Sunday, April 12, 2015

Message-Tweakers, Righteous Leaders, and ZP Dala #NationalPoetryMonth

ZP Dala is "the real thing' for me.
I read this morning that a South African author named ZP Dala said she liked Salman Rushdie's writing style while promoting her newly released first novel What About Meera. Some people didn't like hearing that. They chased her down and broke her face with bricks. Now, Dala has been allegedly coerced into a mental hospital for refusing to withdraw her comment.

So when Allison Joseph suggested we "write a poem about something or someone you consider a shoddy version of 'the real thing,'" I knew just what I'd call out: fear mongers parading as righteous leaders who castigate thought-provokers. I don't know much about ZP Dala, but I suspect that my version of 'the real thing' acts more like her than like someone who would take a brick to her head, or be offended by the thoughts she shares which are stored within said head.
I want to read this.

I hope you bust out of your prison soon, Ms. Dala. In the meantime, I wrote a triolet and a kennings poem with you (and Salman Rushdie, comedians, truth-tellers, and many, many others) in mind. And I'll look for your new book, What About Meera, which I'm noting is difficult to come by in the States.

First, the triolet*:

The Message-Tweakers

The message-tweakers cast their stones
at artists who have published tales
whose work offends—they'll break their bones.
The message-tweakers cast their stones
and force disciples to atone,
then throw iconoclasts in jails.
The message tweakers cast their stones
at artists who have published tales.

Now, the kennings poem**:

Righteous Leaders


*A triolet is a tight, concise 8-line poem, written in rhyming iambic tetrameter, with two repeated refrains. Here's the pattern: ABaAabAB — capital letters indicate the repeated refrains.

** A kennings poem uses kennings to describe the subject. Kennings are compound expressions  or two-word phrases, that use metaphor to convey meaning. Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon poets liked them. In Beowulf,  "wave-floater" was a kenning used to describe a ship.  J.R.R. Tolkien was a an Anglo-Saxon scholar and linguist who loved his kennings. Think "Ring-bearer."

These forms are fun and fun is good! Try one and share it with me, please. Thank you!

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