RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 7
I was introduced to today’s blogger last year when participating in Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid Think March Madness Poetry Tournament. His poem, Ampersand was the winning poem and it was SO spectacular I had to share it with you here today!
*ampersand was the word Sam had to use in his poem.
A Letter on Behalf of Ampersand 2014
by Samuel Kent
Dearest teachers & assistants,
Please adhere to this insistence.
It’s our mission to petition –
for its overdue admission:
of the letter Ampersand.
Though it neatly nestles nicely
‘twixt the “Y & Z” precisely,
and has a certain function
as a substitute conjunction,
we confess with calm compunction,
it’s abused as merely “and”.
We believe we have a duty
to this hieroglyphic beauty.
Let its usage be expanded:
written right- or leftward-handed,
“a – n – d” is ampersanded!
That’s our solemn, sole demand.
Think of effort we’d be saving
giving sentences a shaving,
making phrases much less “and”-y
& a lot more ampersandy
adding simple, shortened candy
to the words we write by hand.
With accelerated fleetness
we’d complete with nimble neatness
every note or memorandum —
spelling wouldn’t seem as random —
with the ampersand in tandem
at our everyday command.
With respect, we share our letter
for this character that’s better.
Signed sincerely by
on behalf of Ampersand.
And with that piece of BRILLIANT word art shared, I am thrilled to introduce
Quality Poetry is Stressful: Meter and Metric Feet
Often when poets first begin to craft poems, their primary focus is rhyme. Sometimes, this comes at the expense of adhering to a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in their lines.
So what’s the big deal? You got the messy business of rhymes in your poem perfectly. Why be bound to rules of meter and metrical feet? And what does that mean anyway?
Arguments of metered and meter-less writing styles aside, employing rhythmic patterns usually makes a poem easier to read. If you use a meter pattern, the reader isn’t surprised by speedbumps of words that just don’t feel right, or lines that don’t flow because stresses and inflections are out of order. Metrical feet and meters make poems feel more like natural speech.
Let’s talk first about metrical feet. Feet are really about the pattern of the stressed and unstressed syllables in your poems. There are several common feet patterns that that meter-loving poets will employ. Here are just a few of the most common:
The Iamb (short-long)
Iambs are segments of lines of poems where the inflections alternate between unstressed (short) and stressed (long) syllables, starting with an unstressed syllable.
Let’s TRAvel INto SPACE, my FRIEND
and TO the SHIning MOON.
But WHILE you BOARD a ROcket SHIP
to SPEED you ON aLONG your TRIP
with BANG and BOOM and ZOOM and ZIP,
I’ll TRAvel BY ballOON.
The Trochee (long-short)
If your stresses are in the other order, alternating with stressed (long) and unstressed (short) syllables but starting with a stressed syllable, you’re using a trochee foot:
DEBbie’s DAFfy About DAIsies, AND for MARiGOLDS she’s CRAZED.
SHE’S gone KOOky FOR chrySANtheMUMS. BeGONias HAVE her DAZED.
SHE’S plain MAD for PREtty FLOWers: EVery PETal, STEM, and SEED,
BUT deTESTS the DANdeLIons… THOSE are JUST a NASty WEED.
Some feet, like the amphibrach, the anapest, and the dactyl have three beats per foot.
The Amphibrach (short-long-short)
An amphibrach is a three syllable pattern starting with unstressed syllable, then a stressed syllable, then another unstressed syllable before repeating
WiNOna aWOKE from her DREAMing with DREAD
to FIND she had TOO many DUCKS in her BED.
Well, EVEn one DUCK in the BED was abSURD,
but HALF of her BLANKets were COVered with BIRD.
The Anapest (short-short-long)
Lead with two unstressed syllables and then a long syllable when repeating, and you’re using an anapest foot:
There’s an O-cean of BOOKS around ME
stretching OUT for as FAR as I SEE.
It’s as DEEP and as WIDE as can BE.
I am LOST in an Ocean of BOOKS.
The Dactyl (long-short-short)
I misses YOUR kisses ALL over MY face
I’M dying, NO lying, WITHout your EMbrace
YOUR presence IS pleasance I ache to BE near
I only FEEL lonely UNless you ARE here.
Notice that sometimes the stresses are implied. A short or unstressed syllable can be skipped at the end of lines and sticking to the foot pattern is still there. The reader fills in the space with a rest.
Of course there are feet that employ four syllables per foot as well. These are called Paeons. Most paeons are primarily unstressed syllables with a stressed syllable one out of every four beats.
The Quartus Paeon (short-short-short-long):
On every STARry summer NIGHT
when old man MOON is shining BRIGHT
and all the FROGS in granddad’s POND begin to SING,
While cricket CHORus chirps and CHEEPS
A thousand BUGgy voices BEEP
But listen CLOSEly, you’ll hear BILL the Froggy KING
That’s metrical feet, but what is meter? Meter is simply the number of repeated metrical feet per line. Meter can really make for a solid rhythm when combined with consistent use of metrical feet.
