The Novelinee is new to me

My first plum shrub cocktail photograph by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today’s prompt from Laura at Dverse Poets Pub is to write a Novelinee, a nine line stanza with a rhyme scheme in iambic pentameter. Let’s see what I can come up with.

In novelty

a sudden interest overpowers calm
and everywhere I look a present falls
like plums too high to pluck now in my palm
enthralling rubber skin to sweetness calls
excite my senses newness all around
abundance fills my morning breakfast air
the plop of ready fruit, adventure’s sound
what foreign taste awaits for me to dare
once hidden, now the joy in looking found

I finished this poem right on time to go combine my shrubs. I made:

  1. plum & honey + apple cider vinegar with basil
  2. plum & agave + balsamic vinegar with sage

For my cocktail I used equal parts rum, the balsamic shrub and tonic water. Sounds weird, but it’s tasty and has a nice bite. Here’s to trying new things! Make your way to the bar and request a sample. 🙂

Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Seven: Emulate another poem or poet

Emulate another poem or poet

I picked up a copy of The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics by Diane Lockward. In the Craft Tip #3 Poem and Prompt section, she talks about “Variation on a Theme by Elizabeth Bishop” by John Murillo. This poem is based on “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. Take a look at both poems side by side.

both poems from Poetry Foundation
move the center line to the right or left

I really enjoyed this example of emulating another poem. John Murillo took the idea of learning to lose and made it his own. Lockward points out that Murillo does more than keep the theme. He uses repetition as Bishop does, repeating the many forms of “lose,” using many words that start with L, and like Bishop, he writes in imperatives as if giving directions.

So one way to emulate a poem is to write to the theme. Another is to make a list of techniques employed by the poet.

My redrafts emulating three different poems

Back in Part Four of this demonstration I announced which poems I had chosen and did some research into the poets. For this exercise, I chose Dead Stars by Ada Limón, Ode by Jane Huffman, and News by Ben Purkert.

So here’s my process for emulating a poem so far:

  • read lots of poems
  • pick a few poems I like
  • research the poets, learn about their process
  • learn about the poem

What’s next? I need to decide how emulating this poem will improve the poem I’m working on. I’m going to ask myself some questions as I read the poem again.

  • Why did I choose this poem?
  • What do I like about it?
  • What technique(s) do I want to try?
  • How will this improve my poem?


Dead Stars by Ada Limón

Ada Limón gives us a clue into her intent and feelings about “Dead Stars” in this video

Why did I choose this poem? I chose this poem because I enjoy the creative combinations of imagery. I was drawn to the mundane becoming philosophical and daring.

What do I like about it? I like the spoken words in italics (not quotes) used twice. I like the questions and what ifs that are somewhat random but make sense because we are all part of the big band, the dead stars.

What technique(s) do I want to try? She uses questions, speech, and of the senses in her details. She creates some interesting double turns/twists in the set up with: It’s almost romantic . . . until you say . . . And it’s true.

How will this improve my poem? I think this twisting language could help improve my poem. My narrator is in a dizzying, swirling, vertigo of facing facts that lead to sudden and life-changing reality, so her language dealing with it could be more twisty. Some dialogue in italics is worth giving a try as well.

Dirty Dishes

In kitchen sinks full of ideas, there’s an impression that even arrests fruit flies
Summer’s sandpaper tongue down our throats
jealousy, worry, rage all frozen mid-irritation
like tinnitus so acute it becomes a wasp nesting in your ear

I am a woodpile of ants in heat: a carpenter of denial

My view telescopes through the broken pane
to his sweat on her body behind the bale

I almost believed him as he twisted his favorite cap
until he said, A man has needs, but she’s not you

Which is true, but doesn’t mean he didn’t lie
when he said it was the last time

The dropped dish shatters like we all do

its pieces, still holdable, I toss into the trash

with my colors, light, hopes and ambition
because the glue has lost its flavor and the scissors
their artistry

Though broken, I still hunger and itch

the clicking, clacking pieces find junction. How

will I survive without? After indelible
marks topple to the tongue?

