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Verse Discussions

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  • Verse Discussions

    HawkLord created a thread in Community Exchange sometime back that has metamorphosed
    into the Poetry Thread from Hell. It contains both technical discussions, ideas and planning,
    a great deal of banter, and quite a number of actual verse submissions.

    I'd like to try to bring some sanity into the process of our versifying activities by:

    (1) moving that activity to the "Writers" Forum, and
    (2) breaking the activities up into marginally more logical threads.

    Hence, I'm creating threads here for discussions on technical matters and plans for future
    work (this thread) and a separate thread for verse submissions. Banter on the subject
    is probably welcome in this thread, but I want to discourage it in the actual verse thread.

    LSN

  • #2
    proposed cooperative verse sequence: request for submissions

    The Mouser and I have been planning to inaugurate a new sequence of communal verse
    contributions as a successor to our recent game with the ballade.

    What we propose to do is to have each contributor post verses to form a large unified
    work. To create that unity, we're going to use a common starting point. Briefly, we're
    going to create a mosaic picture of a fantasy city, complete with incidents / short stories
    describing various unusual events and characters. The cities have individual characters,
    of course, but I expect with a broad cross-section of contributors, we can work a
    little bit of everything in, from down-at-heels decadence reminiscent of Leiber and
    CAS to ultramodernity or elegance or just raw strangeness.

    The starting point of inspiration for the form is Edward FitzGerald's long quatrain
    sequence, The Rubaiyat, which is a fairly free rendering of verse of the Persian
    poet Omar Khayyأ،m. That famous sequence starts with the break of day on the city
    of Naishapur. For our sequence, we plan to start with the onset of twilight on our
    imagined city. The Mouser has already written some opening quatrains, which I hope
    he'll post in the MWM Verse Submissions thread soon.

    At this point, I want to solicit contributions to this project. The Mouser and I are already
    "in," as it were. Mikey_C, Kommando, HawkLord would be more than welcome.
    In addition, we'd really like to see contributions from Perdix and Doc, as well as other
    people in this forum. (Come on, Lydia, don't be coy. Show us some of your verse!)

    Before you contribute, if any of you wish to discuss the idea and proposed design,
    please feel free to post to this thread. The Mouser and I will do our best to respond.
    (I'm swamped at work right now, and had to type this as fast as I could to fit it into
    the work day.) In particular, if you have technical questions about the FitzGeraldian
    quatrain, please feel free to ask.

    When we've reached what we consider a logical conclusion to the sequence, we'll
    put the whole thing together as a single work.

    Looking forward to all of your contributions.

    LSN

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd like to play. :) But still no ballade Am a bit preoccupied at pres. with evaluating positivism as a methodology for social research plus nursing the traditional New Year's hangover. Why do we do these things to ourselves? (in 2,500 words, no plagiarising please).
      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mikey_C
        I'd like to play. :)
        Good. The Mouser and I are counting on you especially. Your skill at narrative
        verse ought to help a lot.

        Originally posted by Mikey_C
        But still no ballade
        No big deal. We're expecting your ballade when the opportunity for you to write it
        presents itself. You admitted earlier to lapidary impulses, too, so I expect you might
        get it roughed out pretty quickly, then tinker with it until it's "right."

        Originally posted by Mikey_C
        Am a bit preoccupied at pres. with evaluating positivism as a methodology for social research plus nursing the traditional New Year's hangover. Why do we do these things to ourselves? (in 2,500 words, no plagiarising please).
        I don't know. Understand about the hangover. I stayed up all night and read a couple
        of books I'd been wanting to read. I definitely feel something resembling a hangover.
        Why do we continue to do this when we're well past adolescence and should know better?

        LSN

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
          Why do we continue to do this when we're well past adolescence know better?
          Where we should have grown, we just groaned instead...
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

          Comment


          • #6
            It's a shame for us you have so much else on your plate Mikey_C as the stuff you write is excellent. I hope that our next project might be more convivial for you to fit into your schedule in that it is designed for submissions that can range from a one verse vignette up to however much you have time for.

            Comment


            • #7
              A rubaiyat is formed of quatrains called rubai, which are in iambic pentameter with rhyming scheme a,a,b,a. Here's a well known example from the famous Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam as translated by Edward Fitzgerald:

              XCIX
              Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
              To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
              Would not we shatter it to bits--and then
              Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

              It's a form which is short, flexible and quite easy to use, but if anyone wants to tinker with the structure (Hawklord, Kommando, Feuerfuchs?), or even ignore the rhyming scheme entirely and just write in quatrains of free verse, then that's welcomed too.

