Glosas & a few words about rejection

I’ve been working on a glosa arising from a quatrain by our late lamented high priestess of Canadian poetry, Gwendolyn MacEwen. An interesting thing, the glosa. Aside from Marilyn Hacker, who seems to have tried every form invented, you don’t really see them much by any but Canadian poets. That PK Page has a lot to answer for! In her inspiring collection, Hologram, she defines it as a stanza form, based on a quatrain by another poet, consisting of four 10-line stanzas where the 6th and 9th lines rhyme with the 10th. (Pah, child’s play, sez I after wrestling through 9 stanzas of terza rima..)

But my research tells me that it is also considered pretty much a nonce (love that word) form, also known as a glose (that seems to be how the Americans spell it) and that you can use any number or kind of lines as your starting point: they need not even be poetry. Neither is there any law that says the stanzas must be ten lines or follow any particular rhyme scheme.

The art of it is, I think, firstly to find a way to make the source lines your own, so that they have – fully – two lives; and secondly to walk a fine balance between bringing your poem to its own life and paying appropriate tribute to the source poet’s words. Choosing those source lines is difficult enough, and it’s good to know we can look beyond quatrains for them.

Rejection. Ouch: it never stops hurting, but I guess in this world so overcrowded with words we can’t write without it. One of the AWP sessions in Austin that I wasn’t able to make centred on The Resilient Writer, a collection of interviews with writers who survived to talk about rejection. Meanwhile, I found a blog about rejection by an editor who helpfully and comprehensively explains the nature and context of rejection letters… in a way that doesn’t hurt… TOO much.

So up here in Fanny Bay we might not have escaped another day of rain, but we did get a bucket of oysters for supper last night, and this morning a real live rainbow!

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