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SADDLE UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 4
Happy May! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at Carrot Ranch with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we’ll explore how to use this form to inspire our poetic muse. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.
Check out the poems from last month HERE.
The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!
The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.
Why Write Poetry?
When a writer embraces the ability to convey complex images and emotions in just a few lines, they have learned to strengthen their writing. In the same way, flash fiction helps us hone in on the words to tell our story, syllabic poetry does much the same by forcing us to find the best word and meaning. This brevity of words leads to more concise writing.
Syllabic verse is any kind of poetry defined by the number of syllables in each line. In English, syllables must have a vowel sound. For example, the word “apple” has two vowel sounds, which divide it into the syllables “ap” and “ple.” Depending on our accent, we pronounce some words with different accents on the syllables. For example, the word “fire” and “poem” can be read with either one or two vowel sounds.
Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is a very important tool to convey meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which gives you access to synonyms and rhyming words as you’re composing.
Using Themes in Poetry
What are themes? A theme is a message you want to convey through your poetry. Many poets choose a romantic theme for their poetry, but that doesn’t always appeal to everyone. Another popular theme is “human verses nature.” Writing about the human experience is one way we connect with others through the written word.
Here is a list of some the common themes in poetry from Emma Baldwin. “19 Different Types of Themes in Poetry”. Poem Analysis, https://poemanalysis.com/poetry-explained/poetry-themes/.
- new life
- coming of age
Why are themes important? If you like to read and write poetry it’s because you enjoy “word craft.” At least that’s what I call it. Word craft is the way you, as a writer or poet, shape words into a distinct purpose. It’s your personal brand of magic that you employ to enchant your reader. Often, the theme of your poem reveals itself as an additional meaning. It’s that “a-ha moment” when you make the connection through a poem’s deeper meaning. Remember, without a theme, your poetry does not have a purpose.
The double Ennead is perfect for themed poetry. The three stanzas allow the poem to flow naturally with a beginning, middle, and end, much like our 99-word flash fiction flows.
When you choose a theme, try to break it up into three distinct parts. In my example, I write about the passage of time in the garden featuring a morning glory during the morning, at noon, and at night, per stanza. I added a bit of rhyme because it flowed naturally, unforced. As always, end rhyme schemes are optional.
"The Morning Glory" morning glory dawns bright dew-speckled petals, blossom forth to receive the sun's inner light impermanence of life eternal love's plight morning glory day shines purple, pink, and white noontide sun feeds and sustains unplanted vines no less a pesky weed the will to survive morning glory night wanes flowers snuggle deep under star glow, provocative scents remain promising a new day growth comes with the rain ©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
At first glance, you might think this poem is only about the morning glory plant. Good grief, they’re weeds! However, there is much more here. I chose this flower because of its will to survive, no matter what. My theme is about perseverance and surviving when the chips are down.
This month, select your own theme for your double Ennead poem. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.
- Write a double ennead poem. Remember to count your syllables.
- Post it on your blog or in the comments at the bottom of the post.
- Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the HTTPS:// address of this post into your post).
- Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
- Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
- I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!
Now have fun and write some poetry!
Times Past: Themes and Focus
Although memoir is a true story of a particular part of your life, it must still have structure if you intend for others to read it. Firstly you have to decide what is the story that you want to tell. For most memoir writers it will be the most exciting, heart-pounding, significant time of their lives. For some, this may be their childhood to their coming of age (known as a bildungsroman) whilst for others, it may be an illness, an experience that happens later in life or it could be the relationship you had with a particular animal or a business venture you had undertaken. In reality – it can be any theme you choose. These days there are even immersion memoirs where a person will undertake some task or live amongst, e.g. footballers, for months and then write a memoir on this experience. For most of us, we know our story, and we know what has had the most impact on us, and that is what we decide to write about. For me – it was when my husband and I, as newlyweds, went into partnership with the paramount chief of an exotic island in the Pacific in the running of a small resort and tour business.
Early in the writing process you also need to decide for whom you are writing. Is your audience only yourself, your family or are you planning to publish and sell your memoir to the public. When I started writing my memoir the plan was that it was being written for my family. I included detail that interested them as they knew the friend that helped us load a pile of timber into a container that was eventually to be the house we built on the remote island. As I ventured further into the story my focus changed and I decided that this was a story that had wider appeal than just my loved ones. However, this change meant that the chapters I had already written had to rewritten to remove information that no-one, other than my family and friends, would have much if any interest in knowing. If, however, you are writing for your family then lots of detail about the family will be of interest to that readership. Early in my blogging I came across a chap that had published his memoir. I purchased it on Amazon only to find that this was a story that had been written for the family and had little appeal to the wider audience. It may have been worthy of some blogging of the more interesting aspects but I don’t think it should never have been put up for sale to the public without a lot of editing. If you are writing just for yourself then you can be free with details of a personal nature that might be therapeutic for you to acknowledge but should never be let into the public domain.
Having decided on a theme and a focus the writing begins. How you do this is an individual choice. Some people free write their first draft, just putting down all thoughts on paper. In the second draft, they add the structure. Personally, I write in a structured way from the start, but in second drafts I may change my starting point. Lee Gutkind, the father of creative nonfiction, suggests that you should open with a scene as it is crucial to draw the reader into the narrative immediately. Scenes are active. They show instead of tell and have dialogue and high definition scenes. Scenes and reflections on the effect that this has had on the author’s life should be put into the structure of the book. Again, this can be done in numerous ways either intermingled or set apart from each other.
Once the first draft has been written it should be re-read looking for the themes, focus, scenes, and reflection. If part of the narrative has nothing to do with the theme, even if it is a great story, get rid of it. If it doesn’t suit the focus, edit so that it does. Rewrite to create scenes where necessary and add reflection where there is none.
I would also suggest, as has Stephen King, Lee Gutkind, and many others, that reading memoirs that are of a similar theme to your own is a helpful exercise. Doing so allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work regarding structure. Sometimes the ones you don’t enjoy teach you more than those that you think are fantastic. Analyse what works and what doesn’t work. Reading is also useful when it comes to selling your book to a publisher as they will want to know – where on the bookshelf would this sit? Be able to tell the publisher who your memoir will appeal to. Mine will appeal to those that like travel memoirs, true-life adventure, small business and those wanting to make a change in their life. Knowing the themes and the focus will tighten your writing. I’m looking forward to joining in the discussion on your views of themes and focus.
The prompt for this month’s Times Past is a little different to those normally given. This month I am asking you to reflect on the biggest change in your lifetime. This can be a social change or a technological one or even one of both. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.