Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book Launch: Hiking the Quatrain Range

Hiking the Quatrain Range


Today is Syllabic Quatrain Day.  I picked April 4, which numerically is 4/4, to give a nod of thanks to all the traditions of syllabic quatrain scattered throughout the world.  It also seemed to me an auspicious day to launch my newest collection: Hiking the Quatrain Range.

Hiking contains fourteen collections of my quatrains.  All the collections take a syllabic approach.  My procedure is to compose each quatrain as a separate four-line poem, and then gather them into sequences.  These sequences have either a common theme or share a common syllabic shape, or both.

“First Day Poems, Parts 1 and 2” are quatrains rooted in my Quaker Faith and Practice.  Part 1 contains 5-count (five syllables per line) quatrains.  Part 2 contains seven-count quatrains.

“Clear Skies” are quatrains with 2-count lines (two-syllables per line).

“Fall Leaves Fall” contains 3-count quatrains.

“After the Rain” contains 4-count quatrains.

“At the Café” and “Quince” are fairly long sequences of 5-count quatrains.

“Serenity” is a sequence of 6-count quatrains.

“The Gift” and “Winter Dawn” are long sequences devoted to the 7-count quatrain.

“Englynion: Books I & II” are devoted to two Welsh forms; Englyn Unodl Union and Englyn Cyrch.  Most are Engyln Unodl Union.

“Agitations” are quatrains of various types on the theme of political or social commentary.

“Close Encounter” closes the collection with 8-count quatrains.

The Quatrain is found throughout the world in many cultures.  My approach was most strongly influenced by the Chinese tradition of quatrain poetry.  Other influences were the Welsh tradition and, most recently, the minimalist poetry of Samuel Menashe.  There is something very attractive about the quatrain which seems to resonate with people everywhere.

It took me a long time to put this collection together.  I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again the sequences, trying to get the placements just right.  But it was an enjoyable process and going over the quatrains showed me how flexible and varied the parameters of the form are.  It also increased my appreciation for those poets who have focused on this form and bequeathed us such a rich heritage of examples to emulate.  And finally, going over these poems confirmed my feeling that a syllabic approach to quatrains in English is efficacious and rewarding.

Hiking the Quatrain Range
250 pages
ISBN: 9781500763657

Available from Amazon and, in a few weeks, from your local bookstore.

No comments: