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Cyndi MacMillan's Blog

About Cyndi MacMillan
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 I have been a member of Poetry soup since 2011. 


Though my forte is fiction, verse has always appealed to me. There is nothing like a play of words to rattle the ordinary, to tickle away the dust of stagnation. My favourite form is the contemporary sonnet, but I also enjoy free verse. Also, I love the zen experience of haiku, its seizure of a moment, how it can hold a universe in so few syllables. And I admit to a fondness for the Rondeau.




My life is simple, but busy. I’m a writer and stay at home mother. Days are full. 


Currently, I am working on a novel or ... ha ha... should I really say that the novel is working on me? Characters! They have a way of turning a world upside down.


There are some amazing poets on the soup. I am blessed to call many my friends ~~ Cyndi




SO YOU THINK YOU CAN'T WRITE A SESTINA. HA!


Blog Posted:5/23/2013 9:44:00 PM






I have never done recreational drugs, but I am beginning to think that writing a sestina is right up there with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

There are many quotes out there from famous poets about their own “trip” with a sestina. Says Ezra Pound, “The sestina is a form like a thin sheet of flame, folding and infolding upon itself….

No wonder we are so daunted! Maybe you even think you CAN’T write a sestina. I will prove you WRONG! You can SO write a sestina!


Now, the trick to the sestina is to CAREFULLY choose your teleteutons (those are the six end words!), whether you are keeping to the traditional sestina with the six words chosen being duplicated within each stanza or the contemporary approach of modifying the teleteutons with suffixes or prefixes.

First, how to choose your teleteutons ....


Say I wanted to write about the Titanic...

1)  Focus on your poem’s theme... what are you trying to say, what points are you trying to connect? If I were to write a sestina about the sinking of the Titanic... I would probably choose. these as two..
ice and voyage

2) Choose words that have several different meanings...  these are called homonyms some homonyms are words which are spelled exactly alike yet have radically different meanings. Take the word rock... she rocks the baby, he throws rocks... here is a helpful list of homonyms. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_true_homonyms


For my Titanic poem, I may select the word bow... to bow, the bow of a ship, a bow on a dress or in the hair of a child... also this will lead to my next point...

3) Choose a word that is HIGHLY flexible, a word that can be either a verb, a noun, an adjective, an adverb... say like the word warm. You warm your hands, you feel warm...

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/wordlist/nounandverb.shtml



For my titanic poem, I choose... dream...

4) choose a word that is like a universal key, can fit anywhere.... over, up, around....
for the Titanic poem I choose...
aboard

5) choose a word that startles ...  will grab the reader when they see it...
For the titanic poem I choose...
life.

So, the six words I’d choose for my Titanic sestina would be


ice
voyage
bow
dream
aboard
life



Another thought, the sestina has a gift for the poet... the first end word is also the last end word for the sixth verse, PLUS it CAN BE the final word in the envoi...

This provides poets with two things...
one) the unique ability to end as strongly as they begin and
two) to come full circle  

So ... I need to think about where I’m going...


I have

ice, voyage, bow, dream, aboard, life


I’d change my order of my words...

First verse...
1A) Life
2B) dream
3C) aboard
4D) bow
5E) voyage
6F) ice

not bad. I can do this...


So Last verse is like this...

2B) Dream

4D) bow

6F) ice

5E) voyage

3C) aboard

1A) Life


no, I don't like that.. that is not were I see it going... hmmm... let me try again...

Last verse....


2B) aboard
4D) voyage
6F) dream
5E) bow
3C) ice
1A) Life


I see it ending more this way...

so the first verse could be

1A) life
2B) aboard
3C) ice
4D) voyage
5E) bow
6F) dream...


YES! I can do that...

Now, in a contemporary sestina, you can play with the suffixes and prefixes...

examples...

life, lifeboat, life-jacket, lifeline, lifetime, lifelong,
aboard, boarding, boarder, overboard, aboveboard, on board
ice, icing, iceberg, icy, Iceland, icily
voyage, voyager, voyages, bon voyage
bow, bowing, bows, bowtie, bowed,  embower, elbowroom, bowstring
dream, dreaming, dreams, dreamed, dreamless, dreamy, dreamer, dreamboat, daydream  

After reading the above words do you see the poem beginning to form?