If your lines consist of four iambs, you’re employing iambic TETRAMETER:
We HAVE a CLUB for EATing WORMS. (four feet here)
We LOVE the WAY they WRITHE and SQUIRM, (one, two, three, four)
and ON the WEEKends WHEN we MEET, (yep, four)
we ALways BRING some WORMS to EAT. (four feet in this line too)
If you’ve studied Shakespeare, you’re probably familiar with his preferred meter, Iambic PENTAMETER, which are lines consisting of five (penta) Iambs per line (meter).
We’re HUNgry FOR a PLACE we’ve NEVer SEEN: (feet per line)
The LAND of SWEETS and FINE GourMET CuisINE. (another five feet)
We WANT to CLIMB the MOUNTains MADE of CHEESE (five feet again)
and SWIM in ONE of SIX spaGHETti SEAS. (see the pattern?)
And so if your poem’s lines used three iambs per line, you’d be employing Iambic TRIMETER:
My DOG is SO unIQUE.
He TAUGHT himSELF to SPEAK,
but ALL he SEEMS to SAY
is, “HEY! come ON, let’s PLAY!”
And you can do this with all forms of feet. Anapestic Tetrameter would be lines composed of four anapests. Amphibrachic Trimeter would have lines consisting of three amphibrachs.
Complicated naming conventions of feet and meter aside, what’s the point? The point is using feet and meter consistently to improve the quality of poems. A reader might be unpleasantly surprised to read your poem written in iambic feet to suddenly come across something written in trochee. This might also be true if every line in a poem contained five iambs only to stumble on a line that contained seven. The patterns established in the first lines of the poem are an implied contract that this is the pace and rhythm of what follows. The key, again, is consistency toward quality, and meter and feet are powerful tools to help you accomplish this.
Samuel Kent has been writing childrens poetry for nearly 25 years. He is the 2014 champion in the Think, Kid, Think! March Madness poetry competition and has been honored as the 2014 Poet Laureate of Helena, Alabama. His poetry posts for his weekday “Lunchbox Doodles” project can be found at http://i.droo.it.
RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt:7
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.
Today’s writing prompt is to write a poem “Shakespeare Style” in Iambic Pentameter. Remember, that’s five (penta) Iambs per line (meter).
The RhyPiBoMo 2015 Barnes and Noble BookFair is this Saturday, April 11th!
I have been asked to give a talk at my local Barnes and Noble in Evansville, Indiana on Maya Angelou during Educator’s Week. I combined my talk to include tidbits about Maya’s life and poetry with diversity in children’s books. What a wonderful opportunity to discuss poetry and diversity all in one talk! Thus, Barnes and Noble agreed to offer a BookFair all day on April 11th and 20% of all the sales that day will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS for all who use this coupon. It is good for sales in store and on-line so PLEASE support this worthy non-profit and buy lots and lots of books! Pass out coupons to friends and family too! Let’s support poetry and diversity in children’s books!
Rhyming Critique Groups
If you are interested in joining a rhyming critique group go to the RhyPiBoMo Facebook group and add your name to the post concerning critique groups. Dawn Young will organize the groups and contact you once your group is formed and ready to go. We will need one person in each group to volunteer to be the Admin for the group so please state that you are interested in your comment on Facebook.
Thank you Dawn for organizing and running these groups!
We have several groups still going strong from last year!
We will not organize critique groups outside of Facebook this year. If you are interested in forming a critique group outside of Facebook, please comment about that in your reply to this post and add your name and email address so anyone else interested can contact you directly.
RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!
Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!
Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!
Add both your FIRST and LAST names to your daily comment! This is what enables you to be eligible for a prize that day. Many people are forgetting!! I request this because the reply section doesn’t give me your name unless it’s a part of your email address. And even then sometimes it’s very hard for me to figure out the exact name.
How I choose daily winners…Late each Saturday night, I will go back to Monday’s comments and count how many there are. I then type that number into a randomizer program that choose a number for me. I count from the first post down to that number and that is the daily winner. If that post doesn’t have a first and last name listed it will not win. I will then go to the next post that has a first and last name listed. I will do this for each day of the week and announce the winners on the following Monday.
Please DO NOT go back now and add another comment now as I need each person to only comment one time to keep things fair. Thanks!
Good Luck and ADD YOR FIRST and LAST NAME to your comment!!!! = )
*Official Registration ends at Midnight April 8th,Wednesday night central time for 2015.
If you are not officially registered you may not enter the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, participate in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.
Please continue to read and enjoy the daily posts!
To see if you are registered go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.