Category Archives: GloPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 30

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Our last day!

Today was a day filled with the anxiety of a hospital appointment I have had to wait 6 weeks for, so I read the prompt and checked out the resources but did not have time to complete any writing. (I did spend 3 hours making new animation!) My head was not in the right frame of mind for poetry. By 10:30 PM when I came to post, our internet was down and all I could do was copy and paste on my very old mobile phone, so wasn’t sure if the links were active.

On waking (1st May) I had a little sinking feeling (like post-Christmas blues), NaPo was over and then I remembered I still had to complete yesterday’s write – and this made me happy. Then I thought about all the things I should have time to do now NaPo is over and how proud I am for having completed the challenge. This year has been easier in a way (I have done it since 2013 when I embarked on my writing life), because I am off from work and have more time than ever before, I cannot do much and it is frustrating to be so restricted. However, I can now manage desk time and no longer take the medication which drained me of creativity and consciousness… ! so, I have time to write and NaPo has eaten up daylight hours for me. It has also gifted me the opportunity of writing again, I feel well and truly quenched.

As always for the full post, click on the day.

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Day Thirty

Our featured participant for the day is Summer Blues, where the meditative prompt for Day Twenty-Nine gave rise to not one, but two, wry and poignant poems.

Today’s video resource is this short film in which the artist Iris Colomb “translates” the minimalist poems of the Russian poet Eta Dahlia into gesture drawings. This is another great illustration of the way that poetry and other art forms can intersect and inspire one another. This video also shows that the rhythms and sounds of poetry can cross language boundaries, allowing a form of communication beyond the merely literal.

And last but not least, now for our final prompt for this year! Taking a leaf from our video resource, I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem. A poem that is quite short, quickly/ simply capture an image or emotion. Haiku are probably the most familiar and traditional form of minimalist poetry, but there are plenty of very short poems out there that do not use the haiku form. There’s even an extreme style of minimalism in the form of one-word and other “highly compressed” poems. Think of your own poem for the day as a form of gesture drawing. Perhaps you might start from a concrete noun with a lot of sensory connotations, like “Butter” or “Sandpaper,” or “Raindrop” and 
– quickly, lightly – go from there.

Happy writing!

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NaPo Process Notes
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I started by reading the poems on Summer Blues , I read them over and over. I fell in love with Natasa Bozic Grojic’s blog and had a good read around. Her featured poems are beautiful and caught my breath as I read, of course I have saved her featured poems to the resource file for today – because I don’t want to lose those words.

I was also delighted to hear how happy this year’s challenge had made her feel and how a one word poem, created a while ago, had now found that it could be credited as a poem and displayed. Poignant.

When I did NaNoWriMo – both camp and full on November challenge (back in 2013), there were these small buttons you could display (see Homepage) and despite people creating jpegs for NaPo I have never found such a thing. Here on Natasa’s website, I found she had used the annual banners to create ‘I have completed…’ buttons which is an idea I am going to Magpie, AWF needs some updating. We have both been participants since 2013.

I love her joy, reflecting on being a featured participant. Natasa’s poems were a wonderful way to step into today. It was hard to tear myself away from her website!

Before I watched the video. I played in a different (hidden) window, listening only to the language. The metre/rhythm/voice of the poem. You almost begin to understand, the repetition of the line helps and the similarity between some words.

Then I watched it properly.

Semechki (Семечки) is a series of experimental translations of Eta Dahlia’s minimalist Russian poems into gestural drawings by Iris Colomb.

I read the article on minimalist poetry, I particularly liked;

M SS NG

Thiiief!

By George Swede

The closest attempt I have made at this genre has been through teaching Wordplay in schools and back in 2015, where as part of a workshop we looked at the work of e.e cummings and emulated it. Although not strictly minimalist, my poems were by comparison to what I was writing at the time.

The article was full of great examples, I enjoyed the typography. I felt like I was back in the world of study again.

On Writing 

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I started with a quick skip around the internet to discover minimalist poetry – examples and the history of it – although the referenced articles covered it well. I then started to think about words which have other words in them.

What I like about today’s prompt is I get to share entire poems with you. I started with highly compressed/ one word poems.

