Okay.  Now that I’ve finished a draft of Wood Life, I find that the itch to write a long poem hasn’t gone away.  So, I’m going to take a crack at something new.  Goal:  75 pages.  Subject: Serial Stalking.

Obsessive and crazy, in poetry, often translates into a prosody that’s often repetitive.  So, I think I’m going to try my hand and monkeying around with form.  To some, “experimental poetry” means Oulipo and Language Poetry.  In fact, messing around with centuries old forms, whether whole sale are just tweaking is a slight be experimental.  Take the sestina, for example.  It’s a fixed form where line ending words must repeat.  Here’s and example from John Ashbery. Poets.org explains a little better how the form works:

The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:

1. ABCDEF
2. FAEBDC
3. CFDABE
4. ECBFAD
5. DEACFB
6. BDFECA
7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

The envoi, sometimes known as the tornada, must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, in the course of the three lines so that all six recurring words appear in the final three lines. In place of a rhyme scheme, the sestina relies on end-word repetition to effect a sort of rhyme.

Now, there’s a way to play with form there to create something new.  Use the same ordering technique, but use a different number of lines.  So, if you make a slight change of 8 lines instead of 6, and follow it until the pattern starts over, this is what you get:

12345678

81726354

48513762

24687531

Four eight line stanzas, possibly with the ending envoi being four lines instead of three.  He hereby dub that an “Octina.”  You can follow this pattern with any set of numbers, so long as stanza contains an even number of lines.

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