Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Day 11 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2017


April is one-third gone, my friends. But there are still twice as many poems to go as we have written so far.

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: write a “Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop [has] a six-line stanza [that] introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain.” There are links to a couple of examples there.

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day Two-for-Tuesday prompt: 1) “Write a sonnet.” 2) “Write an anti-form poem.”

I successfully mixed all three prompts, I think. The “anti-form” part may be a bit disguised.

Bop on Poetic Forms

To sonnet or not to sonnet. That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler to employ that bastion
of verse since Petrarch and Shakespeare . . . well, heck,
I’m writing this on my phone waiting in the van
for my son, and the goddamn autocorrect
changed “sonnet” to “dinner”! What? Oh man.

This is a sonnet and also not a sonnet.

So what does that mean? Are sonnets still relevant?
Or are they less relevant now than dinner?
(I am hungry though.) Wait! The important
thing here is whether sonnets can deliver
the truth. Or do rhyme and meter distract
today’s readers? Is the hegemony of free
verse total and unchallenged? The trick
is to bend, stretch, even break the rules. For me.

This is a sonnet and also not a sonnet.

So, gentle reader, did you figure out what I did
above? My first six lines and my second eight
take the shape of an upside-down sonnet.
You probably thought we were just talking amid
the requirements of the Bop. Well, yes and no.
We bopped and sonneted both, a delightful show.

This is a sonnet and also not a sonnet.

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

What I meant about “anti-form” being in disguise is that I’m not speaking “anti-form” as such but rather playing with the notion by, for example, turning the sonnet shape upside-down. Also, “bend[ing], stretch[ing], even break[ing] the rules” could be construed as a kind of anti-form statement, though a subversive one.

Alan’s intro for today’s poem: “It occurred to me that the most feasible way to complete both prompts would be to lodge a sonnet inside the bop poem. Forgive the three literary allusions — I am indulging myself with a book that appears to fit the mood of the country.”

Mother of Exiles (Bop Version)

I thought I had no nightmares any more,
but life all unexpected has replaced
my plans, as if my house were burgled, razed,
and sold for scrap, no window and no door
to fit a frame. My key drops from my hand
but leaves a weeping char like a fresh brand

He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.

I met a tycoon from a New World land
and said, “A skirt of copper verdigris
stands on an island. Near it, on the sand,
half-sunk a mild-eyed visage lies. Cries she,
with silent lips, ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the tempest-tost, to me.’”

He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.

Said he, “That’s not our motto any more.
A sparkling, big-league building has replaced
that dark and burned-out beacon we have razed
and sold for scrap,” inside its golden door
a trinket stand. His tiny-fingered hand
was clutching souvenirs that bore his brand.

He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.

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

It would seem that Alan and I found similar solutions to how to mix the bop and sonnet forms. Though our themes and our methods are quite different. I especially appreciate how the sestet of his embedded sonnet appears twice, the same rhyme scheme and words, that is. Did you figure out Alan’s three literary allusions?

“Face of Liberty” sculpture by Zachary Landsberg

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.   


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2 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

A couple of awesome bops, and well-turned with the rhyme scheme too. I was less adventurous and just did mine in blank verse.

Vince Gotera said...

Bruce, sorry! Missed this comment somehow. Thanks! Yes, we both did rhyme because we were both slipping a sonnet inside the bop, to satisfy the Brewer prompt too. Going over to your blog now to see what clerihews you did!

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