What if I can ignore and forget? What
if he says Stay. Please stay, and I cave.

I didn’t burn the curtains and the bridge?

What would happen if I left with nothing
opened, bare, clean of sticky coating

with hope of refreshment in bonding
earth nutrients growing, bonding

if I find new understanding wriggling
among the moles under the tent of solitude

will I be scraped as a plate after a feast?

Ode by Jane Huffman

Why did I choose this poem? I like the repetition and how it builds movement.

What do I like about it? The subtle changes and double meanings of words in repetitions.

What technique(s) do I want to try? The repetition of words in slight rearrangement creates the idea of smaller and larger circles while also talking about small and large circles.

How will this improve my poem? Because my poem talks about swirling and vertigo. I think I can use some of this style of repetition to get some of the spin my narrator is going through to come to life.

Chores

An impression arrests fruit flies. The fruit
flies are arrested in kitchen sinks full of
ideas. The ideas, frozen in mid-irritation
are like tinnitus introducing vertigo. I am
dizzy with vertigo. I hear buzzing. I am
spinning, spiraling, falling. I am falling.
The ground falls away and I am dropping,
my arms and my dress fly above my head
as I plummet, my pinky toe the stoical point.
The pinky toe somehow holds on. Like a pin
holding strings connecting to what got me
here, to a truth, or many truths long forgotten.
That pinky toe pointed, curled and maimed
from point-shoes leads the other toes and the
foot stepping from the spiral and though dizzy,
dizzy and disoriented I see clearly, my view
telescopes to his sweat on her body, not hidden
by the bale, the dry wasted bale that should
have sold, should have fed. I see the clarity
distorted in his drops of sweat on her younger
body as if finally finding the source of wafting,
wind-blown odor of putrid, rotting decay.
The putrid decay of our love that had swirled,
dizzyingly around until arrested by an impression,
here, now, as I stand at the kitchen sink.

News by Ben Purkert

Why did I choose this poem? I related to the wind talking and asking my to see.

What do I like about it? I like the juxtapositions creating a different, broader meaning

What technique(s) do I want to try? Again, the spoken words in italics. This time using italics as a shape the wind turns the grass into as well as speech. It’s a great idea. In two quick lines, he turns a believable news fact about sardines into a derogatory accusation.

How will this improve my poem? My poem already has some interesting juxtapositions. What could I cut to make the mind jump? Is there a “news” fact that would paint a picture juxtaposed against an unfounded judgement that would bring the reader to make interesting connections?

The Recall

An impression of fruit flies in furious flight
sketches the words, Think. Can you imagine?
contentment empties glue of flavor
and steals scissors of sharp
cuts. Today, Ms. Winters, the Mayor of Little Town
was recalled for having a litter in her office
Her predecessor was quoted as saying, I told
you she could never do the job as well as a man.

She wouldn’t stop licking the blood
from their heads: blind and mewling
in the box. Think. Can you imagine?
The hunger says this is dying season and–
What indelible marks will topple to the tongue?
Like a bridge burner
who can’t turn around
Maybe refreshment is nothing but
moles digging holes under the tent of solitude
I will get there, won’t I?
To the dark fresh-earth tunnels
where scraping, not smoothing, may nourish understanding

Summing up redrafting

There are so many options for redrafting a poem. I’m excited to try some new things when I revise my next poem. For this demonstration, however, we’ve covered a lot. I think the most important thing for redrafting are the questions I asked myself at the beginning:

  1. What are my motivations for redrafting this poem?
  2. What do I like about it?
  3. What don’t I like about it?

If you recall from Part One of this demonstration, I said, “It feels cluttered. There’s too much that isn’t clear. I want to know more of the story, the character, motivations, and conflict.” Toward that end, I think writing the narrative poem was a great first redraft. The opposites game draft, combined with the original then split lines, were the next most helpful generative drafts.