How I see verse one... (this is just a brainstorm, not a poem)

Leaving a homeland for a new
life
The family steps on board
The ship is like a wedding cake with pretty icing...
The Titanic is unsinkable and this is her maiden
voyage

A young girl stares at a duchesses’ bonnet, fascinated by a bow
the child is enraptured, dazzled and begins to
daydream

Warning, like Lucy in the sky, sestina’s seem to have an addictive quality.

Try it... lol.. you may just like it after all.

I found these fantastic sites on the Sestina. Worth the read! Especially if you enjoy the contemporary formatting.

http://www.julesnyquist.com/articles/article/4391010/73212.htm

http://www.barefootmuse.com/archives/issue3/evans3.htm

http://poetrysocietyofcolorado.org/workshops/workshops-2011/sestina-a-poetry-form-ann-camy



CHEERS  AND HUGS,
CYNDI

YES  YOU CAN!



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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 8:18:00 AM
    Cyndi, I have written one or two in my lifetime. they take a lot out of you and I am someone who has written hundreds of "form" poems "happily" that have taken me hours to do!! I too used this formula you discuss. I just put my end words on a paper and made myself "go for it" and it ended up working itself out. The problem I have with this form: it's kind of a bore to read!!! I mean, even a person who does them well cannot end up with one that always holds the reader's attention. And All those repeated words can make for pure monotony in the hands of the wrong poet. I wish people luck writing one. I ought to challenge myself to try it again!!! and Crowns you say?? oh my!!!!

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 4:27:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    You know that I am wacky enough to pull up my sleeves and write a special one just for you, Andrea. Honestly, I bet I could... hmmm... something based on one of your favourite MOVIES... dare me? I'd have to have seen the movie... something you found suspenseful, engrossing... throw your gauntlet, madam. I will rise to the occasion. LOL...
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 4:24:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I think that any poem regardless of length or form can be dull if the theme is not tackled in an original way, an overuse of tired rhyme and cliches, weak verbs, no use of the 'magic' of poetry devices and just slap-dash regurgitation.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 4:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Craig:D I have one on the works and another that will require tons of research. The one on the works is called, Sunday's Child, and will tell an entire life using the days of the week to symbolize years... the other is the wonders of the world!
    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 5/24/2013 3:41:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Craig both Dee & I will be more than glad to have you read our Crowns ;)
    cornish Avatar craig cornish Date: 5/24/2013 3:17:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I love it, reminds me of lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! And your right AD 7 sonnets on the same subject--but we could do it--right? But what subject could inspire that many--lots I suppose??
  1. Date: 5/24/2013 7:41:00 AM
    AWK! I meant to copy and paste the "table" for the teleteutons! Craig, you made me snort coffee! Hee hee...yes, hear that! I am in love with sonnet crowns, at the moment--98 LINES. I had actually thought of running a contest on crowns (though, maybe 4 poets may go for it...lol.. no one want to climb everest anymore!) but -- SADLY-- only paying members would be able to post the entire poem on one page... grrr... so no fair playing field with that form! DEBBIE-- I remember first hearing about the sestina and thinking I will NEVER write one. To hard, to dry, at risk for redundancy... one of the hardest poems I have ever read is First time, 1950 by Honor Moore... horrid topic, artful approach

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 7:45:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Warning to the sensitive, do not read the above mentioned poem if already down and upset, as the poem will GUT you and leave you feeling like venison on a plate. I think the sestina is a perfect form for "young death" because of its nature, its obsessive qualities, the words skipping like a scratched record...
  1. Date: 5/24/2013 7:27:00 AM
    But you have 35 sestinas with 39 lines each--that's 1354 lines of poetry! Get er done

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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 6:25:00 AM
    great pep talk Dee! so cool to think of the process in this way, you have made thinking about it joyful! Craig .. its no harder than judging a mixed form contest actually less hard once you have determined if the correct pattern is used you just decide which verses CONTENT you like best. Just layout the end pattern of the words FIRST ..right after you write the first 6 lines.

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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 6:22:00 AM
    She's BACK!!!! But wouldn't judging a contest with all sestinas be a nightmare?

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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 3:06:00 AM
    Great blog Cyndi.

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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 1:27:00 AM
    The Sestina is my favorite form and the ABSOLUTELY hardest form to write, bar none.

