A few short weeks ago I never thought I would be able to write any poetry, or least not something I’d show without severe embarrassment.
Last year I was totally tongue and brain tied in a workshop by the lovely Meredith Costain. During her workshop each participant came up with gorgeous poem after poem, made up one the spot, while I hid my piece of paper and tried to look invisible.
My friend Renee LaTulippe changed all that. Our love of writing picture books brought us together in the same online critique group. Late last year she asked us to be beta testers/ students for her course The Lyrical Language Lab.
This is some of what her course offers:
Though I already held Renee in high regard as a poetry expert, and like many others subscribe to her inspiring blog No Water River I was a little skeptical that I would be able to learn anything at all about poetry.
But she did it!
Renee took a bunch of uncultivated, uncultured, unpolished, poetry deprived, rhythmically challenged and lyrical lowbrows and whipped them into shape!
When I say whip, I mean softly coaxed, giving us the honest truth when we needed it but packaged in such sincerity and good will and with a firm belief that we could grasp the concepts of poetical language that even we started believing in it.
Poetry seemed so vague, uncontrollable and unidentifiable to me. And though I have read poetry, and many of my favorite picture books are in rhyme or have that sense of lyricism and rhythm, I never thought I could use that in my picture book texts.
Even after just a few lessons I was able to come up with a double dactyl and a short poem in trochee. These two poems here were just done as part of the daily homework assignments during the first five lessons.
For me one of the exciting things about this course is that all our assignments receive personal feedback from Renee as well as plenty of interaction with the other students.
Renee is launching her course .... today! As part of the launch she is giving away a scholarship to one lucky reader, so go over to her blog and check out the details. And here is the link to the course page itself.
About double dactyls (taken from the course):
The double dactyl is a form of light verse invented by Paul Pascal, Anthony Hecht, and John Hollander
- There are two stanzas of four lines each.
- All lines except Lines 4 and 8 are two dactylic metrical feet in length.
- Line 1 is a rhyming dactylic nonsense phrase such as Higgledy piggledy.
- Line 2 usually introduces the topic of the poem, either a person or place. Note that the topic needs to be a dactyl, like the name Hans Christian Anderson.
- Line 6 should be a six-syllable, double-dactyl word.
- Lines 4 and 8 consist of one dactyl plus a stressed syllable.
- Lines 4 and 8 rhyme. None of the other lines need to rhyme.
Here is my child friendly double dactyl:
sniffled and snaffled for
something to munch.
Finding a truffle he
gobbled it down with a
on the floor tiles
make me shake my head.
Dirty hand prints
on the fridge door
make me sigh instead.
Broken pot plants
on the table
make my eyes see red.
when I watch him
sleeping in his bed.
Renee LaTulippe Launch post and GIVEAWAY
The Lyrical Language Lab Course information
About Poetry Friday: (from Kidlitosphere Central) At the end of the week many children’s book aficionados and bloggers use their sites to contribute favorite poems or chat about something poetical in an event called Poetry Friday. The features can be for children or adults, can be original poems, reviews of poetry books, reviews of poetic picture books, links to poems at copyright protected sites, thoughts about poetry, and more.