This is dark, I wrote it and then used Special Characters to change the typography (and I hope) portray the vileness/threat of the statement. Apologies for the content. Try thinking of the Wicked Witch of the West and it won’t seem so violent!

Stifle

Smot her

Smother

 

$ƜÕƮ ʉɚȑ

§ɱØŦǶϵЯ

 

I thought smot was a made-up word which I was using like swot – (swat), I was a little horrified when I identified the Urban dictionary definition. I guess it changes the context to smoke her… which still mirrors the violence.

I don’t really like what this poem has become or the connotation of it all – but it is part of the writing process and as a starting point, I am sharing.

After this initial write, I discovered this list of words which is a good source of words inhabited in other words. So I wanted to try again and create a more suitable/shareable/less horrible poem!

Next I created this –

Cultivated

Small
age

ṥṁḁḽḷ
ἆḡḕ

 

Celery

ṥṁ

ḁḽḷ

ἆḡ

 

Which I was more happy with. I thought of Small age – as being a toddler, a youngster. I then discovered it was a plant, celery – so that is why I chose to display it vertically like a stalk.

I think the one word poems have to come to you, rather than seeking them. So I left it there to move on to composing a short form poem.

I took the concrete noun prompt ‘butter’ and wrote:

 

Soften

But…

butter melts.

 

Which is satisfying. But then I got enticed by butte… which aside from being a county in Montana is also an isolated hill/mountain. So I extended the minimal and wrote these poems.

 

Too Substantial

But…
butter melts
not like
Butte,
a county
will not fit
in my frying pan.

 

And then I wrote this one, which has my favourite play-on-words title of the day!

 

ButTor

butter melts
but…
not butte
which rises

I could play like this all day, but have spent nearly two hours online and have lots to do. I will have another play around another day.

I hope you have enjoyed NaPoWriMo as much as I have, see you next year!

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NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 29

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I cannot believe it is the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo. Pens at the ready!

As always for the full post, click on the day.

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Day Twenty-Nine

Today’s featured participant is Voyage des Mots, where the meta-poem for Day Twenty-Eight called forth a lovely ode on a teacher.

Today’s video resource is this short reflection by the poet Lucille Clifton on “Where Ideas Come From.” This video really speaks to me because I have often found myself feeling short of ideas, or that the ideas that I have aren’t “good enough” to become a poem. One of the goals of Na/GloPoWriMo is to help poets push past all these inner voices and editors, and just get words on the page, without worrying too much about whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. When you stop trying to assign a value to things that haven’t even been written yet, you find ideas everywhere! 

Prompt: The poet William Wordsworth once said that “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” For Wordsworth, a poem was the calm after the storm – an opportunity to remember and summon up emotion, but at a time and place that allowed the poet to calmly review, direct and control those feelings. A somewhat similar concept is expressed through the tradition of philosophically-inclined poems explicitly labeled as “meditations,” – like Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas,” the charming Frank O’Hara prose poem, “Meditations in an Emergency,” or Charles Baudelaire’s “Meditation.”

Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poets, and poems.

Happy writing!

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NaPo Process Notes 

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I started on the participants site. A lovely ode to a teacher. Some beautiful imagery and every time I thought I had scrolled to the endline, there was more.

I then watched the video.

I love today’s idea theme.

Then I read the meditations. I saved them to the poetry resources file.

On Writing 

I knew the emotion – frustration – it is something I have been living with for the past 7 months, since suffering ill health.

I used the final prompt idea and like Baudelaire, I addressed the feeling directly, made it a person. I wrote a poem called Unresolved, it has 5 stanzas. The end brings a tear to my eye.

Sometimes we converse on deeper matters,
you are kinder to me than pain ever was.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Round Up Week 4

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What a week it has been. Let’s get growing – for sure!

This week NaPoWriMo has helped me discover new artists, poets and forms. I have written poems, created poetry film animations and read widely. This is when NaPo works best, I feel inspired and fulfilled.

I always enjoy research and many of my poems call for a lot of it. This week has been no exception to that, I spent the first part of it almost glued to the National Geographic. It was quite an animal filled week.

This week I discovered the incredible art of body painter Gesine Marwedel and the intriguing manipulation of artist Laura Christensen. I researched Seahorses, Whooping Cranes and the Smalltooth Swordfish. I discovered the latter was an endangered species and only 5 species of Swordfish still exist! I created a poetry film animation called Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica, which I showed over the weekend at our Worcester Film Poetry Collective meeting.  There may be a series of Eco Animations created on the back of this and none of it would have happened without NaPoWriMo.

