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Form is everything! what's your favourite?

As we all progress with our poetry efforts, we begin to realise that there are many different forms (even if we don't know the correct names when we are writing) of poems.

villanelle, sonnet, haiku, limerick, koan, haibun, quincant, the list is endless.

So what is your favourite? and perhaps you could add one to this discussion to illustrate what it is that you like about your chosen form?
Tue, 27 Feb 2024 09:48 am
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Hi Graham, an interesting question and idea...

To my shame, I am one of those people who knows nothing about form 😃 I simply write what I like and hope it vaguely hangs together. I'd love to see (and learn from) some great examples of form.

Could you start us off?
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 02:55 pm
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Here's my stab at a villanelle about the cricket commentator John Arlott.

smooth gravel sifts through broken glass
none elude that earnest constant stare
that brittle voice, those knowing eyes

two worlds spin, pitch perfect words
sacred hymn or poet’s lines
smooth gravel sifts through broken glass

gladiators white, in padded armour clad
battle brave, thumbs up or down, before
that brittle voice, those knowing eyes

no boundaries held his ever-seeing eye
nor faults unpunished, unspoken, unrecorded
smooth gravel sifts through broken glass

his words beautiful, coarsely put
condensed and sculpted for our tender ears
that brittle voice, those knowing eyes

Aujas Beaujolais with cricket teas, this
nature’s man, declared on seventy-seven
smooth gravel sifts through broken glass
that brittle voice, those knowing eyes


© Graham R Sherwood (revised 2/24)
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 03:07 pm
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Form can help bring structure and brevity to a poem, so for me certainly helps.

The same poem set out in different forms can result in different poems e.g. the emphasis of phrases caused by changing line and stanza breaks can unearth new means.

The villanelle example Graham posted accentuates repetition in a good way and demonstrates how the refrain helps to build up key images in the piece.
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 06:15 pm
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I remain curious about just how the various "recognised" forms of poetry originated - and at whose hand? I think that pleasing
rhythm and rhyme have their own value without any particular
constraint, as can be found in the lyrics of the gifted songwriters
found in the "American Song Book". It was fascinating though,
to read Frank Sinatra's comment that he never had a thing about
poetry yet he became one of the great interpreters of the lyrics
contained in many fine (and lasting!) popular songs. of the 20th
century.
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 06:26 pm
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For my money some of the best poets are songwriters. Cohen and Dylan and Donovan for my generation particularly, and also some of the 60/70s protest singers too like Barry McGuire etc.
Fri, 1 Mar 2024 10:35 am
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