Ancient and Modern Dragons

Back in February, I mentioned I was experimenting in writing slam poetry in the alliterative meters. Today I present one of the results of that experiment, which I actually presented at the Steel City Slam on March 25. However, it appears that the world of slam is not yet ready for metered Viking poetry. (Indeed, presenting a poem in meter is virtually unheard of in the slam scene.) Nevertheless, I enjoyed writing in this particular style and tone and will probably do so again in the future. I may try something even more unusual in the future: writing an “MFA-style” poem, but in my own voice and using the ancient meters.

The poem is titled “Ancient and Modern Dragons” and it is written in 48 lines of the Anglo-Saxon continuous style that is not broken into stanzas (which first debuted here on my blog). Of the various alliterative forms I work with, I think it is the one best suited to slam poetry. The poem features famous dragons from ancient and modern literature, and more political commentary than is usual for my poems. It’s still heathen to the core, however. 🙂

Of ancient dragons, the elder poets
left us stories of their strength and size:
Of hungry Níðhögg, who gnaws at the roots
of the great green tree, a glorious ash
that nurtures the worlds, named Yggdrasil.
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Preview of a New Rúnatal

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Though I haven’t posted, I’ve still been writing poetry, and a lot of it, and I’ll share some draft pieces today. What I’ve been writing lately will ultimately be a 729-line poem in the Anglo-Saxon style (the style debuted here on my blog), a New Rune Tally (aka “Rúnatal en Nýja” if you prefer Old Norse), inspired by the Rúnatal þáttr Óðins, which is Hávamál stanzas 138-145. (My poetic translation of that traditional Rúnatal is here.) A sizeable chunk of it will consist of tallies of certain things, with nine lines devoted to each item in each tally.

The whole poem, when finished, will be too long to fit in a blog post. Nevertheless, it will make its way to the world eventually, when it has been sufficiently revised and edited. The portions I preview today from the various tallies should be thought of as draft versions that are subject to change. Continue reading