Class ended 130 days ago.

European Poetic Forms

Instructor: James Bartlett (Pantygynt)

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Start Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Duration: Five Weeks
Class Size: 7 Students
Seats Left: 5

Not content with our own rich heritage of poetry, English speaking poets have embraced a wide variety of continental forms. French and Italian seem to be the most popular. I am not talking about translating French or Italian poetry into English from the original language, but of writing original poems in English using foreign forms.

Why are foreign forms different from traditional English forms?

The short answer is because the languages are different. They sound different, they may be richer or poorer than English in rhyme for example, and the rhythms of everyday speech are different. We are often invited to write these foreign forms in iambic pentameters although the originals are not written in this rhythm. Most of you will be familiar with the da-DUM iambic rhythm. It is popular because it most closely matches the rhythms of everyday English speech. French poets rarely use it because French doesn?t vary the syllabic stress in the same way as English. If we wrote in English in the rhythms of French or Italian it probably wouldn?t work very well at all.

I am given to understand that almost every Italian word ends in a vowel. Consequently rhyme must be very easy in that language. English is not a rhyme-rich language, as anyone trying to rhyme with silver, orange or purple will have discovered. So, traditionally, English has made a feature out of rhyme while other languages have looked to devices such as repetition patterns, and limitations on the number of rhymes to be used, in order to be more challenging.

In this class we will be studying several of these foreign forms and writing our own poetry using them. When I first ran this class, (and its companion, European Forms2) two years ago I decided in advance which forms I would teach. This resulted in my covering known ground in some cases and not covering unknown ground in others. This time anyone who signs up for the class will be given a say as to which form they would particularly like covered. I cannot guarantee to cover everything that might be suggested but i will do my best.

A form can be as simple as a set rhyme scheme in a given number of lines of a given length, as in "Ottava Rima" or it may involve a variety of additional complexities, such as repeated or tumbling lines, as well as restrictions as to the number of rhymes overall. This being an introductory course we will look at several forms. In subsequent classes, later in the year we shall look in greater detail at some of the more difficult forms.

To sign up, go to your profile page, and select 'Classrooms.'

The course will start and end on a Friday with two chat rooms per week and the possibility of a third if the geographical spread of students requires it. If we stick to two sessions a week, most likely Tuesday and Friday, they will follow the pattern below.

Session 1. Introduction. Meet class consider special requests, and changes to the rough outline set down here. agree a syllabus. Introduce the selected forms.

Session 2. Repeating lines and phrases. These are common in foreign forms and particularly beloved of the French. How far can the rules be bent? Use of punctuation in repeated lines. Varying the punctuation in repeated lines to vary the sense of these lines that use the same words.

Session 3 through 8. Study of and practice in writing selected forms.

Session 9. Discussion on whether different forms fit different subject matter. Voluntary Assignment produce and post an essay/article entitled ?Horses for Courses?, and in the ?description box: Matching Poetic Form to Content.



Instructor: James Bartlett

About The Instructor: Jim Bartlett is an ex-Royal Marine Officer, and retired teacher, with a good honours degree in Education, and English and Drama, from London University. He has been a member of a local poetry group in South Wales where he currently lives alone in a redundant farm house.

Jim started writing while serving with 45 Commando, Royal Marines in Aden in the mid 1960s. At that time he was writing mainly song lyrics but later moved on to poetry after studying it on his degree course, which he undertook as a mature student between 1972 and 1976.

He has been published in poetry magazines and newspapers from time to time. In 2005 he produced a CD of self-penned songs under the title of "Tomorrow Never Comes", and published a poetry collection of thirty-six poems in 2012 entitled, "Triple Dozen" prior to joining FanStory in March 2015. His songs and poems have won several competitions.

Jim has also lectured on English Folk Lore and Song for the WEA in SE London in the late 1970s. He was urged to enrol as an instructor on FanStory by many who found his reviews of their poetry particularly helpful.

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