NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 13

Standard

Day Thirteen

on APRIL 13, 2021

Happy thirteenth day of Na/GloPoWriMo, everyone. I hope you have great luck with your writing today, despite the inauspicious date.

Today, our featured participant is . . . two featured participants, because I couldn’t pick just one. Here, in response to our “past and future” prompt, is unassorted stories‘ vertiginous poem that takes you from Ancient Greece up into the stars, and Selma‘s poem that lets you peek into the pulse of Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a consul and general of Rome.

Today, our featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 14, at 7 p.m. eastern daylight time. Poet Mark Wunderlich will read via Zoom for the reading series at Bennington College.

And now, on to our (optional) prompt. Today’s prompt comes from the Instagram account of Sundress Publications, which posts a writing prompt every day, all year long. This one is short and sweet: write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.

Happy writing!

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

Just like Day 12 – I am still catching up with some of my NaPo gaps, before I go offline I wanted to make sure I had placed today’s prompt here. I will be back to add more about process and outcomes in the small hours or tomorrow, please do check back.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 12

Standard

Day Twelve Click for the full post.

Our featured participant today is Catching Lines, where you will find an intriguingly fruity poem in response to our epistolary prompt for Day 11.

Our reading is a pre-recorded one… It features Donald Hall, who besides being a wonderful poet, wrote the children’s book Ox-Cart Man, which has introduced generations of kids to flinty New England thriftiness.

Prompt… I’m calling this one “Past and Future.” This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science FictionCathy Park Hong for a tweet to the science fiction dictionary and Hoa Nguyen for the Classical Dictionary.

Happy writing!

© napowrimo.net

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES:

Someone had the morning off, so I fell behind on writing and posting Napo. I love the sorts of prompts we had today, so was looking forward to writing today. I reached my desk at 6 PM. The first place I went was the Napo prompt but then I had events, time offline. I decided as I hadn’t even approached writing for NaPo I would leave it until Tuesday.

THE NEXT DAY…

I read the A Kitchen Incident. An incredible poem. Intrigued by and connected to this poem.

Did you see, in that line, how I halved myself like an orange?/ Peeping through each other’s letterboxes./ Or maybe I’m the juice, running out and away like a river, losing myself in the ocean. I once thought us immiscible. Oil and water. /perhaps we’re more like milk and blood, clotting in each other like casual dynamite.

^ Beautiful lines.

Despite being a US Poet Laureate I hadn’t come across Donald Hall. I listened/watched the featured reading over two days. It is only a 30 minute video but I fell down a rabbit hole and also had a day away from the screen/desk yesterday.

University of Virginia video, Donald Hall, U.S. Poet Laureate – With numerous awards such as two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Marshal/Nation Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lily Prize for Poetry, Hall is one of the greatest poets of our time. He has published 15 books of poetry and now shares his creative wisdom in this thoughtful exploration of his work.

I listened to this reading in bitesize chunks of 10ish minutes, I heard the first 4 poems three times. I tried to find the time to watch it properly so today (Tuesday), I sat down for lunch with Donald and watched. This isn’t necessarily a style of poetry I would seek or read but I enjoyed his humour and hearing the stories behind some of the poems.

I particularly liked The Poet and hearing him talk of his father, how he wrote straight away in his grief but it took 17 years to complete White Apples, to fit the parts together needed one more line, eventually (as poems do), it came and also gave the book its title – White Apples and the Taste of Stone (2006).

His poem about POETRY READINGS – To a Waterfowl …. ‘I tell them I am in POETRY’… is definitely worth a read/ listen – Donald says about it; “that was a lot of poem to write!

It was an emotive reading, I appreciated Donald talking about the structure of his poems and his process. The narrative in his work is rich indeed. ‘The Day I was Older’ – A poem in which he considers growing older than his father (who died at 52), is written in 5 parts each with a title ‘The Day I was Older’ // The Clock: ‘ … a thousand favourite favorite stars’ /

And Olive – well what can I say? Watch it!

I did a little post reading research.

Donald Hall (1928-2018)

He was the 14th US Poet Laureate – succeeded Ted Kooser from October 1, 2006, and was succeeded by Charles Simic in 2007.

He was the author of over 50 books across several genres from children’s literature, biography, memoir, essays, and including 22 volumes of verse.

He was the New Hampshire (home state) Poet Laureate (1984–89).

After this I fell down a rabbit hole of other You Tube videos, talks and readings, read the Poetry Foundation pages and explored some of Donald’s other poems.

I saved the link to his children’s book (inspired by the poem Ox-Cart Man which he read as part of his University of Virginia reading) to listen to later.

Never too old for a children’s story.

I then spent a while (and I mean a long time) exploring and enjoying the dictionaries – Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

I still haven’t chosen my words. I did some of the research yesterday, but am yet to settle down to write it out. I will be back later to write two days of NaPo and will update this post.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 11

Standard

Day Eleven Click to read the full post

Our featured participant for the day is Katie Staten, who wrote a poem in response to the “junk-drawer song” prompt that really does feel like a song.

Today’s featured poetry reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 12, at 7:15 p.m. eastern daylight time. Pulitzer prize-winner Yusef Komunyakaa will be reading online through Zoom as part of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachussetts.

Prompt. This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response.

Happy writing!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES: With PLENTY of musical rabbit holes!

