About This Site
We got the idea for this site when we were talking about a certain kind of poem we both like, which we’ll call “folk poetry” just for the sake of calling it something.
What qualities do these poems have in common? The key word is lilting. The poems we’re looking for generally have the kind of meter critics refer to sneeringly as “singsong.” The poems shouldn’t be very long or difficult. They tend to be sad or wistful.
What makes a poem lilting? We don’t want to trap ourselves with rigid definitions, but characteristics we often see in lilting poems include: anapestic, accentual or trochaic meter; tetrameter lines or shorter; anaphora and other forms of repetition; feminine line endings; heavy alliteration; and rhyme (internal, end, full, slant, you name it).
Some poems have a subtle musicality that can be quite lovely, but isn’t what we have in mind here. We’re not looking for haiku, for example, or —with rare exceptions— iambic pentameter.
Anyway, we decided to put together a little collection of poems online. Because good contemporary examples of this kind of thing are hard to find, and because we plan to include a given poem only if we both agree it’s a good fit, we expect the site to grow slowly. That’s fine. This isn’t a journal, but an evolving online anthology, so we’re not in any rush to fill up pages.
This site is not about bashing other kinds of poetry or bringing back the “good old days.” We just want to present these poems and say that we like them, even if they use some devices that are currently out of favor. We suspect many readers out there will like them. This raises the question: if we can love certain moods and rhythms in old poems, why should we hate them in new poems?
Rather than fill the whole site with old poems, we hope to solicit contributions from living poets.
Washington Snow and Rose Kelleher