Monday, November 29, 2010

Ghazal Poems

Ghazals are Arabic, Persian, Urdu, or Hindi style poems, made up of couplets traditionally in 5, 7, 10 or 15 couplets forms. Although these poems have traditional forms, they have no limit and can be much lengthier.

Example: Traditional 7 couplet form by Frank G. Poe, Jr.

Sassafras tree
My eight year old son climbing
Sassafras tree, both little saplings
Reaching the top, boy did he scream,
How high from the ground it did seem,
Running to help him, we had to laugh,
Seeing the poor little tree nearly bent in half,
Son’s feet dangling three inches off ground,
Fighting chuckles to say, “Son, just look down.”
Prying open his eyes, looking down, he let go,
We’ll never let him live it down, don’t you know.
Parents catch these little moments in time,
We tuck them away in the back of our minds.
To your dates, friends and relatives the story will gush,
About the poor little sassafras tree, until you blush.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Warning About Fake Republican Survey

I want everyone to be alert for a Republican stunt. My House Rep just happens to be Republican, and he sent me an official congressional email asking me to vote on what I think should be cut in the federal budget. The actual link is with buttons you are asked to click on to vote. These buttons don’t let you vote. They register every click as a yes to being cut on the Republican agenda. For example, if you believe NPR (National Public Radio) is a good thing and you want to vote not to cut funding for it then you are out of luck. If you click the button to vote, you automatically agreed with the Republicans to cut funding for NPR as government waste. I wrote my congressman back explaining the site was rigged, and they unfortunately got me to click on one of their buttons. To me, the word vote implies a choice to be cast. I found the web site misleading and wanted to warn anyone thinking about casting a no vote to cutting funding for NPR or the National Archives, not to do it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Free Verse Poem

Free verse is considered to be modern American poetry. It can have any number of lines, and may or may not have rhyme or syllable pattern.

Example: by Frank G. Poe, Jr.

No Room For Hate
Not from east coast,
Not from the west coast,
Stuck in the middle
Not east side or west side,
Stuck with the poor folks,
In the lower middle class,
When we going to learn,
After the gun smoke,
After our farms, homes,
Foreclosed by banks,
When will we recognize
Poor folk is poor folk
Colors don’t matter
When you’re homeless,
Religious differences,
Don’t matter,
When you’re starving,
Killing for nothing,
Outlined in chalk,
Instead of using our mouth
We use gun play.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

5 Things To Make Your Poetry Pop

If you really want your poetry to pop, use concrete images of the five senses, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Try to work images for all five senses into the poem, and select descriptions of each that evoke memories or induce emotions in the reader or listener.

Smell = Grandma’s fresh baked vanilla cookies floated into the living room
Sight = Rescuing, playful, chubby, white cat from animal shelter
Sound = Crickets and bullfrogs competed for American idol of midsummer nights
Touch = Wiping the throbbing bee stinger off swollen pinky toe
Taste = Milk soaked chocolate chip cookie disintegrates on tongue
Use any or all the senses. A good exercise is to pick a general adjective like hard or soft and try to write a poem with all five senses to describe the adjective without ever using the adjective in the poem. You can do the same exercise with general nouns like love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

General WordsVersus Concrete Images

In poetry, as in most creative writing forms, general words should be replaced with concrete images for a better end result.

Pain is general and means different things to different people.
I stepped on broken glass is a concrete image describing pain without much deviation.

Smell is general with deviations of interpretation depending on the individual.
Odor is more specific with a negative connotation but still vague.
Concrete images for bad smells or odors might be putrid fish or wet dog.

Basically, using specific or detailed images is considered more desirable than vague generic words. The only exception in creative writing is song writing. Don’t ask me why, but it is perfectly fine to sing about love without being very detailed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Haiku or Senryu Poems

Haiku (written) or Senryu (spoken or sang) are 3 line Japanese style short poems or songs with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. There can be other variations like 3-5-3. Like Japanese minimalist culture, traditionally these poems focus on a single aspect of nature. Modern versions are not as strict.

Example: by Frank G. Poe, Jr.

Brown, dry, autumn leaves
Whispers, floating to the ground
Missing tree embrace

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hay(Na)Ku and Reverse Hay(Na)Ku poems

The Hay(Na)Ku is a 3 Line Filipino American modern poem using a word count of six instead of syllables, 1 in the first line, 2 in the second, and 3 in the third.


Can come
From within you

The Reverse Hay(Na)Ku is the same as the Hay(Na)Ku poem except with the order reversed, using a word count of six instead of syllables, 3 in the first line, 2 in the second, and 1 in the third.

Example: from a New England headstone 

I told you
I was

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Acrostic poems

Acrostic Greek style poem where the first, last or internal letters of each line spell a name, word or phrase running down the page. The beginning of the line is most common, but it is your choice. The poem size depends on what you want to say. For example, “I love you” would be 8 lines; if your mother’s name is “Eve”, it would be 3 lines.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back to business as usual

Before Republicans start patting themselves on the back, they should take a deep breath and hope their elected officials don't act like Newt's crowd that flooded into Washington years ago. You know the ones that promised term limits and campaign finance reform, neither happened. As soon as they got there, the lobbyists got to them, and they became Washington insiders, the same thing they vowed to not become.
The Democrats elected in the ground swell with President Obama forgot what happens to politicians who don't stick to their promise to the American people, not the lobbyists. Another group promising change gets swept into office. Bye, bye Democrats for now, see you in another two years when the Republicans cater to the lobbyists and not the best interest of the American people.
Until we, the people, make one party or the other stick to a platform to make taking money from lobbyists illegal and passing public financing of campaigns, we are going to continue to suffer this blight no matter which party we vote into control of Congress or the White House. Let us face it the politicians need the money to get re-elected, and the people flipping the bill will get their loyalty. We can do it or let the lobbyists continue to do it. It really doesn't have to cost the public anything to do it is the funny thing. We already require radio and television stations to make public service announcements to keep their federal licenses. Forget giving them tons of time. Give them equal limited time, and they will have to focus on platforms and issues rather than negative adds.
Lobbyists could still exists, but they will have to get meetings the good old fashion way with the merit of the issue on which they are seeking help. It is easy to see how the actual public interest will suddenly become more important than corporate profits which is the way our government for the people of the people by the people is suppose to work for us.
So to both parties I say this, go back to doing business as usual, but once the American people figure this out, the party that actually sticks to their word will be the last one standing. Hell, it might even be a third party, and both of your parties might be left out in the cold. I remember Jerry Springer and the Charterites of Cincinnati. These politicians came into office on the promise of honoring a charter where they spelled out the changes they would make. Are you listening Tea Party? Coffee Party? Libertarians? If you just ran on making taking money from lobbyists illegal and passing public financing of campaigns on your agenda then you could take control of Congress and the White House. Forget everything else. Just keep your promise, and you'll earn the respect of Americans.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thoughts on the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

As I watched Jon Stewart give his pitch at the end of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, I realized his words were the most intelligent thing I’d heard coming out of Washington, D.C. in years, no decades. We do all work together and compromise to get things done daily, so why don’t the people we elect to represent us do the same thing? Have they forgotten they represent us and not their parties? We’ve voted for these people to be our leaders, not blind followers of party lines.
            The irony of the situation is the voice of reason and sanity came from a comedian just visiting Washington, D.C., not an elected official. The cherry dotting the “i” in this ironic rally point is the event was staged by and aired on Comedy Central, not CSPAN. It wasn’t promoted by the Republican or Democratic parties. Maybe we should start a Comedy Central party, and Jon Stewart could be the first presidential candidate with the sarcastic Steven Colbert as his running mate?