Due to my slightly excessive Saturday diary, I spent most of this morning revisiting the Day 10 prompt. It is normal to find yourself sailing behind the tide a little with NaPo, (don’t let it worry you) especially if you are working, balancing a life and not chained to your laptop all day. I thoroughly enjoyed this prompt and although I wrote pages of material had to trust it would come together in the end.

And it did and it was fantastical and it was something that definitely wouldn’t exist without this prompt and also I feel my 3 pages of 10mins (or less) writes will provide me with more material to write from.

I bent the prompt a little, which is fine. I wrote about the junk drawer first and because most of my house is disorganised like a junk drawer I drew from memory. This is all I managed yesterday in between meetings and readings. This morning I added more detail to the junk drawer write, which was originally just a list of items. I spent a long while choosing a song, and couldn’t find a definite answer, so I made a short-list like a Top 10, closed my eyes and pointed at one.

I played ‘Riders on the Storm’~ The Doors and started to freewrite – 3 paragraphs – I didn’t officially time 10 minutes but the chosen video ran to over 7 mins and I was still writing into the second repeat. Then I re-read the prompt and replayed the track from the start focusing on textures and the other areas of the prompt and this came out more like a list of items. 1 A4 page.

It took 13 pages of work and is saved in a separate document to the rest of the work I have done so far. I really like the outcome, love the surreal feel of it. It still feels a little loose, I shall enjoy coming back to this one.

This afternoon has been busy so I didn’t read the new prompt for Day 11 until after 8pm. The featured participant is once again from a blog I already follow, I read Like Gods.

… tonight
we leave the windows open,
let the city in.

>

>

… A new home
held shut with staples,

>

>

When we start over
with spare paper and old notes,
we are like gods.

>

>

We’ve kept stones and broken things
to build our own world with them.

I was absorbed by this poem so much that I didn’t even consider the prompt, I read this poem, until the drawer was mentioned. I guess most of our drawers hold old notes, so lovely to know they now appear in our Day 10 poems. I love the fact that Katie Staten not only concludes the poem but also justifies why we hold onto junk objects. Double kudos for including the batteries – I had them in my freewrite but they didn’t make it into the final poem.

I read the prompt and the original source for today and I have decided to bank it for tomorrow. My brain is barely working and I have a memorial service/virtual Remembrance to attend. I feel I need to just STOP for a little while before that. Working through yesterday’s prompt and being in meetings, editing and reading/festival events today has been great but far from restful. I only hope tomorrow is a kind/small prompt so I can play catch up.

At least I demonstrate well how NaPoWriMo goes/how writing slides/how you just catch up and continue forwards.

Photo by Jacqueline Kelly on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 10

Standard

Day Ten Click to read the full post.

As of today, we are one-third of the way through Na/GloPoWriMo 2021.

Our featured participant today is Ordinary Average Thoughts, where you will find, in response to our “unusual to-do list” prompt, the to-do list of a remote control.

Today’s reading is a pre-recorded event that you can enjoy at your leisure. It features the poet Jericho Brown reading at the Cuyahoga County Public Library back in 2019.

Finally, here’s our daily prompt (optional, of course!). It’s called “Junk Drawer Song,” and comes to us from the poet Hoa Nguyen.

  • First, find a song with which you are familiar – it could be a favorite song of yours, or one that just evokes memories of your past. Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense.
  • Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer – or wherever you keep loose odds and ends that don’t have a place otherwise. (Mine contains picture-hanging wire, stamps, rubber bands, and two unfinished wooden spoons I started whittling four years ago after taking a spoon-making class). On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to.
  • Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages.

Happy writing!

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.com

Congratulations – you made it! Double figure days and 1/3 through – well done!

This morning I felt the opposite of yesterday, I think the mind knows weekend. I had meetings and events booked today which kept me as busy as I was yesterday. So once again it was a disjointed, bitesize Napo day. I didn’t have the pressure of writing on my own project today, which was a weight lifted. Parts of today were high intensity – mentally – my walking tally’s still held at 1.

PROCESS NOTES:

The featured participant writes a blog I know/follow Ordinary Average Thoughts, so I knew I was in for a treat and the poem Remote control to-do list didn’t disappoint. A delightful read and a universal experience. The use of repetition for comic effect works well and the stanza which matched my own remote control’s bad behaviour, had me smiling:

4
Fail to communicate regularly
with the set-top box,
so it will ask him “are you still there?”
in the middle of a show
he is actively watching.

The video is 45 mins – I promise you that time will fly but I wanted to properly listen to it so I saved it for later, to watch after the live events I am attending this evening. He reads for 20+ mins and then it’s a Q & A.

Acclaimed poet Jericho Brown won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2015 for The New Testament, a powerful examination of race, masculinity and sexuality. He’ll join us to read selections from his latest collection, The Tradition, and to announce the winners of the 84th Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards honoring the 2018 books that excel in confronting racism and exploring human diversity.

Previous winners include Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Gunnar Myrdal, Toni Morrison, Marilyn Chin, Sandra Cisneros and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana and an English professor at Emory University, Jericho Brown wrote the 14-line title poem included in his new collection The Tradition the year he was in Cleveland. Celebrated for his intense musicality, lyrical clarity and muscular impact, the poet begins “Night Shift” with “When I am touched, brushed and measured, I think of myself/As a painting.” © Cleveland Foundation.

