Bloat be gone!

I’m drawn lately to the short forms: tanka, lune, fib, scratch-outs and more. Poems that are lean and fit, that reach and leap.

This turn to form, to rules and constraints, is a new fascination for me. In recent months, I’ve become fatigued with the confessional quality of everyday life, the bloated exposure of saying too much, too clearly. Rather than the tell-all, I want to parse and peel, and make words work in the rearrangement.

My poetic efforts are not profound. These word games are often academic but they work because the process requires attention and focus to language and choices. And the form gives shape to emotions I’m not ready to access — or share — directly.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favorite short forms, starting with the lune.

3 lines, 11 words

I love this form, especially since it spiraled into a successful mistake. The lune (pronounced loon) was invented in the 1960s by poet Robert Kelly, who was not satisfied with the Western use of haiku. Kelly, according to the Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, recreated the traditional haiku into a thirteen-syllable form of 5/3/5.

Later, poet Jack Collom was working with schoolchildren when he mistakenly remembered the form as a count of 3/5/3 words, not syllables. The result is a more flexible form of haiku that is easy to teach and create.

With an emphasis on word count, rather than syllables, the new lune is less mechanical and more accessible. In the following poem, I’ve linked three lunes together to expand on a theme.

Yes. No. Almost
(a linked lune)

Spring sneers, pauses
shifts wind, turns hope sour,
says not yet

I swallow the
gravel of these moody May
days, and wait

In the seam
of inbetween the sun frays,
boldly breaks free

— Drew Myron

Now it’s your turn. Have you tried a lune? Send me your work. I’ll post them here, and we’ll celebrate the satisfaction of the short form.