Tag Archives: quatrains

Quadrophenia

This year, it’s quatrains. To celebrate National Poetry Month this April, I am trying to get our customers and friends to send in four-line mini-poems of their own creation on the subject of reading or books. The one whose poem I pick will win a prize. Maybe a dinette set… Oh how I revel in the awesome power I wield as a bookseller!

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a poetry game show?

You have five seconds, contestants. Now: for what’s waiting behind door number three, give us a haiku!

Or you could have teams and make them write a sonnet. Up next: X-treme SonnetSmackdown.

Or for a really vicious & terrifying reality-TV feel: Critique Each Other’s Work with Simon Cowell!

But our contest is totally benign. I give out fliers that say Enter Your Poem on one side, and on the reverse get all educational (sort of) and tell you a little about the form.

But what to call the contest? I have come around to the idea that it is inappropriate to call it Show Us Your Quats. It took me a while to get this. And thank you, Kris, for explaining to me exactly why that would be wrong.

Quadrophenia? Like the Who album? Doesn’t that sound like a good name for a quatrain contest?

Hmm… maybe I’d better find out what it means first. But back in the Paleolithic, my first boyfriend made me a mix tape with a bunch of stuff from the album on it, so how bad can it be? After brief jaunts to Wikipedia & a Who fan page, I find out:

Apparently, the idea for the album was to present four different narrators, recorded in quadraphonic sound, so that each could speak to the listener from a different direction. I guess it didn’t work out like that. But whew! – Pete Townshend makes me kind of dizzy and exasperated just reading him:

The whole conception of Quadrophenia was geared to quadraphonic, but in a creative sort of way. I mean I wanted themes to sort of emerge from corners. So you start to get the sense of the fourness being literally speaker for speaker. And also in the rock parts the musical thing would sort of jell together up to the thunder clap, then everything would turn slowly from quad into mono and you’d have this solid sort of rock mono … then a thunder clap and back out again. We spent months mixing it and then found out that MCA was using the CBS quad system and … you might as well forget it. So our engineer remixed it in the same manner that it was mixed in stereo, the same sort of creative approach.

See what I mean? Strangely, First Boyfriend made me feel exactly the same way…

I read on to discover that “quadrophenia” used to be a popular term for dissociative identity disorder. So much for that.

But I am left with this Gem of Knowledge:

“The 8-track tape version of this album has the distinction of being one of the few 8-tracks that is arranged exactly like the album, with no song breaks. ”

All you vintage 8-track collectors out there should be thrilled to hear.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

And a Happy National Poetry Month to Us, One and All.

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