SunWinks! February 22, 2015: Waxing Prosaic

SunWinksLogoDear SunWinkers:

In recent weeks, we’ve been backing and filling on topics in the area of the sound and sonority of the language, including a couple ideas, neologism and tumbling verse, which we hope encouraged you to think about sonority and rhythm in new ways. Another way of sharpening your acuity on such considerations is to deprive yourself of the benefit of line breaks. When you do that, you end up with a

Prose Poem

Seemingly a contradiction in terms, the phrase may refer to

  1. a passage, usually short, of non-discursive* prose, the poetic quality of which is self-evident, or to
  2. a long work, which, although printed as prose, because of the prominence of the rhythms, the rich connotations of the language, the scope and significance of the whole, can properly be called a poem.**

Babette Deutsch, Poetry Handbook: A Dictionary of Terms [NY, NY: HarperResource 2002 reprint].

*i.e. not didactic, not arguing a point from logic and reason, as an essay

**Examples of type #2 include James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and E.A. Poe’s “Eleanora.” We are going to ignore definition #2 for obvious reasons and focus on definition #1. Continue reading


SunWinks! February 15, 2015: Take a Tumble

SunWinksLogoDearest hardy, intrepid SunWinkers:

I frequently badger you to read your poetry aloud, and today’s column is no exception. Writing poetry without hearing what it sounds like is like studying a piano etude without touching the keyboard. For about a year, I’ve been making the rounds of poetry open mikes here in Vancouver USA and trying to be a good citizen of the poetry community. Reading your poems to an audience is so valuable, I just can’t recommend it highly enough!

Ghost Town Poetry open mike, February 12, 2015

You get to hear it aloud, hear yourself read it, see what the audience responds to and what falls flat and what flies over their heads. It builds confidence in public speaking and in yourself as an artist. I’ve grown immensely from doing this. Here’s a sample, from January’s Ghost Town Poetry open mike:

This week, we bounce from Metaphors 201 back to considerations of rhythm and sound. Today’s topic is Tumbling Verse a.k.a. Skeltonic Verse. It’s lots of fun and it’s a great way to experiment with rhythm, pace, diction, sonority, and phonetics. Continue reading

SunWinks! February 10, 2015: At The Risk of Sounding Conceited…

SunWinksLogoDear SunWinkers!

As I go through my Gather columns and fill in topics I have not yet addressed here on WordPress with the ultimate goal of producing SunWinks! The Book, we next find the poetic device known as the Metaphysical Conceit.

*sound of jaws dropping to the floor*

Once upon a time, I was reading one of my favorite sourcebooks, which cited Theodore Roethke in a discussion of figurative language:

I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)

from “I Knew A Woman” © Estate of Theodore Roethke

and went on to say, rather too briefly, “this is what is known as a metaphysical conceit.” [Engle and Carrier, eds.:Reading Modern Poetry; Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman & Co., revised edition 1968. From the Introduction by Lawrence Kramer.] Continue reading

One more thing…

Regrettably, Greg Schiller is having to pull the plug on Writing Essential Group at WordPress. Thank you, Greg, for your service! It’s been a nice forum and it’s been nice to hang on to this clutch of Gather friends. My SunWinks! columns will continue on my blog SunWinks! as usual.

Today, however, I got hit with a last-minute project on a tight deadline, so this is a placeholder for SunWinks! for the moment. The next full column will appear as soon as I can manage it.

I want to say one more thing about oxymorons. “Military intelligence” is not an oxymoron. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” is not an oxymoron. These are jokes. The joke is that “military intelligence” should be an oxymoron. The joke is that “military” and “intelligence” are direct opposites.

That doesn’t mean this sort of construction is bad, per se. It’s a great way to construct a one-liner. If you are writing a funny poem and you want to make this technique the basis for a little gag in your poem then by all means do.

Have a great weekend!
Love, Doug

C is for… Part 25

Life on the roller coaster.


C is for Cornucopia

 There have been so many things to write about, that I’ve been a little overwhelmed and I fear I have been procrastinating.

 Lately I seem to be on an emotional rollercoaster, but more on that later.  Let’s start with the most obvious:


C is for Christmas.

 Ever since I was a little girl, I have waited to hear the right Christmas tree “talk” to me.  Only then would I know that that was the perfect tree to come home with us.  Sometimes it took a couple of tree lots and I am amazed that my father, and later Doug and the girls were so patient, ( though the girls bought into the whole concept immediately!)

 This year we decided that we would go all out for Christmas as we were probably going to step aside as the hosts for the family the following…

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