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Posts tagged ‘Sestina’

Playing Around: me and Gertrude Stein

Playing Around: me and Gertrude Stein

gertrude_stein_by_alvin_langdon_coburn

I am taking an online poetry class, and one of the poets we’re studying is Gertrude Stein, an American novelist, poet, and playwright: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Stein

The last time I took this class, three or four years ago, Stein kind of slipped by me. This time, I am enchanted with her language play. My particular favorite at the moment is her verbal portrait of Picasso, a kind of cubism in words rather than a straightforward description of the artist.

Here is a link to Stein reading the poem, “Would he like it if I told him, a completed portrait of Picasso”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJEIAGULmPQ

Playing Around One: A Sestina

 

Inspired by this, and by a list of words from a poetry challenge, I decided to write a sestina. A sestina, for those who don’t know, is a poem consisting of six six-line stanzas plus a three-line envoy where the end words repeat in a set pattern https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sestina

I wrote a Sestina where I repeated the entire lines and not just the ending words. If you want to try writing one, you might use http://www.renajmosteirin.com/sestina.html to generate the end of line words in the correct pattern. When I wrote mine, I repeated the entire lines of the first stanza instead of merely the final word.

the_djinn_by_maeshanne

The Devil Made Me Do It

 

Write right
Trudge down the road
Leave footprints in the snow
Meander through thick pine forests
until you see apple blossoms
Mending boys is significant

Mending boys is significant
Write right
until you see apple blossoms
Trudge down the road
Meander through thick pine forests
Leave footprints in the snow

Leave footprints in the snow
Mending boys is significant
Meander through thick pine forests
Write right
Trudge down the road
until you see apple blossoms

until you see apple blossoms
Leave footprints in the snow
Trudge down the road
Mending boys is significant
Write right
Meander through thick pine forests

Meander through thick pine forests
until you see apple blossoms
Write right
Leave footprints in the snow
Mending boys is significant
Trudge down the road

Trudge down the road
Meander through thick pine forests
Mending boys is significant
until you see apple blossoms
Leave footprints in the snow
Write right

Trudge down the road until you see apple blossoms
Meander through thick pine forests Leave footprints in the snow
Mending boys is significant Write right


Playing Around two: More Fun

 

Then I put the words through a “cut up” machine

http://www.alepoems.com/poems/generate

 

and edited the result, coming up with the following:

 

Cut Up

Forests Meander right through blossoms

Devil blossoms in leaves

through thick apple, significant

See pine See forests

 

down until

right is pine blossoms

Road is trudge

Write forest roads

You leave

Trudge pine forests

Trudge through snow

is the thick trudge

 

Footprints meander

Write boys, apple

Leave, the see pine thick

Right boys, leave down the snow

 

Meander, leave right

the pine is the boys road

right until trudge

in apple footprints

 

Blossoms until in snow

down through significant footprints

Leave mending in, meander

See until trudge apple

 

Write down thick blossoms

See boys in mending forests footprints

apple significant road

until you meander

 

Footprints see right

Mending thick apple,

you leave footprints

significant is right

 

Loads of fun! Go ahead, try playing around and see what you come up with. Feel free to post your poem(s) in the comments.

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Poetic Forms: Sestina

Arnaut Daniel.

Image via Wikipedia

The sestina is a poetic form attributed to twelfth century French troubadour Arnaut Daniel. It consists of six six-line stanzas and a three line envoy. The six end words of the first stanza cycle in a pattern thusly:

ABCDEF/FAEBDC/CFDABE/ECBFAD/DEACBF/BDFECA

and an envoy whose form varies somewhat, but which uses all six end words:

BE/DC/FA

or

FA/DC/BE

How to choose your end words

There are doubtless many ways to choose ones end words One is to write the first stanza and then lay out the pattern for the rest. The other, the one I use, is to pick six words, generate the skeleton, and start writing. I try to choose words with more than one meaning and that can be used as more than one part of speech.

Here is a link to a sestina generator: Feed it your six words and it spits out a skeleton with the six stanzas and envoy:
dilute.net/sestinas

Here is a link to sestina by Ezra Pound:

//www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15423

Here are the first two stanzas;

I

Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let’s to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.

II

In hot summer have I great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth’s foul peace,
And the lightnings from black heav’n flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God’s swords clash.

Here is one of mine:

Polemic

Workers, you are choked by the collar
of convention. Will you spare
yourselves? Will you ever tire
of the endless round of days, brave
the waters of controversy and refuse to play it safe?
Will you strike a blow

for self expression? Will you blow
down the artificial walls your white collar
has erected around you? Will you leave the safe
space you create in the spare
confines of your tiny cubicle? As you brave
each new day, do you ever tire

of the endless wheel of useless make work? The tire
of useless flesh grows round your middle. You puff and blow
climbing a single flight of stairs. How brave
are you? As you lounge, idle, the shirt collar
around your neck grows ever tighter, until there is no spare
room, and you choke. When will it be safe

to throw your old shirt away? What will jolt you from your safe
little life? What would be enough to make you tire
of the endless round of dailyness? Spare
yourself and live, not merely exist. Blow
the clouds from your eyes. White collar
workers, unite. Take a chance. Be brave.

Allow yourselves to brave
unknown waters, to give up your safe
small space, to throw away your collar
and try the new. Rise from your chairs. Retire
from the rat race. Overturn your desk. Blow
your boss’s mind and run from your office. Spare

yourselves. You have no spare
life. You have one chance to be brave.
You will never get another chance to blow
away the small, safe
walls around you before you tire
and are choked by your white collar.

You cannot spare yourself and stay safe.
Let yourself be brave. Throw away the tire
of convention. Strike a blow for life. Throw out your white collar.

Margaret Fieland

 

 

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