Try Writing a Semi-Glosa

Try writing a semi-glosa like Barbara Crooker’s poem, “A Woman is her Mother.” Crooker is the author, most recently, of Gold. Find out more about her work here. The semi-glosa is a “nonce” (or invented) form. You’ll need 4 short lines from favorite poems, stories, or songs.

I asked Barbara Crooker how she wrote the poem and this is what she replied. Thank you, Barbara!

“The glosa is a 15th c. Spanish form most commonly seen in English by Canadian poet P. K. Page.  It uses a 4 line stanza from another poet. Each line appears at the end of a ten line stanza (4 stanzas to the poem).  Lines 6, 9, and 10 are supposed to rhyme.  \

So I was really messing around with the form in this one; first, I’m not using a 4 line stanza, but rather, 4 lines from 4 different writers, 4 different poems.  And none of them end the line, nor do I follow the stanza length or rhyme pattern.  Instead, I really “nonce it up,” creating my own pattern.

I’m doing something more like a pantoum, where line 2 of the first stanza becomes line 1 of the second; line 3 of the 1st stanza becomes line 2 of the second, line 4 in the 1st becomes line 3 in the second, etc.  It’s loose, but I wanted the lines to be interwoven.  I’m also using a muted rhyme scheme:  other/air weather; other/everywhere/here; flowers/for us, branch/flesh; back/talk; forward/everywhere, telephone/alone.  So, it’s both formal, and “not,” in that I’m doing something pattern-like, without actually following a pattern exactly, whether a “received form” or one I’ve made up. . . .

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Categories: For Creative Writing Students

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