Daily Archives: April 12, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day 12

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Day 12 http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant today is Tidbits by Shannon, where the “Bop” poem for Day 11 invites us to do the attractively unthinkable.

Today’s interviewee is Ocean Vuong, a Vietnamese-American poet raised in Hartford, Connecticut. His first book of poems, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, was published last year by Copper Canyon Press. Vuong’s poems incorporate uniquely startling images with a tight attention to sound. You can learn a little more about Vuong here and find examples of his poems here and here.

Today, I’d like you to write a poem that explicitly incorporates alliteration (the use of repeated consonant sounds) and assonance (the use of repeated vowel sounds). This doesn’t mean necessarily limiting yourself to a few consonants or vowels, although it could. Even relatively restrained alliteration and assonance can help tighten a poem, with the sounds reinforcing the sense. Need some examples. Here’s Gerard Manley Hopkins showcasing alliteration and assonance on overdrive. And here is a poem with a more restrained approach from Kevin Young.

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I managed a very short poem and have promised myself time to come back to this page.


Carrie Etter’s prompt 12. Think of something you do every day, and tell someone else how to do it in step-by-step imperatives that provide close descriptive detail of the actions and any objects.

I wrote the obvious – brushing my teeth.

It ended up with a twist in the ending that turned the poem into something more than it was, which is pleasing.


Jo Bell explores Searchlight by Jim Carruth. A good discussion about making your ‘life’ poems relevant to the reader. A journey I went on with my own manuscript for Fragile Houses. It was never sentimental – I learnt how to avoid that through workshop advice and reading well established poets. But it was a long consideration making sure the poems worked beyond themselves.

It’s that act of generosity, of giving something to the reader as well as recounting his own experience, that makes a poem more than anecdote. – Jo Bell


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Day 12: Word Association

Today’s prompt is less about form, and more about your imagination…

Let’s form the skeleton of a new poem using the favourite game of long car journeys. Write down the first word that comes into your head when you read each of the words below.

Fountain
Berry
Surprise
Dust
Temperature
America
Book
Tortoise
Cyclone
Security

Now use your ten new words in your poem, one per line, in the order you have them. NB: Don’t use the above words in your poem – use the words you associated with them, e.g. not ‘fountain’, but ‘splash’ or ‘water’. If you don’t want to start with the words we’ve given you, open the closest book to you and pick the first word on every page from 50 to 60 and associate from that.

I love these types of playful poems. In light of following naponet and Carrie’s prompts I have not had time to write for or make use of the Poetry School yet this month. I do plan on revisiting all the prompts. I will just have to Stanza the poems for useful editing advice.

 

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NaPoWriMo Day 11 – Unleashing Counter Protest Poetry

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Day 11 – I was super busy and had time to look at the prompts and not write any poetry. So this is the first day of NaPo that I failed to write my poem a day – this happens. It happens to most people embracing the challenge, maybe the poetry that comes today will be stronger having lingered in my head for 24 hours.

Yesterday I spent the morning making an Easter Promotion video for Fragile Houses (better than an egg), reading proof copy, organising festival events and writing blurb for programmes. In the afternoon I went to Swindon with Rick Saunders (Willis the Poet) to watch him Headline at Oooh Beehive, Clive Oseman & Nick Lovell’s Spoken Word Night. Other Headliners were Aaron Samuel (who has been in the game for just 4 short months and is AMAZING) and Bryony Vine – both of whom were spotted by Clive and Nick at Milk Poets. It was a great night!

Totally forgiving myself for not writing poetry.

Let’s step back in time…

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant for the day is Unassorted stories, where the poem for Day 9 is a portrait of a mental makeover.

Today, we’re also featuring a 1962 interview with Sylvia Plath. In popular culture, Plath is known for three things: (1) she wrote angry poems, (2) she killed herself, and (3) teenage girls who feel angry and a little gothy read her to feel angrier and a little gothier. But look a little further, and you’ll find a deeply philosophical poet, a master of unusual similes that set the reader rocking back on their heels, and a refuser of obvious or comfortable ideas, particularly about motherhood, femininity, and the reality of existing in a physical body. There’s a lot to learn from her densely layered, uncompromising verse. Looking for a few examples of her work beyond those poems you might have already seen? Here’s one, and another, and another.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt for the day: the Bop. The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.

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Yesterday I got as far as reading the examples and writing out my frame. Today I sat down to write my first ever Bop. My first attempt worked technically and was something I needed to write out of myself. It stands as a poem, but didn’t say enough. Then I thought back to recent events in Birmingham. The EDL marched on the city and one of my friends was racially abused. I wanted to write about that. Go Back Home

Saffiyah Khan’s photo (smiling at protestors as she stepped in to defend a woman who was surrounded) has gone viral, I watched a video interview with her yesterday and the whole thing needs to be united against. It seems to me the Bop is a perfect form for such a political statement. So I set back to my page again.

Saffiyah Khan Birmingham Mail

I am working on a re-write and depending on whether I bag an open mic slot at HOWL tonight, might share it with the city.

Our multi-cultural city stands united.

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Carrie Etter’s prompt was to describe an image in 2-5 lines and use this as the end of the poem and work back from there.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/birmingham-edl-march-photo-picture-woman-mosque-best-of-british-tea-party-muhammad-afzal-a7674726.html

I wrote about the image of Saffiyah Khan

edl The Independent

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Fighting against this dark veil

shrouding Centenary Square.

I think it is important for people to know that there were Unity Rallies, Counter Protestors and demonstrations, like the tea party held at the Mosque. 300 attended that, there were 50 EDL members. The protest was originally planned for the East Midlands, but moved to Birmingham after the Westminster attacks.

Saffiyah was not a counter-protestor, she was just in the city and came to this woman’s aid. Stepped in where others looked on.

I was not there – I was in the city in 2014 when the EDL came, I was performing at an event at the Library for Birmingham Literature Festival, an event that one poet pulled out of because her skin was the wrong colour that day. I was afraid and I was inside the library. Saffiyah states she wasn’t being brave, but it takes a lot to stand up like this. Look how straight her back is!


Jo Bell shares Late Fragment by Raymond Carver http://www.jobell.org.uk/


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School gave us Day 11: Old English Day

Old English or Anglo-Saxon verse is fascinating and powerful. To write in a typical Anglo-Saxon way, you need:

·         lines with 4 stresses (though it doesn’t matter how many feet, i.e. your line can be as short as ‘Hold. Stay! Hold, hold!’ or as long as you want providing it only has 4 stresses)
·         an optional central caesura or pause between stress 2 and 3
·         alliteration of 3 of the 4 stress words (this doesn’t have to be on the first syllable if the stress is on a later syllable, e.g. although would alliterate on ‘th’).

It’s all very flexible though. If you want to alliterate 2 of the words, or all 4, or you want to skip your caesura, that’s absolutely fine. Sound complicated? It’s not! You’ll soon get the hang of it and it’s a very natural, flowing way to write.

It’ll all be much easier with an example few lines from Simon Armitage’s translation of ‘Gawain’ (which is actually a Middle English revival of the alliterative style). The stresses are indicated in bold.

as he heaped his hair to the crown of his head,
the nape of his neck now naked and ready.
Gawain grips the axe and heaves it heavenwards,

A longer extract can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/16/poetry.simonarmitage