Poem Tryouts: Content = Form

22 Jul

8:18 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to a vociferous mourning dove

Hello, all. Surviving? I hope you enjoyed reading the poems posted this past week. I loved reading both the familiar and the new. We might have to have another reading day sometime.

One item of interest, which some of you will have seen on my Facebook wall: Many of you know Sasha Palmer, aka The Happy Amateur. Sasha has just written and submitted to a competition, a short story ‘Born’. The competition is based on fan votes and Sasha is in 1st place. Consider checking the story out and if you enjoy it, rate it.

First go to: [you do not have to sign up, or log in]
Then enter: hughhoweyfanfic in the search box

Sasha’s story is in the top line, Ist, ‘Born’. She also created the sound track. Enjoy!

Now, let me give you something to tussle with and distract you from any summer woes. Today, I want you to try a form you have never written in. I know, but it’s good for you. It’s good for your poetry, too. At its best, form enhances content.

Last week, I gave you two places to look: The Academy of American Poets and Robert Lee Brewer’s list at Writer’s Digest. You may have your own site — in which case, do let us have the link.

Where to start? Pick your topic and then read over some of the forms you haven’t tried to find one whose technique suits your theme. Or, find the form you have been meaning to conquer and figure out a topic that will work well with it. Then, tussle. That’s the fun part.

See you next Tuesday when we shall write a blazon, a form that fascinates me, thus appears each summer. It’s a form I think we can play with beyond its original intention.

I look forward to seeing the forms you choose.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 22/07/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer


Tags: , , , , ,

28 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Content = Form

  1. Sasha A. Palmer

    22/07/2014 at 10:37 am

    Margo, thank you so much!

    I’m not in 1st place, though πŸ™‚ I think a story that receives most recent reads moves up, that’s why mine is “first” at the moment.

    BORN is in 3rd, so far I have a chance of advancing into the next round, but things may change and I’m very grateful for new reads and comments/ratings. Hope you enjoy the story.

    Margo, thanks again, this is very generous of you.

    • margo roby

      22/07/2014 at 1:46 pm

      Interesting and confusing! But 3rd is a happy place, too. Do let us know how BORN does in the end.

      • Sasha A. Palmer

        22/07/2014 at 2:45 pm

        It is a bit confusing.. The three stories with most reads and comments/ratings should make it to the next round. Hope BORN makes it. Will keep you posted.

  2. Sasha A. Palmer

    22/07/2014 at 11:22 am

    Here’s my Fibonacci, unashamedly self-promotional, I’m afraid..

    • margo roby

      22/07/2014 at 1:47 pm

      Well, if you can’t self-promote, who can?!

      • Sasha A. Palmer

        27/07/2014 at 3:00 pm

        A short update: I believe the rules have been changed. There’s nothing on the site now about reads and comments being the basis for advancing to the next round. Nothing about rounds for that matter.
        We’ll just have to wait and see how BORN does πŸ™‚
        Thank you again for all your help, Margo.

  3. Carol Carlisle

    22/07/2014 at 12:23 pm

    Great sites for poetry form. I said I tried Haibun but it sounds more like the blues
    Happy Tuesday

  4. b_young

    23/07/2014 at 8:04 am

    Got a bad case of nerves. (kinda fits here, because it’s to do with form)
    The cento I wrote for the How Writers Write MOOC has been chosen for workshopping. It’s a crap poem, meaningless. An organization of half-random lines.
    It’s like going out to dinner in your laundry day clothes.

    • margo roby

      23/07/2014 at 9:44 am

      See, already I am stressed, because going out to dinner in something fancier than my laundry day clothes means work to me. I’ll be interested to hear how a cento is workshopped and whether the fact the poem is fluff comes up.
      I love the title to the billiard ball poem.

      • b_young

        23/07/2014 at 11:22 am

        Isn’t it a great line! I do like James Tate. He’s like Hemmingway re-writing Wallace Stevens, with a sense of how absurd he’s being to do that

        • b_young

          23/07/2014 at 11:23 am


          • margo roby

            23/07/2014 at 2:04 pm

            I wasn’t going to say anything ^–^

  5. georgeplace2013

    23/07/2014 at 5:38 pm

    An elegy – I’ve never tried one (obviously)

  6. Hannah Gosselin

    23/07/2014 at 6:07 pm

    Of course I’m linking when I totally don’t have time to read :/ I’ll be back and congratulations Sasha!!

    • Sasha A. Palmer

      27/07/2014 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you, Hannah, you may certainly congratulate me on writing the story (with a soundtrack and a cover!) and uploading it πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      28/07/2014 at 9:52 am

      Better heard from, than not at all!

  7. purplepeninportland

    25/07/2014 at 11:04 pm

    This was a good challenge, Margo. It forces you to stretch further.
    Mine is up at:

    • margo roby

      28/07/2014 at 9:45 am

      I will be glad when summer is over and I can return to my routine! Heading over now, Sara.

  8. Sasha A. Palmer

    01/09/2014 at 3:58 pm

    the names of the finalists of the Booktrack competition have been posted, and mine is not among them..oh well, it was a fun writing exercise!

    • margo roby

      02/09/2014 at 7:39 am

      Ahhh. I’m sorry about that, Sasha. It was fun for us, too!


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