Thursday, April 17, 2014

DAY SEVENTEEN!! "Tanka Poem" for 30 Poems in 30 Days" #NationalPoetryMonth

DAY SEVENTEEN: Tanka, “the Grandmother of Haiku”

Soon we’ll do a free verse poem and move away from all these “form” poems, but I also think the “form” poems are really good practice because you have to work hard to fit your thoughts into the pattern set forth.

Today is another form of Japanese poetry, “Tanka” which has been called, “The Grandmother of Haiku.” This is one of the oldest forms of poetry. It originated in Japan during the 7th century. Unlike the Haiku which tends to focus on nature, these poems allow for emotional expression and were often written by both men and women as private messages to their lovers.

A “Tanka” poem is an unrhymed Japanese poem consisting of five lines ~ although, it’s kind of like some crazy “run-on” sentence as only the first word of the first line is capitalized and the period goes at the end of the very last word of the last line, with no need for commas along the way. 

Tanka poems are generally written in two parts or ideas. The first three lines is one part, and the last two lines is the second part; kind of the result. (The first three lines tend to describe what happened, what was felt and/or feared, etc. while the last two lines tend to represent a resolution or lesson learned). 

This poem is distinguished by the number of lines and syllables instead of rhyme. Please take care to COUNT the syllables in the poem you create and only use 5 lines. Tanka poems consist of 31 syllables in the following pattern:

Line 1 = 5 syllables
Line 2 = 7 syllables 
Line 3 = 5 syllables
Line 4 = 7 syllables 
Line 5 = 7 syllables 

So, here's mine - 

When our eyes first met
it sent tingles down my spine
I hoped you felt it
then we went out together
now we are soul mates.

           © 2014 Stephanie Abney

Here are some BETTER EXAMPLES:

Sally Clark’s poem is about a historical event, rather than a love poem.

Liberty bell rang
in seventeen fifty-three
struck an e-flat note 
hairline crack begins to spread
starts split with Mother England.
           © 2008 Sally Clark

Here’s another example, a poem written by Gerard John Conforti, in his book, Now That the NightEnds ©1996: 
This cold winter night
the snow clings to the tree boughs
in the pale moonlight

the kisses of your soft lips
warm this aching heart of mine.

     ©1996 Gerard John Conforti

There is an inexpensive e-book of his Tanka poetry called “Shells in the Sand” 

YOUR TURN!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DAY SIXTEEN!! "If I Were" & "If You Were" Poems for "30 Poems in 30 Days" #NationalPoetryMonth

These two poems pretty much go "hand-in-hand" so I'm going to tell you about both of them today - try one of each if you can, maybe more because they can be silly and lots of fun, or very deep and heartfelt - all depends on the words YOU choose!!

These fun little poems are actually a quatrain (4 lines) in which the last sound of lines 2 and 4 rhyme. It also has two metaphors (remember, a “metaphor” is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to draw a comparison). It is not the same as a simile. A simile uses the word like or as in order to make a comparison, whereas metaphors use is or are. So if you say “If I were” or “If you were” and named the thing (noun), it is a metaphor.

A simile: Your hair is like golden flax.

A metaphor: Your hair is golden flax.

So, there’s a little grammar lesson for ya’ – sorry, it’s the teacher in me. OK, back to the instructions: one metaphor is for the “I” part of the poem and the other metaphor is for the “you” part of the poem.

Here are some instructions taken from Charles Ghinga’s site (with his permission – I suggest you GO TO HIS SITE for more details and other fun stuff pertaining to poetry:

Instructions: Think of a person you like. Compare that person to some thing (inanimate object). Now compare yourself to some thing associated with the first object.

Giggle poetry class for kids by Charles Ghinga ~ Great site on fun poetry, for all ages, especially for kids from Charles Ghigna
He also writes poetry for grown ups at "Bald Ego"
And if you aren't familiar with Charles Ghigna - you should be. His nickname is "Father Goose" because he is such a fabulous and prolific children's poet. He is the author of more than a 100 books and has written over 5,000 poems. Yeah, he knows his stuff. So, spend a little time on his Giggle Poetry site to learn about this poetry form.

Have fun with these and remember to USE METAPHORS correctly, please. (See above). Enjoy!!



If you were a candle
And I were a match,
I’d light your wick brightly
And some shadows we’d catch.
               © 2001 Stephanie Abney

If I were a shoe
And you were a lace,
We’d always be 
In the perfect embrace.
  © 2014 Stephanie Abney & her granddaughter, Miriam Temp 
(written when they were both rather sleep deprived, but you get the idea)! Cheers!!