Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

Jim Wilson's Blog

About Jim Wilson
(Show Details...)
Bloggers PhotoMy Biography is Coming Soon...

 

Most Recent Blog Post


Meaning and Form
Blog Posted:7/10/2009 7:48:00 AM

 

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><FONT face=Calibri>Recently I have been writing Tetractys, a form created by Ray Stebbing.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The Tetractys has 20 syllables distributed over five lines as follows: 1-2-3-4-10.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><FONT face=Calibri>There is another 20 syllable form that has long held my interest.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>It is a quatrain form derived from Chinese poetry and consists of 4 lines, each line containing 5 syllables, for a total of 20 syllables.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Some of the most famous poems in Chinese history are written in this form.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><FONT face=Calibri>Both the Tetractys and the Chinese Quatrain, called Wujue in Chinese, have 20 syllables.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>What I find interesting is the difference in feeling that comes from their difference in form.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>With the Tetractys one starts with a single syllable/word, and the form gradually opens up, ending with a long, potentially lyrical, last line.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>This last line is half the length of the entire poem.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>With the Chinese Quatrain there is a steadiness of pace since each line is the same length.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Since each line is the same length, meaning and interest tends to be distributed over the entire poem, so there is not so much a feeling of leading to a final statement.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Many Chinese Quatrain poems of the Wujue variety are landscape poems and it seems to me that the form is ideal for landscape because each line is, in a sense, an image in itself.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In the Tetractys the feeling is more like traveling than observing.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><FONT face=Calibri>It is difficult to pin down exactly what a poetic form means.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But the contrast between the Tetractys and the Chinese Quatrain form, both having the exact same number of syllables, gives us an opportunity to observe how form creates a certain kind of meaning all on its own.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p><FONT face=Calibri>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></P>
Please Login to post a comment
 
  1. Date: 7/10/2009 9:31:00 AM
    Before Poetry Soup, I must say I resented "forms". I would ask, "How on earth can one fit their "emotions" in a form? Now after taking the plunge do to everyones wonderful contests; I realize IF one is aware of a # of forms, comfortable with them, then...one has the ability to "match" the content & emotion with a more appropriate form. Light & Love

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/10/2009 8:17:00 AM
    Hi Jim,One of the other two key features of Ray Stebbing's tetractys is that each line is 'to stand on its own' & the challenge is 'to express a complete thought' profound,comic, witty or wise.It can also be doubled,inverted etc.Stebbing's literary excecutor gave me permission to include one of Ray's originals in my 'SHORTHAND OF THE HEART' a selection of poetic form.isbn 1-903203-422 published by his QQ Press.Rgds Brian

    Login to Reply

My Past Blog Posts

 
Today is Fibonacci Day!!!
Date Posted: 11/23/2011 2:15:00 PM
Meaning and Form, Again
Date Posted: 7/16/2009 6:45:00 AM
Meaning and Form
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 7:48:00 AM
Poet Ancestors
Date Posted: 7/6/2009 7:03:00 AM
Lanterne Light
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 2:32:00 PM
Renga Request
Date Posted: 5/25/2009 7:50:00 AM
100 Poems and Many Thanks
Date Posted: 4/28/2009 11:43:00 AM

My Poems

1234567
Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
11/24/2011Time On Their HandsHaikulife,
11/23/2011Homage to the FibonacciFibonaccifunny,inspirational,
11/16/2011AftermathTankalife,
11/14/2011Night WalkHaikunature,
11/13/2011NightscapeHaikulife,
11/13/2011Sunday PerspectiveQuatrainintrospection,
11/12/2011ReminderQuatrainintrospection,
11/11/2011TGIFSonnetlife,
11/11/2011Long JourneyTankalife,
11/10/2011Safe HarborVerseinspirational,
11/9/2011NightscapeHaikumother,
11/9/2011SunriseEthereelove,
8/14/2009What I Do At DawnTetractysfaith
8/12/2009BeaglesVersefunny
8/9/2009Warm NightTetractysnature
8/8/2009DozingTetractyslife
8/8/2009When They Were YoungTetractyslife
8/7/2009Traffic LightTetractyslife
8/6/2009In the GardenTetractyslife
8/5/2009Summer NightQuatrainlife
8/4/2009PuzzledTetractyswar
7/21/2009Signs of LoveTetractyslovelove,
7/20/2009Summer SceneTetractysnature
7/19/2009Why I PrayTetractysfaith
7/18/2009At the HospitalHaikulife
1234567

My Photos


Fav Poems

No Fav Poems Selected

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
Carrie Richards United States Flag United States Read
Jim Fish United States Flag United States Read
Barbara Gorelick United States Flag United States Read
Raul Moreno United States Flag United States Read
Adeleke Adeite Nigeria Flag Nigeria Read
Brian Strand United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read