The new redrafting techniques: Thesaurus game and Put a color on it, didn’t influence this poem very much, but they were enormously helpful with some other poems I was revising.

I’m very excited about the new digital tools I found: Poemage and Scandroid. I imagine I’ll have a lot of fun with them as I continue revising my poems.

Now that my redrafting toolbox is overflowing, an important part of the Review process will be choosing the correct tools for an efficient and effective redraft.

Next Steps

I will read over all of my redrafts and let them inform me as I make some decisions about changes to my original poem. Then I will post it to Scribophile for critique.

While I wait for some feedback, I will continue to learn from other poets. I realized, while writing the post about meter, that I haven’t focused as much on listening to poetry as I have reading poetry. I will work on that through the How Writers Write Poetry MOOCs, YouTube videos, listening to the audio on Poets.org, and exploring some poetry Podcasts.

I enjoyed this video of Naomi Shihab Nye talking about revision.

I also liked some of the things that Juan Felipe Herrera said during this talk. He said once you’ve thrown the words on the page, anything else is a new poem. “If you revise a poem long enough, you have a whole book.”

Using the revision process I’ve been demonstrating, I find his statement is so true. This one short poem, the first one of thirty from NaPoWriMo, has already generated thirty new poems! Think of it: if I took each of the new drafts through the entire process so far, I would have 900 poems and then if I redrafted those . . . One of them would have to be good, right? 😉

Revising Poetry-a Demonstration Part Six: Redrafting for rhythm and rhyme

Looking over my favorite lines from my two upside-down poems in the last post, I started noticing some interesting, slightly altered repetition. But before we jump into the next round of drafts which will get us looking at rhythm and rhyme, I want to share something fun I found.

Poemage

Poemage is a visual close-reading tool developed at the University of Utah for exploring the interaction of sonic patterns in poetry. I downloaded the free beta version, saved my poem draft as a .txt file and put it in the program’s poems file. Here is the Poemage analysis of my draft as it is now.

Having only begun to play with this tool, I can see how it will be useful during redrafting. Here’s the analysis of the vowel slant rhymes in my poem.

I started looking at the purple “EY” words and enjoy how they sound together:

embrace decay,
vacated frame remains,
erasable spaces may flavor irritation.

That’s a poem right there. Let’s look at light green “EH”:

stepping where
refreshment telescopes
impression
let dress arrest empty heads
tent indelible contentment

Not as easily a poem, but I can imagine those words in some interesting rhymes.

Force into form

At the end of demonstration four I talked about the four forms I chose for this demonstration: Trolaan, Synchronicity, Ottava Rima, and Nove Otto. I like using RhymeZone to explore my rhyming options. Let’s get started.

Trolaan This form is made of four quatrains (stanza of four lines) with an abab rhyme scheme. There is also a rule about the first letter of each line of each stanza. I’m going to play with the slant rhymes I identified above instead of exact rhymes for this one.

Body Wriggles an Empty Head

An impression arrests
all fruit flies in frame
after dizzying dress
a spiral of space

No contentment embraces
nor kitchen sinks emptied
nourish erasable remains or
navigate pinky-toe stepping

Obscured by crackling and smoke
over the permeating decay
onward desire in motion
opening curious spaces vacated

Beneath the tent of solitude
body wriggles an empty head
bone bending, not breaking, ensued
both imagination and flavor fed

Synchronicity This form has eight three line stanzas with the syllable count 8/8/2. It is written in first person and has a “twist” in the last two stanzas.

