Wednesday, July 7, 2010

TOLT Poetry Exercises 7, 8 and 9.

The next section of The Ode Less Traveled was all about accentual verse, which was much simpler than all of this crazy FEET and METER nonsense. The idea here is that each line has four beats. The first three beats are alliterated (all start with the same sound, or have the same sound in their stressed syllable, such as "comPELLing" and "apPEALing"). Then the fourth beat is something entirely different. Mr. Fry sums this idea up with the phrase "Bang Bang Bang CRASH!" It doesn't matter how many syllables there are, or whether or not the lines are the same length or anything, as long as those four accents are in there.

So for Exercise 7, I was supposed to write 20 lines about what I would and wouldn't like to eat, using the "Bang Bang Bang CRASH!" form of accentual verse. Here's what I came up with, which was written last October, while I was staying with Claire in Oakland.
I don't delight in dips and sauces
I'd rather taste a recipe's original intention
Condiments could conceivably ruin
Food that I'm fixing to feast upon
Mayo and mustard mustn't be spread
On a sub or a sandwich made especially for me
When I feast on fries, you'll find no ketchup
My bread isn't buttered, or blanketed with jelly
Some folks suspect this sauce aversion
Hints at a hindrance of happiness in me.
I often feel that food is just fuel,
But cooking with Claire in her kitchen together
Has shown me that sharing food surely enhances
Its taste and tenderness, not to mention
My appreciation of, and my patience during the preparation of a meal.
Perhaps my habit of hermit-like eating
Forced me to feast too fast without
Stopping to smell the "spices" so to speak
Next was syllabic verse, which is pretty much the exact opposite of accentual verse. For this one, all that matters is the number of syllables on a line, and the accents don't matter in the least. Like HAIKU! which have 5, 7 and then 5 syllables. There are all kinds of other weird forms that this type of poetry takes. For exercise 8 I had to write two poems using syllabic verse: 1) two stanzas of alternating 7 and 5 line syllabic verse about Rain and 2) Two stanzas of verse running 3,6,1,4,8,4,1,6,3 syllables (?!) on the subject of Hygiene. Here's the first one, which is obviously written by a Seattleite:
No one seems to like the rain
They call it dreary
People get depressed in towns
Where it ever rains

But if you are born and raised
In a land of rain
Raindrops upon your skin feel
More welcome than sun
And here's the second one - yet another poem about beards!
Once upon
A time, people believed
Were certainly
Uncleanly and brimming with germs.
And so, people
Thus cutting short a great

We now know
Beards are okay, if kept
Soap and shampoo
Wash your beard just like your head hair.
Pour, lather,
And repeat, to keep beards
Looking good!
Exercise 9 was one last mark-up of a poem written by Coleridge, to teach his son the most commonly used metrical feet. After I did that, I had finally completed THE FIRST CHAPTER of this book! Phew! And this is only page 122 of 357 (?!) Really, I'm on page 200, but I'm trying to space out these entries, so they don't get TOO long. Even though this book is taking me forever to get through, I am still loving every minute of it. I only wish I had less stuff going on, so I could devote more time to it!

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