I revisited the wonderful work of Marie Craven in Dictionary Illustrations, one of my favourite pieces to be shared at the Worcester Film Poetry Collective. I wrote a poem involving both a Whooping Crane and a Buick Engine Manual.

I wrote about spring and discovered the work of Jericho Brown, tried a new form of poetry, the Duplex, tore my hair out over Shakespearean sonnets and read lots of poems, articles and interviews. I feel like I have completed a study week!

This week’s poems:

Seahorse
After German artist Gesine Marwedel

Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica

Buick Bird

North of the Equator – which I edited and then took to Stanza.

Remains – my first Duplex

Grounded Flight

Vertical 

Ars Poetica

There are only 2 days of NaPo left, which I cannot believe! This month of writing has passed quickly. It has been a joy to write again, my 6 months of illness has resulted in very little creativity. I am becoming again, which is good and fills me with relief.

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And the two remaining days of April brought riches, on Day 29 I indulged in the referenced Meditation poetry and wrote another poem about illness.

Unresolved

On the final day of NaPo I had great fun with wordplay and minimalist poetry.

Stifle 

Cultivated

*Celery (which is the same poem as Cultivated with different Typography)

Too Substantial

ButTor

 

It has been a good year!

I have thoroughly enjoyed most days and have managed to write 40 poems, created two animated poetry films, added several blogs to my Reader and discovered lots of new-to-me poets, artists and resources.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 28

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The end of the last weekend of NaPo 2019.

The glory of a Sunday, a day that stretches before me filled with the possibility of new words. It feels good.

I wanted to start with a tip on frustration. Which is the opposite of how I feel today but was very much how I felt last night after attempting the Shakespearean Sonnet prompt. Sometimes Art is frustrating, it is part of the creative path and something we learn to overcome/live with/abide.

I know that my forte is not rhyme, which is one reason I find writing sonnets hard. I know that I have a blinker when it comes to sonnets, if you said Wankel rotary engine, my reaction would be the same, although I could probably explain the engine more efficiently! Despite all this I tried to open my mind to the prompt and although I had the freedom to dismiss it, I wanted to give it a go. This is my attitude to NaPo and Poetry, always learning, staying open. But it hurts a bit when you fall flat on your face and that is how I felt by the end of my creation. I liked the story behind it and when I read it over next week, maybe I will like the poem… what I didn’t want was the residue of negative feeling, especially before bed. (A bed that was still covered in props from earlier animation making.)

So I set off to find another prompt and that is what you can do. So in actual fact last night I had practice with rhyme, meter, structure, metaphor, and argument and attempted one of the oldest traditions in English poetry and also wrote an extra poem about illness called Vertical. Looking back at yesterday’s prompt I could have done a number of things other than try to write my own sonnet, I may revisit it.

TOP TIP

Frustration – accept it, deal with it, do not break things – write more poems!

With this in mind, let’s get stuck into Day 28! Can you believe you have written 4 weeks of poems?

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As always, for the full prompt. click the day.

Day Twenty-Eight

There are only three days left now in Na/GloPoWriMo 2019. I hope you’ve been enjoying the month so far, and are ready for the home stretch.

Our featured participant for the day is paeansunpluggedblog, where the Shakesepeare-inspired prompt for Day Twenty-Seven gave rise to a bard-inspired cento.

Our video resource today was suggested by Elizabeth Boquet, she and a fellow group of poets in Lausanne, Switzerland, have been engaging with the concept of meta-poems – which are poems about poems! In this video, the poets Al Fireis, Lily Applebaum, Dave Poplar, and Camara Brown discuss Emily Dickinson’s “We learned the Whole of Love.” Find additional background and video discussions of other meta-poems here.

As you may have guessed, today I’d like to challenge you to try your hand at a meta-poem of your own. You might check out the Wallace Stevens and Harryette Mullens poems featured in the article about metapoetry linked above, or perhaps Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica” or Kendel Hippolyte’s “Advice to a Young Poet.”

Happy writing!

