Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: The puzzle of poetry

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

The puzzle of poetry

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The phone rang and Cameron, age 8, wanted to know if I could tell him the name of a specific type of poem. Oh, the pressure. He described the poem: four lines, one word per line, one letter changed in each word, and all the words somehow related. I had no idea. “Umm .....puzzle poem?” I tried. "No," he said, “every poem is a puzzle.”

So true and how wonderful that he already knows this. Mention poetry in any random group and you can see people’s tension levels rise like boat-lifting tides. The truth is, even the savviest people can be nervous around poetry. But I’m thinking that Cameron is on the right track. A poem is a puzzle. It should be. It shouldn’t give itself away too easily. It should hold something in reserve for a second, a fifth, a fiftieth reading. And the reader shouldn’t approach it as a fence to scale--or worse, to be shut out by. It should, instead, be a puzzle to pick away at, getting satisfaction with each piece that drops into place.

I tried the puzzle challenge Cameron gave me:
bare
bark
lark
lurk

and:

love
live
life
lift

There was no name for it. Cameron finally confessed that he had made up the form. So we're calling it the mind-twisting thought-confounding letter-changing four-line poem. Try one!

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1 Comments :

Anonymous mike baker said...

Fat
Mat
at
Bat

in honor of Matt Stairs, former Red Sox, generously listed at 5'9, 210 lbs

April 5, 2011 at 5:40 PM  

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