Poetry Challenge #25

Double Dog Dare You to Delete the E

A lipogram consists of writing paragraphs or longer works in which a particular letter or group of letters is avoided. In its easiest form, a writer avoids using uncommon letters like X, J, Q, or Z. Or avoids words with “ing” or “ed” endings. More difficult lipograms avoid common letters like A, T or E—E being the most common letter in the English language.
If you think avoiding using E is tough, consider this: Ernest Vincent Wright wrote an entire 50,000 word novel, GADSBY, without using the letter E.

Well, dang. If Wright could write a whole novel without “E”, surely you and I can write a poem without “E”, can’t wii?

Begin with a poem you’ve already written. Revise it by deleting every “E” word and replacing it with another word, if necessary.

Or, if you’d rather, revise the poem using only “E” words.

Or, try writing an entirely new poem without the letter “E”.

(And no fair intentionally mis-spelling words to avoid using “E”, that’s cheating.)

For Inspiration:

American logologist A. Ross Eckler, Jr. recreated “Mary Had a Little Lamb” six times, excluding different letters each time. To see the results of his efforts, click over to Wikipedia.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 700 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole dang poem. Scroll down and click on the comments!

Poetry Challenge #24

The Ballad

Sometimes it’s fun to write a poem on a topic; sometimes it’s fun to try to use a form. I often use a form when I feel like my poem is wandering around or getting wordy. Forms force you to pay attention to the number of syllables you use or to a rhyme scheme.

A fairly easy form is the ballad. It usually has four lines in each verse with an ABAB rhyme scheme (every other line rhymes). It also has a strong rhythm. Lines alternate between four and three beats. If you aren’t good at hearing beats, use eight syllables on one line and six on the next.

Try writing a ballad of at least two verses. Remember you can always write a ballad (or haiku or acrostic

Ballads are great to set to music if you are musically inclined!

Here’s an example I wrote:

The red-winged blackbird sports a white
bar dully on his wing.
His epaulet is not so bright;
he’s not begun to sing.

A yellow bar will soon appear
and then a bright red line.
His red-winged name will be more clear,
and it will be springtime.