Today’s featured participant is April’s Thirty, where the simultaneity poem for Day Ten is full of small details that contribute to its power.
Our interviewee for the day is Kwoya Fagin Maples. Her first full-length book of poetry, MEND, is forthcoming from the University Press of Kentucky. Maples is also the author of the chapbook Something of Yours, published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press, and her work is published in journals including Blackbird Literary Journal, Obsidian, Berkeley Poetry Review, and the African-American Review. You can read more about MEND, along with some excerpts, here, and you can read our interview with Maples here.
Our (optional, as always) prompt for the day is taken from one of the prompts that Kwoya Fagin Maples suggests in here interview: a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”
I was interested by what I read of Kwoya Fagin Maples. Her interview is particularly enlightened of the work she is currently writing.
The Poetry School Day 11
Day 11: Counting
In the three example poems today, take note how the poets use the device of numbered sections, of counting, to tell their stories. This is what I want you to do: to use either numbered sections, or counting as a device in some other way, to tell your story.
I presume you’ll all have read this poem by Tara Bergin, but it’s a great example: ‘The True Story of Eleanor Marx in Ten Parts’.
Next up, have a read of ‘New World Hymn’ by Momtaza Mehri.
Finally, for a slightly different approach, here’s Abigail Parry’s ‘The Knife Game’, which can be found at this link on the 14th page, so you’ll have to do a bit of scrolling.
The poems on this prompt make a great read. The link to Abigail Parry’s poem will give you a PDF of many poems. I have saved mine to read at a later stage in the year.
I loved listening to Tara’s reading, I met Tara Bergin at Ledbury Poetry Festival last year. After absorbing all of these prompts I feel inspired to use The Poetry School for my NaPo write today. I have never actually used counting in a poem in this way, love a bit of new territory!
In the end I wrote another poem for the sequence on Dementia. ‘White Matter Changes’.
I took solace in language not disappearing
The use of numbers sequencing stanzas in a poem about counting, creates an extra layer of confusion/noise which I feel mimics the symptoms and reality of caring for someone suffering the condition. It certainly makes the poem something more than it would be without the device.
It is also the poem with the least amount of editing so far in Napo 2018 and I think I have the numbering to thank for that.