I wrote the poem to express my feelings for June as a wonderful setting for adventure. Enjoy!
If you didn’t know it, today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. What is Poem in Your Pocket Day? So glad you asked.
According to the website for the Academy of American Poets, Poem in Your Pocket Day began in New York City in April 2002. “In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.”
But what do you do to celebrate this day? Choose a favorite poem, or just your favorite lines from one, and share it with another person. If you want to go on social media, use #pocketpoem.
This post is my pocket, and I will share some of my favorite lines of poetry.
“In Spring, Red sings
from the treetops:
each note dropping
like a cherry
into my ear.”
into summer evenings
one shadow at a time,
I don’t notice until
book in my hand,
Please use the comments below to share yours. Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Or should that be Merry Poem in Your Pocket Day?
Wither Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up in the next few months, it’s not too early to start work on a poem as a gift. If you are new to poetry, I have two recommendations. The first is reprinted from a post I wrote last year. The second is for a site I have recently discovered. If you haven’t considered giving a gift of poetry, please do. So personal a gift is sure to be treasured.
I like studying children’s poetry because I can focus on the structure, instead of the meaning, which is usually straight forward. Below are listed books that are a great introduction to a few different styles of poetry.
Rhyming poetry — A Child’s Calendar by John Updike
Free verse — Red Sings From the Treetops by Joyce Sidman
The website Shadow Poetry has everything a budding poet needs to get started. Under “Poetry Types” a plethora of traditional and new styles of poetry are listed in alphabetical order and are defined with examples. Want to write your mother a sonnet? Look it up here. Japanese poetry gets its own section.
Under “Handbook” all kinds of terms associated with figurative and poetic language are defined. When I browsed through “W”, I found “wrenched accent”. It means the “forced change in the normal accent of a syllable or syllables to make a word conform to the prevailing metrical” pattern. I’ve often come across this accent in rhyming children’s books and thought it was just called “bad poetry”. What’s worse, I’ve committed this crime myself. Now at least my crime has a name.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no matter what you are writing, you should always go back and edit. No one writes their best in a first draft.
Have you ever given a literary gift? If so what was it?
I had never heard of tanka, a form of Japanese poetry, until I read this article on Almost an Author. It is a five-line poem, the first three containing the same syllables as haiku: 1st line — five, 2nd line — seven, 3rd line — five. The fourth and fifth lines of a tanka poem each contain seven syllables. The author notes that the themes in tanka are more varied than haiku, which concerns nature. As an exercise, the author recommends write “a haiku first and then” add “the last two lines as reflection on your subject.”
So I’ve tried it with the haiku I posted in last Monday’s Sparks.
In April. the sky
Cries. Out of anger? Sadness?
The earth send flowers.
Now I’ll add two more lines of seven syllables and turn it into a tanka.
All tears are worth their price if
Kindness and compassion grows.
Share your tanka below!
Have you ever thought of poetry as “verbal music”? That’s how writer Darlo Gemeinhardt describes it in this post on Almost an Author. She goes on to describe the “notes” of this music. Two of these “notes”, alliteration and consonance, are discussed at length in two other posts on this site. The author dissects line from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” to demonstrate how effective these “notes” can be.
I believe prose writers can use these techniques as long as we don’t overuse them. Alliteration, consonance, and assonance bring a rhythm to prose that, hopefully, make it memorable.
Alliteration — “the repetition of initial consonant sounds”. From Alliteration: The Sound of Poetry I
I love alliteration, but I’m always afraid of using it too much, making my writing look amateurish. So I’ll ask your opinion. Which do you think is better?
“I glued my gaze to the gun.”
“I fastened my gaze to the gun.”
I went with the second, buy maybe the first was better.
Another thing I’ve noticed with alliteration is that superheroes seemed to have alliterative names: Bruce Banner, Clark Kent, and Peter Parker. If you are thinking of creating a superhero, an alliterative name is something to consider.
Consonance — the repetition of the same consonant sound within words that are contained in the same line or sentence. From Consonance: The Sound of Poetry II.
Consonance reminded me of a writing exercise in my college creative writing class. The professor asked us to think of words that sounded a certain way, such as words that sound cold. I came up with “incisive.” The long “I” and “s” signaled cold to me. When the professor asked for words that sounded fat, I suggested “triumphant.”
So when trying to set the mood of a scene, I keep in mind how the words sound. For a scene where a character is sneaking through the night, I might use words that have a lot of “s” sounds. “N” also sounds soft. I would use “night” more often than “dark”, which has a harder sound.
But a fight scene could use harsher sounds, like “k”, “d’, and “t”.
Assonance — the repetition of vowel sounds anywhere within a group of words. From The Music of Poetry by Darlo Gemeinhardt
Assonance can give rhythm to names. I recently needed to come up with a name for a characters who is a millionaire. Since he is nice millionaire. I decided the name couldn’t be too strong. Names ending in “ton” sound wealthy and powerful, like “Kensington”. or “Covington”. I decided on “Everett”. Not too imposing, but it sounded like the family could be from old money. I chose “Adam” as the first name because it’s fairly traditional, suitable for a member of an old-money family, but not as boring Richard or Robert.
When I put “Adam Everett” together, I really liked the rhythm and now I know why. The assonance of the short “a” in “Adam” and the short “e” in Everett give the name a dash of poetry.
How do you use elements of poetry in your prose?