October 3rd, 2005

Egrets Reading

Writing to a Challenge

There’s a competitive streak in me that revels in a challenge. This is why I enjoy things like kukai, poetry contests, word poem challenges like the one at Eclectica, and my own personal “word of the day” challenge where I attempt to write a cinquain with Dictionary.Com’s Word of the Day, no matter how obscure the word turns out to be (today’s word is effulgence, for example, which is the state of being bright and radiant).

Madelyn Eastlund, the former president of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (http://www.nfsps.org), has asked me to write a cinquain article for a journal she edits, “Poet’s Forum Magazine”, and recently sent me some sample issues, including the current Autumn 2005 issue.

This magazine is perfect for the challenge-deprived. It appears to be its core purpose.

There are thirteen separate challenges, along with information about two entry-fee/prize money type contests sponsored by Eastlund’s Verdure Publications, which also publishes the poetry journal, “Harp-Strings”. There are no prizes or entry fees for the challenge poems, but the challenges essentially form the guidelines for the next issue of the magazine.

In addition, subscribers to the journal can enter a no-fee “cover poem” and “cover photograph” contest, with a prize of $5 and publication.

Here is a list of the current challenges at Poet’s Forum Magazine. Submissions may be sent to verdure@tampabay.rr.com with a deadline of November 30th.

1. Mundane – Choose something ordinary – but look at it from all angles before you write a 5-16 line poem. Mark your submission: Mundane?

2. Gardner Challenge – If possible, read a copy of “One Sunday in 1966” by Isabella Gardner, included in “Isabella Gardner: the collected poems” (1990 – ISBN: 0918526728). Gardner was the associate editor of “Poetry” from 1952-1956. “One Sunday in 1966” is essentially a list poem or a catalog poem, describing why one particular Sunday in 1966 depresses her. The PFM challenge is to pick a day and construct a poem between 16-24 lines about that day. Mark your submission: Gardner Challenge

3. Neville – a seven line poem that has iambic trimester and tetrameter lines. Lines 1,4, 7 have four feet and lines 2, 3, 5, 6 have three feet. Rhyme scheme abbacca. Mark your submission: The Neville

4. The Gloss – An expansion of a well-known poem’s quatrain in iambic tetrameter or iambic pentameter, written in four ten line stanzas plus the quatrain texte for a total of 44 lines. Any rhyme scheme including free verse but the sixth and ninth lines of the stanza rhyme with the last line of the stanza. The poem should begin with the quoted quatrain, crediting the original title and poet, then each stanza should end with a line from the quatrain. This form is also sometimes called “glose” or “glosa” and was popular in the 14th and 15th Century Spanish Court. There are two examples at the bottom of this webpage:
http://www.ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/publication/insights/v07n01/poetry/rasberry/poetryalreadyinplay.html Mark submission: Gloss.

5. Poetica Pontifica Owl the III’s challenge – Study Clipart. Write a poem. 3 lines to 12 lines. Mark submission: Ponty

6. Inanimate object – Become something inanimate…choose an inanimate object – keys, book, vase, paper, or even a stone. Think about it. Let your imagination feel it, smell it, touch it, hear it. Put down all the images and carefully choose. Keep the poem to 10 lines or less. Mark the submission: Inanimate object.

7. Hour Glass – Pattern 7 lines – Syllable count 4,3,2,1,2,3,4. Lines centered to form a physical hourglass. Mark the submission: Hourglass.

8. Tea Poem – 5-20 lines about tea sent to Madeline’s attention

9. Sonnets – write a sonnet in each of the following sonnet forms:
a. Couplet Sonnet– aabbccddeeffgg rhyme scheme
b. Terza Rima Sonnet – Aba bcb cdc ded aA rhyme scheme, line 14 repeating line 1
c. Mason Sonnet - abcabccbdadda rhyme scheme

If I decide to do all of these, this should keep me busy for a while. I think I'd better write that article first!