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NaPo Process Notes 

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I read the prompt earlier this morning and worked through the resources. Punam’s poem Doffing my hat to the Bard was well constructed using lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Today felt a bit like a study day. I checked out https://elizabethboquet.com/ then watched the video.

I am a fan of Emily Dickinson.

I looked at the mini course on meta poems. I read Large Red Man Reading by Wallace Stevens and Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen.  Then read Ars Poetica by Archibald Macleish and Advice to a Young Poet by Kendel Hippolyte.

I also turned to another of my favourite poets, Pablo Neruda. Read his Ars Poetica here.

I have written Ars Poetica before.

 

On Writing 

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I then starting thinking of writing, but perhaps the best way of writing an Ars Poetica – is not to think at all.

What surprised me most about this freewrite approach is I wrote a prose poem. Almost unheard of. I called it Ars Poetica.

It is the slow dawn that creeps light between the gap in bedroom curtains,
the easy steam of the morning kettle, the grey sky ink blotting to blue,

 

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 26

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Four days to go! You can do this!

As always, click on the day for the full post.

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Day Twenty-Six

Today’s featured participant is Yesterday and Today, where the seasonal/sensual prompt for Day 25 resulted in a summery villanelle.

And now for our video resource! Today, we present this recording of the poet Jericho Brown reading his poem “Duplex (I Begin With Love).” Note how simple the vocabulary of the poem is, and how Brown uses the power of repetition, rewording and building on prior lines and phrases to drive the poem along.

Today’s prompt is centered around repetition. Repetition is at the heart of the rhetorical strategy of “Duplex.” We engage with it daily in the choruses of songs, and it’s long been recognized as one of the ways to keep a listener’s attention and create a sense of satisfaction or closure in spoken or written language, whether that language takes the form of a speech or a poem or even a comedy routine. Many forms of poetry expressly require or rely on repetition – for example, the villanelle or pantoum.Well-handled repetition can give a poem an incantatory effect. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a word, or phrase. You can even repeat an image, perhaps slightly changing or enlarging it from stanza to stanza, to alter its meaning. There are (perhaps paradoxically) infinite possibilities in repetition. Want to look at some examples? Perhaps you’ll find inspiration in Joanna Klink’s “Some Feel Rain” or John Pluecker’s “So Many.”

Happy writing!

 

NaPo Process Notes

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I happily read today’s prompt in bed this morning, welcoming poetry in with the crack of light between my curtains. It was a pleasant waking.

I started by reading I Smell the Salt in Seaside Breeze by Merril D. Smith. This vivid poem evoked the senses of my favourite season, summer. Merril (like me) is steps ahead of the NaPo prompts, producing a villanelle on Day 25. The repetition worked well here and made me think of the pull of the waves on the ocean. I can see this poem. I think it is universally something we have all lived/felt. It is saved to the Poetry Resources file. Fine work.

I then watched Jericho Brown.

I listened to Duplex a few times. Listening to the poem and then to the form, the repetition.

The duplex is a form I invented. It’s a fusion of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues. – Jericho Brown

I know how to write a sonnet and a ghazal and have heard the blues. I am hoping to be able to unpick this form.

I then read the poem on The American Poetry Review, saved it to my resource file knowing I would be unpicking it later.

I then read the example poems, as if it wasn’t enough to discover Jericho Brown this morning, I fell in love with Joanna Klink’s Some Feel Rain. I kept reading it over and over.

Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be
snapped?

WOW. Breath-catching read. Joyfully saved this one to the resource file, which is jam packed for Day 26.

Lastly, (before getting up), I listened to John Pluecker’s So Many, grateful for the audio as I struggle to read a poem which has no punctuation. It was also great to hear it from the voice of the poet. Stunning moments captured in this emotive poem.

Both of these poems were great examples of the use of repetition. They also made me feel ready for writing!

 

On Writing
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I have already written one villanelle this NaPo and they are hard work, I often write pantoums but had never come across a duplex (other than an architectural term), so I fancied trying to write one and set about finding out more about this form Jericho Brown invented.

I read this article https://news.emory.edu/features/2019/04/creative-writing/index.html about the work Jericho does as a Professor at Emory University. It offered a little insight to the new form.

