Well, i've learned much about the difficulties of a first time author has with breaking into getting a work published. One of the best ways to get your name out to a broad audience without a TON of legwork and promoting work on your own is finding publishers who will work with you through publishing pakages. These have costs that vary with the amount of services provided. While these seem to be a significant expense, reputable publishers can produce a good level of visibility through this type of investment.
After three years and hundreds of hours of editing my historical autobiography of 44 years in the nuclear shipbuilding is polished enough such that at least two publishers are interested in getting it into print. Not having the means to tackle the significant boost of visibility i've gone to the public with an appeal.. Clicking on the side-bar will get you to my Indigogo page for all the details.
Many are like me, with little wiggle room in their budgets for donating to things - just visiting, commenting, or hitting the 'like' button raises my profile on the Indigogo radar; so go ahead!
I thank you in advance.
Following is an exercise of expression. The subject of the two pieces are the same; each bearing similar elements; a greying head, loss of vigor, tempering of libido and ultimate resignation. Each form elicits a slightly different emotional response from the reader. Writers are wise to chose forms that best express the emotional impact they are attempting to illustrate; these can range from humor to pathos and many shades between.
Of Graceless Aging – Shakespearean (English) Sonnet
By Ronald L. Kirkland © 11/30/2012
The crown of age is hoary head; tis said
Yet I who’ve found my joy in Eros placed
Will kick against the loss of beauty’s bed
To sigh and fawn ore’ maidens fair of face
Benumbed of mind by vigor’s final rout;
A mournful loss, this prize of native strength –
For kisses full on passion’s youthful mouth
I’d pawn these restive days of season’s length
What bitter potion, swallowed, choking by
Constricted throat; a grimly clenching maw
In weakness; deemed I once – to better die
Yet chose instead, my place in natural law
Oh shaken fist and railings; having done
Discord no more – content in evening’s sun
Graceless Aging Past – open verse
By Ronald L. Kirkland © 11/30/2012
Protest made – ‘snow on the roof’ and such rot
Tendered with such feigned gaiety as can be mustered
The truth smolders on.
Youth’s joy is plucked bare; as limbs from an insect
A perverse and joyless feat
Among many such assembled – his twisted humors
Cupid’s promises worn thin
The new-years infant, age struck, withered and stark
The lusty cherub now dotard and cold of feet
Hear the feeble rage
Quiet bustle intruding, she comes
Bearing the fruit of a pot’s last gurgle – steaming pleasantly
Her presence comforts me; it has not all been vain
People have different ways 'thinking'; processing their environment including written material.
My wife will encounter a tree; explore the base, move up the trunk, noting, analyzing, querying, off to EACH of the main branches, the secondary and
foliage, flower or bud – VERY linear. Having processed that, she would begin to consider the 'unseen'; the roots, the effects of soil types and water and so on... Gaa, makes my head hurt.
Me, I see the TREE, hear the leaves rustle, feel the roughness of the bark on my back as I sit against it gazing up at the foliage, things 'occur' to me, its scent, the refreshing shade ,the roots reaching down, occasionally protruding; (over a rock, a ledge, un-nurturing soil beneath?). Specifics will leap out, the way the bark curls over the bole of a lost limb, insects that climb and scurry; (Where do they go, why?), the nest in the branches, the way the sap bleeds on broken pines; very un-linear and intuitive.
I certainly can appreciate the approach that is 'normal' for my wife. By necessity, as an Instructor in my last position before retiring, I had to utilize her approach in formulating and developing lesson plans, critical information question banks and tests – though it is not my 'natural' means of processing my environment or reading material.
In reading, I will peruse the whole body of text after my ‘fashion’ of
thinking. Elements will occur to me; the picture being ‘exposed’ by the words, emotional impact (feelings), scents, color, flavors, form, meter, rhythm and the like. If the piece has enough ‘concrete’ imagery to process as an ‘image’, then
I can find the patience to move on to the less concrete implications, and
The difficultly people with a similar thought process to mine have in our reading materials lies primarily with work that is esoteric in nature or disjointed in imagery . These not having enough of the ‘tree’ exposed to identify it as such; where we can then move onto to consider meaning beyond its ambiguity. Thus a writer (unless one has a particular niche in mind)needs to invest a critical eye to her or his work to assure that it is accessible to the broadest range of readers.
