Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Sunday Mini-Challenge

This weekend we move on from the three line construction to the four lines of a quatrain, stalwart of English poetry. The quatrain may be written in many variations of meter and rhyme, and may be part of the stanzaic frame of a longer poem, or a single poem. However, I would like us to look at the envelope quatrain for this challenge.

© Isadora Gruye

The "envelope" refers to the rhyme scheme: a b b a   c d d c   etc.. with rhyme b enveloped by rhyme a.
An envelope may also be a x x a with x unrhymed. Iambic tetrameter is the favoured meter for English verse.

© Margaret Bednar

I am going to be a little more specific for this challenge by focusing on the In Memoriam Quatrain, popularized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam A.H.H.

The In Memoriam Stanza is:
  • Narrative verse
  • Written in any number of envelope quatrains
  • Metered: iambic tetrameter
Here is an example from Tennyson:

Something it is which thou hast lost,
Some pleasure from thine early years.
Break thou deep vase of chilling tears,
That grief hath shaken into frost!

I have not given much guidance when it comes to meter in past challenges, but let us scan a few lines here in an attempt to demystify the Iamb. The red syllables carry the stress, while the blue is unstressed in reading.

Something / it is / which thou / hast lost

Some plea / sure from / thine ear / ly years

  © Ellen Wilson

My thanks go to the members of Real Toads who so willingly share their photography with us each week. These pictures are the secondary part of the Mini-Challenge offered as inspiration for our poetry. Anyone who would like to select a picture and write either an "In Memoriam" poem in a maximum of 4 envelope quatrains, or in Free Verse, if preferred, is welcome to do so. Please remember to acknowledge the name of the photographer if you upload an image to your blog.

© Susie Clevenger

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.


Kay L. Davies said...

As soon as I saw Susie's photo, Kerry, all thoughts of quatrains and iambic tetrameter fled, replaced by the idea of hunger's death.

hedgewitch said...

Ooo--I think I've done these before, but not lately...great challenge, as always Kerry--and cool pics as well. Off to see what percolates.

Laura Maria said...

Already wrote mine, I'm just waiting for the chance to get on the computer to post it (my phone is useless for that). It was very challenging for me since I only ever write free verse. Thanks for this Kerry!

Ella said...

Oh wow this is fascinating-I love the challenge.
Susie s photo does give it quite the twist

Margaret said...

This is a great challenge... one I will probably have to complete for Open Link Monday as I have no free time this weekend.

Hannah said...

Very nice...the form suites the theme of these pictures well, imo...great challenge Kerry thanks always! :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This was harder than I thought!

Janine Bollée said...

Kerry, thank you: I enjoyed the challenge. The tetrameter comes easily to me but I found myself replacing the initial iambe with a trochee now and then.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry, fun challenge. I'm used to a longer line - so this was a lot of fun. I added my own pic with Isadora's since I didn't want to play with hers but adding anything on iPad.

Thanks. k.

Susan said...

I'll be back with something, but I have to tell you now how wonderful it is to read your succinct, clear, inviting, illustrated challenges. Each is a work of art!

Marian said...

hi Kerry. hey, you know i love these forms and the photos are gorgeous, and unfortunately on-topic for me, as this weekend i've lost another friend. but i'm just writing to say i'm overwhelmed with death layered on top of life and i think it will be a while before i can write. love to toads. xoxo

hedgewitch said...

Finally! This *was* harder than anticipated, and for me, didn't turn out to be very "mini." Now I have to attend to boring real life, but will be back to read this evening.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Dearest Marian, I am so sorry for your loss, sorry that the subject was too close to the bone. This business of death is hard to shake off.

hedgewitch said...

So sorry Marian--didn't read your comment earlier--a hard topic for you I'm sure-- the time eventually does come when writing helps, I think, but getting past the slap and stun and numb--can take awhile. Best wishes and thoughts your way.

Lorna Cahall said...

Thia is about as stressful as it can get for me! Very interesting challenge.

Susan said...

Huge sigh of relief. Today's dose of cemeteries and fears will last me for a while. Thank you again for the prompt and inspiration, Kerry.

Mary B. Mansfield said...

I really enjoyed working with this form. I'm sure it will be one that I revisit very soon. I must admit to fudging a couple of times on the meter, but I think for the most part I hit on it.

Susie Clevenger said...

This was a struggle. I didn't write it to form, but I did create a poem of rhyme which is definitely not my cup of tea. Thank you Kerry...I tried. :)

Marian said...

hi friends, thank you. i managed to write one, am posting it here and in the Monday open link, too. xoxox

Margaret said...

I posted my challenge here and at Open Link Monday as I am late getting this done. I will read all of these and Monday's later tonight! See you later.