the ramage

Apr. 4th, 2009 11:41 am
[personal profile] teenytinypress
Have you ever heard of a form of poetry Robert Bly developed that he calls the "ramage"? At Half Price Books the other day, I happened upon a small illustrated book of poems by Bly called Turkish Pears in August, a reprint from Eastern Washington University Press of a book previously issued in a tiny letterpress edition. It is such a nicely done little book; I couldn't pass it up! I hadn't heard of this before, but Bly came up with a form where you have 8 lines, each of which with around 10 syllables, and the whole poem is centered around some particular sound/syllable like er, um, or, ah, etc. So the poem ends up having a series of usually subtle internal rhymes.

This blogger quotes
Bly's explanation from a Best American Poetry where one of the poems appeared. I like the idea in Bly's explanation about "the delicious flavor of the small sounds reappearing like raisins in a muffin."

The form reminds me of ottava rima but without the iambic meter and the end rhyme. I was interested in ottava rima in grad school, largely, I think, because I was really stuck writing-wise and the shortness plus the contraints of the form helped me to be able to actually finish some poems. It's kind of like a mini-sonnet. I was Googling to see if I could find my favorite poem in this form, "How Did It Seem to Sylvia" by Gjertrud Schnackenberg, but it doesn't appear to be online. I can remember several lines of it from memory, but not the whole poem; I'm pretty sure the last lines are: "The only one who understood the joke, / she slipped out well before the last glass broke."

Anyway, I think I might experiment with Bly's form as I like the size of it and the emphasis on sound in a somewhat quiet way. I thought some others of you might be interested in this form, too.
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.



January 2010


Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 11:05 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios