Fibonacci Day – 2014
Guess what? It’s Fibonacci Day. I like to give a toast to Fibonacci poetry on this day because it is November 23rd. Numerically that is 11/23, and 1-1-2-3 is the syllable count for the first four lines of a Fibonacci poem. Kind of neat how that works out.
The Fibonacci form has an exuberant feeling to me. With its irregular count it communicates a kind of spontaneity. The overall shape of the poem is to open up as each line become longer and longer. It is a playful form.
Here is a Fibonacci I wrote recently:
Piercing the Veil
Yet summer lingers
An old song on the radio
While I am having a scone and a cup of coffee
Slowly I wade into the stream of time to visit someone I danced with long ago.
Take a moment to compose a Fibonacci. Here is the line count: 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34, etc. Most Fibonacci poems I have seen are six or seven lines; but a few have gone into the longer count lines.
I like to use the opening very short lines, the first four lines with the count 1-1-2-3, to give the seasonal and/or temporal setting. You can use words of time and words that mark the seasons; many of these are very short. Months, for example, like ‘March’, ‘May’, and ‘June’, are good. Some months are two syllables; April, July, and August. Some are three count words; September through December. You can also use terms like ‘First Month’, instead of ‘January’, so that you can set the time in the opening lines if the time is January.
Other simple markers are things like ‘cold’, ‘hot’, ‘warm’. Time of day is also a good topic for the opening lines; like ‘dusk’, ‘dawn’, ‘afternoon’, ‘mid-day’, ‘night’, etc.
You get the idea, which is basically to use the opening lines as seasonal and temporal designators. With the longer lines you can then move into the more specific topic and specific focus of the poem you are writing. In this way the poem’s focus moves from broad general strokes to the more specific. I like the flow that such a Fibonacci produces.
Of course this is only one approach to the Fibonacci and it is in some ways linked to the esthetic I have imbibed from the Japanese poetic tradition where seasonal designation plays such a significant role. The Fibonacci is a new form and has no weight of history behind it; there is no official Fibonacci Poetry Society or designated keeper of the Fibonacci true esthetic. This means that when we write in the Fibonacci form we can take it whatever direction we like without feeling like we have violated an inherited tradition. Personally, I enjoy applying some of the esthetic principles from other traditions to the Fibonacci, including the use of rhyme and seasonal or temporal placement. Transferring these approaches from a form like haiku and tanka to the Fibonacci seem to me a viable strategy; at least it works for me. Perhaps you might also find it efficacious.
Just a few thoughts to share on Fibonacci Day.