Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1 Way to Write Poetry: Rhyming Patterns-- A Wednesday Writing Workout!

Howdy, Campers!

Before we begin, I wanted tell you happy news!  In my last post, we talked about poetry and science. Today, just before I pushed "publish" on this post, I got some terrific news! I just learned that my poem,"Can Our Eyes Fool Our Taste Buds?" from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science is on Science Friday's website! And Susan Blackaby's poem about Scientific Inquiry, from the same anthology, is also on the site. I'm thrilled for both of us! we can begin.

Welcome to another TeachingAuthors' WWW, aka:

Today we're going back to a post from 2010--revised, renewed and reborn for Poetry Month 2016:

Birthdays. Earth Day.  Poetry Month. Poetry Friday.  The world turns. Patterns rise to the surface.  We lean towards structure: forks, spoons, knives separated by dividers; children lined up by height; blouses arranged by color. 

Mom could count on me to put her pencils, rubber bands and paper clips in order.  My marbles grouped themselves into marble villages. Plastic dinosaurs, which my sister and I got from a junk shop (all for a dime!), quickly found families.

Something beautiful happens in my brain when a word goes “click,” fitting into a poetic pattern.

So, today, in honor of the patterns of our lives, let’s play with patterns.  I’ll take you on the behind-the-scenes tour on how I wrote the poem below...and then you'll have a chance to play with your own patterns.

I've been thinking back to 2009, and how I almost told my potential blogmates, “Thank you for inviting me to join your blog, but I’m waaaay too busy to take on another project.”

That's when the hands of five authors reached out to me, all the way on the West Coast, and how, for some reason, I reached back.  THANK GOODNESS!  I wanted to catch this “thank goodness” feeling in a poem.

I began goofing off, thinking of trees, of leaping across the country, across cyberspace.  A first line and then a second line came to me:

What does it mean to have made this leap?
To swing from tree to tree to you?

Suddenly I was in a jungle.  So I wrote (still playing, not sure where this was going):

To find, in the midst of the jungle a few
friends who are smart and kind and true?

I put them together: 

What does it mean to have made this leap?
To swing from tree to tree to you?
To find, in the midst of the jungle a few
Friends who are smart and kind and true?

I saw the beginning of a pattern. Can you see it, too?

The last three lines rhyme.  The first line doesn’t.  But it needed more.  So I decided to write a few four-line stanzas in which the first line of each stanza rhymes with the first line of the other stanzas, and in which the last three lines of each stanza rhyme with each other.

To put it another way, if each letter stands for a different end rhyme, my first stanza looked like is:

Or, to conserve space, A,B,B,B.  What would the next stanza be?  I decided it would be A,C,C,C.  And the next?  A,D,D,D. 

Then I began scouring my rhyming dictionary for earthy words that had enough relevant rhymes to support this pattern.

Here’s my list.  Sorry it's so long...but I did promise a back-stage tour:

Bird, heard, nerd, word, absurd, blackbird, songbird, hummingbird, overheard, blurred, purred, stirred,  
Blog, bog, slog, jog, dialogue, travelogue
Book, brook, look, took, shook, overlook,
Branch, blanch,
Creek, beak, peek, seek, week, critique, sneak, tweak, speak, tweet, cheek, meek, geek, weak, mystique, speak,
Deep, sweep, heap, cheep, sleep, reap, steep,
Dirt, alert, convert, divert, expert, insert, unhurt, blurt, assert, revert, introvert, extrovert,
Earth, birth, worth, unearth,
Fellow, hello, mellow,
Green, clean, keen, queen, scene, caffeine, sixteen, routine,
Grow, so, flow, glow, slow, so, ago, tiptoe, zero, volcano, studio, afterglow, bravissimo,

Leaf, …
Leap, deep, sleep, upkeep, reap, keep,

Learn, discern, earn, turn, concern, return,
Old, gold, enfold, bold, hold, retold, told, uphold, thousandfold,
Post, boast, west coast, most, almost, hitching post,
Readers, pleaders, feeder,
Sing, bing, wing, swing, anything, bring, spring, full swing, ring, thing,
Six, politics, mix,
Teacher, creature, preacher, feature,
Teaching, reaching, screeching, beseeching
Thrive, I’ve, hive, alive, arrive, survived, test-drive,
Tree, si, bee, free, gee, key, me, see, we, forsee, agree, esprit, community, disagree, history, courtesy, anthology,
Tweet, feet, seat, beat, sweet, athlete, bleat, complete, greet
Twig, big, sprig, gig, brillig, dig,
World, unfurled, twirled, pearl, girl,
Read, freed, lead, she’d, we’d, exceed, proceed, succeed, head, need, speed, bleed, plead, concede, misread, feed, greed, seed, weed, stampede,
Write, fright, might, night, quite, right, in spite, excite, goodnight, handwrite, polite, tonight, twilight, unite, parasite, oversight, watertight, 

I chose my words and began to play.  Here’s the result:

This is me, accepting the invitation to join TeachingAuthors
photo credit:
by April Halprin Wayland

How does it feel to cross over this creek,
to fly from tree to tree to you?
To find, in the midst of the jungle a few
readers discerning, kind and true?

How does it feel, week after week,
to water a seed, nearly seven years old?
To watch its young, green leaves unfold
as it gives me back a thousand fold?

I feel I’m Bird, just opening her beak,
at the top of a tree, on the first day of Spring,
easily found on Google or Bing,
joining five friends to Tweet, to sing!
revised poem © 2016 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

                                                   Here's your WRITING WORKOUT:

1) Brainstorm a topic.  (If you need help thinking of a topic, search our posts for the word brainstorming. For example: scroll down to the Writing Workout on Carmela’s post. )

2) Find a rhyming dictionary in the library or work with one online, such as RhymeZone.  List words which fit your dog, your garden, or whatever you’ve decided to write about.

3) Now play with stanzas in this pattern:

(Ha ha. ADDD indeed!)

If you can’t fit your ideas into that pattern, look for a poem you like, figure out its pattern and imitate it.  Or create your own pattern.  

5) Play!  Remember to breathe!  And write with joy.
drawing© 2010 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

Posted with love by April Halprin Wayland and her faithful crew


Janet Wong said...

The people at Science Friday plucked your poem out of the whole set of 200+ poems, April, as one that they wanted to feature first. Congratulations (and thank you again for your poems for THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR SCIENCE!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Wow, Janet--that makes my head spin. I'm even more excited now!


Carmela Martino said...

Congratulations, April. How exciting for your poem to be featured on Science Friday!
And I love your poem, now revised as we get ready to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Can it really be that long? Wow!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

I love your thoughts about leaning toward structure. And--wow!--what a list of rhymes you've created! I'd bet there's at least a dozen poems in there!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

I am beyond honored, April, to be hanging with you on our TeachingAuthors tree!
YOU help ME blossom and bloom.
Thank you for all you share and for being YOU.
Your Fan Esther

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela ~ I know--how can seven years have gone by? I am so grateful and so glad to part of this amazing team.

JoAnn ~ yes--sometimes too many choices clog my brain and DON'T serve me...

Thank you, dear Esther, for submitting my name for consideration lo, those many years ago! What a ride it's been!

Unknown said...

I love the new cover of Rosa Sola.I am reading your page now because i am interested in learning about other authors and books. I also enjoyed the blog about the Rodman connections.
Thanks for the ideas i have got here.I also belong to 12x12.