Tag Archives: Syllabic Pattern

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 13

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This morning NaPo has alerted me to the fact that it is Friday 13th, now I am not one for superstition but the internet connection was down this morning, it has taken at least half an hour to sort!

What I love about NaPoWriMo is the various poems you get to read. I enjoyed reading the suggested material this morning (on my Kindle whilst the laptop refused to believe in the possibility of the internet)!

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Hello, all. Today is the thirteenth day of Na/GloPoWriMo, and it’s just as lucky as every day in which poetry gets written!

Our featured participant today is lady in the pines, where the haibun for Day Twelve gives this daughter of Minnesotans a taste of nostalgia!

Today, we bring you an interview with Brendan Lorber, whose first full-length book of poetry, If this is paradise why are we still driving?, will be published this spring by Subpress. Lorber’s poetry has appeared in journals including American Poetry ReviewFence, and McSweeney’s. He is the editor and publisher of Lungfull! Magazine, an annual anthology of contemporary literature that publishes rough drafts alongside contributors’ final work. You can read two of Lorber’s recent poems here, and our interview with him here.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always!), drawn from a suggestion provided in Lorber’s interview. Today, we challenge you to write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. For example, if you chose the phrase “A stitch in time saves nine,” you might reverse that into something like: “a broken thread; I’m late, so many lost.” Or “It’s raining cats and dogs” might prompt the phrase “Snakes and lizards evaporate into the sky.” Those are both rather haunting, strange images, and exploring them could provide you with an equally haunting, strange poem (or a funny one!)


5ab39dd423e2c-bpfullThe Poetry School Day 13

Moore Syllabics: Day 13 

Nobody likes syllabics — not in English anyway. The free verse lot think it’s just metre in disguise; the formalists think it’s cheating. (Claire Crowther wrote an excellent essay about the whole situation, which you can read here.) But I don’t think you should dismiss it until you’ve had a go.

Syllabic master Marianne Moore’s signature technique was to write a first stanza, usually of irregular line lengths, and then use that stanza as a blueprint for subsequent stanzas. Let’s take a look at the first stanza of ‘Black Earth’: the first line is 4 syllables, the second is 6 (Moore gives ‘natural’ its full 3 syllables), the third is 13, and so is the last. The second stanza follows the same pattern, and so on until the end of the poem. This is what I want you to have a go at.

This prompt can either be used with an old stanza you’re stuck on, or you can write your first stanza especially for it. My only additional rule is that you’re not allowed to break words across lines (‘sub-/Merged’) as Moore does — there’s no challenge to syllabics if you do this.


A meaty challenge from Ali Lewis at The Poetry School today. One that needs some desk time, but is appealing as a new adventure.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing with syllabic form. It resulted in an interesting poem Keep the Light.

to stop it pestering me with its incantation.

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