Friday, May 16, 2014

Double Dactyl

It's Poetry Friday and Elizabeth Steinglass hosts the roundup today.

The double dactyl is one of the craziest forms of poetry I've every tried to write, but it's lots of fun.

Rules for writing a double dactyl:

1. Two stanzas of four lines each.

2. All lines except 4 and 8 are dactylic metrical feet. A dactyl has a stressed beat followed by two unstressed beats.

3. The first line is rhyming dactylic nonsense, like Higgledy, piggledy.

4. The second line introduces the topic of the poem, usually a person or a place. It helps if the name is naturally dactylic, like Hans Christian Anderson.

5. The second line of the second stanza is a six-syllable, double dactylic word, like parliamentarian.

6. Lines four and eight have one dactyl and one stressed syllable.

7. Lines four and eight rhyme.

Frontispiece portrait of Roald Amundsen, 1872-1928. In: "The South Pole", Volume II, Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection, by Mr. Steve Nicklas.

First to the Pole

Lickety splickety
Roald E. Amundsen
hitched up his huskies and
raced for the goal.

Finishing first, his team
raised Norway's flag as they
claimed the South Pole.

© Doraine Bennett

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lyrical Language

File:Caterpillar-Both-02 crop.JPG

Happy Poetry Friday. Stop by Jama's Alphabet Soup for this week's roundup.

I have just completed the first full week of Renée LaTulippe's Lyrical Language Lab and I'm having such fun! It's a one month course Renée teaches online. I suggest you rush right over to No Water River and sign up immediately for the next open slot on her schedule whether you write poetry, picture books or prose.

The class operates on a closed Facebook page. I have taken online classes that use email and listserve options for feedback. Honestly none of them are hastle free. The closed Facebook option seems to work well. Of course, Facebook is right there and you know it can suck you right down its throat into the belly of your second cousin's nephew's toddler's antics. But that's not Renée's fault. Right?

Seriously, this is a wonderful class with lots of interaction and helpful feedback. It's well worth taking a month to focus on lyrical language.

My trochee poem from class. Why, oh why do I have such a hard time coming up with titles?

Hungry, hungry caterpillar,
you have one last chance.
Mother doesn't like you chewing
all her garden plants.

Wriggle, wriggle, caterpillar,
climb up this sweet pea.
Find one leafy hiding place
Mother will not see.

Hurry, hurry, caterpillar,
spin your silk cocoon.
Do your morphing, your transforming.
She will be here soon!

© Doraine Bennett

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My New Office Space

Three partial weeks of traveling with only a few days home in between has me craving quiet. Hubs put the finishing touches on our new sunroom while I was gone and moved some furniture in. I love watching squirrels race around oak trunks and chipunks scrounging through the pinestraw. Yesterday I watched the the blue heron who comes regularly swoop in, pick his way over the rocks in the creek, then lift himself up and soar down the channel of air above the creek.

I've started moving my writing paraphernalia to the new sunroom. I bought a library chair with a swinging arm table last fall when I was at the Georgia librarians' conference.  One of my fellow vendors agreed to sell me his demo model for a good price. And I've jerry-rigged myself a standing desk, so that I can move from chair to table often. It's not good for writers to sit in one position for too long. Such a hard fact to make peace with! I don't know about you, but sometimes I get so intent on what I'm doing, I can look up and realize I've been in the same position for hours. It has taken a lot of discipline and some creativity to get myself a little more mobile. Achy backs, stiff necks, and headaches are not a pleasant alternative.

I'm taking Renee La Tulippe's Lyrical Language Lab online class the month of May. It's a great class! Here is my first poem from the lesson on iambs. No title yet. Suggestions?

We all release our strings at once.
Balloons rise from the crowd.
They turn to yummy lollipops
for children made of cloud.