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Participant for the day is Wiederholt Fallen, where Day 12’s triolet prompt resulted into a short-lined gem.
There’s a pithy phrase attributed to T.S. Eliot: “Good poets borrow; great poets steal.” (He actually said something a bit different. Our prompt, developed by Rachel McKibbens, who is well-known for her imaginative and inspiring prompts plays on the idea of stealing. Today, I challenge you to write a non-apology for the things you’ve stolen.
Today I have written, I have a few scratch poems baking away but I was very late reading the NaPo prompt and by the time I came to the site I had read some example poems and worked out what the prompt was. I narrowly made the post on Day 13 – I got so sidetracked with the wonderful and abundant resources that I had no idea it was close to midnight! It’s hard to think of anything I’ve stolen except hearts and time. I want to give it some thought.
I started at the beginning with the participating site. I found the site/ scroll bar didn’t load well – but the internet is a little sketchy here tonight. This frustrated me before I got to read the triolet though.
A lot of us found this prompt hard because we tend to avoid rhyme and when we come to use it as technique to us generally non-rhyming poets feel our work lacks substance or depth, that the rhyme is weakly linked. A triolet only really has 5 lines if you don’t count the repeated lines. To make sure it is a good poem those repeated lines have to be strong and this poem I DID NOT KNOW does this with the 2nd (and 8th) line… I needed birdsong. Very apt in this locked down world we are trying to survive.
I read it over a few times before heading off to the poetry resource (which I remember discovering in the past) then I linked why – I unsuccessfully submitted for the Bowie Anthology ‘Bowietry’ they created. I enjoyed writing that sequence as much as I enjoy Bowie, so that rejection didn’t sting! Bowie of course famously used this ‘found’ method and it is one I have used and enjoyed both in workshops and at home. It is also a good way back in if you ever feel blocked.
So then I had the NaPo diversion of staying in the FPR resources and will be revisiting for more reading – like many online and print magazines this one only lasted for 5 years, which is a shame as I have enjoyed the work they published.
I need to get back into submitting, but following my health year (bad health – but health year sounds better), I have only recently started to write like I used to and I am working on several projects which I want to complete before I start fully focusing on something else. I should really spend some time looking for opportunities and let a few poems take flight. I am mid-promoting my recently published pamphlet but am not managing that well either. There are reviews I should be sharing and missed the annual cry out for please-vote-for-my-pamphlet Sabotage/ Saboteur Awards. It would have been worse to pressure cast on social media and not get enough support to be shortlisted. I have the feeling not enough people have read it yet to make an impact. I fully intend to make use of this new phase of our digital world to do something about this in the near future. See? NaPo tangents are major!
I then read the article Good Poets Borrow – I found Nancy Prager’s site fascinating and loved reading the evidence of what T. S Eliot actually said.
The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn;
This part stays with me, I know a fair few poets who imitate another person whilst they learn their craft. I had been writing for 5 years before I attempted a pastiche and that was because the project I was working on called for it. This is not to judge or suggest it is wrong, in life we often copy people… it just isn’t something I have done as a poet/writer. I do read a lot and sometimes I am aware that you have to read your own work closely and ensure you haven’t lifted something you have read. Most famously for me, once at a stanza meeting, more than an echo of Emily Dickinson!
Out of interest I clicked the link to Eliot but know this poet well having studied The Waste Land for A-level. Had a revision/read.
I then checked out Twitter for Rachel McKibbens. Before considering today’s prompt. I started with mind mapping ideas for things I had stolen and tried free-writing in a non-apologetic style as a starting point before writing my poem. When I searched online I found this image in the library and it reminded me of all those times when I would sneak food out of the cake cupboard as a child. I added these stealth steals to my list!
I wrote several versions using different things I have stolen – most of them are abstract nouns but I like the idea of extending this into another persona/character and write their non-apologies for some major thefts too!