Flavorless Glue and Lost Scissors

cracked, speckled, broken window pane
a sudden impression alerts
arrests

kitchen sinks full of ideas
frozen in mid-irritation
stillness

like tinnitus introducing
dizzying, swirling vertigo
I fall

my view telescopes to his sweat
on her body behind the bale
the source

flavorless glue and lost scissors
leave me hungry, full of desire
stagnant

juggled stomach stones clack and click
what marks will topple to my tongue?
undone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~

clean of any sticky coating
the bridge burner can’t turn around
no choice

under the tent of solitude
refreshment wriggles in the dark
tunnels

Ottava Rima This form has both rhyme and syllable rules. It is written in 8 line octives. Each line has 10 or 11 syllables and follows the rhyme scheme abababcc

Before stuck by pins

An impression arrests the fruit flies in
kitchen sinks full of imagination
frozen in mid-irritation we spin
insatiable hunger sketches impressions
of furious flight before stuck by pins
curious spaces for contemplation
what indelible marks will come tumbling
to the tongue when the stomach is rumbling?

Contentment empties the glue of flavor
and steals the lost scissors of sharp-edged blades
leaping from dizzy existence, I waver
with nothing I’ve left, clean of sticky trades
refreshment wriggles under the tent savored
where scraping, not smoothing, may nourish new shades
having abandoned the house to fruit flies
in dark fresh-earth tunnels I find thought alive

Nove Otto This form also has both rhyme and syllable rules. It is a nine line poem. Each line has 8 syllables. The rhyme scheme is aacbbcddc

It all happened so fast

cracked, speckled, broken window pane
fruit flies frozen over the drain
what marks will topple to my tongue
who knows what hateful things I’ll say
now seeing through our loves decay
the vertigo of years undone
obscured by fire’s crackle and smoke
his touch erased by rains first soak
to dreams of solitude I run

Revise for Meter

I found more great resources and tools that led me to some more redrafting ideas. First, there are two free poetry MOOC Packs from The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program: How Writers Write Poetry and How Writers Write Poetry II. In Class 5 of How Writers Write Poetry, poets Richard Kenney and Bill Trowbridge present Meter, Prosody, and Scansion in fun and interesting ways. I like how Mr. Trowbridge demonstrates how different types of feet are used to emphasize an image, a metaphor and/or an emotion.

Here’s a chart of the different poetic feet

Poetic Meter (from Wikipedia)

This led me to another redrafting idea. In the book The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry (Yes, the British comedian), Stephen really breaks down poetic meter with tons of examples, starting with the iamb, of course. I took up his challenge to write lines of iambic pentameter and gave a redraft of my poem in iambic pentameter a try. Here’s what I came up with.

She dreams a tent of solitude tonight
a thought arrests the flies in dirty sinks
I let my arms and dress fly overhead
my pinky toe the point to hold the ground
my view becomes his hands behind the bale
a source of wafting filth, our love’s decay

content I stale, my life has lost all taste
he steals my time, my art has gone to waste
desire’s the buzz and itch to make me move
a rumble sounds, my constant hunger stays
the tongue now free, what hateful words to say
the bridges burn, can’t choose to turn around

Scandroid

Then I found something very fun. Charles Hartman at Connecticut College created a program called Scandroid. I downloaded the free program and typed my attempt at iambic pentameter above into it. Here are the results:

The Scandroid results of my attempt at iambic pentameter
My first Scandroid analysis 5-15-2021

How fun is that!!

Next Steps

This post alone opens a world of never-ending re-drafting possibilities. I can see that part of the revision plan during the review will include picking and choosing which redrafting techniques might work best for a certain poem. However, for this exploration of my process, I can see the effect of every step. The next, and final, step I’ll take in the redrafting phase of this poem’s revision is to emulate poems and poets, but I’ll save that for the next post.

Playing in the Duplex

When I read The Tradition by Jericho Brown, I was drawn to his duplex poems. I was fascinated by how slight changes in the repetition of a line could completely change and deepen the meaning of both lines.

Inspired by Peter’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub to attempt a circular poem, I thought I would try my hand at a poem inspired by this form.

