The ocean has served as an inspiration for as long as poets have been writing poems. Some people are inspired by the oceanâ€™s powerful, crashing waves, like when Homer wrote about the â€świne dark seaâ€ť in the Odyssey. Its fascinating animals sparked Walt Whitman, while its depth and mystery drew in former US poet laureate Billy Collins. Even play on the beach can be a source of inspiration: it compelled E. E. Cummings to pen the lovely lines, â€śFor whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/itâ€™s always ourselves we find in the sea.â€ť
Donâ€™t worry if youâ€™re not the next Walt Whitman: our only rule is that you share his muse, the ocean. Whether you praise saltwater waves, ponder undulating jellyfish, or pretend to be the baleen in a whale's mouth, WE WANT YOUR POEMS. From the sublime to the silly, we love them all.
Please take a few seconds, minutes, or hours and submit your odes to the blue. We'll post some of our favorites on our blog at the end of the month.
Want a bit more structure? Try these poetic forms:
- Haikus spread 17 syllables over three lines, with 5, 7, and 5 syllables in each successive line. But feel free to experiment and bend the rules. (This is perfect for Facebook or Twitter!)
- Try rhyming every line, or every other line. Use two sets of rhyming sounds and intermix themâ€¦
- â€¦or go freeform, with no rhymes at all!
- Use as many words as you can that start with the same sound
If youâ€™re in the Washington, D.C. area, celebrate your love for the ocean by joining us at a free ocean haiku writing workshop at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Sant Ocean Hall from 1-3 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2013.