I like Jericho Brown’s work. I found him through NaPo and his Duplex form a few years ago and have watched and read closely ever since. I had a workshop with him last year which was captivating. I am lucky enough to have another one later this month.

Although I know a lot of the poems (mainly from The Tradition) and have watched him read them before, they do not lose power. It is lovely to see him enjoying the audience so much too. A good audience makes all the difference and this crowd harness all the enthusiasm of the State!

I loved Jericho’s honesty. I think one of the attractions of his work and his readings is the soul level/spirit. Here he tells us how this book tried to kill him. How he fell out with it so many times… and this is something we don’t expect, but it is common. The publishing process for poetry can be fairly lengthy so by the time the books are in hands the work is several years old. We work so hard to get published that you would expect us to throw a party and celebrate (which we do as well) but as several points before the book becomes it does try to kill you. You do fall out with it. It does get inside your head. I almost hated the poems by the time they were bound – you learn to love them again, you just need to give yourself a little space. So I think it’s really good to hear this from a poet as established as Jericho Brown. Like rejection this love-hate relationship with our work is natural and normal and something to accept and learn to deal with. I only wish I had heard those words before 2015.

In the Q&A Jericho talks about process, which I have heard him discuss before. I love hearing different ways we all work.

NaPo always introduces me to poets. One of yesterday’s headaches was realising I had missed a reading which included Denise Duhamel, featured in Napo Day 8.

© Cleveland Foundation

Today’s prompt comes from a website that has a wealth of resources for generating more writing and has been added to my resources document.

It’s a great prompt – one I have done before (juxtaposed) but never with a junk drawer and music. The music part on it’s own, yes… recently in fact in our final Experimenting With… class with Tawnya Renelle. I was looking forward to writing this prompt but with such a lack of concentrated time, I just have notes at the moment. The junk drawer is great fun and I will update this post to let you know how it went tomorrow.

PROCESS NOTES for this wonderful prompt can be read here.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 9

Standard

Day Nine Click here to read in full.

Our featured participant today is Orangepeel, where you’ll find a very touching poem based on our Spoon River prompt.

Today’s reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 10, at 5 p.m. eastern daylight time. It will involve the poets Will Alexander and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge reading for New York City’s Segue reading series.

Our prompt for the day is to write a poem in the form of a “to-do list.” The fun of this prompt is to make it the “to-do list” of an unusual person or character. For example, what’s on the Tooth Fairy’s to-do list?… Your list can be a mix of extremely boring things and wild things…

Happy writing!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES:

I started Day 9 like this! ^ Why? I had a To Do list already (not ironic… just a daily map), some days when I get up it can take my body an hour or so to sort itself out and this was one of those days. So my TO DO list was delayed by a couple of hours and I had an event at 11 and another at 4 with a the gap between to squeeze a lot in, including work on 4 new poems and a few areas of research. So I was really happy to discover today’s prompt was a manageable one and I had time for it.

Sometimes during NaPoWriMo you can feel like the above picture, try your best to STOP if you do, this month is meant to be ENJOYABLE. Try bite size Napo like I have today.

How to BITESIZE NaPo:

  1. Read the site /prompt.
  2. Later revisit and complete link searches. I looked up the event reading.
  3. Later on I read the participant/feature poem – I stopped, remembering the Day 8 prompt and knew this was going to be a hard read. Deep breath…
  4. Later on, about 6 hours later I looked at the prompt and started my write.

I started with the featured poem.

A sad, tender work of loss. Many of us experience our first loss as children or teens. I lost family members as a child, but was 14 when I lost my first friend. This poet lost this friend over 50 years ago and Laurie is still very much a part of him. This was a powerful dramatic monologue.

You’ve navigated the highway well,
that treacherous stretch of road
that can flip us at any moment.

I have a feeling this prompt will have thrown a lot up for many of us.

I made notes of the reading and then read the prompt. I have written To Do list poems before in a workshop. I wanted to use a person who is connected to a current writing area. So I did a tiny bit of referencing first and then, as I have no time for a deeper dive today (starting events again in 20 minutes), I just completed a free write.

This by far has been the most challenging NaPo prompt! It took me 4 days to decide on my subject. I researched 2 historical figures and one creature before finally settling on a random image finder and settling on a loofah. I then fell down the rabbit hole of imagining it would imagine itself as other things. I freewrote in the end and it came out as a rounded list of 20 things on the TO DO list* ranging from pranking razor to repeating mantras and working through some personal issues. It is humorous – which delights me as my cannon of funny poems (after 6 years) is now approaching double figures! *Far too long for a real one.

8. Send another angry telepathy note to flannel

Some poems make you wait… it was worth it in the end!

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 8

Standard

Day Eight Click here for the full post.

Today, our featured participant is Uncle Phil’s Blog, where the Shadorma/Fib prompt for Day 7 led to a very funny shadorma indeed.

Our featured reading for the day is pre-recorded, so that you can watch it whenever you like. It features the poet Denise Duhamel, reading at Arizona State University.

Our prompt – I call this one “Return to Spoon River,” after Edgar Lee Masters’ eminently creepy 1915 book Spoon River Anthology. The book consists of well over 100 poetic monologues, each spoken by a person buried in the cemetery of the fictional town of Spoon River, Illinois.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies. As with Masters’ poems, the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy. Be as dramatic as you like – Masters’ certainly didn’t shy away from high emotion in writing his poems.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES: Watch out for the not-really-Rabbit-Holes!