…inventing a new poetry form he calls the duplex. The new structure melds the formality of a sonnet, the inline rhyme and repetition of the ghazal, and duality of the American blues, all in nine to eleven syllables per line. It’s also the title of five poems in “The Tradition,” his third collection, published earlier this month.

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I also watched Stand.

I found this article in The Rumpus which goes into the form in more detail. It is a great interview, one you should read!

GUTTING THE SONNET: A CONVERSATION WITH JERICHO BROWN

BY CANDACE WILLIAMS 

The duplex is a new form that renders the musicality and structure of the ghazal, the sonnet, and the blues on a single plane. The poem starts with a couplet of two distinct lines. The second line is repeated and a new line is added, and then repeated until there are seven couplets of nine to eleven syllables each. Although the poem sounds iambic, it retains its relationship to the metrical tradition of the ghazal. The first line is the fourteenth line. The rhyme (via repetition) and the turn are reminiscent of the sonnet. The duplex holds tradition in its embrace while calling that embrace into question. This tension and release are a means for The Tradition’s speaker to interrogate and transcend their condition.

I also wondered why he had called the form Duplex and an article on Poetry Foundation helped me find the answer:

I decided to call the form a duplex because something about its repetition and its couplets made me feel like it was a house with two addresses. It is, indeed, a mutt of a form as so many of us in this nation are only now empowered to live fully in all of our identities.

I also found out more about the form and read more examples of Duplex poems.

Starting at the fourth line, every other line of the poem aims at “incongruous humor that…becomes ironic laughter mixed with tears.” The blues allowed for a poem that we teachers like to describe as “voice-y,” which is to say that the poems begin to take on more personality in those moments.

The end of the article gifted me the gold dust I had searching for. The form. 

Write a ghazal that is also a sonnet that is also a blues poem of 14 lines,

giving each line 9 to 11 syllables.

The first line is echoed in the last line.

The second line of the poem should change our impression of the first line in an unexpected way.

The second line is echoed and becomes the third line.

The fourth line of the poem should change our impression of the third line in an unexpected way.

This continues until the penultimate line becomes the first line of the couplet that leads to the final (and first) line.

For the variations of repeated lines, it is useful to think of the a a’ b scheme of the blues form.

Armed with a little more information I decided to have a go – and if I fail on the form then I have a poem which would not otherwise have existed in a parallel coat. Nothing will be lost. My ego will declare that I have invented a new form, the not-quite-a-duplex-poem. A Du. I am excited to give it a go.

HAPPY DANCE!

I managed to write a Duplex, unfortunately the battery died on the laptop halfway through the composition, so the 2nd half of the write was harder than it could have been, having lost the flow and the construction of the poem during my time offline.

I don’t think I changed the impression hard enough within the couplets. I got there though. Phew. It is an interesting result and is definitely a form I will attempt again.

I called it Remains which has layered meaning in the poem and think that the sense of the poem overall is beautiful. I think that is down to the Duplex/Blues rhythm and repetition. It is a love poem and this is how it ends…

A new tale on your chest tells of us.
Open to love, I’m weightless in my baggage.

 

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 23

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Happy St. George’s Day! Just one week to go!

As always to access the full prompt/site, click the day.

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Day Twenty-Three

Our featured participant today is Brittany’s Blog of Random Things, where the ekphrastic prompt for Day 22 resulted in a poem that’s just a little bit fishy.

Today’s featured video resource is this film adaptation of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Sandpiper.” You can find the original text of the poem here.

Taking a cue from Bishop, I’d like to challenge you today to write a poem about an animal. If you’d like to take a look at some other poems for inspiration, you might like James Dickey’s “The Dusk of Horses,” or Tennyson’s “The Eagle.”

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NaPo Process Notes 

 

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I started with the featured poem. I liked knowing the source of Brittany’s poem and checked out Laura Christensen’s website. https://laurachristensen.wordpress.com/ Laura has developed a practice of painting on recovered vintage portraits.

Portrait in Gray was a stunning poem. Beautiful lines which echo Laura Christensen’s artwork.

You collect trout scales
to adorn your skin with rainbows,

and hide your memories
under the sturgeon’s fin.

And a strong ending. A reader-stopping one.

and you find in the water that time
is never the enemy, it is the quiet

pressure urging you to grow gills
and breathe.

