Jan. 17, 2008
Jan D. Hodge, professor emeritus of English at Morningside College, draws on nursery rhymes and the plays of William Shakespeare for inspiration for a new volume of poetry in which he uses a light verse form known as double dactyl.
In his new book “The Bard Double-Dactyled and Other Odd Pieces,” Hodge summarizes the plots of 15 Shakespeare plays and puts a new spin on nursery rhymes such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and familiar childhood tales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” – all written in double dactylic stanzas.
A double dactyl, also known as "higgledy piggledy," is similar to a limerick. The double dactyl is typically humorous in tone and has specific structural requirements such as a nonsensical first line, a proper name in the second line and a single six-syllable word in the sixth line.
“I have taken a few liberties with the form in adapting it to these narratives,” Hodge wrote in the epilogue to his book, “forgoing nonsensicality in the opening line and generally dispensing with proper names in the second, but have consistently made the sixth line a single word.”
“The Bard Double-Dactyled and Other Odd Pieces” is published by Morningside College Press and is available through the Morningside College Bookstore.
Hodge taught at Morningside College from 1967 to 1997. His poems have appeared in North American Review, New Orleans Review, Iambs & Trochees, Defined Providence, South Coast Poetry Journal, Negative Capability, Nebraska Review and many other journals.