We did it, everyone! We got through yet another Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you enjoyed the prompts, readings, and featured participants this year, and that you have a crop of drafts to work over during May (also known — to me, at least — as National/Global Poetry Revision Month).
Finally, I want to thank everyone who participated… It heartens me every year to see how friendly and supportive Na/GloPoWriMo-ers are of each other’s efforts.
Thank you all, and until next year — happy writing!
So these are the last featured poems for the year. I read Hue n Shades first, Deepa Gopal’s poem intrigued me, I wondered if it was an apocalyptic place/ a war torn city or a fictional place. I liked the atmosphere of it and these lines stood out to me:
Past those fences that align the periphery
Of the lost, discarded city
A sapling in the crease of the dilapidated
The children of tomorrow
The faded aroma of the spices that once was held
In flamboyant hues arranged on wooden palettes
All that leads to the middle mansion
Where dreams grow in bundles
Disbursed in tiny totems
Life moves seamlessly in all directions.
There were plenty of sensory details and a strong end line.
Next I read the final featured poem. I love the title – Directions to a Dream Life – I knew I was in for a treat.
cut back the Hawthorns
of Romantic Disappointments
will hand you a Certificate
of Complete and Utter Rejection
you can now take the red boat
and row across the Trials Cove
And a satisfyingly positive ending:
as it bubbles, it spills
just slightly over the lip
come here Dreamer – take a sip
It is fun, surreal and captures dreamy well with lots of great specific details.
In coming to post this I remembered about the Sam Sax reading, which I am delighted to say I managed to catch.
I can’t believe the last day of Napo is here and I have a schedule which keeps me in other pockets of the internet, so I checked this morning read the prompt page and have just come back to it now. I was really excited to see Jacqueline’s name – she is a brilliant poet and lovely woman and I shall add a bit more about her and her work here in this post. In case you have not been lucky enough to find her poems for yourselves yet.
I also love The Poetry Society – they are incredible and one year even offered a NaPoWriMo month of prompts and community. I have looked and used this resource before – but years ago and I am a different person/poet now (so just like when Jericho Brown repeated a masterclass and I rewrote the same work 6 months later there was change and it was exciting to go and find the Autumn notebook and compare the work) so don’t be put off if you are repeating a prompt. Remember you come to the page as a different person.
I started (as always) with the feature poems and loved the fact that I had a porthole on my list as well – and with the second poem that sense of threat matches my poem becoming threatening – I suppose looking in on a space does this to the writing.
I can’t sign in to leave a comment for Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia as my inbox is full and I can’t verify myself. I enjoyed this poem, the flow of it seemed to be rhythmical taking me up and down on the ocean and into the same trance observed in View Through a Port Hole.
It was a fifteen day sea voyage From Mumbai to Mombasa
Love we are set in place straight away especially as it is a poem exploring the relentless view of sea – which when in the middle of the ocean it does feel you could be anywhere.
And watch the foam forming and dissolving endlessly On the restless tireless blue waves And now and then a flying fish
I thought the blue days at sea would never end
I was glad to see landfall Too much sea can kill the soul.
It was a beautiful poem to start the day with, even though it drives to the madness of being stuck with just the view of blue, for me – so far from the coast it was a much needed visit to the ocean.
Anna Enbom’s poem That window – the second part of this poem really got me. I liked the exploration of coming through the gauntlet of our lives.
Brick buildings though, with kids’ paintings taped to the inside of
the glass door, still makes my thoughts stop and fall
I am often stressed about the years passing, things I have not done
yet and the fact that my death is less distant for every year But when I think about that window, I know time passing is good I am not there anymore
This poem holds so much life and emotion, so many stories of lives connecting and crossing and I love that line‘still makes my thoughts stop and fall’.
I had a look at the featured reading which I should be available to watch tomorrow (although last night I fell asleep in the late night for us USA reading). I looked up Sam Sax and thought he was new to me – but when I read a selection of his poems I came to Prayer for the Mutilated World – and realised I had read his work before.
The prompt today also offers a whole sheet of other prompts – which is great if you are thinking you may have withdrawal symptoms – just visit and do one a day and that will settle you right into May.
I don’t need to write lots for you all about Jacqueline Saphra as she has a brilliant website which will show you all I was going to say.
I was fortunate enough to meet Jacqueline back in 2016 when I read at the London Book Fair, I actually met her on a busy London crossing when I had skipped out for a walk/break/air. I have attended her readings ever since and in 2017 she was one of the Poets in Residence at Swindon Poetry Festival so I got a complete Saphra fix.
