Daily Archives: April 20, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 20

Standard

napofeature3

Today is April 20th, and that means we are now two-thirds of the way through Na/GloPoWriMo, 2018. Time flies when you’re writing poems!

Today’s featured participant is Summer Blues, where the simple language of the poem written for Day 19’s structured erasure prompt eases you into a subtle but satisfying resolution.

Our craft resource for the day is Alice Notley’s essay, The Poetics of Disobedience. In it, Notley advocates for a poet to “maintain a state of disobedience against…everything.” By this she means remaining open to all forms, all subjects, and not becoming beholden to “usual” methods for writing. Whenever we are sure that there is one “right” way to write, or some specific set of topics that are the “right” ones to discuss, we should ask ourselves, what part of experience are we leaving out? And why?

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) takes its cue from Notley’s rebelliousness, and asks you to write a poem that involves rebellion in some way. The speaker or subject of the poem could defy a rule or stricture that’s been placed on them, or the poem could begin by obeying a rule and then proceed to break it (for example, a poem that starts out in iambic pentameter, and then breaks into sprawling, unmetered lines). Or if you tend to write funny poems, you could rebel against yourself, and write something serious (or vice versa). Whatever approach you take, your poem hopefully will open a path beyond the standard, hum-drum ruts that every poet sometimes falls into.

napo2018button1

From the essay I grabbed ‘a state of disobedience’ and wrote from there. I often think that the Government advice which is anything from alcohol consumption/health to weaning babies is unnecessary and a bit ‘1984’ (Orwell), so I ran with the idea of a woman who was rebelling against every legislation.

The poem itself is nonsense really but it was fun to write.

She used the low risk drinking guidelines leaflet as a beer mat,

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 20

Day 20: Personism 

Today I’d like you to write a poem that speaks directly to another person. It should be written so that you “could use the telephone instead of writing the poem” — or so says Frank O’Hara in his manifesto, Personism.

But what is Personism? Back to Frank:

“Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about… was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It’s a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages.”

We know because O’Hara dated his work, that the poem he references here, the one he wrote ‘for this person’, was ‘Personal Poem’, and that is today’s example poem.

Note how the poem speaks directly to the addressee (casually, as if on the phone) but doesn’t mention them or discuss their relationship with the speaker. It can be tempting with this prompt to write to someone about something important in your relationship with them – a declaration of love, a long-withheld confession, an apology – and this is a perfectly valid way to go about it, but is that really what you always talk about when you get them on the phone?

Advertisements

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 19

Standard

napofeature4

I sat in my garden after work, enjoying the last of the sun and wrote my second NaPo poem by hand. I didn’t manage to get any desk time to upload the post though.

Our featured participant for the day is clay and branches, where the “work-your-way-up-from-the-bottom” poem for Day Eighteen is an unsettling, intensive narrative.

Today, we have a new interview for you, with the poet Dan Brady, whose first book of poems, Strange Children, is newly out from Publishing Genius. Brady is the poetry editor for Barrelhouse Magazine, and the author of the chapbooks Cabin Fever / Fossil Record (Flying Guillotine Press, 2014) and Leroy Sequences (Horse Less Press, 2014). You can read some of Brady’s poems here and check out our interview with him here.

Our (optional) prompt for the day takes it cue from Brady’s suggestion that erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

napo2018button2

Much as I enjoy erasure poems, I found this prompt lacked the interest of a good paragraph to begin with. I would like to use the idea in the future when the subject of the initial paragraph results in something more than a view from the window. I wrote a paragraph detailing the things I pass on my journey to work and reworked 2 erasure poems, one which only yielded one line of any worth and the 2nd poem that was just okay.

A little disappointing but some interesting phrases from the erasure side of the task.

where last summer, only a tumbledown graffitied barn stood.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 19

Day 19: Coming of Age Poem 

Morning poets. Cast your minds back to that strange period at the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Perhaps this transition happened for you or your speaker in a single epiphanic moment or maybe it happened imperceptibly over time. This coming of age may be marked formally in a traditional or non-traditional ceremony, it might be private or public, it could be mortifying or liberating, or both, or neither, but it should ideally be formative.

Your example bildungsgedicht today are Kayo Chingonyi’s ‘Kumukanda’ and Dom Bury’s recent National Poetry Competition winner ‘The Opened Field’.