Sestina, Little Thumbelina

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Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon 

 I can’t believe what I am about to say, but I guess stranger things have been known to happen.  The poetry I have been writing  has been more fun then I ever expected. Telling a story using elliptical language is a challenge and thought provoking trying to make all the elements fit together. 

Who would have ever thought I’d find prose and poetry enjoyable? It was my greatest fear in taking a creative writing course. However,  I have come to enjoy the stimulation of the mind and the creativity that it demands.   

Our teacher said, “You will be glad we started the course with poetry.” I didn’t believe it. I thought to myself, “Let’s just take the poison first, and get it done and over with.”  She said not a word about things like sestina, haiku or pantoum, probably fearing she’d scare the bejesus out of the entire class, before we even got started. 

This weekend’s assignment was to work on a sestina. I couldn’t have defined it until now. Here is the definition of this form of writing. “a lyrical fixed form consisting of six 6-line usually unrhymed stanzas in which the end words of the first stanza recur as end words of the following five stanzas in a successively rotating order and as the middle and end words of the three verses of the concluding tercet.” 

I can hear you now “Huh? I don’t get it. What is a tercet?” That’s your assignment. I’m too busy working on mine to explain it. 

 I’ll admit, when you know what you want to say but can’t put your fingers on just the right word to add engaging “sounds, color and flavor” to the composition, it’s frustrating. But I like dancing with words; it’s fulfilling to write when you get all jazzed up and arrange a piece you are satisfied with. I guess that is what poetry it is about; the art of putting a spin on words to make the reader do a ballet with the text.

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