Her books are amazing her poetry is incredible and if you don’t her go and spend time on the site. There were many poets who joined Jacqueline writing a sonnet a day and it was a pleasure to read them in the original form and watch them being shared.
Jacqueline’s Lockdown Sonnets of 2020 are bound into this beautifully produced Nine Arches Press bookOne Hundred Lockdown Sonnets, now available as paperback, the original was a gorgeous hardback – 100 copies were made and the books helped raise the £2000 target for the Trussell Trust Charity. More than half the cover cost went to the charity with every edition sold.
It was certainly exciting to be at the launch of this work and to hear the poems I had read in progress. Plus seeing her guest poets many of whom are on my favourite poets list (the one in my head) And LOOK – you can watch it all here!
The online launch of Jacqueline Saphra’s One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets. With guest poets Anja Konig, Miriam Nash, Jacob Sam-La Rose, plus recorded readings and messages from Ian McMillan and Naomi Shihab Nye.
About this Event:
Launching the publication of One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets by Jacqueline Saphra. A poetic journal that chronicles the personal and political upheavals and tragedies of the Covid pandemic. Written as a daily sonnet throughout the first lockdown, Saphra’s unique, candid and revealing sequence is a record of strange and unparalleled days.
The one hundred poems are published by Nine Arches Press in a limited edition of just one hundred hardback books, marking their 100th publication. Sold in aid of the Trussell Trust which supports a nationwide network of food banks and campaigns for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraisin…
Jacqueline Saphra is joined on the night by guest poets Anja Konig, Miriam Nash and Jacob Sam-La Rose who will each share a poem of their own and one of Jacqueline’s sonnets. We also have recorded messages and readings from Ian McMillan and Naomi Shihab Nye.
Jacqueline Saphra is a poet, playwright and tutor based in London. All My Mad Mothers was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize and was followed by Dad, Remember You are Dead in 2019, both from Nine Arches Press. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller (2017) and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia (2020) are both published by Hercules Editions.
Anja Konig grew up in the German language and now writes in English. Her first pamphlet Advice for an Only Child (Flipped Eye) was shortlisted for the 2015 Michael Marks award. Her first full collection Animal Experiments (Bad Betty Press) was selected as one of the best 2020 collections by the Daily Telegraph.
Miriam Nash is a poet, performer and educator. Her collection of poems All the Prayers in the House (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) won a Somerset Maugham Award and an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her latest book, TheNine Mothers of Heimdallr (Hercules Editions, 2020) is a giant, matriarchal re-telling of the Norse creation myth. She leads online poetry workshops at Lightkeepers.co.uk.
Jacob Sam-La Rose is a poet, editor, artistic director and educator, deeply invested in supporting emerging voices. His collection Breaking Silence (Bloodaxe Books)is required reading for an A’ level syllabus. He is a poetry professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, poet-in-residence for English Heritage, and directs the Barbican Young Poets programme.
Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. She began composing her first poem at the age of six and has published or contributed to over 30 volumes. Her works include poetry, young-adult fiction, picture books, and novels.
Ian McMillan is an English poet, journalist, playwright, and broadcaster. He is known for his strong and distinctive Yorkshire accent and his incisive, friendly interview style on programmes such as BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. He lives in Darfield, the village of his birth. You can donate to the Trussell Trust at our fundraiser page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraisin…
Thank you from Nine Arches Press and Jacqueline Saphra
I thought I would really struggle with this one and have already scribbled a few poems about the infrequent lockdown walks and decided I didn’t want any mention of caged freedoms. So in the end I sat quietly and not much time later had my AHA moment. A journey I did 100s of times in 2019. A journey which should take 5-10 mins and was taking me 30-40 at least means that the specific details of this route are well settled in my mind.
I just do what I have done for the past 30 days and freewheeled a poem out from somewhere. It has legs (which a poem about walking probably should) and after a bit of editing may shine up well.
Today’s featured participants are Eunoia, where you’ll find a poem about dreams in response to Day 28’s question-based prompt, and My Author-itis, where you’ll find a short and witty response to the prompt.
Our featured daily reading is a pre-recorded one, which you can peruse whenever you like. It’s a video of Victoria Chang reading for Berry College in November of last year.
Prompt: this one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. What do you see? What’s going on?