Welcome to the 2nd week of NaPoWriMo! I found today good fun, hope you do too. I started with the featured participant I LOVED the coffee poem, both poems followed form. The Shadorma about family was intriguing – I know the Shadorma was promoted as funny (it can be read this way) < see how subjective poetry is? When I read it – Uncle Pete caused concern and then later in thought perhaps sympathy – the fact we don’t know why he is left out is a little sinister, or perhaps just brothers who have fallen out, there’s lots to unpack for such a short form – clever writing.

Today was a day of 100s of poems! I listened to the Denise Duhamel Poetry Reading at ASU. Denise Duhamel Poetry Reading at the Arizona State University “Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference.”

Denise Duhamel earned a BFA at Emerson College and an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Citing Dylan Thomas and Kathleen Spivack as early influences, Duhamel writes both free verse and fixed-form poems that fearlessly combine the political, sexual, and ephemeral. Duhamel has published numerous collections of poetry, including Kinky (1997), Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (2001), and Ka-Ching! (2009). Her honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been included in several volumes of Best American Poetry, and has also been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Bill Moyers’s PBS poetry special Fooling with Words. An associate professor at Florida International University, she lives in Florida.

It was a great reading, amusing and a fantastic companion to my morning coffee and at 20 minutes more manageable than some of the featured readings offered. The story behind her Sestina to Sean Penn is brilliant! Delta Flight 659 for Sean Penn. I will watch/listen/share this reading.

Photo credit: Gary Lanier

If you want more than 20 minutes of poetry you can let Vimeo deliver the rest of the “Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference” videos to your screen, most of them are from 2012 Conference.

I listened to Sally Ball. – Not exactly a rabbit hole because I wasn’t seeking it – glad I caught her reading though.

Sally Ball reading from “Annus Mirabilis” at the Arizona State University “Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference.”

Sally Ball is the author of Annus Mirabilis, which was selected by Ellen Bryant Voigt for the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize (NY: Barrow Street, 2005). Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Ploughshares, Slate, Threepenny Review, Yale Review, and other journals, as well as in the Best American Poetry anthology. Ball is the associate director of Four Way Books, an independent press based in New York City. In 2007 she was the Margaret Bridgman Fellow in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, where she teaches poetry workshops, courses in modern and contemporary American poetry, and a literary publishing and editing class. She also offers internships with Four Way Books to students in the MFA Program for Creative Writing.

2012 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference
Feb. 23-26 • ASU Tempe campus

I also read more of Denise Duhamel‘s poems on Poets.org – again notreally-a-rabbit-hole as it was on the same page as the NaPo link and I have only just discovered Denise today and loved her work. Rabbit Hole in time though. I have stored a few for later.

NaPoWriMo often send gems of ebook resources, I didn’t read all of the Spoon River Anthology but I have saved the link on my NaPo resource list. A free book, always a bonus!

Today’s prompt meant that I returned to the book with a 2nd cup of coffee to read a few poems. I have only ever written one dramatic monologue – they were a popular form here on the spoken word circuit about 5 years ago, especially amongst students studying creative writing. Of course they have been in vogue for years and used by Wordsworth, Browning, Tennyson, Eliot and Yeats, to name a few. They are sometimes referred to as persona poems. I have a background in theatre and drama so at one point in my life knew more monologues than poems. The poetic form is a little different from the dramatic form.

I know this prompt is one I shall start this morning and carry with me before I sit to write it out. Especially as I have my first walk in 2021 Walk in Nature planned before lunch. It won’t be far because of the leg/back recovery but it will be OUTSIDE and although cold the sky is blue, there is no sun and the sun is SHINING! Scarf and boots ready. Also it was around this time last year in the 1st UK Lockdown when I felt brave enough to venture outside of my home range for a walk. I saw three fields over the course of 2020 grow through a cycle that let me know some of our world still works as it did. There are geese, ducks, birds of prey and the hills in the background and in a socially distanced way, my mum (who has been shielding so we have big gaps of time where we didn’t see each other off screen).

The walk was a joy! The sky was big.

PROMPT:

read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead… perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, … a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy.

Read from The Project Gutenberg EBook of Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters.

I only read a few of the poems from Spoon River, Cassius Hueffer explores the idea of people’s idea* of us and our real selves can be different. *I like the idea that it may not be the truthful version of what people think anyway but the gravestone is not the place to write a harsh truth. I know whatever comes in the next few hours will stem from this poem.

Dramatic Monologues:

The basics of a dramatic monologue, demonstrated through the poems collected in the Spoon River Anthology:

Single person speaking/ opinions not necessarily those of poet (assumed character)/ – which creates a distance between the reader and the writer, /it is dramatic (like the theatre- settings/character/conflict) so is spoken to/assumes a listener or is addressed to another character.

M.H. Abrams says; “The main principle controlling the poet’s choice and formulation of what the lyric speaker says is to reveal to the reader, in a way that enhances its interest, the speaker’s temperament and character.”

What came out was a two page poem about a friend we recently lost to suicide. In his voice. Free written, typed at speed. I won’t share an extract but I feel him with me, in my heart.