              Rather than a Rubayat, this may turn out more of a Rubaiyique. :)

              Comment


              • #8
                A note on the FitzGeralidan quatrain. Its rhyme scheme is aaXa, where the
                "X" line means, "Anything that doesn't rhyme with the other 3 lines."

                Here's a teaching example from John Hollander's Rhyme's Reason
                (which is highly recommended both for information and amusement):

                Originally posted by John Hollander in [i
                Rhyme's Reason[/i]]
                Translating Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat,
                Edward FitzGerald, it would seem, forgot
                To rhyme the third line with the other ones.
                (The last line underscored its lonely lot.)
                FitzGerald used pretty strict rhyme in his own essays in the form. I want
                to hold out the suggestion that if people wish to use slant rhyme, or simple
                assonance in lieu of strict rhyme, that it would be just fine with the rest
                of us.

                LSN

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd love to play this sounds like loads of fun. Something I can just let my imagination go wild on!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cool. Hawklord's in too. Good to have you in the game Hawklord :)

                    Looks like the 'Patchwork City' game has already begun:

                    [link expired]
                    Last edited by Reinart der Fuchs; 04-04-2010, 08:25 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Mouser apparently chose to emulate FitzGerald and publish his
                      initial quatrains anonymously. :lol:

                      I'm working on a sequence to drop in. I can't imagine Kommando will
                      be able to resist unless he's really busy with other projects. We need
                      to get the attention of Doc and nudge him about contributing. Come
                      on, Doc, just one quatrain (for starters), please? :lol:

                      Lydia, Duncan, Perdix, Adlerian, and several others have a standing
                      request for contributions. Perhaps someone will come through, but
                      if not, we've got enough people to get started.

                      LSN

                      P.S. Mouser, Perdix and I are awaiting your next contribution to the
                      "Lurker at the Baker Street Threshold" thread. Obviously, when
                      time permits.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Mouser brought up with me the possibility that people don't need to
                        restrict themselves to strict quatrains. I agree. A mixture of poetic
                        techniques and styles and forms welded into a common whole can work
                        well. (Take a look at Stephen Vincent Benet's long poem John Brown's
                        Body
                        to see how this can work to good effect.)

                        For an example of how you could provide a drop-in sequence that
                        deviates from strict quatrains: suppose you've got a chunk of quasi-self-
                        contained narrative/incident that you'd like to insert in the work.
                        Suppose you want to emphasize the self-contained unity of this
                        drop-in sequence. You decide to write this sequence in a different
                        verse style -- say, ottava rima (much favored by Byron for
                        humorous narrative) or chant royal. Go ahead, I say. When
                        your sequence is done, the work should revert to quatrains, of course.

                        Certain forms and techniques go with certain styles. Heroic or mock
                        heroic couplets could be used for a sequence, for an epic or mock-epic
                        subject. Similarly, using a long chunk of blank verse could work if you
                        want to achieve a certain grandiloquent rhetoric, similar to Marlowe
                        or some of Shakespeare. (If you try blank verse, good luck. It's hard.)

                        So the summary is: our approach is flexible, but the overall narrative
                        frame will be "mostly" quatrains.

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                          It's a shame for us you have so much else on your plate Mikey_C as the stuff you write is excellent.
                          Yeah, but just because we like his stuff doesn't mean he owes us
                          anything. :lol:

                          Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                          I hope that our next project might be more convivial for you to fit into your schedule in that it is designed for submissions that can range from a one verse vignette up to however much you have time for.
                          We want him for the fantasy city project, but *I* want his ballade, too!
                          Don't let him off the hook, even if it takes him a while with all his other
                          duties! :lol:

                          He needs to get his school work done, obviously, but a few pangs of
                          Art would do him good, too.

                          LSN

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I forgot to ask LSN, should we write about:

                            1) incidents in our own invented city, which we later patch together?
                            2)different aspects of the same city called by different names in different times and planes (a la Tanelorn)?
                            3)or is this all to be set in the same city which we sketch out as we go?

                            I suppose 1) is probably the easier option, with perhaps 2) being the rational for drawing it all together at the end?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Cheers for the compliments. As you can see from the no. of posts in the past couple of days, i'm not averse to distraction, but the ballade seems like bit of a major project. I made a start, but the results got binned with the wrapping paper! Watch this space...
                              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                              Comment

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