Liz Garton Scanlon (liz_scanlon) wrote,
Liz Garton Scanlon

Form Poetry

 I spent the day polishing up a villanelle.

One of my wee ones was home sick so she heard me do my 'read every line aloud ten thousand times' thing.

If she thought I was a little off before, it's now been formally confirmed and set in stone. 
I heard her tell her sister, "Mama talked to herself in poems today. Even in the bath!"

Reading aloud is part of my process, to be sure. Good thing I don't work in a cube where the protocol is to put your phone on vibrate and think to yourself. I really can't see what works and what doesn't -- I can only hear it. 

And it turns out that's especially true with form poetry. 

OK, first of all, I'm a glutton for punishment. I committed to writing an ekphrastic poem (a poem inspired by another piece of art) about a piece in the permanent collection at The Blanton Museum of Art. But it could have been anything! A haiku, for goddsake. A prose poem cut-and-pasted straight from my journal. A list of words that came to mind as I sat there soaking in the image. 

But no. Nope. I had to do a villanelle. Which I always encourage people to write because they are so pretty and musical. 


And also, how hard could it be? 19 lines, and a bunch of them are repeats. 

Well, the thing is, if you're going to repeat an entire line it's got to be, well, good.
And also, there's a rhyme scheme. So once you pick your first couple of lines, you're stuck with two particular sounds.
Or I guess 'blessed' with two particular sounds if stars are aligned. 

And then, to top it off, I received the invitation to write this poem months ago. Not weeks. Months.
But when did I get cracking on it? This week. This week. 
It is some crazy dysfunctional relationship I have with deadlines...

Wrap all that up and Mama's talking to herself in poems. Even in the bath.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.