Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Joy of Prosody

The Triolet.

By Liz Mastin 

For those of us who love poetry and the study of it, let no stone remained unturned!  However, it is such an involved study, I think its good move along and get into the fun stuff: writing poetic forms! I find them to be truly fun and very satisfying to write.

Using my book The making of a Poem; The Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms I would like to describe how to write some of the poetic forms that have been popular in past centuries and are enjoying a revival today..

The triolet is probably the easiest of the forms and so I’ll begin with it. The Triolet is a French form and while it is somewhat limited in what it can do, that limiting factor makes it all the more a challenge.  

Triolets were originally written in the Middle Ages. “The first triolets in English” according to poets Bob Holman and Margary Snyder,“were prayers written by Patrick Carey, a Benedictine monk of the 17th century. 

Robert Bridges, an English poet and critic who later was named Poet laureate and saw to the publications of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems, reintroduced the triolet into English at the end of the 19th century. Since its brief vogue back then, only a few poets have written triolets.” 

So, consider this a challenge and become one of the few to write a triolet in 2012!

 The triolet follows very exacting rules, these being:

The Triolet

It has eight lines. It is a very brief, tightly rhymed form that takes part of its structure from the repetition of entire lines.

Line 1------------------------A
Line 2 -----------------------B
Line 3------------------------a (rhymes with line 1)
Line 4------------------------A (repetition of line 1)
Line 5------------------------a (rhymes with line 1)
Line 6------------------------b (rhymes with line 2)
Line 7------------------------A (repetition of line 1)
Line 8------------------------B (repetition of line 2)

By Robert bridges

When first we met, we did not guess
That love would prove so hard a master;
Of more than common friendliness
When first we met we did not guess.
Who could foretell the sore distress,
This irretrievable disaster,
When first we met? – We did not guess
That love would prove so hard a master.

By Sara Teasdale

Dead leaves upon the stream
And dead leaves on the air –
All of my lost hopes seem
Dead leaves upon the stream;
I watch them in a dream,
Going I know not where,
Dead leaves upon the stream
And dead leaves on the air.

Hemingway Drank Here
Liz Mastin

To think that Hemingway once drank here:
Great mind in a crazy environment!
At sloppy Joes, He downed the beer.
To think that Hemingway once drank here!
To him I raise my glass of cheer
As I sit in the same establishment.
To think that Hemingway once drank here:
Great mind in a crazy environment.

Liz Mastin Bio
Liz Mastin is a poet who lives in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho during the summer and Bullhead City, Arizona in winter. She thrives on the study of the great poets, their biographies, the schools of poetry to which they adhered, and the poetic conventions of the times in which they lived.

While she enjoys free verse as well as metrical poetry, her main interest lies in prosody. She notices that most of the enduring poems are those we can remember and recite. Liz enjoys poetry forms such as the sonnet, the sestina, the couplet, blank verse, simple quatrains, etc. and she hopes to see modern poets regain interest in studied metrical poetry.

Liz is currently putting together her first collection of poems which should be completed this winter. The poems are a mixture of metrical and free verse poems.


Davinder Singh said...

i like your blog its so good.
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Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Thanks, Liz. I love poetry that has a strict form to follow. It's like a puzzle. I'm intrigued by the word "triolet." Does it rhyme with "violet"?