Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 24 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2013


Day Two-Four. Let's see, 24 hours in a day, 24-carat gold. Of course, 24, the TV action series starring Kiefer Sutherland in which each episode comprised the 24 hours of a single day. And from our childhoods, the 24 blackbirds in the nursery-rhyme pie. I remember being freaked out by that as a child. I didn't have trouble with the blackbirds being cooked, but then they would sing. So they were still alive after being baked. Horrifying!

Okay, here are today's prompts. Robert Lee Brewer suggests we "write an auto poem. Auto could mean automobile, automatic, automaton, or any number of possibilities" (Poetic Asides). Maureen Thorson proposes we "think about words buried in words. In particular, think about the words buried in your own name. Plug your name into an anagram generator, like this one, and try writing a self-portrait poem using words that are generated" (NaPoWriMo).

Auto-Alphabet

              self-portrait using
              only letters in my name
              without repeating


ace action active
age antic aortic arc
argent avenger

centavo cento
conga creation ego
garnet gear genie

giant gnat granite
grieve grin grit icon iron
native neat nectar

never no novice
o ocean orca ova
overnice rain range

raven reaction
regain reign rent rice riven
rivet taco tag

tang tango tea tear
tiger tinge toga tonic
trace tragic train trance

triage trio vain
vector veering vegan vein
vent verge vertigo

veteran veto
victor vigor vinegar
vino vintage voice

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

I tried to do both prompts, as usual. I used only words that can be made of letters in my name, not probably what Maureen meant quite. So there's no syntax per se, only the overlapping of meaning zones around each word. As each word appears, it adds its aura to that of the others, and they bounce around a bit, like free magnets aligning themselves into force patterns. I also kept them in alphabetical order — my specific alphabet, in a way — which serves as a matrix holding each word in place but floating. That the words are also bound within haiku syllable-count restrictions also affects the overall sense.

Did you notice by the way that there are 24 lines in the poem? Though there are 9 haiku. How was that possible, do you think?

Very interesting to be constrained by using only the letters in one's name. Of course, we are affected every day by the 26 letters in the English alphabet. The Filipino alphabet, in contrast, has an extra letter ng that sounds like the English ng but can be used as an initial consonant; an English speaker learning Filipino would have trouble with a word like "Ingat" that I end my blog posts with. In the Filipino alphabet there is no letter f so a Filipino learning English would have difficulty with a word like "father."

There are fewer consonants and vowels in one's "auto-alphabet"; in mine, there are only 6 consonants c, g, n, r, t, and v. All the vowels except u. So it's an alphabet poem but one that comes from an idiosyncratic alphabet. Fun, hey?

Okay, we're 4/5 done with National Poetry Month. Won't you comment, please? Look for a blue link below that says "Post a comment"; if you don't see that, look in the red line that says "Posted by" and click on the word "comments." Ingat, everyone.   ;-)



POEM-A-DAY 2013 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


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