Friday, November 4, 2016

Poetry Friday: A Terza Rima for the Poetry Seven

The assignment? A terza rima, the interlocking poetic form made famous by Dante's Inferno.

The theme? Gratitude.

For once, I knew instantly how this theme would inform my poem: There was no doubt its subject would be my poetry sisters, without whom I would not have explored poetry's "Here Be Dragons" waters. Without them, I'd still be stuck in my safe, shallow, shoals. (Or perhaps, if Dante were my guide, be marooned in poetry purgatory.) The only trick was putting all that into iambic pentameter in the rhyme scheme of a terza rima:

a
b
a

b
c
b

(repeat as necessary, and end with a couplet, if desired.)


In the end, my poem became a tribute to the poems The Poetry Seven tackled this year. Usually, I try to write to a wider audience, but this one is different. I know I'm a better writer when I write with friends---and I needed to say thank you, loud and clear.


(Links to my sister's Terza Rimas today can be found inside the poem.)


A Terza Rima for the Poetry Seven

Sisters do not let sisters ode alone
Nor do they, solo, rondeau redoublé
If raccontino calls, they hold the phone,

And bellow for some muse-y muscle; they
deep six, by stanza, surly sestinas
and dig a common grave for dross cliché.

Don’t bother asking for their subpoenas
To brashly bait expanding etheree
Nothing stops these pen-slinging tsarinas.

Once snagged, they let no villanelle go free;
Mouthy haiku in operating rooms
are re-lined and re-stitched, repeatedly;

So do not question who wears the pantoums
here; it’s seven sonnet-crowned, brave harpies:
Laura, Kel, Trish, Liz, Andi, T. : nom de plumes

who together with laptops (or Sharpies)
have danced the sedoka and triolet;
and ekprasticated art farandwee.

I’m grateful to wield words with this septet:
Friends, forever. Poetesses, well-met.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

22 comments:

  1. Oh, Sara. Well, for one thing, I'm so impressed -- as I always am -- by how you've wrangled this form and somehow poured it full-to-overflowing with beautiful language. But more importantly, thank you. This put a lump in my throat. I'm so grateful for our friendship and our poetic efforts and the monthly touchstone we provide for each other. Love you, friend... xxooxo

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    1. Love you back, friend. xoxoxo

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  2. Wow. Have we really done all that? You are amazing, you've raised the bar and you have taken it to the next level!!

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    1. We have, Andi. I stole Laura's list from her blog, and used it to brainstorm my rough draft. I felt like celebrating everything we've done together.

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  3. *snort*
    We ALL wear the pantoums. And they repeatedly wear us out. I think this is one of the most fun and clever of your poems yet, and I'm honored to be in there with you digging graves and wrestling sestinas!

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    1. Heh, yeah, that pantoum line is a bit over the top, but...hey, so are these forms we tackle. I was just determined to pop some bubbly and be happy for everything we've created together. I'm so, so grateful, every day, for you guys.

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  4. Wow! "Mouthy haiku in operating rooms
    are re-lined and re-stitched, repeatedly;" -- love that. And pen-slinging tsarinas, too. Constantly amazed at how you follow a form and yet the poem is so organic. No form bones sticking out anywhere. Sigh. Honored to be part of the group:>)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you like that line---I was thinking it was a bit...brutal, haha. I really had no idea how I was going to make this form behave. I just kind of paddle out, checking the water, and then before I know, some kind of wave takes me out further than I ever meant to go.

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  5. PS I might add the pen-slinging tsarina to my sig line or Twitter profile or SOMEthing!

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  6. This put a lump in my throat (I see that Liz already said that) - thank you for this, both for the sentiment/lump and the pyrotechnic wonderfulness of this poem.

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    1. And thank you for creating poems with me. Sometimes, I swear, I can feel all of you in the room as I write.

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  7. Um. Um. The only trick? Ha! That is one masterful Terza Rima...and a lovely gift to your friends. Brava and brava. Take a bow....I applaud for an encore!

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    1. Thanks. It was tricky, but worth it, to laud my poetry friends!

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  8. This is very fun, and such a great tribute to your group.

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  9. Truly moving. Love the way you made the poetic forms into dances.

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  10. I'm always amazed at the way your brain works and how the brilliance escapes into the pen and onto the page. Thank you for thanking us in such a witty, charming way. I know I don't say it enough, but I'm so grateful for this "work" we do together. It is a gift. Thank you, thank you.

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    1. Sometimes "the way my brain works" is a bit helter-skelter....so maybe form poetry helps keep me in line, haha. Thank you for your steadfast company these past lovely poetry-writing years.

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  11. A grand huzzah for the seven of you, and cheer of thanks from those of us lucky enough to be your audience!

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    1. Thanks, Mary Lee. I so enjoy your regular poetry posts, too, even though I don't always comment. You are a inspiration to me.

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