Over the course of this year I have been experimenting with different forms of poetry/verse, from ‘free’, unmetred, unstructured forms to tanka, cinquain, minute and acrostic. In the free verse I have used rhymes, though not structured rhyme schemes, and I would submit that para rhymes, assonance and consonance can be more effective than simply finding exact rhymes. The advantage of this strategy means a greater flexibility in what one has to say. One also avoids absurdity for having found a rhyme for its own sake. That, frankly, should be left for limericks, where it doesn’t matter. I often do not set a stanza limit at the outset, though I have been able to sense at which point I have said enough on the particular theme or captured moment.
To date I had avoided iambic forms because I had considered it unchallenging, and had preferred to focus on haiku and tanka and themes of love, loss, place, country, geopolitics, economics, politics, the scourge of English holidaymakers abroad, Brexit and even food and drink.
Having recently composed several verses in the cinquain 2-4-6-8-2 form, I then discovered that under certain poetic conditions such as the cinquain, iambs can indeed mount a challenge because one also has to choose one’s words carefully, as well as ensuring that the limits in which one is working do not result in ridiculous-sounding or grammatically absurd phrases or syntax.
I also experimented with tanka and naga-uta, so that the respective 5-7-5-7-7 and 5-7 forms became 7-5-7-5-7 stanzas, with the last stanza being a couplet of 7-7. I expect that my continuing self-taught writing career will unearth a term for this form.
I mentioned avoiding rhyme schemes. Indeed, they can pose a challenge, and in the minute form poems I have written I find that I can build around two key phrases; one for the opening of stanza one, and the other for the end of stanza three (if one follows strictly the 8-4-4-4, 8-4-4-4, 8-4-4-4). Indeed, the aa, bb, cc, dd, ee, ff rhyme scheme should be an enjoyable project for any lover of language and words.
Over the course of this year (including interruptions from life’s vicissitudes and caustic members of one’s own family – who unknowingly provide a great deal of material, the caprices and tantrums of young nephews [making me grateful to be childless] work, or no job at all) I have composed thirty new verses . A handful more will then see me self-publish on Amazon Create Space volume 5 of my verse. The first 4 to date (The Reflections series) are composed entirely in haiku/senru. As far as the latter is concerned, I have also written (last night, in fact) a three-stanza verse in the 5-7-5 form. I needed more space than the usual one stanza to express what I needed to say. It’s semi-autobiographical, you see.
Some of the verse shared here, such as The Writer series, The View From Parliament Hill, will soon be taken down from this blog page to meet the needs of publishing law and ethics. In the meantime, I will post other new verse for this page also. Thank you to all my followers and readers. I look forward to seeing more of your works. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and images.
RC Clermont 14 October 2017