Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 6 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 6 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was Winterspring.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

Wyoming
Photo by Amy LV


Students - Today is April 6th, and this means that we have waltzed our way through one fifth of the poemsongs for this month.  I thought it would be a good idea to offer a tip for figuring out the tunes. This hint comes from how I write them.

Songs often have patterns, and these patterns are built from syllable counts per line and repeated words and repeated rhymes and other sounds.  To write these poemsongs, each day I begin with a song in mind. I choose a tune from the matching form or the list in the sidebar there to the left and then count out the number of syllables per line all the way through the song.

You can see an example of this below.  Look at the right hand side of my notebook, and you will see the syllables I've counted out for today's poem.  (The title is underneath that napkin in the upper left hand corner.  No peeking!)

Notebook Draft - Click to Enlarge
Amy LV

Sometimes I sing the original song with syllable counts instead of the words.  The first stanza of this song would sound like this:

1-2-3.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3.
1-2-3.

Originally, I wrote today's verse out with these line breaks, to match what you see above in the handwritten draft.  See how the syllables in each line match what you see in my notebook and in the numbers I just wrote.


Sometimes, though, line breaks can be heard differently.  I looked up today's song, and I found that the lines actually break in a different way than I originally heard them, in the way you see below.  There are the same number of syllables as you see in my handwritten and longer version above, but this version has fewer, longer lines.  Check out the comparison.  Same numbers but different line breaks.

SYLLABLES I DECIDED UPON (Final Poem - Up Top)

1-2-3-4-5-6-7.
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.
1-2-3-4-5-6-7.
1-2-3-4-5-6.

MY FIRST DRAFT SYLLABLES (Longer Version - Just Above)

1-2-3.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3.
1-2-3-4.
1-2-3.
1-2-3.

As poem writers, we always decide not only how we want our poems to sound, but also how we want our poems to look.  In this poemsong, I prefer the longer, fewer lines.  But often I try the same words a few different ways to see what feels, what looks best.

Can you sing the song yet?  If not, go to the matching form or sidebar song list and count out the syllables in the first few lines of each song. What matches what I counted above?  I try to stay quite true to the numbers so that these songs are easily singable.  It is a bit like a math puzzle, isn't it?

Oh, and that cute kitty?  That's Wyoming.  We found her at a county fair this summer, lost and crying in a thicket and covered in fleas.  We brought her home all snuggled in my green fleece and within a few weeks, we found her a wonderful home with a lady whose beloved "Sammy" cat had just died.  It was a beautiful pairing.

Many of my poems are about cats, and sometimes I write about longing for pets.  We do love animals around here....  Meow!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

5 comments:

LInda Baie said...

I have a student who wishes she could have a pet, so suspect she will love this poem, Amy-10 cats! It seems that others in her family are allergic, maybe when she grows up. It's fun to imagine, but I'm not sure I would like that many!

Margaret Simon said...

I have 4 cats and would have more if my husband would let me. He's the wise one. I've also rescued strays like your little Wyoming. This one is a puzzle.

Mary Lee said...

I was curious about your process. Thanks for elaborating!

Damon Dean said...

Love seeing your process...I'm a scratch writer too, my best poems come from scratch.

I think I know which song you used for a pattern. But won't tell!

Linda A. said...

Love the title "Winterspring." Good one. I laughed at the tune with the words. Thanks for showing us how much fun poetry is.