Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Weekly Scriblings #17: For certain, it's enjambment

Selective focus photography of dew on a pink tulip, Aaron Burden, Unsplash
“Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words. But on the other hand, here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can't dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than any words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it.” ― Virginia Woolf

Hello everyone and welcome to another round of Weekly Scribblings! I have always loved the formation of sounds that the written word offers, the intonation and rhythm which in turn makes it more natural. So, I thought this week we'd try our hand and explore Enjambment.

Enjambment: Meaning, Use and Function 

French in origin, Enjambment means to step over or put legs across. It can be defined as a thought or sense, phrase or clause, in a line of poetry that does not come to an end at the line break, but moves over to the next line. In simple words, it is the running on of a sense from one couplet or line to the next without a major pause or syntactical break.

The function of enjambment in poetry is typically to allow an idea to continue beyond the limitations of a single line, often to reinforce certain ideas within the lines themselves.

It can be used to create the element of surprise for the reader by delaying the meaning until the next line, some writers use it for purpose of bringing humor into their work. Following are a few examples which further illustrate this concept:

Vernal Equinox 
by Amy Lowell

The scent of hyacinths, like a pale mist, lies
between me and my book;

And the South Wind, washing through the room,
Makes the candles quiver.
My nerves sting at a spatter of rain on the shutter,
And I am uneasy with the thrusting of green shoots
Outside, in the night.

Why are you not here to overpower me with your
tense and urgent love?

Like most poets, Lowell used a variety of lineation patterns. Three of the lines are enjambed while the others are end-stopped or parsed.

The Long Take
by Robin Robertson

At night, the river rolls and turns like oil
under the bridges,
in through the slips.
He walked for hours —
following the glow
in the sky uptown he’d been told
was the lights of Times Square —

his shadow moving with him
below the street-lamps: dense, tight,
very black and sharp, foreshortened, but already
starting to lengthen as he goes, attenuating
to a weak stain. Then back in
under another streetlight, shadow
darkening again, clean and hard.
Who he really is, or was,
lies somewhere in between.

Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116"
Four of the first eight lines of this sonnet by Shakespeare are enjambed.
Click here to find the source and read more

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
That alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

The Winter's Tale 
by William Shakespeare

“I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honorable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown …”

Shakespeare frequently used Enjambment in his plays. The extract above is no different. The meaning flows from one line to the other and the reader is compelled to read the subsequent lines. 

Your Challenge today is to write using the literary device Enjambment. Feel free to address the current world situation, or perhaps delve into a memory of your own. Challenge the reader, surprise us with humor and wit, go solemn and dark or perhaps tender and romantic. The possibilities are endless! 

We at Poets and Storytellers United accept both poems and prose (i.e. stories, essays, articles) you may contribute more than one entry. Also, if you opt to write prose then please keep it to 369 words or fewer. The Prompt will remain open until next Wednesday! 

Good luck composing your masterpieces. I look forward to reading what you come up with. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their work. Also, enjoy this music video by Sean Paul and Dua Lipa. Have fun!💘

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Writers’ Pantry #17: Growing Safety

Yesterday, while exercising (and people watching) on my terrace, I noticed that almost everyone I saw wore a face mask. The sight made my day. Just a few weeks ago, I did my calisthenics with a scowl of disbelief (and frustration) on my face, since more than 50% of the faces I saw walking the streets and parks of New York were uncovered—if you have been watching the news, then you understand what that meant for a city with so many cases of Coronavirus. So, I am thankful to see people taking care of themselves and others by association. And I’m thankful for those of us who continue to share our words and feels (poems and stories are therapeutic gifts that keep on giving, and goodness knows most of world needs a whole lot of that right now).

Keeping that in mind, welcome to another Writers’ Pantry, dear Poets and Storytellers. This is an open link event. Contribute your poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, old or new. If you choose prose, the piece should be 369 words or fewer. Please, one entry per participant. Let’s share words that keep us going (or that remind us why we should).

But before we start feeding Mr. Linky, some Announcements and Reminders:     

- for her Wild Fridays #16: Roving the Web, our Rosemary offers a selection of laughter-infused-quarantine-inspired memes. As she suggests, our immune systems could probably use the boost. So, if you’ve yet to delight in the feature, follow the link and get your medicine.

-  this upcoming Wednesday, Sanaa tells us, “For certain, it’s enjambment”, and invites us to “write using the literary device Enjambment. Feel free to address the current world situation, or perhaps delve into a memory of your own. Challenge the reader, surprise us with humor and wit, go solemn and dark or perhaps tender and romantic.” The choice is all ours!

Stay safe, everyone.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Wild Fridays #16: Roving the Web

The things you find! I couldn't resist this one.

