Our very own Bill D was the speaker on Monday 23rd April and he treated an excellent turnout of members to an erudite and entertaining morning on the subject of ‘Poetic Forms’.
Bill’s love of poetry in all its facets was obvious from the depth and range of arcane rhyming styles which he brought vividly to life with descriptions, anecdotes, quotes and examples. As he explained in his introduction, there are so many forms that one could go on almost forever to talk about them.
The difference between verse and poetry had been debated for years, said Bill, and would no doubt continue for many more. Helpfully, he was able to interpret verse as being “a linguistic composition using sounds and patterns of words to create a harmonious effect, while poetry transcended this to be come an art form – just as great music is more than just ‘a tune’.
Nursery rhymes were one example of the former which most of us have been exposed to at an early age, and while rhyme can be a great aid to memory, there was always a danger of descending into doggerel and becoming forced and clichéd. Of course, poetry does not always have to rhyme, as Bill explained, citing blank verse which relies for effect on strong rhythm. Iambic pentameter for instance is the rhythm of the heartbeat whereas a trochee suggests the rhythm of the tide. Fascinating stuff!
Turning his attention to ‘free verse’, he said that this still required a rhythm otherwise it was merely chopped-up prose. “Like playing tennis without the net, but you must know where the net’s supposed to be!”, he declared.
By this time well into his stride, Bill socked it to us with sonnets, vaulted vividly to villanelles, hailed us with haikus, treated us to tankas, reflected on rondeaux and tickled us with triolets. All in all it was a superbly researched and presented talk, thoroughly deserving the generous applause from an appreciative audience.