Don’t worry – it has nothing to do with rock climbing!
Although intense generative writing practice feels like a workout. I have been participating in Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo since I discovered it (2014). The following year I discovered the PAD challenge – A Poem a Day over on Writer’s Digest and did both, generating over 60 poems in April.
Over the years many poets in the UK (and probably around the world) have offered their own course of prompts or groups for April. I have taken part in these too, memorably a series of prompts from Carrie Etter and a Napowrimo group during Lockdown with Caleb Parkin. The most poems I ever wrote from April’s Poetry Month was 99!
All this extra writing has been fun (if not a bit exhausting)…
This year I decided to add my own additional challenge into the mix: Nina’s NaPoWriMo Challenge! Feel free to spread the word.
I’m keeping it simple (and FREE):
Every day I will post a new picture prompt and you go away and create whatever you want.
Get yourselves ready for an extra splash in the fountain this April!
Maureen Thorson is both humble and selfless in her annual encouragement of poetry. One thing which struck me when I discovered NaPoWriMo (2014) was how generous Maureen was with her time and Napo prompts. She wasn’t after any awards or even a mailing list, she was just giving.
So I am delighted this year to be able to give something back. I feel Maureen truly deserves it!
National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.
This website (napowrimo.net) is owned and operated by Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project.
This site was designed by the very nice people at 2the9design, who know waaaaayyyyy more about back-end coding stuff than Maureen does. But this site isn’t meant to be “official,” or to indicate ownership or authority over the idea of writing 30 poems in April. There is no corporate sponsorship of this project. No money is intended to change hands anywhere. Maureen just likes poems and wants to encourage people to write them. The site doesn’t ask for your email address, or any other personal information. Heck, you don’t even have to give your name.
Maureen Thorson’s collection Share the Wealth combines playful persona poems and satires with beautiful lyrics about life in the woods. One can’t move to Maine without channeling the ghost of James Schuyler, so it’s not surprising that his careful and sly observational style informs Thorson’s most grounded lyrics. “Bliss is relative,” says a frog in one of her poems, and I’m grateful to these poems for reminding us to look for bliss, however relative it may be.
— Joanna Fuhrman, author of To a New Era
And here you can find a reading from February 2022 – Boog City festival.
Maureen Thorson is the author of Share the Wealth (Veliz Books, 2022), On Dreams (Bloof Books 2021), My Resignation (Shearsman 2014), and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011), as well as the chapbook Mayport, which won the Poetry Society of America’s national chapbook fellowship for 2006. She lives in Falmouth, Maine.
Projects in the Poetry World which keep longevity are to be praised, heartfelt gratitude to Maureen for keeping NaPoWriMo part of our lives every April!
NaPoWriMo certainly gets to the heart of things. I enjoy April every year for the gifts of words and focus on poetry. I give myself permission to write a lot of rubbish, but every year there are a handful of poems created with a glow, many of these go on to be published in magazines, anthologies and my own collections.
It is nearly time for NaPoWriMo, an annual flurry of poetry writing. Find out more here.
They have a few starter activities just for fun. The silly test mentioned in this post gives you a chance to choose Bot or Not. I had a 70% success rate. A great party game for the self isolating at this time.
If, like me you enjoy this writing month you will just be pleased to see the site back up and running and the new banners and buttons for 2020.
The Two Days to Gopost invites us to go and look at Patrick Stewart’s twitter account where he is reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, I have happily already discovered this already (and retweeted) but it serves to remind me that one of the things I LOVE about NaPo is discovering resources and new to me poets and poems. Also the participants sites can be a great find too.
Here on AWF I am always a participating site but never (or rarely ever) post a NaPo poem as this affects the copyright and means I may not be able to publish them. You will write a lot of rubbish over the next few weeks – give yourself that permission, nothing is wasted. It’s all worth it for those few poems that do work, that do go on to grow up and get published, for the ones you include in your next collection, for the ones that speak to your heart.
The day before NaPo starts there is always an Early Bird post to get you warmed up and started. So this is not a drill – take a deep breath and get ready to dive in with us!
Hello, all! Tomorrow is April 1, and the first day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020! But since April 1 arrives a bit earlier in some parts of the globe than the east coast of the United States, we have an early-bird resource and prompt for you.
Today’s resource is The Slowdown, a daily poetry podcast hosted by former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Podcasts are a nice way to add some poetry to your life. They also give you a chance to hear the rhythm of poetry out loud. Sometimes it can be very surprising, if you’ve been reading a poet on the page for many years, to hear their voice out loud, and realize it’s much different than the voice you’ve been giving that same poet in your head.
And now, in the spirit of an early-bird prompt, I’d like to invite you to write a poem about your favorite bird. As this collection of snippets from longer poems suggests, birds have been inspiring poets for a very long time indeed!
If you don’t have a favorite bird, or are having trouble picking one, perhaps I might interest you in myfavorite bird, the American Woodcock? These softball-sized guys are exactly the color of the leaves on the floor of a Maine forest, and they turn up each spring to make buzzy peent noises, fly up over meadows in elaborate courtship displays, and to do little rocking dances that YouTube jokesters delight in setting to music.
They are also quite odd looking, as every part of their body appears to be totally out of proportion with the rest. For a poetic bonus, they also have many regional nicknames. In Maine, they’re often called “timberdoodles,” but other regionalisms for them include “night partridge,” “mudbat,” “prairie turtle,” Labrador twister,” “bogsucker,” “wafflebird,” “billdad,” and “hokumpoke.”
Tomorrow we’ll be back with another resource, prompt, and our first featured participant.
During the podcast, Tracy recites Interesting Times by Mark Jarman. Bedlam right now during the Coronavirus, for sure. The words resonate with double meaning right now. An echo of the//for the global crisis.
Choking on these lines;
Everything’s happening on the cusp of tragedy,
We’ve been at this historical site before, but not in any history we remember.
To know the stars will one day fly apart so far they can’t be seen
Is almost a relief. For the future flies in one direction—toward us.
This is where the madness began (NaPo madness is normal – it starts with the research/ search engines then pages later leads you someplace else and (hopefully) back again)!
I read the snippets and then watched the videos of Maureen’s chosen bird and it hit me, WA – and the magnificent birds of Perth – as it fits my current project. That’s another NaPo GOLD-DUST tip: if you can bend the prompts to fit creative projects you are trying to fulfil – this isn’t always possible but when it is – it is GOLDEN – as often we are forced to write beyond ourselves.
I then watched a series of videos before I decided on the one. It has been made from photographs rather than footage but the pictures have magically captured the music of the birds. I am yet to pen a poem as I am getting a set ready for this evening. But I will… (the NaPo promise to yourself).
I watched the video and made a list of over 10 Australian birds, then chose one by looking for images of the species. I then searched for facts and went back to my research document to highlighted key fact on appearance and movement. I harvested a few images to study & wrote a short 5 line poem about the Royal Spoonbill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 –
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:
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
North of the Equator – which I edited and then took to Stanza.
Remains – my first Duplex
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.
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.
On the final day of NaPo I had great fun with wordplay and minimalist poetry.
*Celery (which is the same poem as Cultivated with different Typography)
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.”
NaPo Process Notes
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
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!
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.”
NaPo Process Notes
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.
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.