One of the poetic forms that we studied in Peggy Archer’s workshop was the chant. The example that Peggy gave was from April Pulley Sayre’s Trout, Trout, Trout! I have to admit, I didn’t see myself writing a chant so I didn’t take a lot of notes.
Bad, bad me. Because the other when I was supposed to be paying attention to something else (like choir rehearsal), I started playing with the rhythm’s of bird names. Single syllable names were slower. Multi-syllable faster. I needed both and I was going to need quite a few. Before long I was compiling a list by first letter with different columns for different syllable counts. That a word list came into play isn’t entirely surprising since Peggy emphasized how helpful create a list can be as she works on a new poem.
In about ten minutes, I had a fair list bit I also had almost no idea what had been going on around me. Sigh. I put away my list and decided to pay attention instead of reading more about chants.
When I did get home so that I could do a bit of reading, here is what I discovered:
The chant may be the oldest poetic form.
It is called a chant because of the rhythm formed by repetition.
This repetition can be a single word or a line.
The repetition is important but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of the chant. Something in the poem has to change. That’s what makes it interesting.
Rhythm is a bit part of the chant, which could be why I was inspired to play with this form in choir.
Do a Google search and you can find numerous examples of chant poetry. Some are short while others are quite long.
Me? What I was playing with didn’t resemble any of the examples I found online. I want to read all of Trout, Trout, Trout! since it was the catalyst. I just hope I can pull something together without getting totally lost in choir.