Historically towards the end of Napo I get really sad this daily prompt/practise is coming to an end – but it’s unsustainable for any longer and as Maureen says in today’s post April will come again and so will NaPoWriMo – who knows maybe I will even start calling it GloMoWriMo by 2022…
As it is I have revelled in Napo this year as no paid work has come since the Easter break so I had a chance to lasso much needed dedicated writing time to make headway on projects and actually meet some deadlines. It was an impossible juggle earlier this Spring. So it has been a pleasure to immerse.
If you are feeling sad/withdrawal – may I suggest you plan/map out some writing time for May and continue. The resources Napo have provided this year are rich and you could easily spend 3-4 days sitting with one.
Last night I still hadn’t managed to get Prompt Day 28 completed but I had an approach in mind. So I started Day 29 finishing 28 – I have updated the post here with method and an extract.
I also (happily) managed to catch most of The Poetry Project in New York City with Arda Collins and Monica Youn, which was wonderful. There are several festivals online currently and Book Launches, yesterday I had a mammoth diary sheet – a couple of workshops and a handful of readings. I really thought I would be asleep, but was still working online when the event started so I joined and I am so glad I did. It was wonderful to discover these poets, I shall certainly be on the look out for Arda’s new book when it’s released (hopefully in time for my birthday list)!
I am however, relieved that today’s reading is a pre-recorded one especially as I have just half an hour of Napo time, this will be another chunked day approach.
I started with the featured poems. DO YOU HAVE DREAMS? was a great meditation on questions and I loved the invitation to answer one of the questions in the comment boxes below. Wow. Great idea. I had a great look about at Smitha V’s website. I love the bio:
A banker by profession, a blogger by choice, a poet by accident and an artist at heart.
I read and re-read the poem a few times. It’s hard to pick any part out – the questions need each other.
Do you have dreams?
What do you make of them?
Do you see them with your eyes open or closed?
The second featured poem was funny – it reminded me of this poem by Colin McNaughton.
I watched the Victoria Chang reading.
Nationally recognized poet Victoria Chang will read and discuss her poetry, offering context to each work. Sandra Meek will introduce the poet, establishing Chang’s importance in contemporary American poetry. A Q&A will follow the reading.
Victoria Chang’s poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the Program Chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program. She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board.
I knew some of Victoria Chang’s work, I have read her poetry before but not for a while. I love her quote in this article in The Stanford Daily‘I’m just playing with clay’: Victoria Chang on poetry and language. OBIT is something else!
I loved Friendships –
Depression is a glove over the heart. Depression is an image of a glove over the image of a heart.
and My Mother’s Teeth –
I used to think that a dead person’s words die with them. Now I know that they scatter, looking for meaning to attach to like a scent.My mother used to collect orange blossoms in a small shallow bowl.
I was absorbed by the whole reading, make sure you give your ears and heart the experience today.
You can read a review of OBIT by Anne Graue here. Find out more, read and hear sample poems and extracts from many reviews and order your own copy from Copper Canyon Press.
Another one for my birthday list.
Then I set about the prompt, which is another well used one (although it tends to be look out of the window – to which every poet internally groans and looks about the room in case it was audible), but the twist here is the imagined window and it’s looking in – which set my newly refreshed mind off in several directions (less painful than it sounds).
I scribbled my initial reactions down, to filter something more or maybe to go back and write next month…
I let the prompt sit with me for a while.
I scared myself slightly with the resulting poem, a dark thriller and had a great time on image searches. I have a packet to be going on with now, but for today just one poem. Here’s an extract, a tiny bit of interior action for you:
I caught her smile
as she unpeeled the corner edge of foil.
I can’t wait to see what other’s have made of this prompt. I shall have a good nose around tomorrow, now I am in the spirit of peering into windows.
Today’s daily reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. eastern time. Poets Dina Gatina, Polina Barskova, and Vlazhyna Mort will be reading from their work and discussing contemporary Russian women’s poetry with professor and translator Ainsley Morse.
Prompt: to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious and humorous, the interruptive and the conversational. You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).
Today’s prompt… hmmm, questions in poetry? Discuss.
In true NaPo spirit I will do it. Finding out what questions I’ll ask will be fun anyway!
Whilst I ponder that I read the featured poems starting with Dispellings – which I found very atmospheric/cinematic.
the night train spills its guts
4 a.m kunming station iron jaws
the sky a steel plate stained with dawn
such brutal, industrial, stark imagery.
my pockets fill with starch of soggy maps
of clogged concrete arteries
and the ending. WOW.
