Liz Garton Scanlon (liz_scanlon) wrote,
Liz Garton Scanlon
liz_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. 

Right? 

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.

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