WOW. Today’s Napo is powerful and not necessarily pleasant in the end, give yourselves self-care if you have written about … or found this traumatic or difficult, this prompt could unpluck a lot of people. Take care. x

NaPoWriMo 2021 One Week In

Standard

Well we have all made it to the end of Week 1! By now you may have written 0-7 poems, however many you have managed to write they will all be poems which would not have existed without some of these prompts.

If you’re following from here or napowrimo.net you will have been given the option of reading 12 poems from 12 different poets, some of them established and some participants.

In watching the events and video resources you will have heard more poems than I can accurately estimate. By now your mind is swimming in words and there is no sign of the tide going out anytime soon… welcome to NaPoWriMo!

REFLECTION – WEEK 1

This week I have written 10 poems, of these I think several will go on further, 2 were the short form from today and 2 were written the day after the prompt – one from The Sun Ra Arkestra, (I’ve already established I could happily use the Day 1 prompt for the entire month) and one from the Universal Deck activity where I created and left it as word sculpture on the day and was then inspired to write the words into a poem after reading a participant’s featured poem.

IF I HAD TO PICK THE BEST BITS…

My favourite prompt this week: Day 5 “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain,”

The most enjoyable to create from: Day 1

Most Valuable Resource(s): Day 2 – There is so much archived here 47th Annual Poetry Project New Year’s Marathon

& Day 4 – @SpaceLiminalBot

Catching Treasure ~ New-to-me-Poets: Mairead Case, Kenyatta Rogers, Erika Hodges & Mary Szybist (Day 5), Sandra Beasley, Teri Ellen Cross Davis & Michael McClure (Day 3) and Monica de la Torre (Day 1).

I always enjoy discovering new resources and poets and this week has been a treasure trove.

SURVIVAL TIPS FOR NAPOWRIMO

  1. Honestly… don’t worry!
  2. Catch up if you can and if you want to…
  3. Do not be held back by a prompt (unless you want the challenge).
  4. JUST WRITE.
  5. Switch off your inner editor/critic.
  6. Know that even writing you don’t consider any good is taking you somewhere.
  7. READ!

At the end of the first week I thought it would be fun to leave 7 tips. Many of these will be happening naturally as you sit down to pen a poem each day.

  1. No one is judging this process, it doesn’t matter if by the end of April you have 1 poem or 100.
  2. It is easy to slip behind trying to balance a daily write with real life, if you fall behind you may find you can catch up later in the month if you feel it’s a poem you want to write.
  3. There are plenty of poetry prompts all over the internet so find a different one or just go rogue. Write 3 words or 3 lines a poem doesn’t have to be an epic.
  4. Quite often in my general poetry making my starting point will be a free write, thousands of poets work this way. If the thought of trying to write a poem feels impossible… just write.
  5. This is one of the hardest challenges to overcome, that critic comes with their own remote and the mute button is glitchy. Just try your best, it takes years – but you can train them to sit quietly in the corner.
  6. Often with a mass write there will be ‘wasted ink’ – something you consider rubbish. Sometimes people say ‘this is rubbish’ and then go on to read something fantastic out loud! Try to stop saying it’s rubbish or see it as rubbish…. all the writing you do takes you somewhere. You can’t expect it to be amazing everyday. Lower the expectation to – today I will write. Don’t even read it afterwards… we’re not editing yet.
  7. You have no excuse this month. Every day the prompt provides at least 1 poem to read (reading includes listening to audio/ watching video), you may find your own rabbit holes or decide you want to find more work from a particular writer. Embrace the read. It will ALWAYS help develop and improve your writing.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 7

Standard

Day Seven Click here for the full post.

Today marks the end of the first week of Na/GloPoWriMo 2021. Our featured participant today infinebow, where the prompt for Day 6 led to a chatty-and-dreamy poem about salt and other things.

Today’s reading is a live event sponsored by Cornell University that will take place tomorrow, April 8, at 7 p.m. eastern daylight time. It features the poet Camonghne Felix.

Prompt: There are many different poetic forms. Some have specific line counts, syllable counts, stresses, rhymes, or a mix-and-match of the above… Today, I’d like to challenge you to pick from two – the shadorma, and the Fib.

The shadorma is a six-line, 26-syllable poem (or a stanza – you can write a poem that is made of multiple shadorma stanzas). The syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5. Rather poetically, the origin of the shadorma is mysterious…

Our second syllabic form is much more forthright about its recent origins. Like the shadorma, the Fib is a six-line form. But now, the syllable count is based off the Fibonacci sequence of 1/1/2/3/5/8. You can  link multiple Fibs together into a multi-stanza poem, or even start going backwards after your first six lines, with syllable counts of 8/5/3/2/1/1. Lots of things in the natural world hew to the sequence – like pinecones and flower petals. And now your poems can, too.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES:

Due to an oversight in the diary (a clashing event which was actually the night before), I did manage to see the beginning of the Open Door: Mairead Case, Kenyatta Rogers, Erika Hodges and Israel Solis Jr Poetry Foundation Reading – which was wonderful. Unfortunately, I was watching from bed as it started just after 1 AM and was asleep before the end.

I watched Mairead Case read from Tiny, I listened to Erika Hodges and most of Kenyatta Rogers. They were all superb readings and had it not been so late, I may have made it through.

The Open Door series presents work from new and emerging poets, and highlights writing instruction and poetic partnerships. Each event features readings by two Chicagoland writers and two of their current or recent students or writing partners.

