Tuesday, June 2, 2015

'Cocktails on the Balcony': Poetry from Beirut

       While Saul was visiting his sister in Lebanon last week, my poem "Cocktails on the Balcony" was published in Verse-Virtual, the online literary journal that remakes itself every month. Saul's back, after a great two weeks, and -- guess what -- my poem is still around.
        The first word in the poem is "Beirut." The poem, and its title, pay tribute to one of my favorite places, the balcony of our daughter Sonya's apartment in the heart of a great city.
        The poem, which is very short, follows a poetic form called
hay(na)ku. A variation on haiku, it calls for one-word, two-word and three-word lines, successively. If you compose four stanzas of these, plus a final 2 three-word lines (a couplet), that gives your 14 lines, and the whole business approximates the form of a sonnet. That's what "Cocktails" is -- my first hay(na)ku sonnet. Finally, the poem's reference to "March/ Two movements" refers to the two political coalitions that govern Lebanon, both named for the date in March when they were formed.

            We last visited Sonya in Beirut a year ago, spent a lot of time on her balcony, watered all the plants she has growing there -- lowering the city reservoir by the time we're finished -- and no doubt, on occasion, enjoyed cocktail hour there. (For more on the subject of this leafy balcony, see http://prosegarden.blogspot.com/2014/04/sonyas-balcony-garden-life-among-leaves.html)
             Here's the link to that poem: http://www.verse-virtual.com/robert-c-knox-2015-june.html

              ... And to my two other poems this month. One, "About the Stranger" was written in response to a prompt (the word of art for a suggested topic) offered during National Poetry Month in April. 
               The last poem "Invitation to the Feast" was written was an attempt to write "a poetry menu," an idea suggested by a short essay on that theme by poet Trish Hopkinson published in another journal. 
               Finally, the appearance in print of "Cocktails on the Balcony" also offers me the opportunity to re-post one of our favorite photos from that visit, the "3 kinds of fresh-squeezed orange juice photo." I still have to write the poem called 'breakfast on the balcony. Maybe after some more research on the next visit.