Blues Stanza

A Blues Stanza is a three line stanza written in iambic pentameter. It has an A,A,A rhyme scheme, with the end of the second line repeating the last word or phrase which ends the first line. So the first two lines have the same end word. Also, the second line either paraphrases or expands on the theme presented by the first line, and the third line comments on or tells the consequences of the first two lines. You are welcome to add more stanzas to make a longer poem, or write one and call it done.

I dream with eyes undaunted by the sky
with luminaries bright beyond the sky
but wake with dreams of loss and don’t know why

And speaking of iambs and pentameters, maybe I should take the time to mention some poetic techniques, structures, and terms.

Starting with Meter. Meter refers to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. Meter has long been considered a basic building block for creating rhythm in most European language poetry. Some common Meters are: the iamb which is one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, (-‘), the trochee (‘-), the spondee (”), pyrrhic (- -), amphibrach (-‘-), amphimacer (‘-‘), anapest (- -‘), and the dactyl (‘- -).

Rhymes are of course Rhymes, and near-rhymes are close but not quite rhymes.

Assonance refers to repeated vowel sounds.

Consonance refers to repeated consonant sounds, alliteration refers to repeated consonants all in a row.

Ploce is the repetition of a word without any specific pattern.

Epizeuxis Epizeuxis Epizeuxis is the repeating of a single word a bunch of times with no other words between.

Anaphora is the repeating of the beginning word or phrase somewhere else.

Epistrophe is the repeating of the last word or phrase.

Onomatopoeia is the term for when a word sounds like the sound made by meaning of the word.

Synesthesia is switching sensory imagery, such as hearing colors or smelling sounds.

Antithesis is a rhetorical device which balances opposites such as up and down, this or that, heaven and hell.

Polyptoton is what happens when you use different words which possess the same root word.

Antanaclasis is when you use the same word more than once but its meaning is different, as in homonyms.

Chiasmus happens. It happens that Chiasmus does. Chiasmus is repeating the same two words or phrases in reverse order.

Duende is the presence of death and a sense of immediacy. That’s the easy definition, if you want more, try: www.duendeart.org.

Okay, some of these terms are obscure and not very important, but I had fun looking them up :). And here are some editing ideas I like to keep in mind when I am not writing. I don’t keep them in mind when I am writing because writing and editing are two separate processes and the editing process interferes with the writing process. The Romantic poets referred to their writing process as a Vatic process, a process of listening without judgment. The writing process is about writing, the editing process is about editing. to the Romantics writing meant listening to inner voices, muses or angels and transcribing. The editing process is an outward process of judging the worth of various already written lines. Also writing and editing simply use two different parts of your brain, forgive the technical terms, one part of your brain is called ‘the writing part’ and another is called ‘the editing part,’ and they get in each other’s way when you try to use them both at the same time. Anyway, here are my editing tips:

Aerodynamics, streamline the poem, remove excess words which do not add to the conversation. Keep language simple and clear.

Use nouns as verbs, play with language and mess with syntax.

Narrow the focus, begin large and broad then move to the specific and individual.

Hint, imply, be subtle, suggest there is more going on beneath the surface.

Be aware of rhythm and breath as well as the empty space on the page.

Reinforce instead of simply repeating. Make the repeated part mean something more due to the new context it is repeated in.

Start in the middle, avoid setting up the piece, begin with strong lines that grab the reader.

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