I take a sip of water & prepare to sound out syllables over and over again if I attempt to write a sijo. This song form of poetry arose in Korea so it’s fitting that my sijo guide proudly bears Korean ancestry. She has written as a poet since the age of four and published her first poem at age nine, although she is most famous for beautiful novels.
Linda Sue Park wrote TAP DANCING ON THE ROOF, Sijo Poems. [You may know her for the important Newbery Medal winner, A Single Shard. ] I tap into TAP DANCING ON THE ROOF as an emerging fan of the sijo form. Which wasn’t always my attitude, about sijo.
[foto credit: ©JGAnnino]
NPR mug sijo
Avoiding caffeine sipping for supercharged improved health menu.
Big empty cerulean blue mug felt a side-shelf shove.
Hiking in fresh air this barista found a refill for ~ Fresh Air.
fotos & words copyright allrightsreservedJGAnnino
The sijo written in the USA today likely won’t be a song. But it will follow the sijo pattern of delivering a twist at the end of the poem. And the poem lines will [attempt to] employ 14 to 16 syllables. Poets break their three long lines into six shorter ones. In Korea, sijo writers care about where stresses fall. [We less-skillful Western poets are not all in, with that.] Linda Sue Park writes in TAP that the last line or “twist” can often become the thorniest part of sijo writing. The sijos in her book are engagingly about breakfast, math, school, food, nature & other accessible ideas. I love all her last lines, which a reviewer shouldn’t share; it’s like a spoiler in a movie review. Please look for her book! Her sijo coaching is contagious. [The illustrations from #IstvanBanyai, creator of the wordless Zoom, are worthy of wonderful words.]
Linda Sue Park also ~~
created a verse novel in sijo form, THE ONE THING YOU’D SAVE. Take a look at how the poet worked and worked and worked along on this story, as told to Sylvia Vardell. It’s ’bout half-way down Sylvia’s column on verse novels at “Poetry Tackles Tough Topics,” on her blog, Poetry for Children. Thanks to Irene Latham’s news page, for the link.
In 2020, when I looked at poetry forms in workshop with wonderful poet & poetry guide Georgia Heard as she zoomed to our group from her Atlantic coast Florida home, I felt less than all-in, with pesky form constraints.
Despite Georgia’s enthusiasm & gentle encouragement, I wore sijo, villanelle, eintou, nonet [with guest workshop guide Irene Latham, our PF poem-whisperer] like strait jackets that I toiled to emerge from, sweating, Zoom to today in 2022 when poetry forms are at this moment blossoming into paper play dates.
[foto credit: ©JGAnnino]
Shrimp plant sijo
A curvy creature of our Gulf
sea inhabits my garden?
Colors of my favorite seafood —
shimmery pink and white.
Don’t worry. I’m just watching for
a bird to drink your nectar!
on InstaG as jgannonauthor [23 May 2022]
I feel fortunate to be back hosting Poetry Friday this week.
9 responses to “Writing with LindaSuePark”
Good for you, Jan, for being willing to learn and practice new forms. Seems like I spend my time lately wrestling commas (those wily little tadpoles).
You nailed the twist! Thanks for the introduction to the Linda Sue Parks book and this poetry form.
Jan, it’s so fascinating to think about what constrains us one moment and provides a freeing scaffold the next. I’m glad you’ve found a book and a form that are inspiring you right now! Those long lines are intriguing.
This is yet another poetry form I have never tried. So many ways to play with words. I love the NPR mug sijo – very clever!
You really nailed that last line in your Fresh Air sijo! Well done! I love returning to things that were previously hard/impossible and finding that I suddenly have a way in. Looking forward to future villanelles, eintous, and nonets!
Jan, I tried out the sijo form but need more time to increase my skill at writing the twist lines. I guess it is a thorn in my side, so to speak. I did enjoy reading this post that has interesting word choice/word play. Stay well, my friend. you are wise to stay away from caffeine.
Ah, Jan, I have this special book & love that ending surprise of apology. Your time zooming with Georgia & Irene sounds like a delight in that time we won’t soon forget. Thanks for sharing so much poet love in your post!
Wonderful post Jan, love your sijo here, the shimmery pink, and sun in the pic. I’m looking forward to Linda Sue Parks book so I can study and try on this new to me sijo form… thanks! xxo And such a nice sound here, “cerulean blue mug felt a side-shelf shove.”
How wonderful! My experience with Korean culture had only extended to the BBQ restaurant until this post. I’m going to have to check out this form. You are a perfect Fresh Air barista! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that for you before. Stitch that on a pillow, kid!