One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weekend Mini Challenge: The Heroic Couplet

Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from Writing in North Norfolk.

I have been reading A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, entitled The Making of a Poem, which ‘looks squarely at some of the headaches and mysteries of poetic form’ and answers questions such as ’How does a sonnet work? What are the rules of a sestina, and who established them? What gets repeated in a villanelle? And where?’

Although I am familiar with most of the forms covered in this book, I’m learning a lot of new stuff. For example, I thought a heroic couplet was just a couplet, ‘an element of form rather than a form in itself’. According to this book, ‘the couplet evolved out of parts of a poem’ and by the eighteenth century ‘the heroic couplet reigned supreme’.

A heroic couplet is a rhyming pair of lines that can be built up with further couplets to create a poem of any number of lines about high subject matter. The meter is usually iambic pentameter (ten syllables with alternating stresses) but may also be tetrameter, and the rhyme scheme is aabbcc and so on. It generally has a strong pause or caesura in the middle of a line, usually after the fifth or sixth syllable.

The sharp rhymes and regular beat made it widely used from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century for epigrammatic and satirical poetry, and its ‘fashionable, tight enclosure of sense and sensibility became an emblem for the times’. Which is probably why I had trouble finding examples of modern heroic couplets, other than the two given in the book, 'Strange Meeting' by Wilfred Owen and ‘The J Car’ by Thom Gunn, which are both rather long examples for a mini challenge. 

According to Wikipedia, twentieth century authors have occasionally made use of the heroic couplet, often as an allusion to the works of poets of previous centuries. This weekend the challenge is to write a short-ish (no longer than 30 lines) modern poem in heroic couplets about a favourite poet or one of their works - it doesn’t have to be in iambic pentameter but I would like to see use of strong pauses/caesurae.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

You and Me

Hello, Toads! Marian here with your occasional music prompt. Get ready! 

Last week, I was truly lucky to be able to take my family to see Alice Cooper. I have to say, of course I’ve known Alice Cooper songs for my entire life but it never occurred to me that I would see him live. It just wasn’t on my radar screen at all until the past year or so, when my son Jack started to really get into him. When we learned he was coming to Boston, we scored tickets for the family that Jack received in his Christmas stocking. And I am so grateful!

This show was truly, absolutely amazing and completely inspiring. Alice Cooper is now 70 years old and I hope he keeps playing and performing until he’s 80. Or longer! He puts on such an incredible show, I mean wow, so much energy! And I am so happy to be a new fan of the younger woman guitarist who plays with him, Nita Strauss. I am overwhelmed by how awesome she is!

Here is a link to a video of the encore from the show we attended in case you are interested. I did not take this video, we were in the balcony, but it's great:
SCHOOL’S OUT at the Wang Theatre in Boston 3-6-18

Okay, enough already. Obviously I'm a fangirl and am incapable of focusing on any other artist right now, so let’s all listen to this great, beautiful, classic ballad and write poems about 

sharing a bed, some lovin’ and TV