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, October 27, 2012

The Sunday Mini-Challenge

This weekend's stanza format is taken from my reading of Paul Laurence Dunbar, who first wrote the line: "I know why the caged bird sings!" in his poem Sympathy. He also devised an interesting 7 line stanza, used in the poem Melancholia, which relies on a syllable count and rhyme scheme, and this is the form we will focus on today.

© Mama Zen


The opening stanza of Melancholia gives the model for the structure of subsequent stanzas:

Silently without my window,  (a)   8 syllables
Tapping gently at the pane,  (b)   7 syllables 
Falls the rain.  (b)   3 syllables
Through the trees sighs the breeze (Internal rhyme c / c) 6 syllables
Like a soul in pain.  (b)   5 syllables
Here alone I sit and weep;  (d)   7 syllables
Thought hath banished sleep.  (d)   5 syllables

The meter is trochaic but I mention this only for the purists.


© Ellen Wilson


October, as it is experienced in the Northern Hemisphere, always strikes me as being a month of paradoxes: the give of the harvest and the take of Fall; a sinister festival of the dead in All Hallows' Eve, which is followed immediately by a day of celebration for the Hallowed Saints. Of course, there is the unsettled sense of change which occurs as life instinctively prepares for Winter.


© Isadora Gruye


I have selected several photos for our further inspiration that are in keeping with the many moods of October. The photographers are members or followers (or friends) of Real Toads, who freely share their work here with us. Please remember to acknowledge the name of the photographer whose work you display on your blog.



© Teresa Perin


For those who would like to try the stanza form and would like another example, I have republished a poem on Skywriting that I wrote in 2009 (back when I first started writing, I often purloined forms). However, I fully intend to make a second attempt at it this weekend.  For those who prefer the Free Verse option, please focus on an October theme, or a photograph from this post.


© H.J. Clark


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:

hedgewitch said...

Sounds interesting, Kerry. Have been out doing fall chores, putting the garden to bed after our first freeze, so am pooped, but will see what comes up. The form looks fun and fairly easy, but I know better than to assume anything after doing a few of these. ;_)Thanks for the challenge, and to those sharing their photos.

Ella said...

oooh, intriguing Kerry! I'm working on it~ We have to leave again...augh!
It is crazy in the city, but need some type of power cord for the generator, if power goes out!
Frankenstorm is a major pain~
I'll be back...

aprille said...

Loved trying this. Thank you Kerry.
Ella, are in near the East coast? Keeping my fingers crossed.

Ella said...

I'm about an hour and a half from the Outerbanks! Close to crazy...that's me! Thank you Aprille! I had fun doing this...might try this form again!
Thank you Kerry :D

Hannah said...

Oh..wow such a talented poetic and photographic bunch!! Kerry, thank you for the form and introduction to this poet! Happy weekend poetic peeps :)

Susie Clevenger said...

I just went Halloween theme. Couldn't seem to work anything that rhymed, but that is my curse. :)

Susie Clevenger said...

My first link didn't work, but I couldn't remove it...sorry

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm happy to see the number of links before me this morning. I'm going to try my own before I read the others!

Robyn Greenhouse said...

I also went with the Halloween theme and had so much fun as the wheels began to turn! Thanks!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Phew! This is not so mini-
I'd forgotten how exacting the rhymes and phrasing can be in the tight form. I hope this makes sense!

Laurie Kolp said...

Fun form! Thanks, Kerry.

manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry- thanks for the challenge. I used Teresa's lovely photo for what may be a controversial poem/post so I really hope she does not mind. If she minds, she should let me know and I would change it.

It's an interesting form - I used a lot of enjambment so maybe undid it's poeticism.

Oh well. Thanks, as always, for your inspiration. I don't know how you get all of this stuff! k.

Marian said...

yeah, i like this one too, Kerry. for lack of another moniker, i've called it a Dunbar stanza, you think that's right?

hedgewitch said...

Yeesh--easy, hun? Glad I've learned to never assume. This is one of the more constricting forms I've worked with--very challenging Kerry, and yes, it almost forces you to skip pivotal words(or it did me, anyway) so I do not guarantee mine making sense either. Will be around to read this evening. Really great to see so many links!

Susan said...

Speaking of storms, Hurricane Sandy is about to hit the East coast, please hold all of us in the Light (in your prayers).

Other Mary said...

Just got one linked. I'll look at everyone's in the morning. Cool and challenging challenge!

Susan said...

Hey Kerry! Sorry for the two links. The first one insisted on being empty!

Margaret said...

I am coming back to this challenge as I find it very intriguing. I have had two sick kids home the past five days. I am posting a Halloween poem from my son in the meant time.

I'll be back, just a bit late.

Jolly said...

Thanks Kerry for the very interesting prompt. It was very challenging for me as I usually write free verse, so it came out a bit jumbled as I tried to get the rhyme and rhythm work. Shall check out the other links now.

Susan said...
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