Mairead Case writes and teaches in Denver and Chicago. Case is the author of Tiny, See You In the Morning, TENDERNESS, and To The Teeth, a column at Entropy. She publishes and edits widely, with work most recently in Poetry, JSTOR Daily, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Media Institute, Public Collectors, and Maggot Brain, where she is the Associate Editor. She teaches at Naropa University, the Colorado School of Mines, GALS Denver, and inside the Denver Women’s Jail. Case holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Denver, and, as an abolitionist, has been a Legal Observer with the NLG for over a decade.

Erika Hodges is a gender expansive poet and performance artist living and breathing somewhere between Brooklyn and Boulder. They are a graduate of Naropa University and an MFA candidate at Pratt Institute. Hodges’s work can be found at Flag + Void, CALYX, The Adirondack Review, and The Poetry Project, among others. A 2021 Can Serrat residency fellow as well as a Brooklyn Poets Fellow, Hodges works as a poet’s assistant, editor, and archivist. Their work and life is deeply devoted to queer love, troubling borders and binaries, and the idea of lineage and poetry as a sort of home. They will be pursuing their JD next fall, where they hope to continue the work of shaping language that can move us toward liberation.

Kenyatta Rogers is a Cave Canem Fellow, and has been awarded scholarships from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference; he has also been nominated multiple times for both Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. Rogers’s work has been previously published in Jubilat, Vinyl, Bat City Review, The Volta, PANK, and MAKE Magazine, among others. He is a lead teacher and lecturer at the Poetry Foundation’s Summer Teacher Institute and Chautauqua Institution’s Young Writer Institute. He is also a cohost of the Sunday Reading Series with Simone Muench, and serves on the Creative Writing Faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts.

Israel Solis, Jr. is a 17-year-old Latino born and raised in Chicago; he will soon graduate from the Chicago High School for the Arts, majoring in poetry. He plans to study journalism and one day publish his own poetry collection. Most of his writing centers around illness, life, death, the things that follow death; his inspiration comes from being raised in a very religious household, witnessing death, and questioning existence.

Maybe it is because I’m feeling tired but it occurred to me as I visited the participant’s site this morning that I couldn’t remember yesterday’s prompt, so was reading this poem without knowing where it came from (which is what happens to all our NaPo poems in the end). Salt—Poem – I remember now we were using a line of text as title to start our write and then redact the title. I liked the story inside this poem and the use of salt throughout.

ever since I’ve been eating cold rice
hot ones sizzle in my strawberry mouth

I registered for Camonghne Felix’s Reading, but again it is midnight – 1AM BST and follows a night of SpeakEasy, so it is unlikely I will manage to stay awake.

If you want more poetry join us!

PROMPT:

I was not aware of the Fibonacci Code until 2016, if I had been introduced to it as a child I had forgotten it. I discovered Fibonacci poetry around the same time (apparently founded 10 years earlier by Gregory K. Pincus), I’ve written some and used the form in school workshops before. Despite this basic grounding I had a good read of the articles and related links. I had come across the Shadorma before (probably through Writer’s Digest, who have a great page on forms), but hadn’t written one.

Having just experienced something medical related this morning that was what I wrote about, the shortness of the syllable count/lines added a certain urgency to the poem which suited the subject well.

one large white tablet saves you

I then went on to revisit Fibonacci poetry, which I haven’t written for years.

I wanted to write about something other than the subject of the first poem, but another body poem came out. Perfectly formed in the correct syllables – sometimes this happens in short form number based forms- you naturally start to write to the rhythm.

body ready for the scrapheap

Sometimes Napo prompts lend themselves to hours of research and writing, other times they are completed in a flash. I will revisit these forms again when I have more time to spend with them. There is a lot on today’s TO DO list and for me NaPo today is done!

Congratulations on making it through 1 week of NaPoWriMo! Well done!

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 6

Standard

Day Six Click here to read the full post.

Our featured participant for the day is woodyandjohnny, where the container-based prompt for Day 5 gave rise to a poem full of strange language and tonal shifts . . . which might not be surprising, given that it was based on a poem by the Serbian avant-garde poet Vasko Popa!

Today’s featured reading is pre-recorded. It features the poet Nikki Giovanni reading at Emory University back in February of 2020.

Finally, here’s our daily prompt. Our prompt yesterday asked you to take inspiration from another poem, and today’s continues in the same vein. This prompt, which comes from Holly Lyn Walrath, is pretty simple. As she explains it here:

Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.

Happy writing!

©napowrimo.net

PROCESS NOTES including a rabbit hole or two!

I started at the participant’s site and read the poem. I found the intentional surrealism difficult, following the context was hard on first read. I was interested to see if they had pulled from the theme of the original content as stimuli. We are not going to understand everything we read, nor like everything, poetry is subjective. In Writing Development wide reading is encouraged, be in contact with both poetry you are drawn towards to and that which is challenging or beyond your personal taste and read poems over and over. Revisit them.

I was interested to see the original and am unsure I have found it here as the lettering doesn’t match, this may be because the poet has a different translation, I have the wrong poem or the poet has amended/erased some lines / played with the constraints, all of which are fine. I checked another site and found the same translation. So my guess is the poet chose to amend/cut lines or the Charles Simic translation is different. I have always enjoyed poetry in translation, the bends in the language it produces.

