jus for the record, i am not a fan of any “month.” not latino awareness month, not hispanic heritage month (yeah, we get TWO months and i still cant figure out that one) and not national poetry month.
not-so-smooth-segue-way: c dale is collectin votes about poetry month on his blog. i am sure you can guess how i voted but its only cuz i’m one of those obtuse fuckers who think that every month should be poetry month.
not-so-smooth-segue-way-2: brian highlights the Cinquain
i will follow suit and leave you some info on the Décima
Although evidence shows that the ten-line stanza decima existed in medieval Spain and northern Africa, Vincente Martinez de Espinel, a Spanish poet, novelist, and musician, has received credit for the decima that is performed today. The form is nicknamed “the little sonnet” and “the espinel” to recognize the interpretative pause that the poet added.
The decima is the most complex form of popular poetry and is most effective when written in Spanish, where specific rules apply to vowels and accented words. The Puerto Rican Cuatro Project has an excellent web page where a decima is written, clearly highlighting and counting syllables, marking line rhyme in the margin of the text, and explaining accents. The focal point is an online video of Ramito (1915-1900) performing “Up There in the Heights,” a decima about two trees that come together to make a cuarto (a stringed instrument used to accompany the singer). See resources at the end of this lesson plan for the web address.
The decima must follow this rhyme pattern: A/B/B/A (pause) A/C/C/D/D/C and consists of ten lines of 8 syllables–it is here that the form becomes complex:
* When a line or verse ends in with a word with an emphasized syllable, this counts as an extra syllable.
* When a verse or line ends with a word with its emphasized syllable being the antepenultimate one, one syllable is subtracted from the count for the line.
* When a word ends with a vowel and is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, in the Spanish language these flow together, so it counts as only one syllable.
* When a strong vowel (a, o, e) is combined in a word with a weak vowel (i or u) and the emphasis is on the weak vowel, an accent is placed over the weak vowel and it is counted as a separate syllable.