Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · Sally Odgers

Sally Odgers

Sally Odgers is a prolific Australian author and poet. Please make her welcome.

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What poets did you enjoy reading as a child?

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Walter de la Mare, Masefield, Herrick, Banjo Patterson, The Perfesser and the Alter Ego, A.A. Milne, Robert Frost, Roy Campbell, Max Fatchen. Obviously, I have always enjoyed poems with strong rhythm and rhyme. I also enjoyed songs written by Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and The Moody Blues for the same reason.

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Do you remember the first poem that you ever wrote? How old were you? Can you share it with us?

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The first I remember writing was when I was about 11. I do remember it…

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He stands alertly, tests the air,

Then wheeling, gallops to his favourite mare

He’s tall and strong, over 16 hands;

His black mane flies in shining strands.

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Do you write mostly in rhyme or in free verse? Do you know why?

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Almost always in rhyme. I know why, too. I don’t find free verse interesting. I enjoy the intricate puzzle of making rhyming metrical verse work so the rhymes are never forced and there are no passenger lines. Free verse, to me, isn’t exactly cheating, but it’s much more like prose than like poetry. I can, and do, write poetic prose at times, but I don’t think of it as poetry. I sometimes write blank verse, and I suppose I do think of that as poetry, because it has meter. On the other hand, I’m not fond of strict syllable poetry. For example, I can write haiku, sonnets etc but I can’t really see the point. Rhythm is much more important to me than syllables, and I use assonance and consonance often to get the EXACT word if I can’t find a true rhyme that’s as good.

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Are your poems best performed aloud or read quietly to oneself? Can you provide an example?

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Many perform aloud well; as with the following example.

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The moon is my sun, and my brethren, the stars,

My doom is begun, and by heaven, my scars

Shall cry with their stings for the scarlet revenge

And sigh as they sing in the starlit old henge.

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And I shall sleep soundly. Eternity sighs

For the day when I die with the stars in my eyes.

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The dark is my day, and my sisters, the clouds,

They mark me this way in the mist of a shroud,

And the death of my soul and the pain of my tears

Give breath to me wholly and stain all my years.

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And I shall lie quiet. My grave will be still

On the day when I die. I hold faith in my will.

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The blood is my air, and the shadow, my friend;

In mud should I care to lie fallow? Forefend!

My claws prick my palms as I weep to be free

To adore sacred psalms. Shall I keep some for thee?

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And I shall be calm when the trumpet shall sound

For the day when I die, shall my soul be unbound.

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The ruth of my days will be ended ‘neath grass,

In truth shall my ways be amended at last,

My link to the old life be wept from my ken

As I blink to the bold strife that swept me from men.

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And shall I sleep soundly? Eternity sighs

For the day when I die with the stars in my eyes.

And shall I lie quiet? My grave will be still

On the day when I’m done. I hold faith in my will.

And shall I be calm when the trumpet shall sound?

On the day of my death shall my soul be unbound?

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Oh, I shall be blessed when the dawn shall arise

For the day when I die with the sun in my eyes.

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Some of the reversed acrostics might be difficult, since the acrostic form is visual.

The following example is an extreme form of this. It could be performed, but would lose its acrostic shape.

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The Book of Anna

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Twining words in honeysuckle old style,

Hillsides witness my word-requited tale,

Etudes, preludes, alluding to my ink smile-

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The book of Anna –poet of the grail.

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Briar roses, innocent and blushing

Overhanging my white uncharted brow

Over, lover, roving words a’hushing,

Knowing rhymes in the long-forgotten now-

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Book of Anna – poet of believing.

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Odes to seasons, sonnets from my life

Free verse, reversed, synonyms of leaving,

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Of this Anna – and metaphors run rife.

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Anthems penned in a fine soprano ringing,

Nevermore the silence of the night-

None but I need mind the rhythm winging

Ashes, roses, disposes of the light.

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Anna – poet – B(r)ooks not black and white.

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Flinging phrases out along the sunset,

Overreaching the syntax of today,

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Of fun, so one, wordplay often unmet,

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Kicking, clicking, all along the way.

Only Anna may venture to the deep end

Often swinging her dictionary’s tail,

Bringing, stringing, words both large and wee, penned,

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Book of Anna – encrypted – cannot fail.

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Even roses must twine about the ladder,

Hearts and thorns form poetical bouquet,

Torn, unspoken, broken, dyed with madder,

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The Book of Anna, elliptical ballet.

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The following pleached poem can be read aloud as the pattern is evident to the ear as well as the eye.

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Pleached Triptych

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Camelot

A sequined vow

In the firmament a crown

Pinned in splendor to a gown

Of visioned now

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Arthur’s court

A sequined now

To the courtliness of age

Raised illuminated page

Of visioned vow

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Fashioned thought.

Illumined age

To the troubadour a vow

Trailed in splendor to this now

A courtly page.

An airy stage.

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Not so sure about the continuous rhyme poem below!

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Circle of Faith

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Come to the hill if you wonder

Kneel at the feet of the just

Lift blissful faces to heaven

Yet number the years in the dust

The loaf of the people you leaven

Imagine the hand of the One

Turning your face to forgiveness

And keeping your faith in the Son

Does loving the One mean you give less

To the folk who are bone of your bone?

Or is it a hope that you’re able

To face Him and beg to atone?

Join those you love at the table

And break bread with those you adore

Breaking your bonds – see them sunder

And open the heavenly door.

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Who first published your poetry?

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I’m not sure. It may have been a magazine, or possibly Young Publications. Omnibus Books did lots of them in the 1980s, and more recently, Eternal Press.

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Where else have your poems been published?

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Walker Books, and a few other overseas companies. They usually seem to want to reprint my older stuff.

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Anthologies are often places for poets to seek publication. How would you suggest a new poet find out about upcoming anthologies?

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PASS IT ON! Otherwise, word of mouth seems the best way. Usually I join by invitation, but that’s little use to new poets.

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Have you published a collection of your own poems/story in verse/verse novel? Where would we find a copy?

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I did Myths of the Mind myself.

You can buy it at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/myths-of-the-mind/869688

Two others are Spinning Pearls 

and Fernseed for Fairysight,

which are both available in paperback through Amazon or in e-book through the publisher, Eternal Press  http://www.eternalpress.biz


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What are you working on at the moment?

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The sixth in the Little Horrors series and the sixth in the Pet Vet series. Also hoping to get back to Em Cotter and Garlands of Thorn and May, which both feature snips of verse.

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Do you have a website/blog/facebook etc – where we can find out more about you?

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http://www.sallyodgers.com

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http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com and yes, I’m on Facebook.

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Do you have any favourite poetry websites?

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www.fanstory.com

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