Thursday, April 12, 2012

WordParty Poetry Challenge - Writing Prompts #12

After many years of writing free verse and spoken word, I found something curious: I enjoy form. I like the rules and the specifics being dictated. Writing this way is like solving a puzzle.  Now you can take it or leave it, make this as difficult or easy as you choose, but these next few prompts are meant to challenge you with the limitations of form. I'm including a few examples as well for you to reference.

Prompt #12
by Ingrid

Write a Shakespearan sonnet, or some variation of a sonnet. If you want to make it particularly challenging, write it in iambic pentameter.

Let's review some of the features of a sonnet:
  • 14 lines
  • A volta, or turn toward the end of the poem
  • Iambic Pentameter (but you can also write a great sonnet without it)
  • Rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg

Some examples:

by William Shakespeare

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
   All days are nights to see till I see thee,
   And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

LUCIFER AT THE STARLITE —after George Meredith

by Kim Addonizio

Here's my bright idea for life on earth:
better management. The CEO
has lost touch with the details. I'm worth
as much, but I care; I come down here, I show
my face, I'm a real regular. A toast:
To our boys and girls in the war, grinding
through sand, to everybody here, our host
who's mostly mist, like methane rising
from retreating ice shelves. Put me in command.
For every town, we'll have a marching band.
For each thoroughbred, a comfortable stable;
for each worker, a place beneath the table.
For every forward step a stumbling.
A shadow over every starlit thing. 

by Garrison Keillor 

The anger of women pervades the rooms
Like a cold snap, and you wait for the thaw
To open the window and air out the anger fumes,
And then a right hook KA-POW to the jaw!
And she says three jagged things about you
And then it's over. She bursts into tears,
The storm spent, the sky turns sky-blue.
But a man's heart can hurt for many years.
I have found the anger of women unbearable.
And when my goddesses have cursed the day
They met me and said those terrible
Things, I folded my tent and stole away.
I yielded to their righteous dominion
And went off in search of another opinion.

by Ingrid Keir

A faded blue box full of dusty bones,
or so I presumed until I eased the lid off
to find gleaming tools, colored gemstones.
My Grandfather’s fountain pens—cast-offs
from a legendary man I know little about.
I hold each slim piece, gently draw off the cap—
the arrow shaped nib, black ink spout,
eighteen-karat gold, the point enwrapped.
The distinct sound his pen makes on paper—
like a dog’s toenails scratching hardwood.
This slim tip—perhaps was his biographer,
ink sucked to the automatic cartridge like blood.
I dream of knowing the secrets within his pen,
what I’d learn if his thoughts were actually written.


And these do not follow the Shakespearan form, but I had to throw them in for good measure:

by Galway Kinnell

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry -- eating in late September.

by Rita Dove

This is for the woman with one black wing

perched over her eyes: lovely Frida, erect
among parrots, in the stern petticoats of the peasant,
who painted herself a present--
wildflowers entwining the plaster corset
her spine resides in the romance of mirrors.

Each night she lay down in pain and rose

to her celluloid butterflies of her Beloved Dead,
Lenin and Marx and Stalin arrayed at the footstead.
And rose to her easel, the hundred dogs panting
like children along the graveled walks of the garden, Diego's
love a skull in the circular window
of the thumbprint searing her immutable brow.

by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.