I found a great post on the Poetry Foundation website by Jericho Brown From the Archive: Pulitzer Prize Winner Jericho Brown’s “Invention” in which he talks about how he invented the form and what its boundaries are.

bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

The Total Eclipse

In the woods, the villain is stronger
changing allegiances, spending the night

I change allegiances and spend the night
to bury the things I’m holding tight

I replant the things I already have
that felt truly special in the other house

I felt truly special in the other house
stronger than the hero passed out in the car

Passed out in the car in protest of me
to shine a light on how dark I can be

And I can be dark, a total eclipse
when eclipsed by absurd rejection

The rejected change allegiances
in the woods, the villain is stronger

I don’t think I totally got it, but I’m glad I gave it a try. The poem went in an interesting direction.

#OctPoWriMo Day 10: Dancing On Air

Dancing On The CloudsThis OctPoWriMo, I haven’t been as interested in working on poetry forms as I have in the past. However, today’s form, Con-Verse, appeals to me. Here’s my attempt:

She Knows They’re Watching

Flipping off her heals, releas-
ing her toes to the cool breeze

She bends her knees, loose hips swaying
Her skirt joins the music playing

Then she steps and her shoulders drop free
Her arms grow wild and reach out to me

I shake my head, but I’m already there
Dizzy and weightless, I move without care

Something is off. She isn’t looking at me.
I am part of a show for others to see.

#Writober Day 8: Hungry Tree In The Military Cemetery

Tree eating military gravestone

photograph by Maria L. Berg 2017

This tree takes me straight to Poltergeist only these gravestones stayed in the cemetery.

Any of the Poltergeist movies would be great for those of you doing the RIPXII Peril on the Screen challenge.

#vss: very short story

He blamed the trees for his losses; roots tripping his men; branches scratching. The trees seek punitive damages beyond the grave.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: How Could I Know

The prompt at OctPoWriMo.com suggests the poetry form called Joseph’s Star. It’s a syllable line rule ( Syllables are 1, 3, 5, 7, 7, 5, 3, and 1) poem like a haiku but it creates a diamond shape and you can repeat the pattern in as many stanzas as needed. I like these poetry form prompts.

How

could I know

a large tree would grow

when the bird dropped the seed cone

while flying over your stone

out of all the dead

and find life

there.

How

did its roots

find food in old boots

of hallowed ground deep with you

do I dare imagine, too

reaching searching first drink

inside the loosened

seems of the

box?

How

could I know

it would cradle you

suck in your essence like food

lift you through its veins of wood

make you one with it

are you a

tree?

 

#FlashFicHive

Develop a story inspired by a word cloud.

FlashFicHivewordcloud

#FlashFicHive Day 8 Word Cloud by Anjela Curtis

I think some of these words will work nicely with today’s prompt. Until now, I hadn’t thought of a nest with eggs in that tree. Or maybe our protagonist finds a bag full of money in a hole in the tree, or under the limb holding the grave stone or . . . Ooh, this is a treasure trove of ideas.

#RIPXII Peril On The Screen

Because my whole face and head have been invaded by the mucous monster, I spent my Saturday in bed feeling sorry for myself. To feel like I accomplished something, I decided to tackle The Peril On The Screen challenge.

Horns – * * * * (Four Stars)

Horns was not what I expected. It was much better. It had elements of dark comedy and a rich mystery wrapped up in religious symbolism and a truly horrible premise. It even had some Stand By Me moments with flashbacks to the main players as childhood friends.

Swiss Army Man -* * (Two Stars)

This movie was a disturbing, fantasy portrayal of necrophilia. Though I liked the imaginative arts and crafts and am impressed by the obsession it took to raise the bar for fart jokes,–That bar has flown to an unimaginable new height–I felt icky and worried for the writer, director and producers when the film ended.

Watching Horns and Swiss Army Man back to back, I was impressed at how Daniel Radcliff brings his characters to “life” (Ha! Ha!), and wondered if, in trying to get away from Harry Potter, he hasn’t made some odd choices.

The Cabin In The Woods – * * * * (Four Stars)

When I watched this movie before, I may have only caught part of it, or been distracted because, though I knew the plot and remembered the monsters in their cubes, I did not remember that the cast included the likes of Thor, Jamie from Zoo: Season 1 and the Alien huntress herself- Sigourney Weaver.

