Everyone knows that the United States has a Poet Laureate and that many of the states do as well.
However, more and more cities and towns across the country are getting into the act now as well.
And, why not? As the NY Times has reported, "interest in poetry has gone up, experts say, thanks to efforts by local libraries and arts councils, as well as wider programs like National Poetry Month, Poetry in Motion and Poem in Your Pocket Day."
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah...Cities and Poets Laureate.
On last Wednesday I attended the 3rd day of her August poetry workshops, at the central library downtown.
Weeks 1 and 2 were great and more photos have been posted on the Poet Laureate Facebook page.
The 3rd session was attended by 16 people, including several new ones. The subject was all about rhythm, meter and getting all, um, stressed out.
As we introduced ourselves we mentioned some things that we like best about being a writer. I mentioned researching, creativity, humor, the ability to inhabit other personas, expressing opinions. I also mentioned that writing has helped me cope with events in my life and my feelings and how writing helps me feel less alone in the world as a single person.
A lot was afoot, creatively, this session, as we discussed the five most common types of units of stressed and unstressed syllables in English poetry:
COUNT THE SYLLABLES: u = unstress /= stress
Iamb = 1 unstressed, followed by 1 stressed
Can be seen in sentences of up to 6 "feet" (iambic hexameter) or more
he DOESN'T SIT (Just kidding!)
Trochee = 1 stressed then 1 unstressed
IF you CALL him DON'T say NOthing (4 ft)
Anapest = 2 unstressed, then 1 stressed
Dactyl = 1 stressed, then 2 unstressed
Spondee = 2 stressed syllables
yes way (Just kidding!)
We read and discussed excerpts of works by John Keats, Christopher Marlowe, Edgar Alan Poe, William Blake, and Clement Moore.
We also tried our hands at various meter and these were some of mine:
tom SITS on WALLS in PARKS and BARKS at CATS
MEOW loud, CHARM him, RUN to TOM
two LIttle CATS were IN the ROOM
and STOOD uPON the DESK
then PRANced RIGHT on THE newsPAper
AND restED for A time
All in all another wonderful, educational, evening. I look forward to next week!
Thank you Gwendolyn!