I marvelled in the poem for a while and re-read. It is another poem which has been saved to my NaPo resources file.

Then I hopped over to TriQuarterly to watch the video resource Sandpiper by John D. Scott. It is an interesting mix of photographs, film, animation and soft focus. I enjoyed the use of the typewriter on the soundtrack and watched the film a few times, read up on Scott and explored various links to his work, banked for post-NaPo.

I saved Sandpiper by Elizabeth Bishop to my NaPo Poetry Resources file.

Then I read the two example animal poems The Dusk of Horses by James Dickey and The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson and saved them to the file too.

Yet again I find that the prompt connects to the poem I wrote the previous day. I guess many people writing ekphrastic poetry would have had animals as original stimuli.

 

On Writing 

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I started by considering my animal. One of the first places I looked was National Geographic and the first animal I found was the Smalltooth Swordfish, again there are links to the other 4 species, which live in Australia, one more for the book. For now I was reading about scientists in Costa Rica and the last remaining population of this species in Florida.

I wrote a short 4 stanza poem titled Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica. Once I had finished I realised that the fish shared the poem with fishermen and that I had lost the animal prompt focus a little. This doesn’t matter as the prompts are optional and sometimes poems take on organic growth and spread away from the original subject. Here is a snippet from the animal half.

Seven metres of fish
disappears before the world
notices it is endangered.

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 22

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It is the final week! You made it… come and write some more!

logo-napowrimo As always for the full post, click the day.

Day Twenty-Two

Today’s featured participant is What Rhymes With Stanza?, where the surrealist prompt for Day 21 led to a strange tale in the key of C Sharp Major.

Our video resource for the day is this short film that features the poet and artist Kate Greenstreet reading an autobiographical piece, juxtaposed with images of Greenstreet at work on both her art and her poetry, which intermix with one another, as you’ll see.

As our film for the day shows, art and poetry can richly affect one another. Frank O’Hara’s poem, “Why I am Not a Painter,” speaks to this mutual engagement, as do explicitly ekphrastic poems (i.e., poems that are about a specific work of art), like Thom Gunn’s “In Santa Maria del Popolo.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that engages with another art form – it might be about a friend of yours who paints or sculpts, your high school struggles with learning to play the French horn, or a wonderful painting, film, or piece of music you’ve experienced – anything is in bounds here, so long as it uses the poem to express something about another form of art.

Happy writing!

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NaPo Process Notes
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I started by reading Jackals in the Key of C-Sharp Major by Maggie C. Love the title! I liked the surrealism she captured.

Then I watched the short film. ACT and read “Why I am Not a Painter” by Frank O’Hara and “In Santa Maria del Popolo” by Thom Gunn.
I like that today’s challenge is to write a poem that engages with another art form, especially as I wrote an ekphrastic poem only yesterday. With this in mind I am stretching the artistic wings of finding more than an artwork to write from today.
On Writing
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Searching for art…

a list brings up Aboriginal Art (alphabetically). I looked at Aboriginal Rock Artsome of which are believed to date back to the early phase of the Upper Paleolithic (c.30,000 BCE)!

Last week 4 of my NaPo poems were Australia-centric, so I fancied a change.

From possibly the oldest sort of art, I looked at face painting, not just tribal, but performance artists & photography, I ended up looking at body painting. Back in my university days I was involved in a post-grad project which involved body painting. I haven’t thought about it since (decades), I felt this was the perfect place to start today and something a little usual.

Body painting research led me to the beautiful work of German artist Gesine Marwedel. She specializes in creating beautiful and elegant body paintings that transforms people into plants, animals, or even abstract works of art.

I chose her image of a Seahorse and underwent some research, certain facts I already knew, such as the male gives birth (only species in the world where this is the case), that they mate for life, that they can change colour… but I learnt a lot this morning and even watched the birthing of 2000 fry. WOW!

I limited my research to National Geographic and the Seahorse Trust (who have a visually stunning website), I had to limit myself or I would have been plugged into the PC staring at Seahorses all day! I think, post-NaPo there will be more poems which come from today’s fact harvesting. Fascinating.

My challenge was to balance the art back in. Inspired by today’s video I wanted the artist to feature in my poem as well as the pregnant model and an actual Seahorse. Tall order!

My 10 stanza poem is called Seahorse and focuses on the actual creature, the model and the artist.

