"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sapphic Distress: Form & Theory, Necessary Evils

So, Ash writes:

I'm trying hard to work on my thesis (book), but I'm so distracted right now that I can't concentrate. I have to write a sapphic for my Form and Theory class. Like I care about a sapphic. I've been trying to think of a way to make the F&T assignments into stuff I can use for my book, but so far I haven't been able to. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

A couple of things here. Now I'm not in MFA school, and when I was, well, it was a disaster. But, let's not be so quick to knock something like "Form and Theory" class. One can probably learn a lot more in one such course than a whole slew of workshops. As for making things "fit" into a book--I'd say "don't worry about it." I think I wrote poems steadily for five years before I had anything "good." Or poems that were acceptable to me. That's not to say I didn't publish any, because I did. However, looking back on those poems is like looking at the work of another person, or several other persons. But I spent a lot of time experimenting with forms, giving myself constraints, and so on. I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that I wasn't going to end up with good poems, per se, but the exercises themselves were good for me. I think. And yes, I wrote for five years, produced hundreds of "poems" and not a single one survives. I began writing my "real" poems in early 2002. The work I put in beforehand was essential to my "good" poems.

That said, let's help Ash out. We should all write a quick Sapphic and post to the comment box here. Entries due by 5 pm PDT today. Best Sapphic wins a random trinket from my junk drawer.


larissa said...

What's a sapphic?

Tony R said...

It's a verse form.

A sapphic stanza is made up of four lines.

First three lines contain eleven syllables (trochee, trochee, dactyl, trochee, trochee). Fourth line contains five syllables (trochee, dactyl).

larissa said...

Sounds complicated. I'll leave that up to you po' folks.

Ash said...

Thanks for the call to arms. Here's what I came up with for class.

Either/Or Sapphic

Pretty soon you’ll be in a blissful state and
break off breaking off with the person hurting
(page by page) his way through this photo album.
Either you will or . . .

Ash said...

Also, the last line is dactyl trochee.

Tony R said...


Nice sapphic. I think that's quite good, actually.

Thanks for the correction!

Ash said...

Thanks, T. Maybe it'll go in the book. LOL!