As the quote above indicates, playing with form is a sort of game - an exercise. It's one which is used in schools to familiarise students with form while allowing them to express themselves. Below is an example of a sonnet written by Millie Shepherd, a high school student from Over Wyre.
What Millie's poem reveals to me is the power of such an exercise on the direction of a poem. I think you can see where the structure has guided the language. This is no bad thing. How many times have we started to write a poem only to find that the landscape, or chosen form, has redirected our initial efforts so that our final piece is removed from that first idea, sometimes radically so? I think that structured exercises, and I cound adherence to form as such, is a time-honoured method of challenging those initial thoughts, of pushing ourselves that little bit further. It's as if the paper is saying to us, 'Yes, that's an intriguing line of thread but let's see what happens to it when you wrap it about a new frame.'
Of course, sometimes we don't want to be distracted by the frame - we want to communicate our idea in its first shape, without the twist of form. But when you love to play with words (and we do love to play with words don't we?) there is a real joy in rising to the challenge of a complex structure, of hanging our ideas about a twisted frame.
OK, it wouldn't be an exercise week without a challenge or two so here's a frame for you to try on... It's the Monostich form, which means a poem that consists of a single line. Here's an example stolen from the interweb:
And here is my attempt:
Right. Off you go...