Poetry Challenge #77-Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

Sing-Alongs are always challenging—and sometimes embarrassing—even for me. (And those of you who know me, know I love to sing—badly.) The worst is when someone sticks a microphone in my face and I don’t know the words. That’s when I resort to the trusty mumble-mumble-murmer-murmer— la-di-dah-daaaaaaaa

My Best Friend’s Wedding  Classic!

My Best Friend’s Wedding Classic!

Songwriters who like audiences who sing-along— pirate ship captives & those wanting tips, for example—make singing along easier by writing song with repeated refrains—the more often repeated the better. Which brings me to today’s prompt.

Poetry Challenge #77

Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

“The chant poem is about as old as poetry itself,” writes Robert Lee Brewer in his Oct. 23, 2012 post. “Chant poems simply incorporate repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat [as they do in Blues’ songs], or every other line [as in a Sea Shanty].” Sailors sang shanties as they rowed or heaved on ropes to keep everyone working at the same pace. It’s believed “Shanty” is a morphism of “chanty” meaning both the type of song and a name for the sailor who leads the singing. By way of an example, below is a Chant Poem Cindy created.  

Snow fell this morning, soft and white and cold,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I liked it more before I got so old,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I left the city a long time ago,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

Now I hear sounds of birds—the caws of crows,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.
— --Cindy Faughnan

Follow these three easy steps to create your own Chant Poem—Or “Shanty” if you will! 

  1. Find a headline in a newspaper or magazine that you like the sound of. That will be your chant.

  2. Write a four line rhyming poem where the first 2 lines rhyme and the last 2. AABB

  3. Insert the chant between each line of your rhyming poem and you have a chant poem.

“They know a song will help the job along…”

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1042 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #50

“DON’T USE ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS TO PRETIFY YOUR PROSE!” The warning—BOLD & ALL CAPS—is issued at least once, in ever writing class. So much so, that it’s the title of a Writers’ Digest article expounding the excellence of Raymond Carver via his teacher John Gardner’s leaner-is-neater adverb and adjective-free prose.

If "Ly" were a dog, this is him. Sad.

If "Ly" were a dog, this is him. Sad.

Following in Carver/Gardner's footsteps has let us to “cast a suspicious eye on these forms of speech because many times they add little to what is already on the page.” As a result those ly-ending adverbs (and adjectives*) we once sprinkled throughout our prose as liberally as we sugared our Lucky Charms have been unnecessarily shunned, ignominiously tossed aside, and relegated extremely disposable.

A sign, at the entrance to the Cooper Hewitt Museum's current exhibition Design Beyond Vision(running through Oct. 28th, 2018)  caught my attention and caused me to wonder: Where have all the adverbs gone? Long time passing . . . What has become of those lowly, loathsome “Ly”s? They are, frankly, lonely.

Here's the juicy sign. What's missing?

Here's the juicy sign. What's missing?

Hence today’s battle cry and prompt: Down with Understated. Let’s bravely go where no adverb has gone before…(or at least not for a long, long time.)

Poetry Challenge #50

Ode for Lonely "Ly"

Adverb def.jpg

Let’s write an adverb poem. Begin with the simplest sentence: A subject and a verb. For example: Jack ran. Mary ate. Unicorn flew.

Now ask yourself “how?” or “when?” or “Where?” Answer by adding an adverb. Repeat that adverb and ask “how?” Answer with another adverb. Keep repeating this pattern, asking “how?” or “when?” or “where?” and answering with adverbs, one after the other after the other after the other, until you’ve used all the adverbs you want. Then, bring it to a rousing—or not—finish. As an example, here’s my effort:

Ly sat lonely
Dejectedly, roundly, slovenly,
Unsoundly, ashamedly, awkwardly, unconsolably
Day after day in the darkest depths of the keyboard, until . . .
Unabashedly, slap-dashishly, left-handishly I asked “how?”
Look at Ly now!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

 

define adverb.jpg

Ode For Lonely "Ly" Playlist:

 

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 850 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you.  If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

**To paraphrase McArthur and Arnold: “Adjectives! We’ll be back!”