Wednesday, April 04, 2007

You Just Never Know/Notes on Poetic Form

In a letter a few months ago my friend the concert pianist and poet, William Aide, mentioned a poetic form called the pantoum. I had perhaps heard the name as that of some exotic form, but never paid much attention, didn't again this time, my mind on other things. Then recently I came on the name once more and googled it to see just what one was like. To my astonishment I found I'd written one fifty years ago. Yes, really, fifty years, long before the rest of you were born. As an undergraduate I came on a Baudelaire poem called 'Harmonie du Soir', in a complcated form with repeats and rhymes. Couldn't resist making a translation. Now I discover that it is the very thing. A pantoum.

I got the message from the universe and sat down wrote four of them over the next few days, of which, so far, I've kept three. Bill Aide has also challenged me to write a Canzone, (see Auden) a sort of double sestina, but I'm not taking the challenge. Too many repeats even for a compulsive rhymer.

5 comments:

Daniel said...

Well, then, dear David, can we see an example? T'is not fair to merely tease us: let's see the work itself, man!

Zachariah Wells said...

Didn't AM Klein write a canzone? Seems to me there's one in his Collected, but that book's boxed in a Halifax attic, so can't check. As are my PK Page books; seems to me she has a "Poem Canzonic for AMK." But if you're not up to it, David, you're not up to it...

Daniel said...

Sounds like a bit of a challenge has been issued. You're not going to let a young buck -- and from PEI, no less -- get away with it, are you, David? Though to be fair, Zach should have to try his hand as well, being a versifier of at least some merit himself.

So ... The Canzone Confrontation. Poêta a Poêta. In this corner...

Zachariah Wells said...

Well, I'm game to try, tho David's inclination to walk on by seems the saner option. There's some ambiguity about what exactly constitutes a canzone, but since David mentioned ,
which seems to be the way Petrarch wrote 'em, I'll assume that this is the pattern to be followed.

Zachariah Wells said...

A coding glitch; the above should read "mentioned Auden's"