games poets play

There’s one more week until I dive into the Glen Workshop. One of my Glen-friends, with littles who do not come to Glen, has (I believe) begun an hour-by-hour countdown tracker. I’m beginning to fizz, myself…

…and solidly daunted by All The Things I Planned to Finish Before Glen. It seemed so much more reasonable in, say, June-! So this evening I’ve been chipping away and my lists—yes, the scraps metastasized over the two months—are slightly smaller. I’m channeling a work discipline I haven’t needed in years: when brain breaks down, pick the brainless ones. Like Parent Orientation for Students Studying Abroad, full of cheerful admonitions to let our students spread their wings. Duh. I’m the parent that needs the reminder “You may want to develop a communication plan for routinely checking in with your student.” Ooh, yeah, we already will go for a month or so without chatting, and we’re only one time zone apart!

Handbook of Poetic Forms, 1st ed. The lurid pistachio and dark coral cover gives it away.Tonight, therefore, I give you an excerpt from my beloved copy of The Handbook of Poetic Forms, 1st edition (1987).

Bouts-Rimés
(“boo re-MAY”)

Bouts-rimés is French for “rhymed ends.” A bouts-rimés poem is create by one person’s making up a list of rhymed words and giving it to another person, who in turn writes the lines that end with those rhymes, in the same order in which they were given. For example, one person writes down tanned, jump, fanned, hump, reading, lawn, misleading, yawn, yoyo, death, no-no, breath, France, and pants for another person to use as rhymes, as in:
(p. 31)

But hey! This is a game! Write your own dang bouts-rimés! It doesn’t even have to make sense, as long as the rhymes are in place. Bonus points for leveraging a rhythmic form, like a Shakespearean sonnet.

Handbook of Poetic Forms, 2nd ed. Much prettier cover!

To find your own copy of the Handbook of Poetic Forms, in its current edition, click on the left. For wonderful writerly assistance that’s also good for teachers, visit its sponsor, the Teachers & Writers Collaborative, born the year before me and still going strong.

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