Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thank you, Unsplendid!

I do like to try new forms now and then.  When I'm participating in a challenge such as National Poetry Writing Month, trying a new form is an excellent point of departure.  The results tend to be, well, form-driven, and are best put away for a few months or years until I have enough distance to discern if they're worth posting to a poetry board for critique. 

Most journals devoted to poetry in forms to which I have submitted seem to favor a rather narrow range of forms; or maybe they just haven't thought my experiments in oddball forms were good enough. 

In any case, I was delighted to find Unsplendid,  "an online journal of received and nonce forms".  The editors will consider any form included in Lewis Turco's Book of Forms, plus nonce forms which you invent yourself.  When they accepted my rondel prime, Legacy, for their issue 2.2, I felt I'd found a friend.   

And now they have published Unjubilee — a favorite child that I've had difficulty finding a home for. 

This was a poem for NaPoWriMo 2007 which still mystifies me. It seems to be sort of an accentual-alliterative rondeau.  In writing it, I don’t think I was consciously going for accentual-alliterative, and am not sure I even realized until now how much alliteration is there.  But for some reason I felt it would be incomplete without the caesuras (indicated by spaces within the long lines). 

The Bible has always been a source of inspiration, though my use of it is hardly traditional.  "Unjubilee" builds on the idea of Jubilee described in Leviticus 27, which aimed to redress inequities in wealth every 50 years by canceling debts and returning land to its original owners.   I conferred with Douglas Basford, an editor of Unsplendid, about adding a note with the biblical reference, but we both felt that the page as set up was so beautiful and clean that we couldn't want to clutter it.

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