Okay, off to your quill pens. Yielding to flattery and blandishments, Dr. Neil Randall of the University of Waterloo, judge emeritus, has indeed returned for another go, and has proposed that this year’s poetry competition be a work in ballad form.
The form has variations, and you are very much allowed to research and explore them, but for his purposes the following are the norms, what is expected – varying should have a purpose.
Ballads are narrative poems. They alternate iambic tetrameter with iambic trimeter, ie. 4 beats, then 3 beats, then 4 beats, then 3...
The rhyme scheme tends to be a/b/c/b d/e/f/e
In other words 2nd and 4th lines rhyme, then 6th and 8th, etc. The three beat lines.
They tend to be written in stanzas of 4 lines (quatrains). Neil has set the competition boundaries as a ballad of between 12 and 16 lines – 3 or 4 stanzas. Themes to be taken (as usual) from any of my published books, either a single one, or some form of across-titles idea. Remember that he did say they tend to be narrative poems. You can find examples all over. Look up “Sir Patrick Spens” as one that I’ve always loved. (And you’ll see some meter variations in there, used very well.)
Other than that, the ballad world is your oyster. Deadline is December 15th, so you have a bit more than a month. Initial efforts can come in this thread and nearer the deadline we’ll create a ‘Final entries’ thread (again, as usual) where you can re-submit your best efforts, final drafts. Competition entries limited to 2 per person, but feel free to post more than that in this first thread to get feedback and offer pleasure.
Prize is a galley of UNDER HEAVEN, or a hardcover if preferred.
Enjoy. I always do.
This is the sixth Bright Weavings poetry contest. The thread can be found on the Forums, under Miscellaneous, "The Balladof Brightweavings".