Poets, Start Your Engines
on APRIL 1, 2023
Our first featured participant is Flipped Serendipity…
Our poetry resource for the day is What Sparks Poetry, a regular feature of Poetry Daily. In each article in the series, a different poet discusses the craft of writing, and provides a prompt.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they never said you can’t try to write a poem based on a book cover — and that’s your challenge for today! Take a look through Public Domain Review’s article on “The Art of Book Covers.” Some of the featured covers are beautiful. Some are distressing. Some are just plain weird (I’m looking at you, “Mr Sweet Potatoes”). With any luck, one or more of these will catch your fancy, and open your mind to some poetic insights.
I started (as always) with the featured site poem. Then I looked at the poetry resource. What Sparks Poetry is a resource I could spend a life in! I actually spent quite a while with this one article before I even read Chris’ poem.
I clicked to read the latest issue. I am always fascinated to hear poets talk about the story behind the writing. I have to say it was the title of the poem which grabbed me (especially as you know titles are my kryptonite… which is also green)!
Although the water cycle is described beautifully in this article the extract I pinned to my heart was this;
I think the wilderness snowfields caught me. The article is a poetic work – the poem is a gritty powerhouse, an exploration of lust/love & loss. The striking story at the centre interweaved with the eco-poetry concept makes for fully embodied reading. Get ready to feel!
NaPo does it again, a new-to-me poet to add to my extremely long list of want-to-reads.
Chris Dombrowski is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Ragged Anthem (Wayne State University Press, 2019), and two books of nonfiction, Body of Water and The River You Touch (Milkweed, 2016; 2022). He teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Montana.
RAGGED ANTHEM: by Chris Dombrowski.
Published by Wayne State University Press in March 2019.
Copyright © 2019 by Chris Dombrowski.
As always I have the site pinned to revisit in May (I will be editing), so maybe June… I always compile several documents over NaPo – one for resources/ another for websites/poets/poems and finally several filled with my own notes and poems.
I made a note of Dombrowski’s prompt to revisit after NaPo.
Finally I read the NaPo prompt and visited the site to select my book cover. I chose: Lord Dunsany. The Book of Wonder. London: William Heinemann, 1912
And although I battled against the instant thought to write about the wonder of webs – that is ultimately what happened. I toyed with the idea of creating something like the 7 Wonders and then a reveal that the wonder was actually a web, I then played with wonder in the Biblical sense of miraculous. In the end I gave in and free wrote. The initial poem was an A4 page and did include many of the wonder ideas which were speedily edited out. Then I worked on the format, 4 line stanzas, couplets… in the end I chose to use 4 line stanzas but not the same line breaks as the first 4 line draft.
Researching the poem I spent some time in the Natural History Museum website (no pun intended) and ended up watching a BBC video of time lapse web-making. I have an aversion to spiders so this was no mean feat.
I know the end result will be worked on and as I was writing I wasn’t sure that I was writing something to keep – but there’s silk in there to extract at some future point.