PBPF 2009 After image: The Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2009

After image: The Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2009

Blog of January 31 (forgot to post it!)

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival ended on the January 24th It was the 5th anniversary of the festival and the world is a better place for Miles Coon, it’s founder, and for Laura Mc Dermott, the Festival Coordinator, who keeps things running like clockwork. I’d like to especially thank these two individuals, and also every single, solitary, hard-working intern: Richard Ryal, Evan Peterson, Scott Cunningham, Yaddyra Perralta, Jessica Machado, and Maria Hall. It was a pleasure “to hang” with you.

The readings by the poets were exceptional, so from me personally, and I think I speak for everyone who attended, here’s a huge thanks that goes out to the following: Denise Duhamel, Martin Espada, Kimiko Hahn, Gregeory Orr, Thomas Lux, and Dara Wier.

The festival was nothing short of a burst of atomic raw energy on the part of the participants, and cool, intense, smoking dry ice from the established poets—and I mean that in a profound and good way. The decisive, inner strength of each of them rang out loud and clear, like chiming temple bells when they read their own work, and they were fine examples of what each person at this festival yearns to emulate. It was another wonderful WORD FEST experience.

I had the good fortune of interning and assisting for Denise Duhamel, a most generous and accessible poet, who had our workshop generating all sorts of poems with marvelous examples and prompts. Most of them were free verse, but then on the last day, Denise had the group try collaborative poems after she’d spent time elucidating form poems, such as the sestina, the villanelle, and the pantoum, which comes form the Malayan pantun. I’ve never written a pantoum, because I was never interested in doing so before this, but you can bet your bippy I’m gonna try one now (minus the “eye” dialect, of course!)

Here’s what Wikipedia has this to say about the pantun:

“In its most basic form the pantun consists of a quatrain which employs an abab rhyme scheme.* A pantun is traditionally recited according to a fixed rhythm and as a rule of thumb, in order not to deviate from the rhythm, every line should contain between eight and 12 syllables. ‘The pantun is a four-lined verse consisting of alternating, roughly rhyming lines. The first and second lines sometimes appear completely disconnected in meaning from the third and fourth, but there is almost invariably a link of some sort. Whether it be a mere association of ideas, or of feeling, expressed through assonance *or through the faintest nuance of a thought, it is nearly always traceable’ (Sim, page 12). The pantun is highly allusive and in order to understand it readers generally need to know the traditional meaning of the symbols the poem employs.”

Definitions according to La Nina:

*Rhyme scheme: last words rhyming…for instance ABAB pattern, the first and third lines rhyme and the second and fourth ones rhyme.

Here below is a quick terrible example by yours truly:

I cannot sleep for love of thee
Even in sweet dreams I weep
You’re everything I need to see
How I want you in my Castle Keep.

*Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming

Now, poets, get writing!