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  1. Date: 5/24/2013 1:26:00 AM
    Cyndi after all that hard work on your part, I have just got to try, if i fall full face in the jelly so be it....Seren

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 7:47:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Seren, you made my day! If you give this a go, then I know that my 2 hours writing this blog were worth it! It may not be your flavour, but at the end of it you will know, there is no form I will not explore... I PROMISE THIS! When you get to the last line, you'll think, what next? I can wrestle scorpions!
  1. Date: 5/23/2013 11:57:00 PM
    Lets face it. Lets just take drugs. LOL joke only. Lets write a Sestina YEY!

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  1. Date: 5/23/2013 10:23:00 PM
    what an awesome job you did explaining this, great blog Cyndi

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    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/24/2013 7:48:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thanks, Doll!

My Past Blog Posts

 
Death in Family
Date Posted: 7/23/2014 8:30:00 AM
A CHANGE REQUEST FOR MEMBER CONTEST WINNERS PAGE... Me... upsetting another applecart... or a good idea? Thoughts?
Date Posted: 7/22/2014 3:57:00 PM
GARDEN PARTY CONTEST WINNERS... YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!
Date Posted: 7/15/2014 9:57:00 PM
CONTEST JUDGES: A WAY TO FIND AN ABUSER
Date Posted: 7/15/2014 10:32:00 AM
NEW CONTEST: HARD SHELLS: TURTLE INSPIRED FREE VERSE
Date Posted: 7/13/2014 5:19:00 AM
LEATHERBACK BOY, FREE VERSE, CONTEST SOON TO FOLLOW
Date Posted: 7/11/2014 9:53:00 PM
SONNET TITLE FOUND..THANKS TO CHARMAINE... MINDING MANNERS
Date Posted: 6/11/2014 6:17:00 PM
THANK YOU FOR THE SONNET ENTRIES...short short blog
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 3:27:00 PM
TORRENT: A CONTEMPORARY SONNET, example for my contest
Date Posted: 6/7/2014 6:56:00 AM
NEW CONTEST- Garden Party: VERB-alized NOUN-sense with FLORAL accents. Hungry for summer!!!!
Date Posted: 6/4/2014 10:19:00 PM
UPDATE ON THE HELPLESS CONTEST-- My apologies to all. Exhaustion has hit the household- possible heat exhaustion
Date Posted: 5/29/2014 1:40:00 PM
GENITALS in PRINT, AN OPEN DIALOGUE
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 3:20:00 PM
CONTEMPORARY PUBLISHED HAI_KU TO SHARE
Date Posted: 5/21/2014 2:24:00 PM
UPDATE ON THE HELPLESS/KYRIELLE CONTEST - please check your entries
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 8:47:00 PM
A CARD FOR FRANCINE ROBERTS, who is recovering from a car accident!
Date Posted: 5/9/2014 8:10:00 PM
A WORD PAIRING POEM- THE CLEARING, PAIRINGS BY CARRIE, AE RIVENBANK, CALEB, RUBEN & ANDREA
Date Posted: 5/8/2014 10:21:00 PM
PROMPS FOR WORD PAIRINGS 2 - COME AND PLAY
Date Posted: 5/7/2014 8:50:00 PM
********PLAY WITH ORIGINAL WORD PAIRING***POEMS BUILT BY SOUPERS #1, 3 and 4
Date Posted: 5/6/2014 9:04:00 AM
THE BEST HOW TO WRITE POETRY ADVICE I'VE EVER HEARD. WORTH 20 of YOUR MINUTES. FANTASTIC!!!!!!
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:13:00 AM
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROSE AND POETRY. One piece of writing, three ways
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 12:50:00 PM
TRADITIONAL POETRY MARKETS FOR EILEEN AND OTHERS WHO LOVE RHYME
Date Posted: 5/3/2014 8:14:00 AM
A LOOK AT A LITERARY JOURNAL CONTEST, RULES and the WINNERS POEMS
Date Posted: 4/29/2014 8:37:00 PM
POP QUIZ HOT SHOTS... C'MON... LOVE 'EM, DISS 'EM, JUDGE 'EM, PLACE 'EM!!!
Date Posted: 4/28/2014 3:47:00 PM
SOMETHING FOR EILEEN... and OTHERS WHO TAKE RISKS
Date Posted: 4/26/2014 5:54:00 AM
HELPLESS, A KYRIELLE. NEW CONTEST WITH TIM RYERSON AS CO PILOT! WAHOO!
Date Posted: 4/14/2014 9:24:00 PM

