Writing and Ruminating

Thoughts on writing, reading, and poetry. With the occasional diversion, bien sûr.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letter to Mum - a Poetry Friday post

This week, I've been enjoying reading Mark Reads Harry Potter over at Buzznet. Turns out that Mark (age 26) had never read a single HP book (I'm shocked!), and he's committed to reading the whole series, start to finish. And he's engaging in a form of torture, really, because he reads one chapter at a time, then blogs about that chapter, then moves on. Those of you who've read the series know how horribly difficult that can be, particular when things get knotty. Just this week, he started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and as his past (and better-looking) header said, "You are not prepared." Or rather, it's pretty clear that Mark is going to have his mind blown. I hope you'll check out his project, but whatever you do, DO NOT SPOIL HIM. Because reading his complete breakdown over Cedric's death in Goblet of Fire was both funny and exceptionally moving all at the same time, and I expect him to have a complete conniption when the major death in Phoenix occurs. (When he reaches the Battle of Hogwarts in book 7, I fully expect his head to explode.)

But Kelly, you say, I thought you said this was a Poetry Friday post? Well, it is. But one more digression before I get there (and it ties in, I promise). I've commented many times before on the (roughly) weekly writing exercises that I do with Angela De Groot. A while back, we used the following assignment, ganked from a fellow poet at an open reading one night: Pick a fictional character, and have them write a letter to their dead mother. The woman who mentioned the assignment had written a poem from perspective of the Incredible Hulk, which flummoxed me a bit because the Hulk is actually an alter ego for Doctor Bruce Banner, but I digress.

I took the assignment and wrote what is a mixed-up sonnet from the perspective of a character from the Harry Potter books. Savvy readers will identify the speaker easily:

Letter to Mum
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

You never understood me. Never tried
to see a broader world outside the dark
and hateful world in which you lived and died.
You tried your best to snuff out every spark
of friendship with James Potter, every bond
with anyone whose blood you deemed impure.
When I rebelled, you called me immature,
yet you threw tantrums, blasting with your wand
in anger at the heirloom tapestry,
seeking to wipe me from the family.
I would not have you love me, do not care
that you preferred my brother. In the end,
you died alone in your Grimmauld Place lair,
while I died in the service of a friend.


Form: Mixed-up Shakespearean sonnet, if I have to assign it a name. It's written in iambic pentameter (five iambs per line: taDUM taDUM taDUM taDUM taDUM), with the following rhyme scheme: ABABCDCDEEFGFG.

Discussion: I suppose this counts as fan fiction, now I think of it. I could happily write an entire collection along these lines, if I'm being honest. It was so much fun to write! (I siriusly hope that you've all figured out who the speaker was in this poem. Bet you saw what I just did there!)

You can find other Poetry Friday participants by clicking on the box, below, to get to this week's host:


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