 

The artist brushes for hours,
believes in the therapeutic qualities
of body painting,
the act of taking the human
out from themselves.

NaPoWriMo Round Up Week 3

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The scariest thing about reaching the end of Week 3 of NaPoWriMo is realising April is nearly over! Where did this month go? Writing a poem a day will do that to you.

This week has felt wonderful, some of the prompts have been fruitful and I am building up a bank of ideas to work with after NaPo. I have felt very connected to a lot of the content this week and am grateful for new ideas which tie into current writing projects and will offer words which may otherwise not have been found.

This week I discovered the story of Denis Cox, an Australian schoolboy who wrote an inspiring postcard after fearing his country was behind on the space race. This was in 1957 – that wasn’t the most wondrous part… it finally arrived 52 years later. I am currently writing poetry from my experience in Australia last summer, when I visited as an International Guest Poet at the Perth Poetry Festival – which is also something I still need to blog about too, (September was busy and health has been an issue since October). This newly found story can easily be built into the body of work, funnily enough another poem I have added from historical research relates to a space shuttle mission.

The remaining poems written this week also upheld my Australian  theme.

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I also had comments from some of the poets from participating sites who were the featured poets from Napo, which is lovely. And although the posts don’t see many physical ‘likes’ there are plenty of hits showing across social media and on the website statistics, so hopefully some of the tips are helping pull others through this month of writing poetry.

Poems I have written this week:

Notre Dame 2019

Endfeel

Space Race

Laying to Rest

True Blue

After Sputnik

Fiveshore

 

I enjoyed the Lucy English animation. “Things I Found in the Hedge” – Kathryn L. Darnell (director, animation), listening to Obit by Victoria Chang and dipping my toes back into Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project. I also discovered the surrealistic work of Australian artist Shane Gehlert.

It has been an inspiring week! And I can’t believe we only have one week left!

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NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 21

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Happy Easter and 3 weeks of NaPoWriMo!

Late starting today – there is still time for your writing too, if you haven’t already done it. We are 3/4 of the way through!

logo-napowrimo As always for the full post, click on the day.

Day Twenty-One

We have two featured participants for today, because I just couldn’t choose! First up is Wind Rush, where the spoken language prompt for Day Twenty resulted in an ode to a family vacation. Next up is Xanku, where the same prompt led to a familiar, yet ethereal, set of directions.

Today’s video resource is a full-length movie, called The Color of Pomegranates. It was made in Armenia in 1969, and is a lengthy, surrealist mediation on the life of Sayat Nova, an Armenian poet who lived in the 1700s. Frankly, I’d encourage you just to flip around in the video, as it has lots of extremely arresting imagery, the very oddness of which you may find inspiring. Like poems themselves, this film juxtaposes things that one might not usually find together. There’s a church full of sheep! There’s women wearing crowns of oak leaves and roses while children dressed as odd, one-winged angels run around! There’s a roof filled with books, the pages of which flap in the wind!

Today’s prompt takes its inspiration from another surrealist work, Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem “City that Does Not Sleep.” Lorca took much of his inspiration from Spanish folklore, but also wrote a group of harrowing poems based on time he spent in New York. (Lorca was not a fan of the Big Apple). “City That Does Not Sleep” is from that collection. Subtitled “Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne” in the original Spanish, it presents a kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory vision of the city as a wild countryside roamed by animals. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like The Color of Pomegranates and “City That Does Not Sleep,” incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.

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NaPo Process Notes

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I started by reading the poems from the featured participants. I didn’t have time to watch the film completely but fast forwarded scenes (as suggested), when I have more time I will watch it in full.

I studied Lorca (mainly as a dramatist) at college. I read City that Does Not Sleep. And started thinking about the prompt.

 

On Writing 

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I searched surrealistic images as a starting point for my writing today. After an initial search which gave me more sci-fi than anything else, I decided to extend the Australian link.

I started with the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra – which I visited on my first trip to Australia.

While there was no organised Surrealist movement in Australia, its importance lies in the fact that some of Australia’s leading artists were influenced by Surrealism at a formative period of their careers. – © 2019 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

I looked at various works and planned to write ekphrastic poetry with the prompt in mind – incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.

