I gave myself a present this past August–I enrolled in Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab. It was a wonderful treat–a month of experimenting with lyrical language in poetry and prose, receiving spot-on feedback, and challenging myself to focus on some basic and not-so basic skills.
I usually appreciate the restrictions of writing to different poetic forms, and writing with a consistent rhythm and rhyme scheme. It’s a lot like solving a puzzle (and I love word and number puzzles!) Free verse can sometimes seem a little random and haphazard–but the free verse lesson in Renee’s class emphasized the thoughtful and careful techniques and structure that distinguish it from prose. I particularly enjoyed the poetry examples that she used to illustrate these different techniques, from Walt Whitman to Eve Merriam and Valerie Worth. One of the poems was “The Pickety Fence” by David McCord:
Read “The Pickety Fence” aloud and you’ll hear the rhythm and delight of that stick on the clickety fence! Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (and an easy way to impose the restrictions of a structure) I decided to use it as a model for the write-a-free-verse-poem assignment at the end of the lesson. The pickety sounds reminded me of the chipmunks that are constantly chipping in my yard. Here’s the poem I wrote:
THE CHIPPITY CHIPMUNK
(inspired by David McCord’s “The Pickety Fence”)
The chippity chipmunk
is chipper and bright
He chips in the morning
He chips in the night
He’s a cockcrow chipper
He’s a high-noon chipper
He’s a twilight chipper
He’s a chippity chipper
with nuts in his cheeks
He chips in the garden
He chips in the trees
He chips in the tunnel
where he stacks his seeds
He chips and he chips and he chips and he chips
Chippity chip chip
chippity chip chip
—Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved
Want to write your own Pickety Fence inspired poem? If you do, please put it in a comment and I’ll add it to this blog post.
And be sure to enjoy all the Poetry Friday goodness rounded up at Laura Purdie Salas’ blog.