NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 26

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Hello, everyone! Happy twenty-sixth day of Na/GloPoWriMo.

Our featured participant for the day is palimpsestic possibilities, where the Warning Label poem for Day Twenty-Five comes with footnotes!

Today we bring you a new craft resource, in the form of this essay by Josh Roark exploring engagement of the senses, and of the notion of embodiment, in the poetry of Ocean Vuong. Roark argues that the key to the success of Vuong’s poems is his particular ability to make the reader feel a poem as a visceral object, and not one that is removed or merely intellectual. If you’d like to check out some more of Vuong’s work, you might look at this poem that, fittingly for our purposes, is titled Essay on Craft.

And now for our prompt (optional as always). Taking our cue from today’s craft resource, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.

Happy writing!

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I started this prompt by collecting random images associated with the 5 senses.

I then almost abandoned these ideas in favour of writing about my experience of whale watching. The poem needs some fine tuning, but is generally adequate.

rough and smooth,
like the difference between
polar waters and the shallow.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 26

Day 26: The Tonic Chord

Today’s a difficult one to explain, so I’ll lead with the poems and then try to get it across. Have a read of Alan Gillis’ ‘To Be Young and in Love in Middle Ireland’, Rita Dove’s ‘Fox’, and Chrissy Williams’ ‘The Lost’ (one of my favourite poems). Finally, have a read of Edwin Morgan’s ‘Opening the Cage‘. (Hat-tip to Fiona Larkin on Twitter for finding this poem for us!).

All of these poems work with a small palette of key words – just a handful – and shift and rearrange them like a kaleidoscope, so we see different patterns. Think of these words, perhaps, as the tonic chord, the beginning and ending, the reference point to which you always return. I would like you to try something similar. You can either pick out your key words in advance, or, as I would suggest, start writing first, and then begin to modulate and return, modulate and return.

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