Did You Know…(13)

Lately, I’ve been very intrigued by the cinquain verse and have written quite a few poems in this unique form. You can find my cinquain attempts as well as the innovator of this form at: http://sylviaiswriting.wordpress.com. I had a comment on one of the cinquains I wrote called “Old Boots”, where it was brought to my attention who developed this beautiful verse form.

The American cinquain was developed by Adelaide Crapsey who passed away on October 8, 1914 at the age of 36. She was a Brooklyn New York-born poet who was raised in Rochester New York (Upstate), my neck of the woods. Adelaide was the daughter of Adelaide T. Crapsey and Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an Episcopal priest. Prior to her death, she became reputable and widely recognized for the creative variation of the cinquain (quintain) which consists of a 5-line format with 22 syllables.

This style was largely influenced by the Japanese haiku and tanka. Adelaide’s 5-line form (now know as an American cinquain), has a common iambic meter which translates as one-stress, two stress, three stress, four stress and then reverts promptly back to one stress. This cinquain form usually contains 2 syllables in the 1st and last line, 4,6 and 8 syllables in the middle lines.

*Sidebar: Did you know that world-renowned poet, Carl Sandburg was said to have been the reason for the ongoing interest in the cinquain and kept Adelaide Crapsey from becoming insignificant with his poem “Adelaide Crapsey”? Incidentally, Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe were very good friends. It’s amazing the surprising ways in which people are connected and how close to home these connections sometimes hit.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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Did You Know? (2)

Cover art

Did you know that Maya Angelou was raped at the age of 7 by her mother’s boyfriend; a man named Mr. Freeman. After she confided in her brother about the incident and testified at Mr. Freeman’s trial, he was found dead.

Did you know that Maya blamed herself for Mr. Freeman’s death? She believed that because she had revealed the crime that he committed against her, he met with a violent death. Maya Angelou did not speak again for 6 years because she thought her ‘voice’ had been the direct cause of Mr. Freeman’s untimely death.

Did you know that during her self-induced silence, Maya Angelou found her voice again; through poetry? This life-changing event was the foundation that inspired her very first autobiography: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

Did you know that “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was written on a dare? That’s right. Maya Angelou wrote this critically acclaimed and highly successful autobiography before she became famous and was very reluctant to do so, initially. Her editor, Robert Loomis had been trying to get her to write an autobiography for some time and then in so many words, he basically told her that it was virtually impossible to write an autobiography as literature. In other words, she couldn’t do it! I guess she showed not only him, but the world! Hence her quote: “If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t do it.” What are some interesting facts you know about this amazing, award-winning, highly accomplished writer?

 

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did you know?…

     

Images: Free google images

 

Did you know that Maya Angelou is the first African American and first female inaugural poet to speak at a presidential inauguration? At the request of former president Bill Clinton, she wrote a poem called “On the Pulse of Morning” which she recited on June 20, 1993 at President Clinton’s inauguration. This is the second time a poet has spoke at an inauguration. The first was Robert Frost in 1961.

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