Thursday, April 11, 2024

Guest Post--Notes on Poetry Workshop--Hudson Kropf

[Hudson Kropf is a young poet and writer whose workshop on poetry received lots of positive feedback at the Western Anabaptist Writing Conference in February. I asked him if I could share his handout and he said yes. 
So here it is.
I love his poetry selections, including one he wrote himself.]

Here's Hudson leading singing at the conference.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship (ποίημα poiema poy’-ay-mah),
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath
before ordained that we should walk in them.

I. Rhymed and Bound verse.
(Has a specific rhythm and rhyme.)

II. Blank Verse
(Is bound with rhythm, but does not rhyme.)

III. Free Verse
(It doesn’t have to rhyme, and nor is it bound by a certain beat.)

I. Rhymed and Bound Verse.

The Destruction of Sennacherib


The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

U = This represents the unaccented beats.

— = And this represents the accented beats.

Iambus: U — (This kind of Poetry is called, Iambic.)

Trochee: — U (This kind of Poetry is called, Trochaic.)

Anapest: U U — (This kind of Poetry is called, Anapestic.)

Dactyl: — U U (This kind of Poetry is called, Dactylic.)

U U — U U — U U — U U —

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,

U U — U U — U U — U U —

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

U U — U U — U U — U U —

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

U U — U U — U U — U U —

When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Each segment of meter is called a foot…

Monometer: A one foot line.

Dimeter: A two foot line.

Trimeter: Is a three foot line.

Tetrameter: A four foot line.

Pentameter: A five foot line.

II. Blank Verse

Everything that is true about rhymed and bound verse, is also true of blank verse, except for one thing.

Blank verse doesn’t rhyme, it is only bound.

A Poem’s Advent

When poets birth their words,
They bring their message forth
All trembling, wet.
And lay their glistening ink
In swaddling paper.
Then use their poems as mangers.
For there’s no room in common prose
To accommodate
A thought that comes from God.

— J. Hudson Kropf 2/22/24

III. Free Verse Poetry

Go Down Death
(A Funeral Sermon)

Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband--weep no more;
Grief-stricken son--weep no more;
Left-lonesome daughter --weep no more;
She only just gone home.

Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from his great, high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God's big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.

And God sat back on his throne,
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:
Call me Death!
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice
That broke like a clap of thunder:
Call Death!--Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.

And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,
But they didn't make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God's command.

And God said: Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to Savannah, Georgia,
Down in Yamacraw,
And find Sister Caroline.
She's borne the burden and heat of the day,
She's labored long in my vineyard,
And she's tired--
She's weary--
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.

And Death didn't say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven's pearly gates,
Past suns and moons and stars;
on Death rode,
Leaving the lightning's flash behind;
Straight down he came.

While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn't see;
She saw Old Death. She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn't frighten Sister Caroline;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I'm going home,
And she smiled and closed her eyes.

And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn't feel no chill.
And death began to ride again--
Up beyond the evening star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline
On the loving breast of Jesus.

And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
And the angels sang a little song,
And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
And kept a-saying: Take your rest,
Take your rest.

Weep not--weep not,
She is not dead;
She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.

—James Weldon Johnson

IIII. Literary Tools in Poetry.

Similar consonant sounds at the beginning of words.
“Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:”

Repetition of similar vowel sounds.
“Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.”

Words that sound like their meaning.

Pretty Words

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little Gilded and sticky

—Elinor Wylie

1 comment:

  1. Byran Smucker4/13/2024 1:13 PM

    Does Hudson (or Dorcas) have recommendations for poetry that one should read?