Guest poem sent in by Ajit Narayanan
(Poem #1429) Winter Reigns
Shimmering, gleaming, glistening glow-- Winter reigns, splendiferous snow! Won't this sight, this stainless scene, Endlessly yield days supreme? Eying ground, deep piled, delights Skiers scaling garish heights. Still like eagles soaring, glide Eager racers; show-offs slide. Ecstatic children, noses scarved-- Dancing gnomes, seem magic carved-- Doing graceful leaps. Snowballs, Swishing globules, sail low walls. Surely year-end's special lure Eases sorrow we endure, Every year renews shared dream, Memories sweet, that timeless stream.
The most important criterion for good wordplay has always been 'transparency' -- how good the content is when it's viewed independent of the structure. I'm told that Georges Perec's book 'La Disparition', for example, garnered rave reviews from Parisian critics, who praised it as a modern masterpiece, many of them not realizing that Perec had composed the entire book without a single 'e'. I don't read French, however, and consequently, _my_ standard for transparency in wordplay is set by this poem by Mary Youngquist. An elegant, very readable and very naturally constructed poem which masks a surprisingly difficult structure that the poet has most skillfully imposed on it. Can you guess what it is? I wish I could find out more about Mary Youngquist. I've read only two of her works, one of them being this one, and have been very, very impressed. The other is a poem about California (sort of), which is part of this article (another ingenious exercise in wordplay, by the way; read it) [broken link] http://wordways.com/crazy.htm Any further information, or links to other works of hers, would be most appreciated. :ajitQ  [broken link] http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/X/ contains some, but you have to know French, of course. The answer: Each word -- including the title and the author's name -- begins with the last letter of the preceding word. Sounds like an easy constraint? -- try writing even one complete sentence that way and you'll realize the amount of skill it took to make this poem as coherent as it is. [Martin adds] Not the easiest typographic constraint to observe, even neglecting grammar, rhyme, equal line extents, scansion, name etc. Craftsmanship, poetry - Youngquist's stanzas - sonorous, smooth - highlight them marvellously.  Nice extra.