Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

form, poetry, and the empty cup

imageI spent the day researching obscure poetic forms.  And it was enormous fun — thinking about what to pour into those elegant white cups of structure. Along the way, I wrote this poem for my sisters (the least structured of women). But we’ll get to the poem in a moment.

Because what’s important is this whole cup thing. How the shape of the container/ vessel impacts what goes inside. I don’t drink tea (or coffee) from ugly containers — and don’t go making more of that than I’m saying. :)

Advertisement

Anything worth writing deserves the best possible — and most appropriate — presentation. Forms also help us give shape to the booming chaos within, especially at times of grief, or even great joy. I have written elegies and eulogies (and yes, there is a difference), and the shape of a poetic elegy is no more difficult than a spoken eulogy, sometimes easier.

Form, after all, is just shape. It’s drinking green tea from the celadon tea set my husband brought me from Korea, not from the Aynsley pot my tea conspiracy gave me.

author's photo

author’s photo

Advertisement

That’s reserved for when I need to remember I’m loved, and have overcome difficult times.

A sonnet (at least in my hands) is rarely funny, although that can have its own appeal, the subversion of a form. Any more than I’ve ever seen a tragic limerick. The form (and all its cultural readings) doesn’t go there.

It’s why I don’t drink juice from a teacup, or hot chocolate from a goblet. The forms war w/ the content.

This may be more than you ever wanted to hear about form, structure, and cups. :) But it’s important. Honest.

Advertisement

Because people AREN’T cups. And our ‘form’ needn’t dictate (or even seriously impact) our ‘content.’ I don’t have to wear old person clothes — I needn’t eschew my beloved jeans. Any more than I had to wear a dress to my son’s wedding. :) I can reject form, up to a point. (I’m NOT going to a funeral in pyjamas, despite how many students turn up for class that way!)

But in poetry? I’m sticking to my initial claim: form is a great way of enabling content. :)

septolet for four sisters

eldest
middles
younger still
our lives stairstep

each sister a tread
family the risers
connecting

Previous Posts

making friends with (at?) work
Because of the upcoming move, I've scaled back on many activities I love, including several non-profits. Friday, the head of one I particularly enjoy asked if ...

posted 5:49:17pm Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

temper temper
I'm probably going to get a LOT of pushback on this, but at least in my family, men have worse tempers than the rest of us. And they don't believe ...

posted 12:36:21pm Jul. 24, 2015 | read full post »

In Praise of Teachers Under Attack, reprised
I am so sick of anti-teacher ignorance that I could spit, as my Aunt Bonnie would have said. “It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” No. No, no, ...

posted 1:52:52pm Jul. 23, 2015 | read full post »

moving toward light: opening up and letting go
Photographers have a term for when there's not light to shoot a picture. It's called 'opening up': you increase the aperture -- the hole through which ...

posted 1:42:11pm Jul. 22, 2015 | read full post »

dog days
The heat index lately has been in triple digits: 105º, 108º, even 118º! Hot, in other words. Coming from beach breezes, a pool, and a glorious beach, ...

posted 5:18:43pm Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.