Friday, June 17, 2011

Constraint and Play for #PoetryFriday

A tiny illustration, but very pertinent.  This is an initial letter
drawn by William Makepeace Thackeray.
It is Becky angling for a fat fish.
It is P, as in P is for Pegasus.

Because it's early in the morning, and because I'm indexing stuff about Joyce, I'm going to say that making a poem has three moments: 

Consonantia, harmony, trips me up. That is the moment when rhythm and rhyme, neither of which I can attain, come in to play. 
But, since play is my whole motivation for poetry in the first place, I have recourse: 
Some of my best conversations have been in doggerel. Conversing in doggerel encourages observation and appreciation. When one says to another at the trailhead, "Let's only talk in haiku until when come back out," that's a pretty good hike in my experience.

In Catch and Release, Polly resorts to doggerel because talking is hard. Doggerel constrains the conversation. It formalizes and sets boundaries. It demands thinking before speaking. Doggerel is deep play.

In the course of the book, Polly and Odd compose only a few letters of the alphabet book Odd thinks Polly should write. The subject, monsters, because, to quote Odd, "The little boogers would love a book about monsters.” The form is doggerel, because that's what we know about picture books for small children, even if we know it is lie.

Here are a couple letters of the abecediary* that Polly and Odd didn't get around to using in conversation: 

P is for Pegasus
A horse in the air
The stain of a murder
Snakes dead as hair

X is for Xeno
Stranger who visits
Marry it, screw with it
Kill it, which is it?

*Another constraint, the poems must proceed from A to Z...and there is the "no humany monster" rule too.

It is Poetry Friday   

At Check It Out: Life and Books in a K5 Library School Setting

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