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Today I am honored to welcome Beth Winter to host FormForAll. Beth has been a supporter of dVersePoets from the beginning and every week I am once again impressed with the quality of the poems she writes. A few weeks ago, she wrote an excellent and charming poem that entranced me. She had noted that the form was called a Staccato. I asked her very soon afterwards if she would present the form for us one day at FormForAll. Today is that day, and I’m so happy to share this article with you! You can read her poem “Empty Nest” here and you can link to her poetry blog here: Eclipsing Winter  Here’s Beth:

Think of high heels crossing a tile floor, that rapid-fire, crisp delivery of sound broken by silence broken by sound. Staccato, which is Italian for detached, has long been a musical notation used to shorten a note’s duration and separate it from the following note with silence.

Jan Turner, an immensely talented poet and author, invented this poetry form, The Staccato, which utilizes the meaning of the word to emphasize specific thoughts in the poem through the use of internal rhyme, short repeated phrases and exclamation points.

The challenge for today’s FormForAll is to write a poem in the Staccato form. It consists of two or more six-line stanzas with a set syllable count and rhyme scheme. There is not a meter requirement (as in rhythm) however, the structure of the form injects a staccato rhythm that is especially noticeable when read out loud. It uses short repeats, abruptly disconnected elements, such as the staccato in music and lends itself to strong emotion or commands.

Form Description:

Two or more six-line stanzas

Rhyme scheme: a,a,b,b,c,c Syllables: 10,10,8,8,10,10

*Two-syllable repeats appear twice consecutively at the beginning of L3 followed by an exclamation mark and once again at the beginning of L6, with or without the exclamation mark.

*In addition to the repeats, the form requires an internal rhyme interplay between L1 and L2 of each stanza, usually the sixth syllable in each line.

Seeing is often easier than describing. The following Staccato was written by Jan Turner and is provided as an example of the form on the Shadow Poetry site. The internal rhyme is highlighted in bold as a visual aid.

The Mentor

The world demands your will to run life’s course;
great dreams you must fulfill with no remorse.
Buck up! Buck up! Be at the gait
and ready charge onto your fate!
Each day the challenge will not wait… and so,
Buck up as headstrong you must forward go!

Tomorrow you shall rise to meet each test;
each challenge you surmise will be a quest.
Chin up! Chin up! Be proud and strong
for something ventured can’t be wrong!
You’ll come back wiser, brave with head held high;
chin up, stand tall and reach up for the sky!

Experience will teach you at each turn,
as ev’ry goal you reach will help you learn.
Press on! Press on! With each good deed
see others follow at your lead!
Become a beacon shining in the night…
press on with hope and all will turn out right.

Copyright © 2009 Jan Turner

This form may look somewhat familiar to you. I have shared two poems written in this form here at dVerse, most recently the call and response, Empty Nest. Now it is your turn to try your pen at the Staccato poetry form. I look forward to what you offer.

With great appreciation, I must thank both Jan Turner and Shadow Poetry for their incredible contributions to this article.

Jan Turner - Originator of Staccato

Jan Turner is a poet and short story author, illustrator and fine arts painter. She received a B. F. A. in Studio Arts from Old Dominion University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1993. She created nine poetry forms launched by Shadow poetry from 2006 to 2011 (The Alouette, The Florette, The Florette (Form No. 2), Inverted Refrain, The Staccato, Tri-fall, Trijan Refrain, Wrapped Refrain, Wrapped Refrain (Form No. 2). She is the author of four chapbooks: The Magical Nine, Reflections of The Inner Eye, A Shift in Time and Time with You, and coauthor with Emily Romano of Faery Folk & Fireflies, published by Shadow Poetry Press, Excelsior Springs, Missouri (www.shadowpoetry.com). She contributed poetry, flash stories and art in the SP Quill Anthology: Poetry, Stories and Articles from Volumes 1-20 and in Among the Lilies, A White Lotus Anthology, both published by Shadow Poetry Press(c)2008, and A Poetry Bridge to All Nations: A Poetry for Thought Member Collection Volume I, LuLu Enterprises, Inc. (c)2009, http://www.lulu.com.

Some of her writing awards include: Shadows Ink Chapbooks: Series 2, Volumes 3, 4 (3rd place winner), 5 (2nd place winner) and 6 (first place winner); 9th Biannual Chapbook Competition by Shadows Ink Publications 2007; White Lotus Editor’s Choice Award – Spring/Summer 2007 Issue #4; Flash Story Contest-Highly Commended, SP Quill Summer 2008 Vol.19; numerous Shadow Poetry contests (Rhyme Time, Little Bitty and Seasonal) and challenges at the Yahoo private poetry forum Poetry for Thought, including 2009 Poet of the Year.