Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thursday Poetry Forms (Poetry for Dummies) Week 15

Another Thursday in The Gooseberry Garden and I, CC Champagne, am basking in the imaginary sunshine among the bushes while attempting to make head or tails of yet another poetry form. Please pull up a chair and see what we can find this week.

You may have noticed that I love words? I am, as they would say, rather a verbose person and I believe this is one of the problems I had when I first started my journey in the multi-facetted poetry section of the blogosphere. Haikus! They just didn't seem quite finished to me! As time went on and I found out more about them (and about how to write one myself) it got easier until I now admire those able to write a haiku that packs a punch enormously. Getting a message, the moment or feeling you are describing, across in three mere lines (and a limited number of syllables) is not at all as easy as it might sound, and especially to someone who likes hearing their own voice the way I do, and since last week's post on sonnets was extremely verbose (not to mention slightly confused) I thought we might go the opposite way today.

Monostich is a poetry form that I haven't come across before (apart from on Wikipedia), but the whole idea of writing a poem in only one line sounds fascinating. Could you do that? Say something profound enough, using a single line, conveying an idea, a moment, a feeling or anything else in one single line, and call it poetry... ? The Wikipedia explanation is simpler and gives no rules, apart from the 'sticking to one line' bit, but a few rules could be applicable:
  • One line only
  • Six to twelve syllables (always an even number)
  • Similes not allowed, but at least one poetic devise must be used.
  • No punctuation allowed, apart from the full stop at the end (and capital letter at the beginning).
  • Should be a complete thought (not a fractured sentence).
  • Should not be able to be broken up into several lines.
A quick troll around the blogosphere reveals that there are actual blogs dedicated to this poetry form, like monostich and Monostich Poet (to name the first two a Google search came up with). The history behind this form is that it can be traced back at least to Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (known as Martial in English), via 19th century Russia and Valery Bryusov and into the 20th century where it is said to have been re-invented by Guillaume Apollonaire.

A whole poem in one single line... The thought is staggering! However, I did attend a session of creative writing poetry class a while back, and out of the ten or so people who attended, and all our joint efforts during that evening, I only remember one single piece (and it's not even my own). When asked to do some free writing (of no more than eight lines), one of the participants was having a particularly hard time and by the time the teacher got round to having her read her poem she looked around at the rest of us (all eager to hear what she had come up with), took a deep breath and said:

Telephone cord...

I don't remember any of the other poems from that evening, but I will always remember that one.

If you feel like you want to share a monostich of your own with us, please feel free to visit The Gooseberry Garden's Poetry Picnic Week 14, where the theme this week is "What I am Thankful for". Me? I'm thankful that I have been given the opportunity to take part in not only the sunny Thursday goings-on in The Gooseberry Garden, but the amazing journey that is blogging - and also for any and all comments you may have on the topic of poetry form! Until next week!



Morning said...


you rock.

Jingle Poetry said...



Anonymous said...

Thank you! I enjoyed this one! Though I don't think I could actually write one!