Monday, July 28, 2008


Last week I received a delightful book, Elder Expectations: My Life in Rictameters, by Marlys Marshall Styne in the mail. Rictameters are unrhymed, nine-line poems with a regular pattern of two, four, six, eight, ten, eight, six, four and two syllables. The first and last lines must be the same.

I was first exposed to Marlys' poems on her blog last March when she decided to do one rictameter a day for the full month and I became hooked on the poetry form. I have never really cared much for writing any type of poetry but I began writing my own rictameters and encouraging my writing groups to do the same. It is fun and a bit of a challenge for the ole brain to write a rictameter!

Another intriguing thing about Marlys' book was that she self-published her poems through The poems were written in March and the book was in my hands in July. Amazing! Marlys says "As for self-publishing (Print on Demand), I'm a great believer in it. Traditional publishing is about making money, and my books don't have the sales potential to attract a publisher's financial interest. Besides, I'm too old and impatient to seek agents and publishers and wait years for a book to come out. I didn't even try that route. I guess I'm the ultimate do-it-yourself person and I enjoy doing the book layout myself. Self-published books have had a poor reputation in the past, thanks to the old "vanity publishers," but things are gradually changing."

Thanks, Marlys, for encouraging me to self-publish a book of my own stories, and also for the gift of your rictameter poetry!

Here is my own poem:
Thank you,
Marlys, for the
gift of your poetry
that you have shared with us via
your lovely rictameters in your book,
Elder Expectations, and your
blog, where I first saw them,
then tried my own.
Thank you!

They are tricky, but they are fun to work with!
By the way, you can buy the book on

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