Week 10: Sestina

I approached the sestina differently than any other poem, for two reasons - firstly, because it is the longest, at 39 lines, and secondly, because people have spoken of it in such reverential tones that a sense of mystique (and consequently, terror) hung across the form itself. I tried to make myself feel better by…

Week 9: Tanka Very Much

Okay, I apologise for the terrible pun. 'Tanka' actually means 'short song', which I think is a beautiful definition of a poem, and fits this form perfectly. Although it is spread over five lines, the tanka is ideally written as one single, unbroken line. The tanka is somewhat similar to a haiku, with a syllable…

Week 6: The Pantoum Puzzle

What a strange and delightful form is the pantoum! Stephen Fry writes that 'if you are a nerdy, anagrammy, crossword puzzler sort of person... you will be especially drawn to the pantoum.' Well, I don't know about nerdy (though my sister may disagree), but there is something pleasingly satisfying about this form. I had to…

Week 5: Sunday Sushi (or Haiku)

Still reeling from last week’s villanelle debacle, I turned to the next on my list, only to realise that I had come to the almighty sestina – the climax of all my efforts. But with my self-confidence shattered, I realised a sestina attempt would yield nothing but frustration. I turned my attention instead to something…

Week 3: Lyric Ode

The quest for the lyric ode took me on a surprising journey this week, and I am left clutching an unexpected holy grail - I have finally explored a world I had long feared to approach... the world of Sylvia Plath. But let me take you back to the beginning. According to Stephen Fry, the…

Week 2: Heroic Verse

While attempting to write heroic verse, I made a surprising discovery. In a previous blog post entitled 'Chastening the Poet Within', I referred to my first clumsy attempt at a sonnet, and wrote that I 'adhered to my own made-up rules of childish simplicity: aabb ccdd eeffgg. Ugh.'. Well, as it turns out, although I…

Do the Maths

I have long believed there a mysterious connection between the mathematical and the creative, though the two seem disparate. Stay with me, creative people, you're going to like this. Albert Einstein once said 'Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.' Perhaps, conversely, poetry contains the mathematics of creative ideas. I recently…