9:59 a.m. — Atlanta
And it is now 10:51 and me without my second cup of coffee. Hello all. I had a draft of today’s blog written yesterday when my computer crashed. Did I have my notes saved? Let’s not go there. I thought I could do a fairly quick rewrite. Hah! An hour has gone by and, as all I have managed is to pull things onto the page but not yet coherent, I have made an executive decision: the form gets pushed off for another week. Oh, stop cheering. You know I’m going to get there.
So, for today. It is getting late [coffeeee….] and I will need a minute to duck into my files…okay, we have a winner: Counterpoint as a poetic exercise, an adaptation. I wrote a form of this when I was learning to write poetry in James Penha’s class. Adding to the fun of this exercise was that we crafted a visual way of presenting the poem. I shall leave that part out.
You are looking for contrasting but parallel elements, items, or themes.
List opposing pairs, such as:
sun / moon
cats / dogs
hopes / fears
sea / sky
sunny day / stormy day
You can pick small personal pairs: cooking supper / getting takeout; or, you can pick something on a world scale: freedom / oppression, which you can make personal, or keep it on a grander scale; you can choose two places.
When you have about ten pairs [remember: we are always building resource pools], choose the one that you want to play with. Start by freewriting for 5 to 10 minutes on each side of the counterpoint.
Go back over the freewrites, looking for the elements of a poem. Jot notes, add to, or cut, as needed. Try and expand the writing on each to roughly 100 words. That’s the reach. It will allow you more choices in how you present your counterpoint.
Look for a structure that allows you to present the polar aspects in a poem. The 100 words gives you enough to write full-fledged poetic monologues on each part of a pair [like a duel between two speakers, or one speaker torn in two]. As always, adapt the exercise to what you want to do. It might be just as fun to write a haiku on each side, or a limerick.
Do ask questions, if I have not been clear on a point [remember? no second cup of coffee, yet]. I shall see you Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday, fingers crossed, for the form.