Many writers speak of having ‘writers block’; I suppose that this is a condition where one is relying solely on their own imagination for fuel to feed the pen.
Having a propensity to write mostly what I actually‘see’ or’ feel’ there is ample to stimulate in my own environment. I suppose that this is a take-off of the old saw ‘write what you know’. None-the-less writing that describes what you actually see and feel is a great exercise for writers with even a broad range of skills.
Some words on experiences just the last few days as an example.
The darting robin crashes to a nearby shrub, then somewhat awkwardly
retreats to a spot of nearby turf; looking somewhat flummoxed, its beak empty. I’m watering the southeast corner of our modest floral garden, shallow of soil above the clay and riddled with the roots of a thirsty tree, it dries quickly leaving the flora to wilt in the afternoon sun.
The nozzle is set to offer a gentle shower to the emerging daylilies and already blooming hostas; the robin, still sitting on the new mown grass, cocks it head and eyes my activity – perhaps a dozen feet away.
Curious… On a whim, I gently sweep the flow in its direction; reaching out perhaps seven or eight feet. With little hesitation, it makes its way with a hop, hop, hop, to situate itself under the cooling spatter, bobbing its head and lifting its wings – this for several seconds. Hopping back a few paces it sets to fluttering and shaking; its after-bath routine – much to my delight. I returned to soaking the shallow roots of the corner tree; it having no more love of the deeper clay than the thirsty plants.
The robin finished its preening with a flourish and remained at its
chosen vigil nearby. I pondered its presence – seeming to patiently wait, eyeing me yet again. Not believing the intentionality of the first encounter, I was not at first tempted to repeat my actions. The birds head cocked at me impatiently; complying I was treated with a repeat performance – never have I heard of such a thing. At last satisfied, it took wing and went about its business.
Our walk is refreshing in the cool morning of the late spring day. I notice things – small mammals and furtive movements in the trees. My wife looks ahead at the chosen path and speaks of the week’s plans. She is not interested, as I am, in wondering what the small army of ants could possibly do with the young garter snake that met an untimely end by the side of the road.
Ahead a crow, hounded and grounded, stands pat as a last defense; the protective mockingbird is now at a disadvantage. Its adversary is nearly thrice its size. It feints and hops, spreading its wings to flash it plumage – the larger bird, wise to its position, is not impressed and stands patiently. It will win this stage of the game I know, flapping heavily away when the smaller bird returns to its nest.
I've included a Villanelle in my poetic forms. This was originally a form sung by largely unsophistacated domestic and farm workers back when folk relied more on oral traditions. The repeated lines represent refrains that were easily remembered.
Many modern poets do not write in forms such as this as they do not generally read well in our 'linier thinking' generation.
Until today I had not included examples of ‘open’ or ‘free’ verse poetry at this site. This was mainly due to it being a field in which I seldom delved in while penning my earlier efforts. I’ve discovered that many use these terms interchangeably, however more discriminating authorities will point out differences, some of them subtle.
What is generally accepted as ‘open’ poetry are works that are free from a fixed form’s constraints and conventions. Stated simply, the verses (or words) have no fixed meter, structure or rhyming patterns. Capitalization or
punctuation is sometimes abandoned or used in a non-traditional manner; and words, phrases, and lines may be displayed to provide specific effects –
While not following a perceptible form, 'open' poetry may still contain poetic
elements such as; occasional rhyme or near rhyme, assonance, alliteration,
creative use of ‘space’ and the like that distinguish it from simple prose.
