I made a plan, beginning on my birthday- October 16, 2008 - to keep creativity in focus in my daily life, spontaneously, reflectively, and with intention, by setting in motion several series of small events. Every day I take a photo and record a thought. Every week I write a poem and post a photograph of myself in the context of my life. i don't post every day, but I maintain the schedule of each series and post as often as I can. Before I began I wrote, "I think this will be fun, may be interesting, and will result in a considered year of small moments stolen from a busy life and strung together to make... who knows? At this point it's just a plan. Wish me luck~ here goes!"
“Years 2 – 6” — so what’s changed?
I decided to continue on after a year, because this document had become a treasured reflective spot in my life. There are some changes in "Year 2," expanding options for my weekly poem beyond sonnet to add some other forms-- rondeau or triolet, villanelle. I added the decima in late January 2010, and the pantoum in August. Definitions of each form appear below. I continue to post a photo daily, but may post several pictures taken on one day over the course of a week if I have an interesting series. I may even post an old photo if I'm writing about something I'm thinking back to. I'll continue to have fun with this project; I hope you will too. For Year 3 I tried including other people in the self-portraits that accompany my poems, adding "Musical Sundays" to post mp3s of my music, but these petered out in a few months. This is simply a place for my daily thoughts & photos, and weekly poems in the forms I love. Onward...!
The material on these pages belongs to me
Everything published here was created especially for this project and is owned and copyright by me. When the project is complete I may do something concrete with some of it. So enjoy, but please, if you want to share more than a quote or two send people here, don't displace my work from its context or authorship.
What’s a sonnet?
A sonnet is a 14-line iambic pentameter poem with a unique and characteristic rhyme scheme. They have been written in Europe and England for centuries, and usually combine viewpoint and reflection in a personal yet universal way. I call mine blank-verse sonnets and try for a simple casual scan that observes yet obscures the form. Inspirations are the American sonnets of e. e. cummings and Edna "Vince" Millay.
What’s a villanelle?
A villanelle is an early French form with 19 lines using only 2 rhymes, traditionally broken into 6 verses. It's kind of obsessive, with lines 1 & 3 repeating alternately, the 4th time as lines 18 & 19. The lines can be any length, but don't seem to vary within a poem, and subjects include love, loss and challenge. Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath all wrote them, and from the minute I typed villanelle in "Year 2 begins" I was itching to try it out because I've never written one. My first appear in Weeks 53 & 56. I've run some verses together, as many modern writers have done, for continuity and a cleaner line.
What’s a rondeau?
A rondeau is a form of medieval poetry that pre-dates the villanelle and also uses only 2 rhymes. The earliest come from an 8-line song form with 2 lines of music that repeat-- line 1 as 4 & 7, and line 2 as 8, rhyming the rest in a characteristic pattern. The result is a sturdy little poem that makes its point thoughtfully, and less obsessively than the villanelle, perhaps because the generating couplet is unrhymed, and the lines don't need to be the same length, just able to be sung or spoken in the same amount of time. The first ones appear in weeks 55 & 57. Sometimes the poetic form, sans music, is called a triolet.
What’s a decima?
A decima is an early 10-line Spanish poetic form, with a distinct break after the first 4. It uses an 8-syllable line and has an unusual but characteristic rhyme scheme. It's also a 19th-century form of improvised Cuban song so I thought it would work well in this blog format. My first appear in weeks 66 & 69.
What’s a pantoum?
A Malaysian form from the 15th century-- how exotic! It's a series of quatrains, w/ lines 2 & 4 repeating as lines 1 & 3 in the next. The last quatrain also uses lines 1 & 3 from the first quatrain, with the first line ending the poem. So every line is used twice. My first one is week 95.