Flasher & Poetry Sunday
Every Sunday is devoted to Flashers and erotic poetry. Participation rules are as follows:
- Flashers and poetry only on Sunday
- Flashers are limited to 3 per author; poems are unlimited
- Depending on what you’re posting, the words ‘Flasher’ or ‘Poetry’ must appear in the Subject line.
- If you want critiques, state the nature of the critiques you desire. Suggested reading: On Critiquing Poetry. If you don’t want critiques, clearly state you’re posting for enjoyment and do not require critiques.
What are Flashers, and why should you bother writing the little buggers?
Flashers are sexy stories written in 200 words or less (excluding the title).As an exercise, Flashers help authors tighten up their writing by eliminating wordiness. Each Flasher must be a complete story, not just a sex scene. No jokes, gotcha gags, poems or snippets.
It’s hard to tell a story in 200 words; much has to be implied, every word is significant and moves the story forward. It takes some practice to get it right, but it’s worth it. Your regular length stories will benefit greatly as you learn to recognize and eliminate unnecessary words that bog stories down.
“You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
For an interesting introduction to Flash Fiction, read:
- Flash Craft: Transform Your Flashes into Must Reads by Tori Bond
- Flashes On The Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction by Pamelyn Casto
- Stories in your pocket: how to write flash fiction by David Gaffney
Free verse has no regular meter or line length and depends on natural speech rhymes and the counterpoint of stressed and unstressed syllables. In the hands of a gifted poet, it can acquire rhymes and melodies of its own. I thought free verse would be an ideal starter for those wanting to develop their poetry skills, as there are really no rules to learn—and its a fun way to begin for those who are inexperienced with writing poetry but would like to dip their toes into the poetry writing pool.
Further details at: library.thinkquest.org/3721/poems/forms/free.html
At the most basic level a cinquain is a five line poem or stanza. The poem has one topic and the details describe the the topic’s actions and feelings. I think this is ideal for expressing erotic imagery. Here are three variations.
Line 1: one word for the topic
Line 2: 2 words to describes your topic
Line 3: 3 words that describes the actions relating to your topic
Line 4: 4 words that describes the feelings relating to your topic
Line 5: one word that is another name for your topic
Line 1: two syllables
Line 2: four syllables
Line 3: six syllables
Line 4: eight syllables
Line 5: two syllables
Method three (much like method 1 but pay attention to line 3)
Line 1: A noun
Line 2: Two adjectives
Line 3: Three -ing words
Line 4: A phrase
Line 5: Another word for the noun
I look forward to reading! Any questions can addressed to me at or alternatively raised on Writers.
To help guide those who are not sure on how to craft a sonnet but would like to try their hand I’ve put together a primer. It is quite technical, but Sonnets do have their rules and laws which need to be adhered to. If any one is not sure about any of the terminology covered here please feel free to contact me offlist or you can raise the matter on Writers where there are many agreeable folk well versed in the vagaries of poetry.
There are three basic forms of sonnet:
- The Petrarchan comprises an octave, and rhymes abbaabba and a sestet rhyming cdecde or cdcdcd or in any combination except a rhyming couplet.
- The Spenserian comprises three quatrains and a couplet, rhyming abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee.
- The Shakespearean has three quatrains and a couplet, rhyming abab, cdcd, efef, gg.
I would urge those not familiar with sonnets to seek further examples and advice on how to write, and of course, dig out those rhyming dictionaries!
Here are a few helpful links:
Shakespearean sonnets: www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/DummiesArticle/id-1748.html
Haiku is a much stricter exercise than free verse so I’m posting this brief primer for those who are unsure of Haiku rules but would like to try their hand at this fascinating, subtle art form.
Mostly, haikus are written in three lines. It’s possible to do haiku in 2 lines though, as well as in one line or in more than three.
The internal structure, when writing in Japanese is defined thusly:
5-7-5 syllables in 1st-2nd-3d lines.
Just to confuse you all, please note this is optional – we don’t write in Japanese. For example most of Russian translations of classic Japanese haiku have about 20 syllables; on the other hand, a haiku in English, apparently, is better when it’s about 12 syllables:
a frog leaps in
The important thing is everything is clear and reads well.
Season word, (kigo): Most haiku contain a special season word: it introduces a certain background in which “a haiku event” takes place. It may be direct naming (“summer day”) or something more abstract.
You might for example use an environmental word instead of “season word”: this allusion on the time and the place of the event can be broader than merely “season”; it can be “my bedroom” or a part of the day. For example here’s a haiku (admittedly not very good) which I wrote this morning that I hopes hints at once to both setting and season:
Under the xmas tree
she gives santa a surprise!
wrapped, warm… never used.
Image: Every haiku is a sort of little picture, an interesting image. Two main ideas about these images:
They come from direct experience; certain bright moments of erotica you managed to catch with your “internal camera”:
This image, written down, should evoke certain deep feelings in readers. Attempting to convey profound, or intense feelings and emotions is not easy. I would caution against being too abstract.
