Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day Nine ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2015


Day Nine. Today we're 3/10 of the way through National Poetry Month. Don't need to crank up the calculator in my phone to tell you that's 30%. Still lots of poetry a-comin', folks . . . 70%. I hope you're continuing to write.

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "I challenge you to write a visual poem. If that’s not specific enough, perhaps you can try your hand at a calligram? That’s a poem or other text in which the words are arranged into a specific shape or image. You might find inspiration in the famous calligrams written by Guillaume Apollinaire."

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD suggestion: "For today’s prompt, write a work poem. For some folks, writing is work (great, huh?). For others, work is teaching, engineering, or delivering pizzas. Still others, dream of having work to help them pay the bills or go to all ages shows. Some don’t want work, don’t need work, and are glad to be free of the rat race. There are people who work out, work on problems, and well, I’ll let you work out how to handle your poem today."

I'm going to start off showing Alan's poem today because he got his done before mine. Actually, he always gets his poem done first but today I'd like to give him pride of place in the blog.

Alan gives us an intro: "Today, I have attempted to combine Maureen Thorson's prompt with Robert Lee Brewer's prompt. Today, Thorson has asked for a 'visual' poem, and Brewer has asked for a 'work' poem. Since my work involves so much writing, I wrote about my tool of choice and made a visual allusion to Edward Bulwer-Lytton. I'm just lucky that the first word has that shape."

Mightier


A
pen
can
pry
some
type
of a
love
or a
fear
or a
hate
or a
calm
from
blank
white
paper
marked
printed out
&
some-
times
read
aloud

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Bravo, Alan! What he has created today is a carmen figuratum, a specific type of visual poem in which the words and letters are not manipulated so their paths curve to draw an image, as in many of Appolinaire's calligrams. The characters are positioned and read straight across; it's their positions that draw the picture. Very smart to begin with the letter A in order to make the point of the sword.

After Alan's example, I made one too. I'm also merging prompts: a carmen figuratum on the theme of work. Like Alan's poem above, it's a riddle poem of sorts. I'm pretty excited . . . this is my first foray into the genre of carmina figurata. (That's the plural term; these two poems together are carmina figurata.)

The Grass Is Greener


work
work
work
to
me
is
A#
Db
Cm
E9
G6
or
F#maj7
oh I wish I
could be some
other thing
wood yes
but large and
important maybe
a windmill or a
skyscraper or
a ship sigh
Bm7 yawn

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

I'm particularly proud that I figured out how to make the neck of the guitar. It required coming up with two-letter words that could be said in sequence semantically and syntactically. So fun.

The unparallelled master of contemporary carmina figurata is Jan D. Hodge. It's an interesting coincidence that just yesterday I wrote a blurb for Jan's forthcoming book of carminata figurata, titled Taking Shape. His word-pictures are very complicated and intriguing: a harpsichord poised in front of a guillotine; a still life with a quill pen and ink bottle next to a T-square and drafting triangle; a leprechaun; a seahorse; the Chinese ideogram for spring with a morel mushroom embedded in it. Plus many of Jan's carmina figurata are written in meter; in fact, one of them employs medieval alliterative verse!

Here are couple of sample carmina figurata by Hodge: Cupid and a flying witch, published in the online magazine Frostwriting.com. To read the poems, click on either image (or better yet, click on both). Remember to read straight across, jumping over any white spaces necessitated by the picture. I guarantee you'll be amazed, friends.
"Veteran's Day"
by Jan D. Hodge
           
"Sabbat"
by Jan D. Hodge
Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2015 • 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


5 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

The Jan D. Hodge work just leaves my modest efforts in the dust. I hardly got past "Easter Wings" as far as my pursuit of concrete poems go, so it is fascinating to see more complex works. Also, I am chagrined that I have misread the title of the poem with the Cupid figure.

Kathleen S. Burgess said...

Carmen figurata: Playful, clever figure writing, Alan and Vince!

vstefani said...

Alan's right about the impressiveness of Hodge's poems, but his pen, and your guitar, Vince, are really good. More than I could attempt today.

Bruce Niedt said...

Vince, I thoroughly enjoyed all of these. Your guitar and the rest are not only visually appealing but excellent poems too. Makes me want to try something more ambitiously concrete.

Patent Solicitor said...

This is so much fun, creating picture poetry! I remember doing it at school, and trying to construct a particularly awful poem about a dog.

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