‘Free’ verse on the other hand retain more discernible ‘patterns’ of poetic elements and is generally more concerned with a sustainable ‘rhythm’ than open poetry. Capitalization and punctuation, though sometimes used creatively for emphasis, tends to be more traditional and the strophes (or verses) often have other identifiable elements – quatrains, couplets and the
My own efforts will be found to incorporate ‘free’ verse characteristics rather than truely ‘open’ poetry. I hope you find something to enjoy in this newly listed catagory.
Some time ago I made a modest investment of time to investigate English language Haiku and its closely related forms; being intent on ‘getting it right’ if I were to do much writing of them. The one thing I learned with concrete certainty is that there is much diversity of thought on the matter.
Exploring the ‘Eastern’ roots of Haiku and related forms reveal a diversity of thinking even from its earliest history. The historical difficulties involved in coming to a solid consensus on ‘exactly’ what elements of the forms were of primary importance to the various Japanese schools of thought were vastly compounded when the form (based on the Japanese language and steeped with its culture) was transported to English speaking countries.
The following perceptions may be considered as just a primer, the very basics, of the matter.
Haiku, Senryu and Tanka are closely related ‘waka’ (Japanese forms best
described as ‘short form’ poetry). These forms saw a surge of interest bloom in the late 19th and into the 20th century and it was during this period that works by English speaking peoples began emerging in greater numbers. They have as their very basic elements the characteristics listed just below.
What we now perceive as haiku was originally the opening phrases (hokku)
of longer collaborative forms such as Renga and later Renku. Only much later did haiku came into common use as a ‘stand-alone’ form. Most
early Japanese adherents utilized three elements as a minimum. Several
more subtle and complex elements were practiced as well such as purposeful
ambiguity, a sense of space ‘ma’, depth ‘yougen’ and the like..
A kigo – seasonal reference
A ‘cutting’ word or phrase – the transition between a juxtaposition of two (seldom more) images or ideas.
17 sound units (‘on’ or ‘morae’) – generally presented in three ‘phrases’.
Senryu developed as a variant of Haiku that speaks more to the human
condition than seasons; often involving the elements of irony or satire. This
variant is confusing to some as it retains the ‘look’of a haiku by owning
similar phrasing patterns and sound units yet does not offer a kigo nor does it necessarily utilize a cutting word or phrase.
Tanka is another term for ‘short poem’ closely related to Waka. This form uses similar conventions to Haiku and Senryu but contains five lines (related phrases) – the two additional lines with seven ‘on’ thus a phrase pattern consisting of 5-7-5-7-7 'on'.
Understanding these basics, we must consider how English language Haiku and its related forms present problems for those who wish to translate or emulate them.
1.) The sound units of the Japanese (‘on’) are fundamentally different from English Syllables; a problem not easily reconciled. This issue has directly contributed to the following divergent schools of thought in English language Waka; and there are various voices to consider that fall somewhere between these extremes.
a.) Some feel it best to make the visible form reflect a consistent shape by placing our three ‘phrases’ into three lines and using syllables as though they were ‘on’. In Haiku for example, this results in a structure consisting of three lines of poetry with a syllable count of 5-7-5.
b.) The second school of thought involves translating Waka (and constructing modern Waka) to keep what is seen as the philosophical and emotional impact of the early masters. Instead of relying on a rigid ‘framework’, this school works to emulate the forms more subtle techniques;
engaging the reader to make their own connections within a few, still brief but unconstrained, syllable counts – illuminating the moment, sensation, or
emotional focus experienced by the Waka’s author.
Most ‘modern’ authorities agree that the first option makes rendering an accurate ‘translation’ of a Japanese Waka extremely difficult if not impossible, forcing it into a stilted characterization of the original. And while few will deny that writing original English language Haiku using a 5-7-5 syllable constraint accompanied by its kigo and cutting element can be a suitable way to express the form in a contemporary setting, many deem the syllable count unnecessary.
2.) Because a contemporary English language Senryu could use an identical visible structure as a Haiku (the three line and 5-7-5 syllable count for example) even though it is without a kigo nor a clear ‘cutting’ word or phrase among its juxtapositions, it is still commonly mistaken for and/or incorrectly identified as a Haiku.
