Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Painting By Numbers

In an overdue bid to mark World Poetry Day (celebrated on the 21st March) here's the press-shot from the Valentine's Big Screen shenanigans outlined in my previous entry. (I'm the pallid looking creature in the pink scarf, and this photo illustrates both my dislike of daylight illumination against my blueish-white Twilight-tan, and the face that my face always freezes into the least flattering grimace whenever there is a camera present.)


As you can see it was rather a motley crew of local women participating in the event, though I think that had more to do with the format (love poems) and the fact that it was the middle of the working day on a Tuesday afternoon. While I'd like to say that only the creme-de-la-creme were selected for press participation as part of some elaborate marketing strategy championing fiery-female literature, it's more likely that schoolgirls, retirees, pensioners, council workers from the offices neighbouring the square, and my unemployable self were the only ones available at such short notice.

The poem that was originally adapted into an animated image for the Big Screen event was a crown cinquain titled By The Light. I've always struggled to write on demand - and have even more difficulty practising any economy with words when it comes to any of my writing; be it a hastily scribbled post-it alerting passers-by of the fridge to an unexpected deficit of cat food, a blog post, or an article for a magazine. Abusing my allocated word count and my readers' patience has been a stumbling block since the days of school-essays, and cinquains force me to write outside of that familiar, comfortable style.

A cinquain is a five-line poem with a very strict syllable count; two syllables in line 1, four in line 2, six in line 3, eight in line 4, and two again in line 5. A butterfly cinquain (another favourite in this style) repeats that pattern, but inverted. A crown cinquain such as the one featured here repeats the 2,4,6,8,2 structure five times.

Those very strict parameters are the reason I find it both a challenge and a joy to write cinquains. These poems require endless editing and sculpting to fit within the constraints of the style - constantly snipping down my preferred verbose similes and wildly meandering metaphors until all that remains is enough skeleton imagery and emotion for the readers own imagination to flesh out. This is always an incredibly daunting task for a writer who seeks solace in literary loquaciousness, but is equally thrilling for my inner logophile, and is an excuse to crack open my mental thesaurus. (That sounds like I keep a disturbed dinosaur around to help me find alternative words, which though not my current editing method, does sound like more fun than that irritating paperclip who lurked around Microsoft Word on all the computers at school.) There is also something charming about the purity and simplicity of cinquains that appeals to me. Without having to worry about making sense of any self-imposed rambling structure, I find myself free to really focus on the imagery at hand, while also challenging the importance of every word. It's an entirely different perspective for me, as so much of my work relies on the swirling rhythm of the overall piece, with far less emphasis on many of the words used to create it. My usual manner of poetry is literary pointillism - becoming clearer as the details blend. Cinquains necessitate an opposite approach, and it is this polarity which first attracted me to the style.

That is all a rather dreadfully technical dissection of this piece's creation, and possibly makes for a terrible introduction to a poem which - while pleasingly elegant - could hardly be described as substantial. Here it is however, presented as was required for a commission last year, with the image that inspired it.

By The Light
Copywrite K Lawrence 2009

If you've suffered through this much of the blog, your name is automatically entered onto next years' list of proposed recipients for the animal* version of the Victoria Cross, for bravery and endurance beyond the call of duty.

(*Even my influence has its limits.)

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