As I read it I had forgotten about the prompt entirely. when I looked back to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (such a fabulous resource), I remembered this definition as it was one of the words I’d glanced over, onism. This was certainly captured by/in this poem.
The second featured poem is posted along with a definition of the chosen word. Rachel’s poem Occhiolism explores our perceptions and the irrelevance of them, how we are, unchanged.
It’s a gift you can’t exchange.
Every detail of your script Makes a unique play,
And even managed to get the word occhiolism into the poem!
I looked at the reading event but know I won’t go, today I am attending so much I need to keep tomorrow fixed as it is with screen gaps and time offline. Once again it clashes with an-already-in-the-diary. I looked up the participants and read some poetry by Vlazhyna Mort and listened to ‘crossword’. Funnily enough one of the events this evening was the Poetry Society Lecture with Terrance Hayes and I have just realised Vlazhyna Mort was the previous speaker – I wasn’t available to attend… but this isn’t the first time Napowrimo has delivered a poet or poem and then I have found them or it making its way back into my line of sight/life.
I still have to write today’s poem – I am currently wearing my editor head – so it’s hard but I can feel the space at the back of my mind filling up with conversations as questions talk to each other.
PROMPT: UPDATED 29th April
I started by typing question into a search engine, during 2020 online quizzes soared in popularity as a way people could connect online and so did the internet for base material. I started at the Radio Times because I imagined their researchers would definitely have found the right answers and my initial idea, (a riff off a drama game) was to mismatch the sequence of Q&A.
I was aware that although what a poem is has a wide perimeter, I didn’t feel like a list of questions or a conversation of questions would get us there. I had spent the day with the prompt in mind playing with questions, scribbling a note of ones which came to me. I let my sleeping head play and this morning embarked on writing it.
It was actually fun to write this poem this morning – a conversation between human and AI. Despite not being a fan of questions in poems, I managed a whole string of them.
Another one for the humour cannon maybe (surely I am up to 10).
Which operating system does a Google Pixel phone us?
Today’s featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 28, at 8 p.m. ET. Arda Collins and Monica Youn will be reading at The Poetry Project in New York City.
Prompt: I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows….. perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you.
Happy (well . . . sort of ) writing!
PROCESS NOTES: My Napo time is usually first thing so it may be tricky fitting it in now. Plus I did an extra prompt in lieu of today’s technical difficulties on the main site. So have already penned, in addition I have put the hours in on a current writing project too – so I won’t feel guilty about this stop-start approach & now I have managed to FINISH this post!
I also love Les Mis and know the songs well so was delighted to read In My Room By Candace Shultz, the first featured poem. The opening is brilliant and made me smile:
In my room
Hiding from the children
A giant bar of chocolate
Candace manages to carry the emotion of the original, somehow…
The world is less delicious
I’m still hungry and the children
Have chocolate on their faces
My life will keep on going
But a world without some chocolate
Is one I’ve never known
Next I read God Bless Grammarians, the second featured poem. Another perfect parody.
So they’re careful what they say God Bless Grammarians (it’s ‘we’ not ‘they’)
I check the live reading which is 1 AM BST, so unlikely. I looked up the poets involved.
Arda Collins is the author of It Is Daylight (2009), which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her forthcoming collection of poems will be published in 2022 by The Song Cave. She is a recipient of the Sarton Award in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Colorado Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She teaches at Smith College.
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. It was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award, longlisted for the National Book Award, and named one of the best poetry books of 2016 by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and BuzzFeed. Her previous book Ignatz (Four Way Books 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been awarded the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bytter Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and a Stegner Fellowship among other honors. A former lawyer and a member of the Racial Imaginary Institute, she teaches at Princeton and in the MFA programs at NYU and Columbia.
I keep checking but there doesn’t seem to be a prompt today. I hope Maureen is okay. I have chosen to use Day 27 from 2013 NaPoWriMo instead (as I started a year later). I checked the links, they are still active. Enjoy!
Day 27 Click here for the full post (April 27th 2013)
Our poetry-related link today is to the Lit Pub, which publishes book “recommendations,” rather than book “reviews.”
Our participant’s link for the day is grapeling, where all of the poems are joined by one quality — similes and metaphors that really sing.
