Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Sunday Mini-Challenge

© Ellen Wilson

A while ago, several of us tried the Sevenling form of poetry, but it has never been offered as a challenge on Real Toads.  The Sevenling is a poem in seven lines, invented about a decade ago by Roddy Lumsden, who accredits this poem by Anna Akhmatova as his inspiration:

He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America.

He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.

… And he married me.

The American Poetry Journal features the following article written by Lumsden, with a few "rules" of the form and examples of the end product.  I have extracted the basics for the purposes of our challenge today.

© Margaret Bednar

  • This form is all about content, rather than syllable count and rhyme scheme, and the rule of three is strongly applied.
  • The first three lines contain three connecting or contrasting statements, list of items, names or abstract elements.  
  • These can be contained anywhere within the stanza structure.  
  • This approach is then repeated in the second stanza as either a continuation of the previous idea, or to introduce new elements into the poem.  
  • The final line should create impact through juxtaposition, punch-line, or plot summary techniques.  
  • The layout is two stanzas of three lines each and a final stanza of one line. 
  • The tone should be somewhat mysterious, giving the sense that only part of the story is being told. 
  • There is conformity in the way a Sevenling is titled: Sevenling (First few words of line 1)


Lumsden is quoted (on APJ) as saying: "the rules are to be freely adapted to suit the poet - it's not a strict form."



© Mama Zen


I wrote a Sevenling in response to one of our previous Sunday Photo Challenges, which may be read HERE, and you are welcome to use any of the photos featured here today as inspiration for your Sevenling.  Alternatively, you may use one of the images as inspiration for a free verse poem. Please remember to give credit to the Real Toad members who have kindly shared their work with us.

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge.  Please provide a link on your blog back to Real Toads.  We stipulate that only poems written for this challenge may be added to the Mr Linky.  Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.


20 comments:

Fireblossom said...

I just this minute posted a book review, but will try a sevenling tonight or tomorrow.

aprille said...

This is one I wrote some months ago and never published as I wasn't sure it was done in the right way.
Please tell me what ought to be changed in your view.
Lovely to have a chance to look at this form again.

Ella said...

3 is one of my lucky numbers~ Love the form and the enchantment of aligning unique items! Great idea for a prompt!

Kay L. Davies said...

Still sick, sitting in a hotel room up here in The Great North Waste, and it's one of those head colds that totally interfere with brain function. Would have loved to try this one. The example is fabulous, especially the last line.
Will be home next weekend. Looking forward to getting back to quasi-normal.
K

hedgewitch said...

I'm fond of this form, but drawing a complete blank on it as of now--will see what tomorrow brings.

Hope you feel better soon, Kay.

Haddock said...

Like that picture of the horses :-)

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have written a Sevenling for each of my blogs - don't shoot me :)
It's been a while since the words and I were in agreement, so I must strike while the iron is hot.

Robyn Greenhouse said...

This is my first attempt at a Sevenling! So glad to have found this blog!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Welcome, Robyn.

Susie Clevenger said...

I have written this form before. Thanks for sharing Kerry since form poetry can be my downfall.

Marian said...

love the sevenling! i'm behind over here, it's a birthday weekend, my son turns nine today! and we are having a ton of fun... behind in writing and in reading all of you, but i'll catch up. and i'll try for a sevenling later today, with any luck.
hey some of you really liked my fence photo, so kerry, if you ever want to use it here at RT, or if any toads want to use it, permission hereby granted. xo & happy sunday, marian

Hannah said...

Thank you, Kerry for the challenge, (I love the sevenling) and gratitude to Toads for the inspiring images.

:)

Mary Mansfield said...

I ended up going the free form route on this one. The sevenling is a form I've been wrestling with for some time now and the struggles continue. Still, eventually I hope to beat it into submission!

Mary said...

I posted a sevenling....late; but as the saying goes, better late than never.

Margaret said...

A little late here this weekend... but have been thinking about it all day so my heart was with my Toads :)

amidemanila said...

Just a stab at the challenge... I will try to tweak itsometime...

DEZMOND said...

Akhmatova had some really nice poems. I often had to recite her and Yesenin's poems while I studied Russian in High School and at College :)

Other Mary said...

Better late than never - I hope! What an interesting little challenge. Thanks!

Marian said...

okay, i have one. sigh. i think i need to change my title.

Susan said...

Hey folks: Be careful with the hot irons and the beatings!

My trip to upstate NY has taken on the dimensions of an odyssey between a few new poems and my writing for last night's creative writing class. It's hard to make predictions in a writer's life.