As I read and re-read the poem the shape of it revealed itself. I picked up on the possibility this was a bi-lingual poet and also thought there may be a nod to the original in as far as Vasko Popa was a Serbian Avant Garde poet. Hallucinated Ambush certainly has some surreal qualities. Barbara may be a fan of French surrealism. The poem has a narrative and definitely created a scene in my mind. There may be some call to Eve and the Snake. Some of the lines were beautiful:

fish-eyed

asps curled in bracken shade

thoughts fragment half-cut jewels

dust binds dubious truthes

another ache a splinter borrowed

I did a bit of a tour of the website intrigued by my earlier realisation that I mistook the site name as part of the title (I hadn’t slept much, I even copied Day 5 NaPo not 6 this morning) and searched not for Race but for Woody & Johnny took Race by Vasko Popa, which worked for me as a title. Many bloggers do not reveal identity or use an alias, when I started blogging I was the same, I linked wordpress to the non-named account and kept identity concealed then after a while I realised people searched for me and this place wasn’t linked to those searches and at some point (probably in the promotion of poems, used my own name). Part of me is detective, (Mrs Marbles, is one of many of Mr. G’s nicknames for me – see what I mean about concealed identity…) anyway, it was easy to discover this site belonged to Barbara Turney Weiland (Home button profile & comments < in case you want to be detective too).

I discovered a second blog barbara turney wieland poetess, I am considering this my first NaPo rabbit hole (even let my coffee go cold)! I explored the second site and discovered Barbara is an artist who had, at the time of posting, been writing poetry for 5 years, I read her published work and thoroughly enjoyed these two poems published in Shadow Kraft – a Bilingual Literary Webzine.

I watched today’s reading. I spent some time online at Emory University this year at events. They have had some amazing poets read… just listen to the introduction. I have also read some poems by Nikki Giovanni since Lockdown. I have discovered lots of incredible American Poets in this Pandemic year. 

Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni Feb. 22, 2020, at the Schwartz Center on the Emory University campus.

Giovanni is known for her activism poetry, especially concerning race, gender, self-pride, and love. Giovanni has been an English professor at Virginia Tech since 1989 and has been a university distinguished professor there since 1999. She has received an honorary doctorate from more than 27 colleges and universities. The event was hosted by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library as part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, now in its 15th season. The reading was sponsored by the Hightower Fund, with support from Emory Library and Information Technology Services (LITS), and the Creative Writing Program at Emory.

© Emory University

This video is very much an address, if you want to hear more poetry, listen to this too. It is not a perfectly clear recording, but the vinyl crackle is authentic and won’t worry some of us from the pre-digital age.

The prompt is one I have tried before. Like yesterday’s prompt it give rise to poems which are different to your natural voice. Which is always fun. I was excited for the results of today’s write.

In the full instructions Holly Lyn Walrath considers the issue of plagiarism;

The truth is, it’s a common practice in poetry to draw off of other’s work. Using other people’s work in this way is a time-honored tradition. It’s been debated recently but it’s obvious that as far back as Christopher Marlowe, writers have been referencing each other.

Holly also mentions a Jericho Brown workshop (which I was lucky enough to attend) and the mirror prompt is definitely worth a try – if you fancy writing more than one poem today! There’s always the Golden Shovel a form devised by Terrance Hayes in response to a Gwendolyn Brooks poem. So you actually get two extra prompts from this page. Worth adding I discovered the poetry of Jericho Brown through NaPoWriMo a couple of years ago. Count how many new favourite poets you have at the end of these 30 days. Treasure.

I have come across Holly Lyn Walrath and her medium.com site before today, worth a read. In having a read-about today I fell into my 2nd Napo rabbit hole! I read many, many articles following links all around the internet. The funny thing was a website I found last year entered my mind and I found it this morning through one of these adventure links!

Eventually I went off to find my line and start my poem. I took a line from the first book I plucked off my shelf and settled down to free-write, the poem came out quickly.

I feel like no extract from Shush will give you a feel for the lamentation I have written today. I played with white space and changed some of the word order. Trying to format even a few lines to WP platform is a challenge. Definitely needs a screen shot! I let the poem free write itself out and as NaPo is not about editing just placed it/ pegged it to the page. But it is marked as *one to go back to in the summer. So one day you may see it in full.

I writhed in the agony

>

>

of not

>

……………………………………..knowing

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 5

Standard

Day Five Click here to read the full post.

Today, our featured participant is color me in cyanide and cherry . . ., where the liminal prompt for Day 4 led to a wonderfuly dreamy-spooky poem, and taught me a new word, too!

Our featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 6, at 8 p.m. eastern daylight time. The poets Mairead Case, Kenyatta Rogers, Erika Hodges, and Israel Solis, Jr will all be reading as part of the Open Door Series, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation.

And now for our prompt. I call this one “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain,” after this poem by Theodore Roethke.

This prompt challenges you to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem… Any poem will do as a jumping-off point, but if you’re having trouble finding one, perhaps you might consider Mary Szybist’s “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes” or for something shorter, Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania.”

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES:

Yesterday I spent some extra time with NaPo – inspired by the featured participant poem, I wrote a poem from the 6 words drawn from the Universal Deck prompt (Day 3), which involved some planetary research – again this is a theme I explored in poetry a few years ago so felt like familiar territory. The poem explores the disconnect between creative and scientific and stories we believe. It was surprising – as any poem resulting from the deck prompt is bound to be.