Prompt: Today, I challenge you to use the wondrous powers of the Internet to help you write. Think of a common proverb or phrase — something like “All that glitters is not gold,” or “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Plug the first three words of the phrase into a search engine. Skim through the first few pages of results, collecting (rather like a poetic magpie) words and phrases that interest you.
Use those words and phrases as the inspirations for a new poem.
Even though the official prompt has now been posted I thought I should rattle on with this substitute one I posted for today (from 2013). I spent some time looking through Lit Pub and read one review:
Jan 21 The Body Remembers: A Review of Jeannine Ouellette’s The Part That Burns Bianca Cockrell.
I then read the featured poem and this link will take you to their poem for today.
The first thing I had to do was choose a phrase. I went for ‘a blessing in disguise’ – which didn’t actually have enough words to randomly choose 3.
Next step hit the search engine with blessing in disguise.
‘We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ gives a few more key search words but most are only 2-4/5 words long. I went with the 1st search knowing it would throw back a list of definitions, my poem would make use of. So I started to gather. I collected some images as well and created a little document/mood board. I was also taken back to Anthony Wilson’s website and a John Ashbury’s poem from Rivers and Mountains – A Blessing in Disguise (Ashbury was featured a day or so ago in NaPoWriMo). I unearthed a quotation from 18th Century poet -James Hervey and found that this idiom originated in the 1700s! So even before I set to write a poem for this prompt I felt full, satisfied and happy.
I have a short time slot before my next online event so I am going to use a lot of copy & paste in the construction of this poem. A Found poem.
^^ So I thought – poetry has a mind of its own. As I was compiling my subconscious was ordering and the result was a list poem extracted from examples and reasons from jpegs and dictionary definitions. So not Found poetry or erasure but a brand new build!
Poetry Lego! <That should be a thing! I am fairly happy with the result:
Today’s featured participants are Barbara Turney Wieland, who has brought us a happy, snappy poem sprinkled with daisies, and Manja Mexi Mexcessive, whose poem about the not-so-normal process of trying to get back to normal!
Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content.
I had a MAMMOTH NaPoWriMo catch up this morning. Penned a fair few poems and watched several readings. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s reading and discovering the poetry of Brenda Shaughnessy. A NEW FAN here!
I loved revisiting Barbara’s website today. it’s a daisy day!
…. each tiny central golden sun
will remind you, petal, you’ve only just begun
I appreciated the references to the daisy at the end. Particularly the old Celtic Legend:
God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer people from grief.
And the second featured poem Liberation Day which is one that will resonant with all of us:
I have a coloured spreadsheet
with 30 pages and 1000 destinations. Today, to celebrate,
we are going to the big supermarket by the lagoon.
Crossing the border a day early.
And the photographs taken on the walk are sunshiny joy!
I have experienced Manja’s beautiful blog before *I think I may have discovered it on a previous NaPo year. This was a great way to start the day (even though I actually started today in Day 22 and worked through my gaps from there)!
Before I watched the reading today I read some of Brenda’s incredible poems on the Poetry Foundation website. As I already mentioned I loved today’s reading and discovering a new-to-me poet.
Ever since her debut collection “Interior with Sudden Joy” and follow-up “Human Dark With Sugar,” poet Brenda Shaughnessy’s taut and dazzling words have undone us. “Our Andromeda” is her latest volume. Invoking both constellation and Greek mythology, its poems center on a mother and poet. In language that is sharp and sly, wrenching and wry, she grapples with the gulf between expectations and reality in the worlds of motherhood, poetry, and art.
Join Shaughnessy, a professor of English at Rutgers University and the poetry editor-at-large of Tin House, for a reading and conversation about her work. This program was recorded on October 20, 2013 as part of the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival.
I particularly enjoyed At the Book Shrink and Vanity and the Q&A afterwards.
As for the prompt – I have only ever written one parody and I was at a loss as to where to go for base material. In the end I went to the Poetry Foundation and closed my eyes and randomly picked a poem. Still Life with Summer Sausage A Blade and No Blood by VIEVEE FRANCIS. It was an interesting exercise but I don’t feel I have chosen a poem a parody will add anything to here. I will look out for some perfect parody material and try again in the future.
I was delighted to see someone I know had their poem featured today, I met N. Nazir at poetry events over Lockdown 1 and spent a large time this morning and afternoon reading through her blog.
Today I had an off-screen-almost-day. I had a festival event, meeting and Book Launch. I have fallen behind with Napo a little over the past few days. But wasn’t worried as I had some time carved out today (Monday 26th) to play catch up.
