking to others I think of it as betrayal When I see you smiling with others I question if you are loyal When I see you moving on with life going roundabout your business I feel I have been left out from it all in order to hide your menace I know the wheels are turning I know the fires are burning out Emotions are condensing in big chunks of ice And soon it won't suffice to tell you that I love you, that the earth only blooms for you, that my breath begins & ends with you And soon you will leave me for the others who make you smile, who kiss you behind my back, smell your hair, bend you over to the road of infidelity And it drives me mad, mad like a ragging bull, Like a substance user craving his previous high I can't stand them making you smile One of these days I will tell them of your lies 22/03/17 ©asamvav111
  23. I Heat up the oil Your hands are cold and dispassionate Let the oil's warmth seep up your unconscious Making you more malleable to touch Figures created out of mud and ludicracy Break not the chain of bondage of eternal servitude of lust II I didn't buy you I can't, because you can't buy humans anymore I just bought your services for the night A few hours of relaxation I couldn't buy you but I wish I could Buy your smile and tear it up and throw it away at the roadside dump and see your face behind. III Your face is beautiful And you are poor And that is the reason Why you are a whore Oops, I meant masseur IV I enjoy your face even when you look vacantly at the pasty paint scraping off the wall while you delicately push away my towel I don't know why I use it May be I like to play hooky Your vacant eyes irritate me, but I ignore them at the urging of your efficient fingers Why should one body part take precedence over the other? I like your torso as much as your arms Your big strong beefy arms, no doubt strengthened from kneading up millions of clients Your hands can even make corpses happy, like Osiris. V You try chatting up I tell you, it's not your strong suit You tell me stories from home Of sunlit village roads and games in the pond with a younger cousin way back when you were still a virgin and how you loved him, and how much you like bikes and torn jackets are all the rage and potatoes are getting expensive and all political leaders are liars... I tense up at your incessant chattering and you fall silent feeling it under your thumb Or may be you start dreaming of riding bikes through your bright village dirt roads racing your politician cousin who looks like a potato Or something I don't care I never wanted to know what you think Of the world or me That's why I never felt so free getting naked in front of anybody else... May be my mom I mean I bought you, sorry, your services after thorough perusal just like I choose the flavour of my ice cream at the super market I am finicky like that VI Turn over Your tone is always stoic when it comes to the fun part You could have commanded armies with that calm dialect Anticipation quickens my pulse And hardens my expectation Now you start playing hooky Going in and out Under the towel Almost but not quite there You know how I like it But your face betrays no affection Your eyes grow more vacant with every lunge Like a game of chess We play With my body as a wager And your affections You win every time VII Feral sounds Obscene sounds Belching, farting Squelching, splashing You are all that And more thrashing Till the snakes Give up and hide And you act as if You loved the fight But you don't, I can see it in your eyes May be I should get a blind masseur Next time 19/03/2017 ©asamvav111
  24. Poetry Prompt 12 – Rondo Let's Write an Opera-Style Rondò! A Rondò is a two-part aria. What's an aria? An aria is like a song in two sections, but the first section is repeated at the end. A Rondò breaks this repetition rule. The basic structure is this (and it's easy to follow): Aria sections: part A; part B; recap part A Rondò sections: part A; development of part A; recap part A; part B. This type of number is used to convey complex emotional situations at the height of the drama, and as such, is a great complement to the Sonnet forms we've already studied. The first part of a Rondò is slow, and the second part fast; it's like the natural break that occurs at the pivot point of a Sonnet. The history of this piece of dramatic music is not so straightforward. Like the origin of the Sonnet, the non-musical version of the Rondò comes from French late medieval poetry. The Rondeau is a well-established form of verse very much like the Italian Sonnet, with a rhyme structure of a-b-b-a; a-b-b-a, etc. So, this form being as old as it is would seem to have a long-lived history as the musical type known as the Rondò. But, it doesn't. Rondòs appeared all of a sudden at the end of the 1770s, and by the middle of the next decade had hit a perfect stride. Let's look at the structure