11 days of writing poems, how do you feel?
If you are feeling a little exhausted or overwhelmed here are some tips.
- Think about how wonderful it is to discover new to you poets through the NaPo prompts.
- Go and re-read your favourite example poem so far (unless it is a sad one, which may make you feel worse and have the adverse effect)!
- Recall the good feelings NaPoWriMo has given you so far, write them on a Post-it, stick the note to your desk… read it!
- Take a break – but DO come back!
Now take a deep breath and dive into Day 11!
As always for the full post, click on the day.
Today, our featured participant is sandee woodside, where the regional weather is . . . menacing.
Our video resource for today is this animated version of Safia Elhillo’s “To Make Use of Water,” a poem intimately concerned with translation, both in the sense of moving between languages, but also in the sense of moving between places and feelings, of having two homes and none.
Our prompt is based on another poem of Elhillo’s, called “Origin Stories.” Like “To Make Use of Water,” this poem struggles to make sense of the distance between the poet’s beginnings, her point of origin, and her present self. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t go home again?” This poem is about that.
Today, taking a leaf from Elhillo’s work, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually? Maybe you are from Vikings and the sea and diet coke and angry gulls in parking lots. Maybe you are from gentle hills and angry mothers and dust disappearing down an unpaved road. And having come from there, where are you now?
Happy (or at the very least, emotionally engaged) writing!
NaPo Process Notes
I started with reading Sandee Woodside’s poem ‘could fry an egg on the cement it’s so caliente’. There is a lot of content in this striking narrative poem. A LOT! I could get lost in it, it feels a little as if I am standing in a maze as I read it. Overwhelming to a point being uncomfortable. A fine piece of writing.
Her MA has a focus on ‘Cognitive Poetics and trauma narratives’ and this poem is certainly an example of a trauma narrative.
I had a good look around Sandee’s website – you can find more of her poems/news and videos here https://www.sandeewoodside.com/news
Next I watched the animation.
Very powerful. In fact at this point I am wondering if I am emotionally stable enough to cope with today’s NaPoWriMo. I remind myself to breathe. Lines repeat themselves in my head, linger – the white water.
I then watched the video interview.
Then I listened to Origin Stories by Safia Elhillo and saved it to my NaPo resource file.
my grandmother tells me to shred dill
by hand she means to teach me patience she calls it length of mind
It is a beautiful, complex poem.
Every weekday, U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivers a different way to see the world – through poetry. Produced in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Poetry Foundation.
… write a poem of origin. Where are you from? … And having come from there, where are you now?
I have written to this prompt before. I am open to doing it again as years have gone by and my end-point is certainly different.
I am going to let the starting point come to me.
I wrote a poem with 5 stanzas, then I decided to use tercets, so it is now 11 stanzas long. It started at a point of illness and ends with nearly finding recovery. The poem will need some shifting/editing – I think there are too many ideas piled in one poem. It may spawn into several poems in the future. It has a working title Modelled Reality, which is a link back to one of the professions mentioned in the poem.
As always, a snippet.
Pausing before the next chapter
to hear the silence convalesce.