Archive for the ‘Poems About Poems’ Category

UK Celebrates National Poetry Day (October 2)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Brits really know how to celebrate poetry.

Limerick Ode To UK’s National Poetry Day
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I hear tell that today has cachet
In Great Britain — immeas’rable sway.
With much rhyme and good reason
They deem it high treason
Not to celebrate Poetry Day.

Limerick Ode To World Poetry Day — March 21st

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

So far, March has been a big month for celebratory limericks. I’ve already limericked about International Women’s Day, Daylight Savings Time, Pi Day, and St. Patrick’s Day. And now it’s time for a two-verse limerick celebrating World Poetry Day, which falls on March 21st:

Limerick Ode To World Poetry Day
By Madeleine Begun Kane

On World Poetry Day write some verse,
Or in poetry reading immerse.
Try a lim’rick, haiku,
Sonnet, ode, clerihew —
Something witty, or languid, or terse.

On World Poetry Day have some fun:
Compose quatrains, blank verse, or haibun.
Double dactyl, sestina —
The poet’s arena
Will even permit you to pun.

UPDATE: I discovered and corrected some serious errors on Wikipedia’s World Poetry Day page (Google’s top entry for the World Poetry Day topic.) The most glaring error was made more than a month ago, on February 15th, by someone who apparently was manipulating Wikipedia on behalf of a UK-based “global grocery and general merchandising retailer” named Tesco. All references to UNESCO, which had declared March 21st to be World Poetry Day, had been changed to TESCO.

I was stunned that nobody was monitoring Wikipedia well enough to catch and correct this error, and that it took me, an infrequent Wikipedia user, to fix it.

So let that be a lesson to people who rely on Wikipedia. While it’s often useful, it’s far from the gospel. And if you find errors there, be a good Internet citizen and fix them.

One more thing — I urge all poets and writers who are at all publicity-minded, to create their own Wikipedia page. Here’s mine.

UPDATE 2: Commenter Tilly Bud inspired me to combine my two limericks, turning them into a two-verse limerick. Thanks, Tilly!

Haiku Or Senryu, That Is The Question (A Limerick Explanation)

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Every so often I get missives from poetry purists. Their message? Most of my haiku are by strict definition senryu.

Now I hate to admit it, but these sticklers are technically correct. For while haiku and senryu take the same form — three line, seventeen syllable poems (five-seven-five) — historically their subject matter and attitude differ.

If you’re waxing poetic about the physical world, chances are what you’ve written is a classic haiku. Throw in a seasonal reference, and it’s a haiku slam dunk.

But if your topic is human nature and human foibles, it’s probably best to label your verse a senryu, especially if you’re being satirical.

Confused? Don’t worry — most people find all this perplexing. In fact, there are lots of articles discussing this very question, and they don’t all agree with one another. Which is probably why so many people (like me) tend to take the easy way out and label all of our seventeen syllable masterpieces haiku.

But please don’t throw up your hands in unpoetic bewilderment. My explanation in the form of a three-verse limerick just might help or, at least, amuse you:

Haiku Or Senryu, That Is The Question
By Madeleine Begun Kane

So how do you write a haiku?
And when’s a haiku senryu?
Both are five-seven-five,
But heavens alive—
All their diff’rences cause much ado.

The distinction’s confounding to some.
Don’t confuse them — you might be called “Bum!”
If your verse has unfurled
On the natural world,
Then you’ve followed haiku’s rule of thumb.

But if seventeen syllables speak,
Not of nature, but human critique,
With satirical pearls
Mocking people — guys, girls —
You’ve embarked on a senryu streak.

An Ode To The Limerick

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The Washington Post runs a yearly limerick writing competition as part of its Style Invitational and has just announced this year’s winners. No, I didn’t win, but I was pleased to receive an Honorable Mention.

If you’d like to read some clever, well-written limericks, I recommend reading the winning limericks.

And now, a limerick about writing limericks:

An Ode To The Limerick
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Writing lim’ricks is sometimes confusing
Cuz the rules can be tricky and bruising.
But their sing-songy beat
Can be fun — just don’t cheat.
Write them right and they’re very amusing.

Shower Demons

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

As I shower
Poems pour out from parts unknown,
Demanding to be shared.

Still, I linger.
Verses taunt me: “Write us down.
Your thoughts, they must be bared.”

End of shower.
Laptop beckons. Towel’s dropped.
I’m free — my poem’s been aired.

Problem Poetry

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Problem Poetry (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

“Your verses belong in the can,”
Said the prof to a man. “They don’t scan.
The problem’s your beat,
Plus your poems have no meat.”
I’m guessing he wasn’t a fan.

(You can find more of my poetry here.)