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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge ~ The Prelude

Prelude 

1. (noun) An introductory performance, event, or action preceding a more important one; a preliminary or preface.




I had no sooner shared one of my favourite poems yesterday, when it was time to set up my monthly Wednesday Challenge, and being much in a "Preludes" state of mind, I have decided to run with it.
The idea behind Eliot's Preludes was to write a series of introductory poems for a longer piece that does not exist. Eliot wrote each fragment over a period of a year, then pieced them together. While there is no narrative link between them, they form a cohesive unit in mood, theme and motif. The absent main event is the continued erosion of humanity and spirituality in the city lifestyles man has chosen to live.

If we are to write a prelude of our own, what should it contain? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Focus on setting: place and time in terms of date, day, year or season.
  • Lyrical poetry: descriptive and mood-driven rather than narrative.
  • Style: Eliot chose Stream of Consciousness, more abstract than concrete, so select the approach which would best suit your intentions.
  • Intention: Leave the reader with the sense that this was an introduction. Set the scene for an imagined main body of writing, but do not write the second part. 
Of course, if you would like to explore where your prelude is going, I would encourage you to go ahead and do so but please do not give us both parts for this challenge. Perhaps you could share the full version on OLM next week.

21 comments:

ThePeSla said...

It seems that this mood and theme driven idea has over time linked a series of poems as if a prelude. I tried the sonnet again and have not done so for some years...it is very informal yet usually such a poem did lead into a booklet of them of a dozen or so until the next theme- how synchronous to have done it before visiting here tonight...

Jinksy said...

Does a prose prelude count, I wonder?

Akila G said...

iam not sure if I served up to the requirement of the theme today but thanks1 Kerry, it did help me to unload a bit and think!

Marian said...

good morning :)

aprille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerry O'Connor said...

Mr Otto, when you link your blog home page, one is uncertain which post pertains to the particular prompt. Your first does not have any link back to Real Toads, nor does your explanation answer to the challenge of writing a prelude type of piece.

Loredana Donovan said...

Hi Kerry, this is wonderful. I have written an urban prelude on my train ride to work this morning. I will post it and link it tonight when I get home, along with some NYC photos. Exciting! It was fun writing a poem in a city setting, a bit different from my nature-filled poems. When you mentioned "city streets," I went back to your earlier post and read Eliot's Prelude, lovely! Thanks for the inspiration :)

aprille said...

Thanks for your early visit and comment on the first draft. I have rewritten the gist in Eliot's form, which I thought was far from freeverse, with strict tetrameter and a proper rhymescheme. What am I missing?
Seeing that it took him the better part of a year to compose the 4 sections, maybe I'd better stick to just part I :-)

Steve King said...

What a great idea. Thanks for the inspiration....

Grandmother said...

I hope mine is what you're looking for. It's a new and interesting concept to me. Thanks.

Susie Clevenger said...

What a beautiful challenge Kerry. I look forward to read each prelude.

Loredana Donovan said...

OK, I linked my poem. Will visit in the morning. Goodnight :)

Margaret said...

Kerry - I am behind a bit on commenting but working on catching up. I would have loved to do this prompt, but I am preparing to go away for a mini 23rd wedding anniversary - trying to get all the laundry done, etc. When we get back I will be getting my daughter from boarding school and she is graduating next weekend too! So, I will be hit and miss for a while (and I'm already hating it... but "life" kicks in some times). I AM working on my challenge for the 17th so that will be done in advance.

Ella said...

I loved this challenge and want to write another one!
Thank you Kerry :D

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have finally heard a few words in my mind which might eventually become something of a prelude. I have scratched them down, and hope to return to them this weekend to see if they can be taken any further.

hedgewitch said...

An excellent challenge, as always , Kerry. I have a fragment that I may be able to work up into a proper prelude, at least in the sense of there being more story ahead and untold.

Off to go broody and see if anything hatches.

hedgewitch said...

Just realized today is Thursday! We were out working like fiends in the garden yesterday, then a line of severe storms moved in and I had to shut off the computer--so this is definitely under the better late than never category!

Margaret said...

I will be back and commenting... I somehow squeezed this out... but not sure if I succeeded in a true Prelude form. Thanks for always stretching our abilities, Kerry.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Hey, y'all, took me a day and then BAM, this morning it hit me and came out "done" in twenty minutes. Kerry, this was a great prompt, and you'd think a musician would have done it in a snap... go figure! Amy

Dave King said...

A most excellent prompt! Top drawer.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks, Dave, but your link leads to a poem written for The Mag. I'm confused.