Saturday, 5 May 2012

Poetry word games

I have just joined an online line poetry course with The Poetry School called Adventures In Form.  This is an unusual sort of poetry as the forms are not your usual sonnets or villanelles but made up forms using word games.  The course is untutored but the assignments (10 in all) are uploaded each week and then participants work on them and upload their offerings and comments can be made via the forums.  There are over 20 people on this course so I have found it time consuming keeping up with all the emails in my Inbox so now I just log on to the course and view them from there.  The first assignment was a oulipo sonnet and the idea was to choose a title from a sign or saying etc., and then use the letters from that to form a poem of 14 lines.  I used the added restriction of trying to write it as as a sonnet with rhyme scheme.  What fun and what a challenge but I really got into it. It can help to use an anagram generator - one for Scrabble is good.  You can find an online one through Google.  Just type in the title and it will list all the words you can make out of the title.

The next assignment is writing what's known as N+7, meaning to change each noun in your poem to the 7th one following in the dictionary. Try using www.spoonbill.or/n+7/ You can type or paste in your poem and it will make the changes for you. It can be very funny.  Whether it is poetry is another story!  All good fun though.

Here is my oulipo sonnet with title taken from a magazine and no doubling up on letters:


Spruce up your home for spring

You refine your home in a soupçon,
root out mess, compress,
ship out in grey sing-song,
focus on genre, of purpose,
muse on scope for a fancy
corner in green or crimson;
no grimness here, sun, comfy
in rosy hue on crisp space, fine cushion;
pep up spring in fiery rinse, pour
cerise from cans, shiny, hip,
no passé guise in puce or more,
no gross or grimy form can grip
for in your eyes you can see secure
your rooms supreme, sprucy, pure.



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