My Poems

12345678
Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
7/17/2014CRADLEDTrioletbaby,love,
6/9/2014THE RETURNSonnetdepression,giving,life,lo
6/7/2014TORRENTSonnetcelebration,life,women,
4/21/2014LA MARQUISEFree versepsychological,
4/8/2014BUKOWSKI CONTESTFree versemoving on,power,teenage,
4/4/2014GINGHAM AND LACE, A BLITZ POEMVersedaughter,love,
4/4/2014NUDE, THIRTY DOLLARS, A BLITZVerseart,imagination,lost love
3/24/201450 GODSFree versegod,peace,philosophy,
3/15/2014WINTER IN PORTLANDFree versedepression,winter,
3/11/2014FREEDOM BLUESTail-rhymefreedom,
2/28/2014WELCOME TO THE BLUENOSEAcrosticfish,history,journey,sea,
2/25/2014PITY THE PIRANHAFree verseintrospection,people,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY, LINDA MARIE, EASTER WALK, 7th REPOSTRhymefamily,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 6- DEDICATED TO LINDA MARIE, REPOSTRondeaufaith,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 5 - FAMILY TREE, REPOST FOR LINDA MARIEVersefamily,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 4- A REPOST DEDICATED TO LINDA MARIERhymefaith,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 3- EASTER LILY, A REPOST FOR LINDA MARIEVerseeaster,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 2-- A REPOST AND TRIBUTE TO LINDA MARIESestinaheaven,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY-- A REPOST FOR LINDA MARIE- WE MISS YOUVersefaith,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A JAMES BOND CROWN OF SONNETS - 6 down 1 to go- SAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsadventure,film,sexy,
2/11/2014ORION: A PERSPECTIVE for third to tenthSonnetmythology,star,
2/10/2014TARTANS, A SONNET FOR FRANCINESonnetfriend,patriotic,places,p
2/9/2014TESTIMONIALS, A SONNET FOR BRIANSonnetfaith,friend,nature,
2/7/2014Double Oh-- A JAMES BOND CROWN, BUILDING IT UP SECOND SONNET POSTED--Crown of Sonnetsgames,passion,
12345678

My Photos


Fav Poems

123
Poem TitleFormCategories
The Sowing Free versedevotion,
Ten Little ToesRhymedaughter,lifeold,old,,gra
Woodland RhapsodyQuatraininspirational
Contradicting KeatsSonnetintrospection,life
Surrender to LoveRhymeloveme,
A Totum Pole OdeConcretenative american,people,
MORE DREAMS TO ROWRhyme royalinspirational,life,
When the Tab Comes DueFree verseinspirational,introspecti
Lighting My Candle From WithinQuintain (English)caregiving,introspection,
The Kirk by the SeaCoupletnostalgia,religion,love,
Moonlight On The WardChokahealth,life,
Nocturnal PoetryRhymeimagination,life,poetry,
SlumberEpicdedication,epic,slam,
FROSTY NIGHT STROLLCoupletinspirational,seasons,
Our ThanksgivingLight Poetryholiday,
Tomorrow's GraceEthereepeace,
A New Star Shines Above HawaiiRhymededication,music,
Jesus, Our SaviorShapereligion,life,
Monarch of SummerHaibunanimals,devotion,inspirat
UntouchedRhymeforgiveness,me,me,
Midnight PearlsThan-Baukintrospection,love,
Beaucoup BloomsTerza Rimanature,spring,spring,
On Heaven's DoorwayNarrativeinspirational,life,care,c
WALKING ON FAITHVersefaith,for children,
BeachworldFree verseplaces,sea,sun,
123

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
Debbie Guzzi United States Flag United States Read
Caryl Muzzey United States Flag United States Read
Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
Joe Flach United States Flag United States Read
nette onclaud Philippines Flag Philippines Read
Drake Eszes United States Flag United States Read
Mystic Rose Canada Flag Canada Read
mourning mist France Flag France Read
elizabeth wesley Canada Flag Canada Read
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders United States Flag United States Read
Ruben O. Argentina Flag Argentina Read
Carrie Richards United States Flag United States Read
kathryn collins United States Flag United States Read
Catie Lindsey United States Flag United States Read
craig cornish United States Flag United States Read
David Williams United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Charmaine Chircop Malta Flag Malta Read
Francine Roberts Canada Flag Canada Read
Eileen Ghali Lebanon Flag Lebanon Read
Poet Destroyer A United States Flag United States Read
Faye Gibson United States Flag United States Read