Metaphors and similes are not common for haiku. This is because metaphor or simile are too ambiguous. The intent of Haiku is that the connection, or resonance”) should happen in the reader’s own mind.
Also anthropomorphism, where human features are attributed to inanimate things, is absolutely AVOIDED in haiku.
Rhymes: Traditional haiku do not rhyme. That does not mean you can’t rhyme them if you want.
I hope this very brief primer might inspire you to contribute to Haiku in October. Please try to bear the above pointers in mind, but nobody will cudgeon you if the rules are bent a little. Also, I know this makes it even more of a challenge, but obviously there has to be an erotic element to the Haiku.
I’m not advocating that we stick rigidly to the rules, but it is worth bearing in mind that before breaking rules, we should attempt to understand them.
Once again, here are the main guidelines regarding Haiku writing. Please also note I am not going to stick rigidly to the rules governing syllables for reasons explained in the original primer: but briefly restated: 5-7-5 syllables, three lines.
- Write what can be said in one breath.
- Use a season word (kigo) or seasonal reference. (Or environmental word)
- Never have all three lines make a complete or run-on sentence.
- Always written in the present tense of here and now.
- Study the order in which the images are presented. First the wide-angle view, medium range and zoomed in close-up.
- Save the “hookline” for the end line.
- Work to find the most fascinating and eye-catching first lines.
- Just write about ordinary things in an ordinary way using ordinary language.
- Use only concrete images.
- Attempt to have levels of meaning in the haiku. On the surface it is a set of simple images; underneath a philosophy or lesson of life.
- Write of the impossible in an ordinary way.
- Telling it as it is in the real world around us.
- Avoid all reference to yourself in the haiku.
- Refer to yourself obliquely as the poet, this old man, or with a personal pronoun.
- Capitalize the first word of every line.
Avoid rhymes: Avoid metaphors and similes. Which brings me to the meaning of Haiku the reasons for this goes back to the zen nature of the Haiku According to Basho, is to “represent reality without contamination by the ego of the poet.” Showing off, lacing the poetry with stunningly original metaphors, and foregrounding the craft of the writer in any way are all forms of interference with the experience of reader, who is to be put directly in touch with reality.
Also, I should add that traditionally, Haiku do not generally deal with eroticism. This is one rule we should all try to break 😉
Thank you for reading. I can’t wait to read your Haikus. I’ve included a few links below for anybody interested in reading more about Haikus.
- Haiku for People
- The Shiki Internet Haiku Salon (Japan)
- Rodrigo de Almeida Siqueira’s Haiku Page (Brazil)
- John Hudak’s “Chaba” – an electronic haiku journal (USA)
- Jane Reichhold’s AHA! Poetry Page (USA)
- Paul Mena’s Page (USA)
The tanka, like the Haiku, adheres to a rigid structure, but unlike the Haiku, Tanka is easier to write as a beginner, and the concept of Tanka is easier to grasp.
Tanka poems are short, lyrical poetry. Five lines structured in 31 syllables arranged in groups of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7.
Here is a classical example:
Many clouds unfurled
rise at cloud-decked Izumo;
Round you spouse to hold
raise many folded barriers
like those barriers manifold.
Due to its short form, tanka is a wonderful medium of expression. It can be expressive, like the haiku, but allows for deeper contemplation, and for greater “colouring” for example, in Tanka, metaphor and simile are not frowned upon. Rather than trying to copy or compliment the Japanese aesthetic, there is no reason why westernised tanka can’t express ideas that are not linked to nature or inner contemplation. So if you want to write about the sexy person you saw in the check out queue in Wal-marts, then go for it!
Some further links that will be of interest:
If anyone has any queries regarding Tanka, or any other aspect of our Poetry schedule, please do not hesitate to contact me offlist or alternatively pose your question in Writers.
I was inspired by the muse, recently, to write about a porn star called Wendy, who for the camera was remarkably Bendy…
Maybe that’s been done before. How about:
I think I’ll go change my gender,
By putting my cock in the blender.
It’ll probably hurt
That’s a dead cert
Leaving me cross-eyed and tender.
I guess all of us know a limerick when we read one, or when we hear one — as limericks work best when spoken out loud. But just to go over the definition quickly, here’s the Encarta Dictionary definition:
A limerick is typically a five-line humorous poem with regular metre. Lines one, two and five rhyme with each other and have three metrical feet.
For example, my first effort; line one ending Wendy, line two ending Bendy, and maybe Line five ending Trendy
The third and fourth lines must rhyme with each other, and typically have two metrical feet.
I haven’t quite worked out lines three and four yet. Maybe something like, when she posed on the bed with her feet round her head… well, as you can see, I’ll need all the crits I can get!
We have an excellent Limerick Tutorial that includes The History of the Limerick by J.T. Benjamin, and So You Want to Write a Limerick? by John Boase. If you haven’t read them all ready, I highly recommend you do so.