Inspiration to Try Something New!
Chances are if you’re reading this you fall into one of four categorise. 1) Your a poet! Keep going! You’re doing a fantastic job! And I hope this blog post inspires you to try some new forms of poetry! 2) You’re thinking about trying poetry! Congratulations! I’ve found poetry to be a rewarding pastime that allows me to reflect on my life, how I’m feeling, and what’s important to me, as well as being a lot of fun! 3) You follow my blog and this just happened to appear, in which case I hope you find this as interesting as I did while researching it, and maybe it might inspire you to get your writing hat on! And finally, 4) you don’t know why you’re here, but you are. I hope you keep reading and maybe even give writing poetry a shot!
This blog post aims to explore three uncommon types of poems, why you should consider writing them, and how to write them! When we find our poetry style, at least in my case, we tend to stick to it, continuing to rewrite the same form every time, and while there’s nothing wrong with this, sometimes it can be nice to try something new, to get our brains thinking, and inspire us in ways we don’t expect! So without further ado, let us begin!
Ekphrastic poetry, pronounced ek-FRA-stick (https://forvo.com/word/ekphrastic/), is poetry that describes a piece of art (such as visual art like a painting, or it could pertain to another form of art such as prose), it can be a way of showing appreciation, or critique of the other artwork, of finding hidden meaning, or exploring a work of art further. While it has no set rules, it can be fun to look at the work of someone else and examine what it means to you or relate that artwork to overarching ideas about humanity, death, or other such themes (https://www.tckpublishing.com/types-of-poems/; https://www.thoughtco.com/ekphrastic-poetry-definition-examples-4174699). For example, if you absolutely love ‘Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carrol you, might write something simple like this:
‘Alice fell into a world of wonder,
of caucus` races,
of lost heads and stolen hearts,
and as I tuned the final page I found my heart too was stolen,
left trapped in the book,
but not by a queen of hearts,
but by the magic of fiction and a place I will never see.’
~Down the Rabbit hole
This poem is both a reflection on ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and my own response to reading the novel when I was younger. Or you can write a more complex poem such as:
‘The silly girl in a dress so blue, thought I,
I sat upon the branch,
My head swivelling on my absence of neck,
My great yellow eyes watched,
A silly girl indeed,
Don’t you know you shouldn’t talk to strangers?
Such strange strangers such as I?
For directions no less,
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” says I,
Such a silly girl.’
This poem is a reflection of both the moment in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat but also a reflection on the innate trust of youth and the dangers of such trust, from the perspective of one who sees the folly in Alice’s behaviour that she herself may not see (https://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/resources/analysis/themes-and-motifs/). I deeply enjoy this kind of poem as it asks me to consider another’s work and what I take from it.
Epigram poetry are short poems that feel reminiscent of the comedic talking parrots in comedies with pirates, and that important moment in speeches where the presenter makes a grand bold statement that just so happens to rhyme. This poetry challenges the poet to use minimal words to communicate serious, satirical, or even another message, as you only get 2 – 4 lines following an A, A, B, B, rhyming style, (the last word of the first line rhymes with the last word of the second line, the last word of the third line rhymes with the last word of the fourth.) (https://www.tckpublishing.com/types-of-poems/; https://poets.org/glossary/epigram)
‘Once I saw my cat fall flat,
Laughing, I did not think myself a brat,
But then one autumn night last June,
I fell, and so I changed my tune.’
~Lessons in Courtesy
In this poem, I reflect on both myself and societies tendency to watch funny videos of cats falling off of tables and slipping on polished floors, all while laughing, and then the irony of falling over in front of my own cat and seeing the amusement in her eyes (whether its imaged amusement or not). I found this to be an entertaining subject, while also reflecting on empathy and connection. All in all, it’s a fun poem to write, it’s quick and easy, and it’s a brilliant way to get ideas stuck both in your head and others’ heads!
Nonsense poetry is one of my favorite forms of poetry, as it embraces the absurd and often makes no or little sense. It’s the art of playing with words to make them sound good without necessarily being constrained by meaning and invites an exploration into vocabulary that otherwise can be difficult to find cause to engage in. One of my favorite nonsense poems, (falling into that category of a Ballard of impossibility, as the words individually make sense but not the poem as a whole (http://folklore.bc.ca/one-fine-day-in-the-middle-of-the-night/)) has no agreed-upon title but is sometimes known as ‘Two dead boys’ or ‘One Fine Day (in the Middle of the Night) (https://itseemsamyis.wordpress.com/tag/ballad-of-impossibilities/). It is a poem of contradictions that stumbles the brain and intrigues the reader. This type of poetry has no set structure but often rhymes with the express purpose of making no or little sense. It can be a fun activity to get your mind working (https://thanetwriters.com/essay/style/how-to-write-a-nonsense-poem/; https://www.britannica.com/art/nonsense-verse).
‘We sat and talked of hours,
The silence of ours was flowers,
Our garden gorgeous,
For the lack of thesaurus,
As we finished that walk of ours.’
~The Impossible Garden
But your nonsense poem doesn’t have to be a ballad of impossibility, it can simply make no sense. Your poem can be nonsensical by having contradictions, and things that don’t exist, even in folklore and myth, or you can write such poems by making up new words that have no meaning but feel as if they have meaning. A good example of this is Lewis Carrol’s famous poem, ‘Beware the Jabberwocky’. Below I have written two more nonsense poems with varying degrees of nonsense:
‘There was an old cat called Crumbs,
who often forgot he had thumbs,
He grabbed the milk,
It suddenly spilt,
So he sighed, and cried, and moaned out why,
for that night he had to do sums!’
~Cat Called Crumbs
‘It was a snarqutic night,
The air was fill with smite,
It zagred and jakbird and ciumbered, and clotherd,
Though nary a person was unduly bothered,
It still didn’t feel like a show.
He didn’t hear it,
And neither did she,
A song and a lorning, something of a warning,
So the silly man lost his head.
Though in the morning,
The moon bright and calling,
He still breathed,
His mustache unseized.
and thus he went to bed.’
~It was a Snarqutic Night
I find the creation of these poems to be fun and a way to make my brain think outside the box, which I find can then help with my other projects, but sometimes I write them as they can be just a lot of fun!
This post covered three uncommon types of poetry to hopefully inspire long-time poets to try some new forms of poetry and inspire new poets to write poetry in the first place! I hope you found either something interesting, to challenge your brain, and/or something fun to do to pass time. I wish you all the best with your creation!
WRITTEN BY ASHLEY THOMPSON
(The following poems were also written by Ashley Thompson: Down the Rabbit hole, The Cheshire Cat, The Impossible Garden, a Cat Called Crumbs, and It was a Snarqutic Night)