The Kimo is yet another variation on the Haiku which focuses on imagery and strict syllable count. Israeli poets adjusted the syllabic requirements of that traditional Japanese form to accommodate for the unique characteristics of the Hebrew language.
Key Features of the Kimo
Content: like haiku, usually image-specific and acts as a still life, or snapshot, of a single moment
No one knows who invented the Limerick, but the name suggests it originated in the Irish city of the same name. English poet Edward Lear popularized the form in the 19th century and is largely responsible for the form’s continued popularity. Limericks are sometimes nonsensical, sometimes set up like jokes with a punchline, and should always inspire a chuckle.
Key Features of the Limerick
Content: Humorous, sometimes raunchy, sometimes aimed at a celebrity or public figure
Form: Consists of five lines
Syllables: Syllables are not usually strictly counted, but line length pattern goes: long, long, short, short, long.
The Ae Freislighe (pronounced ‘ay fresh-lee’) is a Celtic form which you’ll find somewhat adapted in English. These adaptations still strive to match the musicality of the original language by including complex patterns of rhyme and alliteration.
Key Features of the Ae Freislighe
Content: Traditionally contains internal patterns of alliteration to create a musical effect
Form: Made up of any number of quatrains
Rhyme: Features a triple-rhyme in lines 1 and 3, and a double-rhyme in lines 2 and 4 (see example)
Syllables: Seven syllables per line
Ending: Usually ends with the same word or line with which the poem begins (in Celtic poetry, this is called a dunadh)
Tennessee, by Robert Lee Brewer
Do you recall Tennessee & all that late night kissing, or is it a memory once yours that’s now gone missing?
Perhaps there’s some video for both of us to review & retire to Ohio with vows that we will renew.
An Original Poem
To find the life underneath Sometimes it takes a cutting A folding back of the sheath To see the green life budding
We learned in our explorations of the Kyrielle [Week 13], Villanelle [Week 23] and Terzanelle [Week 32] that the French love their repeating refrains. But the Pantoum is a French adaptation of a form that is Malaysian in origin.
Key Features of the Pantoum Poem
Form: composed of any number of quatrains
Refrain: The second and fourth lines of one stanza repeat as the first and third lines of the next. Some variation is allowed to add interest.
Though it is said to be a popular exercise in modern poetry workshops and classes, there’s not a lot of information to be found on this variation of the haiku, which consists of any number of sestets with a strict syllable count. It is rumored to be of Spanish origin, but even that claim is hard to substantiate. Of course, none of this detracts from the enjoyment in writing the shadorma, especially once you get locked into the rhythm and flow of its short lines.
Key Features of the Shadorma
Syllable Count: 3/5/3/3/7/5 Form: Any number of six-line stanzas (sestets)
An Original Shadorma
you can’t swim your way out of this bowl little goldfish and you can’t learn to breathe this strange unnatural air
Of all the forms we’ve covered so far, the Concrete Poem is unique in its emphasis on the physical form—the actual shape of the words—along with the meaning. Poetry meets typography meets graphic design in this experimental, visually inventive form.
Jumblers and scrabblers are well-versed in the art of the anagram, a technique that uses the shuffling of a given selection of letters to find new words. Anagrams can be a lot of fun, so it’s no surprise they are used in many popular word games and puzzles.
Key Features of the Anagrammatic Poem
Content: Always titled, and only letters featured in the title can be used
Form: The anagrammatic method can be combined with existing poetic forms (such as the haiku, sonnet, etc.) or used to create new ones.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus–better known to the English-speaking world by the mononym Horace–was a Roman soldier, lyric poet and satirist during the time of Augustus. He was a leading Latin poet of his time and is still celebrated for his odes, satires, and epistles. “Ars Poetica,” or “The Art of Poetry,” (c. 19 BC), his most influential epistle, offers advice on the art of writing poetry and drama.
Horace studied Greek ode forms–works by celebrated Greek poets such as Alcaeus, Anacreon, and Pindar–and adapted them for his own purposes, making them suitable for Latin. He not only changed the formal conventions of the Greek odes (stanzaic patterns, meter, rhyme scheme), but also modified the tone and subject matter to best highlight his own unique artistic sensibilities. While Greek odes tended to be heroic–elaborately glorifying a person or event–Horace’s odes were more personal, contemplative, and philosophical. The odes of Horace are also known for their charm, sophistication, and occasional touches of light humor.
Non-Latin readers are immediately confronted with the challenge of translation. It is widely considered a fool’s errand to attempt to preserve formal conventions such as meter and rhyme when translating poetry, so you’ll need to regard any English translations of Horace’s work as approximating the art and meaning of Horace’s original odes, rather than duplicating their formal conventions.
Although we can’t look directly to Horace to learn the conventions of his signature odes (without first learning Latin, that is), we can, however, look to Horatian odes written in English by English poets, and there are several good examples. Perhaps the most famous of these is Andrew Marvell’s “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”.
The forward youth that would appear Must now forsake his Muses dear, Nor in the shadows sing His numbers languishing. ’Tis time to leave the books in dust, And oil th’ unused armour’s rust, Removing from the wall The corslet of the hall. So restless Cromwell could not cease In the inglorious arts of peace, But thorough advent’rous war Urged his active star.
Scanning the first eight lines of Marvell’s Horatian ode reveals several key requirements of the form. Firstly, you’ll notice each two lines feature an end rhyme in an aabbccdd… pattern. Secondly, you’ll notice that while lines 1 and 2 are written in iambic tetrameter, lines 3 and 4 are written in iambic trimeter. Thirdly, you’ll notice that–and this is an important feature unique to the Horatian ode–the pattern set in the first four lines is repeated without variation in each subsequent quatrain.
Requirements of the Form
Any number of stanzas that unvaringly follow the pattern set by the first stanza. Stanzas can be of any length, but Horatian odes usually feature repeating stanzas of two to four lines. Enjambment is allowed.
– Tone tends toward philosophical, contemplative, gently playful, tranquil – Style is sophisticated and formal, but not restrictive
Meter is chosen at the discretion of the poet. Again, the important factor is consistency from stanza to stanza. Iambic meter is commonly used in English.
Rhyme schemes vary, but (again) subsequent stanzas must repeat the pattern set by the first stanza. Lines are always end-rhymed.
An Original Horatian Ode
A Horatian Ode to the World Goddess
The Goddess of the World, I sing– Her many forms and faces bring The light of fertile life, The fear of judgement’s knife.
Like Draupadi of Indian fame, Born of the sacrificial flame– Where she perceives a wall, Illusion’s palace falls.
Or Anath, golden Canaanite, Her retribution fierce and right, She’ll cut you with a word, Then feed you to the birds.