An Ode To Frederick

I just returned from Frederick, Maryland where my friend Gary Ciocco was the featured reader. The venue is run by a rather gregarious fellow by the name of Daniel Armstrong. He has a pretty diverse group of regulars that show up week after week and I haven’t seen them in months so it was a refreshing break to get down there and see the crew.

Gary read from his recently self-published chapbook Meditations from the Mid-Atlantic. As he states in his introduction, Gary is from Pennsylvania – born and raised – and has spent most of his life here so he’s a bit of a regional voice. But he’s also a philosophy professor at several of the colleges and universities in this area, including Gettysburg College. And one of his biggest influences is Jack Kerouac, and you can see the strain of Kerouackian wry humor that runs through his verse.

I read from a new poem, unpublished, titled “Coup D’Etat”, which utilizes a pseudo-form that I invented, though I haven’t officially given it a name. I think I’ll call it a Crescendant. I like that as a name because the poem plays off of a building crescendo where each succeeding line is longer than the previous one until I get to the climax then the poem decrescendos to a rapid close. The poem can be any length as long as it follows this basic pattern. To illustrate, I’ll share this off-the-cuff piece, which I will title “Ode To Frederick”:

Ode To Frederick

We read.
Poems at that.
In the most unlikely
place. Frederick, Maryland,
a place some call the land of
Frednecks. And when they ask
us where we are from, we will nod
and say, “From nowhere, which is some-
where, and where some might say is every-
where. But where? In Frederick, everyone is some
one and no one is alone.
That is. Until

This is a rather raw hack piece, but it illustrates the Crescendant very well. The form can utilize any combination of poetic devices as long as it sticks to the basic rubric of lengthier lines up until you decide to close it out, at which time you will shorten the lines but at a much more rapid pace than which you built them up. What do you think? Does it work as a form?

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2 Responses to An Ode To Frederick
  1. Ildane Angstromr
    August 8, 2008 | 11:06 pm

    Marvelous bit of extemporaneous writing that! I look forward to more such crescendants! Maybe a “stringendo” as well (keep reading it faster with each line…). I will have to give this a try myself sometime.

    Nicely done, Allen!

    -Ildane, of Fredneck

  2. the poet
    August 9, 2008 | 6:27 am

    Thanks Ildane! Do give it a try. It’s a lot of fun!

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