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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Class 6: On Form

Is the form something that you fit content in or is it part of the content?

What opportunities does the form provide - for 'shape of thought,' for drama?

What does the form itself say about the world-view or the assumptions of the writer/speaker?

How can the form and its implicit assumptions be played with/against?

A variety of forms:

Theodore Roethke, The Waking

Haiku: Lynn Crosbie, Carrie Leigh's Hugh Hefner Haikus

Jo Harjo: She Had Some Horses

Jon Paul Fiorentino, The Report Cards of Leslie Mackie

Matthew Rohrer, Greater Forces

Matthea Harvey, Lamb

Ghazal:  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/ghazal-poetic-form
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/wwe (Fatimah Asghar)
The Canadian Ghazal
John Thompson: from Stilt Jack

Dorothea Lasky, Monsters.

Hay(Na)ku, Lunes, other forms

The Chubby Sonnet:

David McGimpsey on the 'chubby sonnet':

DM: I’ve used this sixteen-line structure in my first three collections of poetry and it definitely came out of interest in writing sonnets. When I was in my twenties, I was writing sonnets in a fairly intent and disciplined way and that was how, for better or worse, I developed the rhetoric of my poetry. I call it a ‘chubby sonnet’ not just because I’ve always been fascinated by the comedic betrayals of weight gain – but that’s part of it – but because I’ve always liked the episodic structure of the sequence of regularly paced poems. The sonnet’s speaker doesn’t end the condition of his care with rational dispersal: the sonneteer doesn’t just figure out their love or pain is not worth it and say, ‘Aha! Problem solved!’ The condition of the speaker’s personality continues and persists. Like a sitcom, the characters do not ‘change.’ Removing these poems from the traditional strictures of the sonnet with a capital ‘S’ hopefully gives enough relief from the more material expectations of that tradition – while engaging that tradition with more bluster and demand. The regularly paced sonnet-like sequence is, furthermore, my homage to John Berryman’s Dream Songs and Robert Lowell’s History, two books of poetry that had a strong influence on me.

Here's one: here!



1. Hay(na)ku: write five (or more!), linked or unlinked. (see Lynn Crosbie's haiku above.

2. Seventeen lines about ________ (Include the word each line.) See: David W. McFadden's "34 Lines about Horses," and Jo Harjo's "She had Some Horses." (above.)
or Ghazal (the refrain repeats the same word/phrase)
[see Lasky's Monsters, above, for poem which more freely repeats the same words.]

3. Same Lines Sonnet. No rhymes except for the final couplet.  Each line a version of the one before. See this. Also, Stuart Ross's Sonnet (Hey, Crumbling Balcony, p.110)

3. Write "Short" Villanelle (in class & homework). The last three stanzas of the form. Rhyme only the last two lines, i.e. the two refrains. See here.

4. Write a Chubby Sonnet (see David McGimpsey above)

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