Friday, July 2, 2010

Birthing the Staccatode, a nonce form

In 2001 in Tallahassee during Black on Black Rhyme week, I taught a poetry workshop to my peers. There, I shared my short poem, Prince Charmin'.

Prince Charmin'

I want
a man like
toilet paper

gentle enough
to wipe
away my tears

strong enough
to take
all my shit

We began discussing short poems (that aren't haiku.) What do short poems accomplish that longer works cannot? How does silence serve us then? And since there are so few words how is the title then forced to function in the larger message of the poem? And what to name this poem?

Thus, the staccato was born. Staccato is a short and detached note of music. Think staccato fire.


Two criteria for staccato:

1. Brief, though no prescribed length

2. Title should be integral, enhances the experience of the poem greatly.


My Half Brother

Man! What happened to your legs?

-Staccato by Keith Rodgers


Staccatoes come in all types ranging from raw, disturbing, thought-provoking, silly, and just downright laugh out loud funny. And yes, clever. Outside of a handful, I never did write too terribly many and felt like less than a person whenever I would speak to Keith, who would always ask, write any staccatoes lately? Keith however, has been mastering the craft and has kept the form alive on fb and in the form of poetry workshops to young people, who love them!


Meanwhile, thanks to Senor Pablo Neruda, I have been entertaining an obsession of my own. You guessed it...the ode. Most commonly they are said to be poems of praise, though I like to call them poems of dedication. Really for me it becomes an honest conversation to or about something that matters about stuff that matters. Robert Hass once told me that all poems were once odes.


Today my head is almost as empty as the sky seems. Just returned stateside from a month long poetry tour in South Africa, I have very few words. But I want to write something. And so I open my pen, and ink, all over my hands.


Staccato + Ode: = Staccaode!!

Staccatode to My Rolling Writer Pen

Black woman
you explode
when we fly

Just a first stab. We'll see what happens...

1 comment:

Dasuntoucha said...

Staccatode...I like that :-)