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A Minute Before the Mirror

Today, I bring you an interesting form called the minute. Like the kimo, it is perfect to capture moments of life and present it to others. For the read today, I feature a fun poetry book you might have heard about, titled Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer.

A side note: since I am talking about minutes and mirrors). Apparently men spend more time on a daily basis in front of the mirror than women! (source: 2014 article – dated, I know, but might still be true.. I can vouch for it in my home!)

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The Minute Poetic Form

Today’s form is called the minute, and you will soon see why it is so. I am sure you will enjoy writing it (though it took me more than a minute, several of them actually) to write my minute poem (or my attempt at one!).

So What is the Minute Poetic Form?

Verna Lee Hinegardner (Poet Laureate of Arkansas from 1991 – 2003) created this form in the 1960s. It is a sixty-syllable, twelve-line poem in strict iambic meter. It has a simple syllabic and rhyming structure, and is intended to capture a moment, or well, a minute of life. Did you notice that the form has sixty syllables, maybe for the sixty seconds of a minute?

Hinegardner’s husband suggested the name when she asked him for help with naming it, after he heard her description of the form. You can read this story and some more about Hinegardner at Pitty Patter (a blog by Pat Laster). You will also find an excellent example of a minute poem by Hinegardner from her book titled Mosaic (another item for the letter M though sadly I could not find it anywhere).

The Minute’s Characteristics

So the minute’s elements are that, at its most basic, it is:

  • stanzaic: three quatrains (4-line stanzas)
  • syllabic: 8/4/4/4 across the four lines
  • rhymed: aabb/ccdd/eeff across the three quatrains
  • metered: written in strict iambic meter
  • capitalized and punctuated like prose
  • used to capture a tiny sliver of life, like, a minute!
So this is how it looks

xxxxxxa
xxxa
xxxb
xxxb

xxxxxxc
xxxc
xxxd
xxxd

xxxxxxe
xxxe
xxxf
xxxf

h/t and Further Reading

My Minute Attempt at the Minute

Using NaPoWriMo’s Day 15 prompt as best as I can, here is my ‘I just don’t get it’ – one among a few other things (though I have been in the US now for over two decades, and I am surrounded by enough people who know more about it; but then sports in general is not something I am too keen on, so…). All of what I write does happen within seconds, and it could easily be the running set of questions I would ask someone next to me if they were not totally into the game, but then again, I don’t really want to 🙂 Also, you might note that I have kind of not fully followed the strict iambic meter rule of this form…

Me and Football (well, here in the US)
They just started the game, didn’t they?
Why don’t they play?
No one pressed pause.
So what’s the cause?

Wonderful, there they go again!
Can you explain
what happened?
Did it just end?

Are you saying it did not?! What?!
Will it restart?
I don’t get it!
Not one wee bit!
~Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

Pin Me

a woman on a clock face stepping on the numbers 2,3, and 4 and holding the second hand ? pin title is poetic forms: M is for Minute

The Book

Mirror Mirror

Title: Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems
Author: Marilyn Singer
Illustrator: Josée Masse
Publishers: Dutton Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (March 4, 2010)
Genre: Children’s Poetry/Stories in Verse (6 – 9 years, and up)
Source: Library

What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories.

I am pretty sure most of have read at least one of those poems that can be both forward and backward, kind of like a palindrome but with whole lines/verses of poems. Marilyn Singer has taken that really creative concept, fused it with favorite fairy tales, and made it all the more magical.

Given I need time to write even one short poem that might make sense or be kind of nice-to-read in one regular forward direction, it simply wowed me to read this whole book of reverse poems by Singer. Each pair of poems created using the same set of lines (only in opposite directions) lends a cool perspective to the reader. While it is tough to pick one, I think my favorite in this collection is the one titled The Doubtful Duckling.

And what can I say about Josée Masse’s artwork throughout this book? Absolutely stunning!! Brimming with details and tales of their own, Masse’s vibrantly beautiful illustrations are the perfectly magical complement to Singer’s poetic pairs.

This book is sure to make us look at familiar tales in a whole new way, and also inspire us to attempt to write poetry (if not the reverse poems, at least to write any poetry, maybe our twist to our favorite fairy tale!).

Get it here

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear readers, have you read the featured book? I would love to hear your thoughts (if you have read them) as well as recommendations for similar books. What do you think about the Minute poetic form? Will you try to capture a slice of life in one? And, how many minutes do you spend in front of the mirror on an average each day??!!

For previous posts in the challenges for this month, check out the links below:

Day 0  Day 1 – A  Day 2 – B  Day 3  Day 4 – C  Day 5 – D  Day 6 – E  Day 7 – F  Day 8 – G Day 9 – H Day 10 Day 11 – I Day 12 – J Day 13 – K Day 14 – L

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

8 thoughts on “A Minute Before the Mirror

  1. Fun form and great example. I’m definitely inspired to give it a try. Mirror Mirros sounds like a great book, and another I’ll be adding to my TBR list. I spend about 1.5 minutes in front of a mirror per day.

  2. Thanks for the enlightenment, this is what’s so cool about poetry with this format included. The unlimited creative writing styles allow us to use our imaginations a bit further.. thanks again

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