"Brain, shake out thy water, dog-like." -- Ron Padgett

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Class 4: Rhythm, Density, Flow

In this class, we spoke about metrical feet (iamb what I am...), and mentioned W.C. Williams notion of the variable foot. We could also have spoken about Hopkins' idea of 'sprung verse,' which is interesting. We did speak about Ginberg's idea of the 'breath line' -- a line that is as long as the breath.

Accentual Verse
Sprung Verse
Variable foot

Mainly, we talked about density and flow. Poems which are dense in both the pile-on of language (adjectives, adverbs, nouns-used-as-adjectives) -- and often, though not always -- have long(er) lines -- we looked at Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Harryette Mullen's Sleeping with the Dictionary in this regard.

We looked at some examples of the opposite of this. W.C. Williams and well as Souvankham Thammavongsa and Nelson Ball.

Here are the writing activities:

1. After W.C. Williams/Souvankham Thammavongsa: a small poem about observing something small, something (in this room, which maybe only might notice) which might not be noticed. Use "variable foot" trimeter.

2. Breath line: write a poem influenced by the long, expansive line of  Howl version – lines as long as the breath. What might you choose to express in big lines? Maybe use anaphora.

3. Write a poem where the first line is one word long, the second is two lines, the third is three lines, and so on, until at least the tenth (and ten-word line.)

The homework was to work on/finish the long poem that we began in class.

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