in more detail. The classic Rondò is made of three quatrains of 8-syllable lines. Rhyming can vary greatly, but generally in Italian it follows the rules of vowel, vowel, vowel, consonant. In other words, think of the ending sounds like this: ah, eh, ee, are; or, ee, ough, ah, own; and so forth. That is the basic structure of Italian poetics where finding words that rhyme is not a challenge and what matters is the harmonious placement of the phonetics concluding a line. Let's look at an example. Follow along with the music as you read. The Rondò begins at min. 1:20. Amor, pietoso Amore, Oh Love, piteous lord of love, rendimi alfin al pace, finally grant me some peace, porgi ristoro a un core allow repose for my heart stanco di tollerar. so tired in its suffering. Basti il mio lungo pianto Let my long bouts of tears suffice l'ire a saziar del Fato, to assuage the anger of Fate, cessi un amante ingrato prevent that ungrateful lover di farmi sosprirar. from having to make me sigh. Ah se invano io mi lusingo, Ah, in vain I flatter myself, se pietà di me non hai, for if you do not take pity, crudo Amor! perché mi fai cruel Love, why then make of me le tue leggi seguitar? accomplice to your heartless law? So you can see, this is strong stuff! Emotions are pulled out from within the character and bared for all to see. You can also tell how the rhyme structure works here, although Lorenzo da Ponte, the poet, decided to keep it eh, eh, eh, are; oh, oh, oh, are; and then he diversified with oh, ai, ai, are. This is quite different from the typical approach to end of lines in English poetry, but as you can see, it makes for a beautiful effect, especially here in the capable hands of Maestro Salieri. Love-gone-wrong is one of the usual themes for a Rondò, but it's only one possibility. In Un cosa rara,[1] da Ponte wrote a Rondò where the Queen of Spain is reflecting on the joys of a simple life – the life of which she is deprived. And in our next example, by da Ponte again,[2] an evil woman comes to grips with not only giving up her political ambitions, but losing her life to save the man she's manipulated into doing her dirty work. Follow along with the music as you read. Non più di fiori vaghe catene No more with his garlands of flowers discenda Imene ad intrecciar. will blessèd Hymen descend on me. Stretta fra barbare Now locked in barbarous aspre ritore chains of captivity, veggo la morte it's only Death I see ver me avanzar. approaching step by step. Infelice! qual orrore! Unhappy soul! What horror awaits! Ah, di me che si dirà? Ah, but what will be said of me? Chi vedesse il mio dolore, Who seeing my agony will not then Pur avria di me pietà. find a little room to pity me. Ok, so bad example? No, a beautiful one, even though it breaks the form in several ways (having only 10 lines instead of 12, metres all over the place, etc.), I wanted you to hear how a great Rondò comes to life with great music. We can feel her torment, but her grudging acceptance to embrace her fate, even though it means a public execution for treason. She is brave here, and shines forth as the example that it's never too late to do the honorable thing. The prompt: write one Rondò based on a well-known movie scene. Channel the pathos you personally know and love from a favorite movie moment, like Scarlett O'Hara grubbing turnips and saying "As God is my witness…" or, the adrenalin injection scene from Pulp Fiction – you choose. Work those emotions into three quatrains, with the pivot point coming on the 3rd one. You decide how or if you wish to rhyme it, and how many syllables each line contains. Again, relax. Don't get frustrated; just have fun with it. -------------------------------------------- [1] Un cosa rara, ossia bellezza ed onestà – or, A Rare Thing, Beauty and Honesty Together – music by Vincent Martín y Soler. [2] The authorship of this number from La clemenza di Tito is in dispute. The libretto was created for Mozart by Caterino Mazzolà, but scholarship by H.C. Robbins Landon shows convincingly that this piece was preformed in concert long before the opera was commissioned. This assertion is validated by the number literally being cut and pasted into the opera score; he speculates that Lorenzo Da Ponte was the poet this piece and not Mazzolà. See Landon's 1791 Mozart's Last Year, 1988 New York.
  25. Begin by music what lyrics had shunned, Evanescent feelings that shan't be returned, Forever is a long time if you are not a friend, Every limit mortal as time's sickle bend. Yet I bequeath my heart and desire, To you and your lot I cast in my fire, A flame everlasting shall flourish in me, Like a flower that blooms only for the bee. 31/12/16 ©asamvav111 Wishing everyone of my friends, near & dear ones, far & farces, enemies & rivals A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
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