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 Post subject: Acceptable Forms Of Discourse
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:00 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:00 am
Posts: 4962
Location: Milwaukee, WI
This was a meme that I caught on a mailing list:

Each day, everyone was challenged to summarize a news story in the form of a Haiku. The original story URL had to be included with each poem.

This resulted in amazing levels of insight. It has also eaten three man-months of (programming/research/writing/game development) time.

Even more so, on a mailing list where I'm politically at odds with at least two thirds of the members, it resulted in reasoned discussion. In the form of haikus. It's much harder to make a personal attack fit into a 5/7/5 syllable packet, while still making it clear what it is you're disagreeing about.

Right now, there are three acceptable formats for poetry.

Haiku: Three lines, broken down into strings of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

Sonnet: 14 lines of iambic pentameter, following the rhyme scheme of:

abab cdcd efef gg (Elizabethan)


abab bcbc cdcd ee (Spencerian)

Sestina: 39 lines of iambic pentameter, in six verses of six lines, and a final three line half stanza at the end. There are six special words that are repeated at the END of each of the lines in the first six verses, with the order changing in each verse. If we number the words as 1-2-3-4-5-6, the first verse will end with those six words in that order, the second stanza would have them in the order of 6-1-5-2-4-3, the third in the order of 3-6-4-1-2-5, the fourth in 5-3-2-6-1-4, the fifth ends in 4-5-1-3-6-2, and the 6th in 2-4-6-5-3-1.

These six special words show up in the half stanza at the end, with the 1-2 in the first line, 3-4 in the second and 5-6 in the third.

Each poem must summarize and EXPLAIN a news event, the news event needs to be cited in the URL.

If you can't express your opinion in poetry, perhaps you haven't given it enough consideration.

I will accept suggestions for other poetry forms by PM, but the aim here is to make posters think about what they're writing by putting it into a structured form. And to make them cite sources, so people can compare their poetry to the source material; people are much likelier to read a URL after a poetic summary than a rambling screed.

If this topic gets enough traffic fast enough, we'll work out publishing arrangements; don't expect to make even the pathetic amounts that professional poetry magazines pay for verse.

I'd love to generate enough poetry in a short enough time period to sell a monthly digest while the events are still topical enough for people to find them amusing.

However, I expect that at first, it's going to be just for fun.

Ken Burnside
Ad Astra Games

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