The Nacreous Oughts

25 February 2010

"Greetings. I found an entry on Mike Snider's blog that said you are asking
for 'odd and invented forms'.

i have invented a lot of poetic forms over the years, as well as entire systems of versification. often i combine multiple modes & rhetorical figures.
i have written about some on them on my blogs Xvarenah http://graywyvern.blogspot.com (& its successor Abfraction/Unperson/Cardmember http://graywyvern.livejournal.com).

My investigations into the ghazal are chronicled on my ghazal blog:

Makrugh: http://graywyvern.blogspot.com/2003/04/of-form-called-makrugh.html

"ALL the neo-formalisms: actually, there are as many ordering principles
as you want. pick any two contrastive features, & emphasize
one of them in a way that will be perceived as recurrence.
this is the figure, the rest is the ground. we are not
limited by the ones commonly collected by authors of
treatises on prosody: i have written poems, for instance,
in which all the letters of each line (A=1, B-2...Z=26)
added up to 365. or alternated lines in each of three
languages ABCABC... instead of rhyming, endwords could
be marked by reverse consonance (as a poet in the Phil-
ippines invented); or there could be a cadence of stresses
& nonstresses that repeats at irregular intervals within
a free verse poem. these are only just a few thoughts that
came to mind at the moment. but it seems to me that the
principle here is this: that you have some algorithm
which cuts across the spontaneous utterance & transforms
it, whether by compelling or prohibiting a certain element.
in a word: ASKESIS."

"...i have sometimes opted for a "neo-sijo" of 7-8-7-8-8-5 syllables."

"A stanza i invented: the 'snowflake'. Has lines of 3, 5, 7, & 9 syllables--in any
order. (Or with an additional 11-syllable line, for a pentad.) Thus combines rigor
& irregularity."

Two areas i have investigated extensively: Neoprosody & Rhime (gematria number-rhyme).
Neoprosody can be briefly encapsulated as syllabism using lines of an odd-number of syllables & stanzas (usually) that contain a prime-number of syllables (example: 9-5-9-5-9).
Rhime pairs words that are equal sums in the English gematria of A=1, B=2...Z=26.

Once i figured out the best way to write quantitative verse in English:

"Family Alliteration":

The "Jacobean Noh play" i wrote under the title of The King in Yellow:
is written in 7-syllable "rhiming" couplets.
It mostly uses each of the number-sums up to (...) only once.

I am also fond of my "heroic limerick", which starts with a heroic couplet instead of two anapestic trimeters.

"It has always bothered me that the division in sonnets
between the octave & the sestet, comes about six
syllables short of dividing this 140 syllable form into
the Golden Section. E.g. 86 + 53 = 139 for a much
more numerologically satisfying arrangement. Or 137
= 85 + 52, which i have sometimes lineated as 13-11-13-
11-13-11-13 & 11-9-7-9-7-9. For a long time i only wrote
thirteen line sonnets ("treizains"), & the same numbers
i mentioned above for 137 syllables total can easily be
lineated into 11-10-11-10-11-10-11-11 & 10-10-11-10-11."

Michael Helsem

PS you do know about "20-consonant poetry" & "14-vowel poetry" (William the Gillespie)...?

PPS I stole this form from Endre Ady but it's a good one:

'The Mute Griffins

They pass across the sky at noon,
the summer noon,
through seas ablaze with searing light--
the golden barbed and golden scaled
lions of flight.

The birds of story, treasure griffins,
unglossal griffins,
are gazers of the solar zone
who proudly bear a vulture head
of diamond stone.

These birds are voiceless, proudly mute,
despairing mute,
and if they make a sound they sway
and fall to earth a shadowy brown,
a sparrow gray.

And there they pass the sky at noon,
the summer noon,
in black of pride through seas of light--
the golden barbed and golden scaled
lions of flight.'


"O Java Tide"

The chilly waters of the night
are not the night.
The ratchet of my anti-theft
device scrapes in a silent car;
the lone drive's left.

The frigid margins of the dream
are not the dream.
I venture onto foreign soil
in search of rapture & to spring
a hoar gargoyle.

I trail no saving string.

The frozen surface of my life
is not my life."

"Hello, Michael,

Have you looked at the "Odd and Invented Forms" blog located at www.lewsturco.typepad.com? If not, please take a look at it. Then, if you have some forms that you have examples and descriptions of, and that have been used by other people besides yourself, get back to me."

Lewis Turco

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