I think the plums in the icebox must be one of the best-known poems ever – only surpassed by the red wheelbarrow (by the same poet, William Carlos Williams – but you knew that, didn't you?). I always thought that if I'd been on the receiving end of his little note that morning, I might not have felt too forgiving, even if it was in poetry.

Then there's this. Seems I'm not the only one to have this problem!  (If you read my haibun for Weekly Scribblings #15.)

There! Hope that boosted your immune system – laughter, we are told, being the best medicine.

They both came from facebook, actually. (It has its uses!) This one, which seems to have most things covered, came from there too:

Someone has pointed out, re item 4, that one shouldn't really need a to-do list to ensure tending to a child in one's care. Too true! But if we do have a child, a pet or a plant to look after, that's one item we can be sure of crossing off virtuously as 'done'. (I am keeping my plants alive; I am, I am! I'm just not weeding around them as often as I might....)

You probably saw Helen's terrific anti-meme poem in response to the latest Writers' Pantry. If not, scroll back a couple of posts from this to pick it up. Going back for a second read, I finally had a proper look at the meme she used as illustration. Oh yeah, I could get into that one – it's about writers!
click image to enlarge it

That's the trouble with memes, isn't it? Mostly they are a pest, but then one will pull you in. If you want to know (or even if you don't) as I told Helen, it's House #5 for me, no question. Not only does it include some of my favourite writers, but even more importantly, there is no-one there I dislike, or am merely lukewarm about.

I can forego Plath in order to spare myself Ayn Rand; Wilde and Brecht so as to miss Hunter S. Thompson; and even James Baldwin (sigh) if it means not encountering L. Ron Hubbard. And the combination of Mailer and Hemingway – and yes, even Joyce – would be way too misogynist for me. (Though it might be fun to watch Dorothy Parker deal with them.)

How about you? You are allowed to play in the Comments.

So I didn't have to rove far and wide through the web for those; rather they came to me. So did a newsletter in my email from Jean Shinoda Bolen, author and Goddess-centred feminist. (She describes herself as 'author, Jungian analyst, activist'.)

Her newsletter contained links to two YouTube videos of empty streets, along with some wise words presented as a poem. One shows streets in Ireland, the other America. Here is the Irish version, which includes audio.

In case you can't quite get all the words through the lovely accent, let me tell you what they tell us: that when when we see the empty streets, either when out walking or watching the news, what we are seeing is love in action. We are seeing how much we do care for each other – and that even though jobs, businesses and lives will be lost, 'It isn't the end of the world. It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.' We are urged to let 'all that love' fill and sustain us.

May it indeed be so!

Stay safe and well, my friends.

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Weekly Scribblings #16: Re-Verse

Happy April, Word Artists and Admirers! I’m keeping things pretty simple, because there have been days since this pandemic started when I’ve been very grateful for simplicity. Choose from at least one of the following “re” words and incorporate them into your work:


This prompt is open to both poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. Just remember, one entry per person and if you decide to go for prose, keep it to 369 words or fewer. Mr. Linky will be open for your poetry submitting pleasure for a week.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Writers' Pantry #16: April prepares us for what's to come ahead

Oscar Nord, Palma, Unsplash
"The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes." ― Helen Bevington, When Found, Make a Verse of 

Greetings everyone! Hope you are safe and well! This is Sanaa and I am back with another exciting Writers' Pantry this Sunday.

First of all, congratulations to all of us who are currently engaged in April poem-a-day challenge; we have made it halfway through the month! Second, as you know we have "Earth Day," coming up on 22nd April. The theme this year is "climate action," as the world prepares to mark 50 years in celebration of this day. 

It is truly ironic how the pandemic has indicated the impact of human activity by suddenly shutting down all that serves to be a damper in the atmosphere. For instance, we are now aware that we can in fact do without a large portion of oil, gas and coal. 

Our world requires transformational change. The following days, weeks and months will hopefully determine how seriously we take it into account. 

Announcements and Reminders:

The topic for next Weekly Scribblings is "Re-Verse." Rommy wishes to keep things simple because they have been days ever since the pandemic when she has been grateful for simplicity. Stay tuned as she shares a list of words to choose from so as to entice our muses.

Rosemary enlightened us with "Wild Fridays #15: I Wish I'd Written This," where she features a small selection of haiku and senryu by Amy Losak which is inspired by the current pandemic. Do scroll back and check it out in case you have missed it! 

Remember, you now have one whole week to participate in prompts. Just keep in mind that some people may have moved on to their next project after a couple of days, so entries posted later might not receive many visitors.

For now, I invite you to share your entry as Poets and Storytellers United welcomes both poetry and prose (i.e. stories, essays, articles) feel free to link anything new or old and relish in the work of others. Also, if you opt to share prose then please keep it to 369 words or fewer.
Pierre Bamin, Unsplash
And now, without further ado, let us dive into the Pantry! Looking forward to grabbing a cup of tea and reading you all. See you on the trail! 💝