‘Surrealism comes from the deeper recesses of the mind that the logical mind, with its prescribed formulas of thought is incapable of exploring.’  © 1940 James Gleeson

After gentle research, I discovered the chrome based surrealism of Shame Gehlert. I used one of his pieces as a starting point. You can find many of his works here.

My finished poem is called Fiveshore, (a play on Foreshore and the number of stanzas created). I freewrote the poem and then pared it down. The end result (the full poem) is fairly surreal. Here’s a taste…

The fish in the cart dreams of legs,
the donkey — of a rest, or the road to Jerusalem.

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 20

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Another milestone marker… 2/3 of the way through! Go on, write a poem.

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As always, for the full post, click the day.

Day Twenty

Welcome back, everyone, for Day Twenty of Na/GloPoWriMo! We’re now 2/3 of the way through.

Our featured participant for the day is heartinthematter, where the abecedarian poem for Day 19 is a jaunty whirlwind of words that are fun to say.

Today’s video resource is this short movie from the National Film Board of Canada, presenting animated interpretations of four poems by Canadian poets.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that “talks.” What does that mean? Well, take a look at this poem by Diane Seuss. While it isn’t a monologue, it’s largely based in spoken language, interspersed with the speaker/narrator’s own responses and thoughts. Try to write a poem grounded in language as it is spoken – not necessarily the grand, dramatic speech of a monologue or play, but the messy, fractured, slangy way people speak in real life. You might incorporate overheard speech or a turn of phrase you heard once that stood out to you – the idea here is to get away from formally “poetic” speech and into the way language tends to work out loud.

Happy writing!

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NaPo Process Notes 

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As I wrote my abecedarian poem yesterday, or more accurately did battle… I was thinking about which words other poets would choose, especially for X and Z. So I was interested to check out not only the featured participant but also a few others. I had a LARGE morning coffee and plenty of time to read. It is good to support each other through NaPo.

Smiti Mittal wrote ‘Zing’ a true abecedarian poem, 26 words through from a to z. This method makes for some lines that you would not necessarily put together, the version I used (a new letter to start each line) also leaves endlines which would usually be constructed differently. This is one of the beauties of this form. Smiti Mittal has done well to keep the sense of the poem and there is (political) passion bursting through her word choices.

Other participating sites I chose at random were:

https://starinthewind.wordpress.com/ Breaking some eggs

where a relationship is masterfully portrayed and the reader forgets it is an abecedarian poem for a while as the lines neatly tuck into each other.

https://putouttopasture.blog/ Arabian, Buckskin, Connemara by Maxie Jane where breeds of horses are cleverly listed in her abecedarian poem.

https://whimsicalwallflower.com/ where Christina Fong uses repetition in her sad abecedarian poem about illness.

I then went on to watching the film resource. I love the fact that the NFB film is from 1977. I tend to only watch contemporary works so it is interesting to discover older films. I have seen a few of course. There are also other films shown at the bottom of the webpage that I will explore post NaPo. Great resource!

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https://www.nfb.ca/film/poets_on_film_no_1/

This short film brings together animated interpretations of four poems by great Canadian wordsmiths: “Riverdale Lion” by John Robert Colombo, “A Kite Is a Victim” by Leonard Cohen, “Klaxon” by James Reaney and George Johnston’s “The Bulge.”

Watching was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I then read [On what day you think Jesus was actually born he asks] by Diane Seuss.

 

On Writing 

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I decided to look in my notebook for any overheard conversation I have noted down as a starting point for my conversational poem. I didn’t find a fruitful thread, so I thought back to Day 17, when I discovered the story of Denis Cox and decided to write something that could join the sequence of planned post-NaPo poems.

I enjoyed writing today’s poem and the process was a LOT quicker than yesterday.

I know that Denis was one of 4 kids, so it was an imagined scene where he was writing out that famous letter and his brother was watching, hovering, waiting to go and play in the creek, something they definitely used to do. It is conversational and unlike my normal style. The genre lends itself to longer lines. I am fairly happy with the result. I discovered the impetus for writing this lost postcard came after seeing Sputnik so I called it After Sputnik.

Here’s a snippet:

Standing there won’t make me any quicker.
I am not going to rush this,
it is too important.
Top Scientist at Woomera Rocket Ranch, important.