In celebration of National Poetry Month @murisopsis from A Different Perspective is once again hosting a poetic scavenger hunt. This year’s theme is “nonce” form poetry. What is nonce form poetry? Well, it’s basically a form that was created by a poet for their own use. What’s interesting about a nonce form is that if it is adopted by other poets and used more often it will no longer be considered a nonce form, but rather become recognized as a “valid” poetical form.
The scavenger hunt features thirteen nonce form challenges all to be completed within the month of April. I highly encourage you to check out the prompts and participate here.
Ok, now onto the eighth challenge…American Paragraph
No offense intended but, ugh, this feels like a school assignment. Something about the “American” and “concise” and the requirement for a “turn” all make this feel like a hill to climb. But…a challenge is a challenge and I do like challenges. So I’m going to get over my initial grumps and give this a go.
I just read the history of the American Sentence. It’s creation by Allen Ginsberg and it’s basis on the haiku. Ok. Ok. I admit I might have pre-judged this one. I’m now excited for the challenge!
Below is a corrected version as my first published post featured mostly 12 syllable lines vs. the 17 required (apparently I’m not very good at counting on my hands above 10).
God Bless America
‘Murican sentences strung together with rage across the airwaves. A man wrapped up in our nation’s flag slings lies without consequences. Unleashing our ugliness once hidden behind doors and under hoods. We build false walls keeping us locked in an endless war with our own selves. Ruddy faces in matching ball caps rise up to tear our nation down. Holding our flag up high we trample our democracy under heel. We’re waging a civil war with conspiracies and dishonest “news”. Making traitors heroes in the name of God, guns, and the Trump(R) trademark. And now I find myself the unwilling patriot — quietly praying words I had once denounced: “God Bless America”.
Well I broke form at the end but I like the effect that breaking the form makes — it creates an emphatic ending and lands the turn (at least that is my thinking). I know politics is a tricky topic, but with a form named “American Paragraph” I really couldn’t help it. I think the hardest part of this form is knowing whether I’m being concise enough or not. Your thoughts?
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Thank you 🙏
This is a truly passionate and heartfelt poem… But I think you missed the count a bunch – all your sentences are about 5 syllables too short coming in at 12 syllables instead of 17! I think you focused too much on concise… The last 2 sentences replace the period with a comma and turn America to “Merica” and it gives the turn and hits the syllabic number!
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Well that’s what I get for counting syllables on my hands!! I’ll decide later to fix or just let this be a failed example. I definitely wouldn’t change the final America as it would change the whole meaning of the poem.
I hope I didn’t lose any passion in the correction, but I went ahead and converted most of the lines to the required 17 syllable count.