I attended the Sandra Beasley and Teri Ellen Cross Davis reading, read several Ocean Vuong poems.

I read the featured poem Waldeinsamkeit, this is the chosen image. An incredible, wondrous poem grew from this prompt.

Source @SpaceLiminalBot

Waldeinsamkeit – I knew this was a German word, but haven’t studied the language since I was a teenager, when I looked up the meaning I discovered it loosely translates as: solitude of the forest/ the feeling of being alone in the woods. Wald (“forest”) +‎ Einsamkeit (“loneliness”), which I think you get from the poem anyway but it does put the forest ensemble in context.

When I read this poem I was struck by many lines:

handing out tea-cups of air
to a stuffed forest ensemble
seated around the table –
You watch but do not drink,
not even of the sunlight

will not breach through my eyes
that reach with the hunger
of the treetops,

the nightbound places of my roots;

I was absorbed into this poem of body and wood, of devil and soil, of observation and being watched (or not). I had a wander around the blog and read other poems by Mirjana M, Inalman.

Ralph Waldo Emerson also wrote a poem of the same title (published in 1858), just in case you want to absorb a little more nature today https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/waldeinsamkeit/.

I often use the Poetry Foundation website, I hope to attend this reading series but it is 1-2AM BST and I am in a late night event which finishes at 1 AM already and in a month when I was attempting to cool the number of readings I attend. The laptop is on its last legs and I have work to finish. It is in the diary but may be missed. I discovered the NaPo reading from yesterday was also LIVE/available to watch on You Tube, so maybe the PF one will be too, although looking at their You Tube channel there is no evidence of this.

When I read today’s prompt I felt my mind twist with the implication for the resulting work. I was happy to try something I haven’t done before. I never did the ‘mimic’ poem/poet stage as a developing writer and although prompts like this can throw up some incredibly original work I worry about the link to the original and the closeness of forgery. I guess if the poem I create is ever submitted I would just cite ‘After…’ and the original source. I know the copyright laws/infringement vary greatly between the US and UK. I did a lot of research when I was editing the Transatlantic Anthology for the A Tale of Two Cities project, from which many poets have gone on to publish their work, which is a joy. (Another anthology of Worcestershire poetry ‘The Poetry of Worcestershire’, published by Offa’s Press featured a great many poems local poets had written during my Worcestershire Poet Laureate projects too.) Spreading the poetry love!

As I was unsure about creating from an already created source, I decided to use one of the referenced poems (which probably means there will be millions of almost couplet poems starting with O-W-I-I-W lines), but never-mind, that is the fun of Napo, just to play and create. We are not writing for publication right now.

For all the years I have done this writing month I have a handful of decent/reworked/edited/workshopped Napo poems in print, there are a few in both my own collections Fragile Houses (2016) and Patience (2019) as well as various magazines and anthologies. But right now, if you are feeling like me… just breathe and DIVE IN!

When I extracted Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania” the first thing I noticed was the amount of repeated letters, I know there are differences between UK and US poetry too and was unsure whether this would result in a good poem at first. But remember rules can always be broken and already I feel this ‘mimic form prompt’ will possibly be rendered down to create a different end-poem, I got down to the writing anyway. After all, NaPo isn’t about worrying whether the writing is any good and even our rubbish writes take us somewhere.

Do not be afraid and if a prompt scares you that can be a GOOD thing, NaPo for me is all about writing poems which would not otherwise have been written.

Another tip would be: Choose a poem you aren’t familiar with, don’t read it. Strip it for the parts needed to complete this prompt – write and only when finished read the original poem. Then you know for sure you have copied nothing but the initial letters and form. (Number of stanzas, lines etc.).

Mimicry is actually a recognised part of writing development it appears in many workshops and academic classes. Remind yourself you are not doing anything wrong here.

The start of my creation looked like this.

It took a surprisingly long time to create a poem, mainly because the idea forms of what it is you want to say and then you have to find a word starting with a specific letter to fit that, but this is the gold dust of this prompt – by following the constraints of the rule you finish with a poem worded in a way you wouldn’t naturally have written it.

I didn’t worry too much about the ten syllable counts, or matching line lengths to the original, I just wrote what felt right.

After I finished I read the original and copied and pasted the poems side by side. Several of my lines were longer in places so I changed the size of the font to make them carry the couplet form, (obviously not necessary when just looking at my poem alone). I was intrigued to find that I started with the idea of the world still turning, carrying on without you and the original Natalie is talking of death and new life, the circle of life;

the whole of the globe turning

off for a moment, then shuddering

back, the same as it was,

Covering the same concept because when you are ill in hospital or cut off by grief you feel this sense of no longer being part of the world, and yet everything around you carries on despite your world being forever changed. Other than that the poems are (I am happy to say) completely different. And the common ground is a universal experience which has been written about for hundreds/thousands of years. My troublesome title came right at the end, I had a selection of P words, but Prognosis only entered my head as I was typing the penultimate couplet.

An extract from Prognosis:

encode the hours between meds and cups of tea.

Accept this bed, this broken body

prophesize your release.

RELATED LINKS:

I knew of Natalie Shapero, but had not read this particular poem. It sounds like a spectacular collection, read about it here:

Copper Canyon Press, 2021