This is especially troublesome as many contemporary Haiku poets have made a habit of minimizing seasonal references and have jettisoned the ‘cutting’word or phrase in their works and still represent them as ‘haiku’.
This has blurred the lines between the two forms considerably.
3.) Sadly many of Waka’s subtler elements are so lacking in what passes for ‘modern’ Haiku (or its related forms) that if one were to write the words of
their ‘phrases’ (lines) out in one straight line, it would merely appear as a
(very un-poetic) sentence or statement.
There are many ways to add visual elements to your writing style. When the form or shape of the words used is incorperated into the message of your piece this is know as 'Concrete' poetry. I've added some examples of concrete or 'shape' poetry to my poetry forms pages; I think you will enjoy them.
I began writing in the Armed Forces Writers League in 1968. As a 'subscriber'
of their services I empowered the critics and judges to be open and frank as to
the quality my writings. I would receive detailed critique as well as
occasional frank comments. In the beginning, one memorable comment was;
'Reading your poetry causes pain and not pleasure…'
However, by the end of two years, enduring the assaults on my pride and
vanity, there resulted a work that earned honorable mention in their yearly
contest; among the top twenty out of many thousands of entries.
Point… Don't ever under-estimate the value of the extremely rich resource we have available in the many on-line writers groups.
Interaction was PAINFULLY slow when I began; a piece that would take weeks or months to process by a very few, now can be commented on (or seriously critiqued) by many… in a day.
Yes, there are many who write simply as a means to process their thoughts – a very healthy and valuable exercise, but those who are serious about growing in their craft must learn to jettison their pride and cultivate relationships with a select few that will offer objective and dispassionate observations on the quality of your work.
Go find some..!!
Yes, poetry has it's version of fan art; the 'Glosa' form. The form was created as a way of paying tribute to another artist by emulating their style and incorperating a stanza (the 'cabeza') from one of their works into his or her own work.
The example I offer today was written to emulate the style of Edgar Allan Poe and incorperates as a cabeza a stanza from ‘Heaven' [Later titled 'Fairy Land'] written in 1829; it follows as written...
Dim vales—and shadowy floods--
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can’t discover
For the tears that drip all over.
These lines are incorperated in my glosa as the last line of each stanza.
Faun Haven - a glosa
by Ronald L. Kirkland © 2/6/10
Where the haven – for that now deemed but prattled lore
‘Neath gnarly branch—the velvet moss of forest floor?
Who has searched their mystic song or
Penned the parchment whereon its score?
A dearth, a dearth of senses
Whence hidden they of forest fable, should
Anyone be found to tell?
Here is where the Satyr dwells
From men, their prying eyes withstood
Dim vales—and shadowy floods--
Once, among the ancient kin, they were held in reverence
Enchanted folk, and apt to play in woodland, glade or mountain
If chanced upon by sons of men, knees were bowed in deference
Holding court in sacred groves beside a lively fountain
Fame and honor ever fleet—now they seldom wander
But garbed in that of cowled cloak; shielded by its hood.
Retreat, a sad retreat was sound--
From they who’d gaze in stony doubt
Hence in cloistered dells they brood
And cloudy-looking woods
Beyond the shadowy shrouded moor
—Adam’s race they’ll greet no more
Mystical folk are sheltered away
The wayfaring man, how ever so bold
A Sprite or Centaur he’ll not behold.
—Esteem on earth is sadly over
Lore and legend all’s left their fold--
Yet what of those in fog or mist,
In shrouded realms of darkling cover
—Whose Forms we can’t discover
Gone the Satyr in mountain dingle
Who fear the sight of men now hostile
—Weep now for their hidden ways
So seldom seen by light of day--
No Dryads found in wooded realms
Or Fauns to skip in clover
For those who nurse these ancient kind
—And stand to best console them
Bear this swathe and o’er them hover
For the tears that drip all over