This movie is so fun. It is a lesson to writers that any trope, no matter how over used, can be seen in a new and create way.

#Writober Day 3: Cheritas, Parageusia, and Flying Elephants-Oh My!

Black and white layered photography negatives create images of flying elephants

Joan Fontcuberta Aerofantes 1941

Disney’s Dumbo aside, I think flying elephants would be terrifying. The encompassing shadows they would cast; the constant fear of “droppings.” A world with flying elephants would be a scary world indeed. Are these angels down from heaven with an ominous message? What story does this picture tell you?

#vss: very short story

The new hybrids of the flying, alien elephant and the domestic breeds were much larger than expected. Life on earth became unpleasant.Most humans lost the sense of smell.

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt: Taste of Metal

A metallic taste in your mouth is a type of taste disorder known medically as parageusia. Common causes include new medications, pregnancy, and food allergies. In rare cases, metallic taste can be a sign of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. – from Google

Form: Cherita

Cherita (pronounced CHAIR-rita) is a linked poetry form of one-, two-, and three-line stanzas. Cherita is the Malay word for “story” or “tale” – from Poets Collective

 

With the preconceived notion that an elephant never forgets,

Would her parageusia be misdiagnosed
As a peanut allergy?

Ignoring the possibility of Alzheimer’s
How would she report, or debate upon contort
Winged elephants think all things taste like metal.

 

#FlashFicHive

Backstory show & tell: protagonist

Day 3 fic hive

In my poem, I made the Mama flying elephant my protagonist. Will she be the protagonist in your flash fiction story? What is her backstory? How will that backstory affect her baby?

Feeling inspired? Happy Writing and Reading!

#Writober Day 2

How did it go yesterday? Did you find Day 1’s image inspiring? Did you start #Writober with a bang? Jump in with both feet? Or is today the day? If you are starting today, Welcome, I’m glad you’re here.

Here’s our visual inspiration for the 2nd of #Writober:

A woman standing face first against a wall. Hands are coming out of the wall and holding her.

Art by Tullius Heuer from Last Laugh Magazine #007 May 30, 2014

This image reminds me of the Peter Jackson film with Michael J. Fox The Frighteners. It definitely lends to ideas of ghosts and a haunted house, but what else could it be? And are those hands giving a hug, or is this the moment before something sinister?

#vss: very short story

A luring voice, full of love and understanding pulled her in. Hands came from the wall like a warm, encompassing hug. She was never seen again.

Can you think of any isms to describe the wall, the hands, the woman? Head over to #pessimisticmoustache and play along.

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is: We write because we must

On the OctPoWriMo website it also suggests that today be a shape poem and has a link to Shadow Poetry. This is a great resource. On the Poetry Types page, there are charts with links to examples of traditional and invented poetry types to explore.

Humans Need Stories

Shape poem in the shape of a hand

 

#FlashFicHive

Mix and Match story prompt

graphic by Anjela Curtis

Can this challenge work with our #Writober 2 image? Why not? The woman can be an elementary teacher. She’s going to need to take that dress to the laundromat. She could save some lives while stuck in traffic on the way to said laundromat.

Or, those arms coming out of the wall could be trapped Oompa Loompas who definitely can’t read cursive. When she gets them out of the walls, she kicks them out of the house. They have nowhere to go and in a dark alley are mistaken by animal control for nutria rats and taken to an animal shelter. The person who runs the animal shelter tries to help them integrate into society, but in the process, they spend all of his money.

And to use all of the elements? Let’s say as part of joining society, the Oompa Loompas end up in the elementary teacher’s classroom to learn to read cursive only to find out that she doesn’t teach cursive anymore. Eventually, frustrated, homeless and unable to pass for humans, the Oompa Loompas sneak back into the elementary teacher’s walls and they all live happily ever after (or they “haunt” her until she goes insane) .

I hope you feel inspired. Happy Reading and Writing!