Monday, June 7, 2010

Triolet P.S. and Annoucement

My subconscious has been mocking my statements in my previous post about editing and writing quick pieces.  One of the rhymes I used in my triolet has been sticking in my brain like a splinter.  In brief, it seems forced to me, which is my constant struggle with writing in rhyme.  Stephen Fry, in his poetry textbook, encourages us not to force rhyme, but also writes us a permission slip to take it easy on ourselves by explaining that success in that area often takes much practice.

As I mentioned before, about a decade ago I took myself through rigorous poetic forms exercises.  Today I looked at my collection of poetry from 2003 (Kinko's Press) and found the triolet that came out of that bout of exercises.  I think it's a much more successful attempt at a triolet although in retrospect I can see that I was not far enough away from my adolescent obsession with the poetry of Bukowski.

Brokedown Triolet
by Paul Mathers

The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
My steaming radiator empties onto the ground.
Weather near midday is murder.
The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
Sitting on the chapel steps by the city's border
waiting for my engine to stop its hissing sound.
The clock strikes eleven and a quarter.
My steaming radiator empties onto the ground.

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure to my readers, it was the "timidity" line in yesterday's triolet.  It fits in the poem and makes sense thematically, but I think it's a clunky line.  I thought it might actually be helpful to talk about this self-perceived failure (or perhaps "mis-step") to show that this is something writers do and it's okay.  It's perfectly appropriate to care deeply about what you've written, to edit, to work a single phrase over and over, to agonize over your work.  That's why writing is a labor and also a labor of love.  I can tell you from experience, waking up at 2 am to deliver produce is easy.  Writing is hard.  But so often I have found that those things in life that are hardest often turn out to be the most rewarding.

Which leads me to the announcement.  We just watched Julie & Julia and I think I've decided to work through Ron Padgett's entire Handbook of Poetic Forms.  So far I've only done a few on this blog and I've stuck to ones I really liked.  This exercise is going to include some things that the prospect of me attempting to write one is terrifying to me (an "Insult Poem?"  A "Rap?!!?")  Which is all the more reason I feel like it's a good idea.  By my count there are 75 poetic forms covered in the book and we've already done four of them.  So, next time, we'll start at "A" with... oh dear.  "Abstract Poem."  Stick around, this should get interesting.  

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