In my final year of uni, some of my friends set up a Storytelling society, and I was one of the original members (sadly the society has since been disbanded). We looked at and shared different examples of stories and storytelling from a variety of cultures, and even put on a Guiser’s play. I was chatting to the first president, our ‘MasterHarper’ during a furious scribbling session which naturally made me think on such things. It also served as a first stab at iambic pentameter whilst I was mulling my November Challenge. Enjoy!
The Art of Storytelling
Who tells a story with just plain old words,
Or reads a poem like some dull, dead verse?
There’s an artistry to storytelling,
And a skill to reading a rhyme alive.
It starts off with the speed and tone you use,
The movements both chosen and subconscious.
The way that you draw the audience in,
With a glance,
With a pause,
With a sweep,
With a shout,
As you bring them along on the journey.
I came up with the idea of a monthly challenge between my friend over at nymmyb, as I put it to her it would be a monthly poetry challenge. Essentially, as close to the start of the month as possible, we’ll set eachother a challenge related to poetry. It could be to write a poem on a certain theme, to write a poem in a certain style/rhyme scheme such as a haiku or a sonnet, or some combination of the two. We would then each have to do a blog post some time that month which was our attempt at the challenge.
My challenge to her was Scottish stanza: “AAABAB”, as used by Robert Burns in works such as “To a Mouse” (according to Wikipedia) and she duly posted a response here : http://nymmyb.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/the-challenge-no-1/
In return, I was challenged to write in ‘blank verse’, which according to Wiki is poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Now iambic pentameter is something I have never knowingly used, so I certainly found it a challenge, but this is what I came up with…
November Challenge – Blank Verse
NymmyB has been rather mean to me,
With her November challenge of blank verse.
Iambic pentameter is quite hard,
Managed to get ten syllables per line,
But not sure I got the soft-hard quite right.
Well at least blank verse does not need to rhyme!
My respect for Shakespeare, Marlowe etc has increased immensely since they used this form so much. Definately a skill to work on in the future!