Melissa Miles McCarter

taking lemons and squeezing the life out of them

Melissa Miles McCarter

Melissa Miles McCarter
Ironton, Missouri, USA
February 27
Publisher, Author, Academic
Fat Daddy's Farm
After meeting her husband in grad school, Melissa was seduced by the small town charm of Arcadia Valley, where she resides today. Her (better?) half is a Professor of English who commutes two hours both ways so they can live in the peaceful side of the Ozarks. Through her husband, Melissa became a stepmother to Britin, who gave her an unexpected--but welcome--chance to mother. She also a furmommy to two (soon to be three) English Bulldogs. Melissa has learned to adapt to life's circumstances, making the best out of lemons, and uses her challenges as inspiration for her writing. Not only has living in a small town been an adaption, after growing up in Houston, Texas and Southern California, she has had her fair share of challenges. In 2003, Melissa and her husband lost their 5 week old daughter to SIDS. This experience inspired her to publish and edit the anthology on motherhood and loss, "Joy, Interrupted." Prior to this tragedy, Melissa was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a condition she successfully manages today. Melissa was inspired to pen, "Insanity: A Love Story, A Memoir of Madness and Mania" to share her struggle to navigate the fine line between sanity and insanity. Currently, Melissa is working on a collection of essays addressing infertility in popular culture and social media, as well as its role in her own life. In addition to being a writer, Melissa is an academic whose specialty is rhetoric, composition and feminism. One of her research interests is how to address student resistance to feminist pedagogy. She has a PhD in English, Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Texas, Arlington and received her B.A. in Philosophy from Scripps College, a woman's school in Claremont, CA. Melissa is the publisher of a small press, Fat Daddy's Farm. As an editor and publisher, Melissa's goal is to help uncommon voices grow and flourish.

Melissa Miles McCarter's Links

MARCH 24, 2012 1:00AM

Learning about dekaaz

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Today, at the CCCC in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to learn about dekaaz from the inventor, Rachel Bagby.  Simply put, dekaaz is a poetic form similar to haiku.  The basic format of a dekaaz is ten syllables on three lines.  The first line has two syllables, the second has three syllables, and the third and final line has five syllables.  After you write your dekaaz, you are supposed to speak it to someone.

According to Rachel's own websiteDekaaz is…

a new poetic form
a wisdom-capturing channel
a game of wordplay + impromptu oration
a brainstorming trigger for divine inspiration
a portal to proverbs, power, or simply the Truth
you new favorite tool in the quest for expression

What I like about dekaaz is its function in invention.  Part of composition studies' focus is on how we come up with ideas, what in this field is called invention. Writers often refer to this invention process as the "Eureka" experience.  However, as anyone who struggles to come up with an idea knows, this "out of nowhere" process isn't very reliable.  So, I like methods that allow for coming up with ideas in a more predictable fashion, such as in brainstorming, free-writing, or in starting with a topic.  Dekaaz is another method that provides sparks for new ideas...

The nice thing about dekaaz is that it opens up the idea channel in our mind in a way that merges reason and emotion.  You have to think poetically and succinctly at the same time.  Haiku also does this, but the form itself is so part of common thought, I believe its form in itself doesn't generate as much surprise as the newer poetic form of dekaaz.

 Okay, after all this, what does a dekaaz look like?

Here's an example with the syllables made apparant...

learn- ing


op-ens ma-ny minds

The neat thing about dekaaz is that the possibilities are endless--here's another example of a dekaaz...


moves her now

living beyond time

Again, each Dekaaz has ten syllables in three lines:

2 syllables in the first line, 3 syllables in the second, 5 syllables in the third 

If you want to learn more, Rachel has a facebook page for dekaaz where you can see other people experimenting with the form and add your own dekaaz.   I would love for people to leave their own dekaaz on my page or tweet it to @fatdaddysfarm with the hashtag #dekaaz 

What's your

dekaaz poem

open saloners? 


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Pays bills too.

LOL I'm clearly shit at this, but I like the idea. Looking fwd to other (better) contributions from your readers.