I started over with the featured poems, starting on Sunra Rainz with Luminous Diptera. I loved the opening stanzas:
Sorrow is the most efficient light-producing entity in the world. Its luciferous quality communicates with other woes and their similar dance steps attract each other.
Despair flies around with its unique firework display while calculation sits perched on a branch waiting for its own particular brand of ache to arrive.
and these lines, which rest, settle and linger:
Some despairs synchronise their flashing patterns to attract more calculations
Each sorrow has its own particular colour.
The fascinating thing is that sorrows have their own language.
The base text/ information (from several sources David Attenborough, Planet Earth, BBC, National Geographic and Ecowatch.com) is cleverly weaved into this poem.
I listened again to the second feature poem Rage is the thing with wings by Paula Aamli, which also cleverly reimagines the original text and I realise both poets have exchanged concrete for emotion, whereas I chose concrete for a different noun. This does effect the outcome or effectiveness of the prompt and is one I shall maybe revisit.
Again, this poem has a striking opening:
Rage is a real oddity. Rage is nocturnal and solitary.
Rage often leaps from trees And flaps its wings, But at best can only manage A controlled plummet.
and the ending… omph!
Rage has no close relatives.
Grief and anger are the only species With which rage might be confused.
I know a little about the New York School of poets. I listened to today’s reading as I found watching old video footage from the mid-90s a bit of a strain (although I appreciated the jazzy intro music and the work videographer Mitch Corber put in).
I hadn’t read any of Barbara Guest‘s work before and thoroughly enjoyed her reading.
Poets John Ashbery and Barbara Guest recite in New York City in the mid-’90s, captured by videographer/poet Mitch Corber. Ashbery performs in the intimacy of Chelsea bookstore Verso Books, while Guest entertains us at the St. Marks Poetry Project.
I had already enjoyed Amanda Gorman’s reading many times in January, when it was made, but I watched her again.
Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, read an original work at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. After Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president, Gorman read “The Hill We Climb,” building on a tradition of poets — including Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco — who have read for incoming Democratic presidents. Gorman is the youngest of these inaugural poets to offer her verse.
I knew she had read at the Superbowl but hadn’t seen it.
Prompt: Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article/ National Geographic – make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Go back through the text/replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something abstract, like “sadness” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.”
You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.
Before my Dr appointment this morning I enjoyed reading to and listening to poems. Today is a workshop heavy day so I knew I would be short of Napo time (it’s a real thing). So before I was out walking in the sun or had even had a coffee I feasted on words. This is one of the golden things about NaPoWriMo the instant poetry access that becomes almost like extra dreamtime. Haze head mornings full of vision.
So I read the featured poems, read and listened to Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Light Gatherer” and had enough time to watch the amusing introduction to the Ross Gay reading. Ross is a poet whose work I am familiar with, but it passed me by that he is such a prankster. Delightful stories made for one of the best introductions of any reading this month. Brilliant.
Whilst I was in the waiting room I read the Ross Gay biography and re-familiarised myself with his work.
I managed to catch up with this prompt this morning (Day 26). I wrote my poem a day late on the 24th before having the joy of the full reading.
I revisited the featured poems and sat with them for a while. First, Kim M. Russell’s poem Clever Fish. I enjoyed the nod to Day 23 with 23 lines.
silent pops and kisses become nouns, adjectives, verbs that swim between lines of verse,
glittering silver- scaled words whispering
I liked the interconnection to Kim’s chosen line from ‘The Light Gatherer’ by Carol Ann Duffy (from Feminine Gospels): “When language came, it glittered like a river, silver, clever with fish”
In an ink sea, I drift with Gizzi, feeling flummoxed and dizzy – why won’t he rhyme or row in time with me – maybe I should not mind?
…… from your schooner you saw me.
You threw me a life belt named meaning; it had my name on it.
And you sang out – SWIM!
AND I SWAM.
I had the delightful pleasure of watching this reading and enjoying the introduction all over again.
A Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program
Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project.
This program originally occurred on November 7, 2016.
I revisited the prompt, on the 23rd I got as far as a National Geographic animal search. I wrote my new poem on the 24th and my Search engine/homepage was showing Adélie penguins. So I changed my animal.
I invented my exchange line (which was to do with forests), copied a section of text, exchanged the animal name for my line, went back to read for sense and changed the line accordingly, then copied the entire text, cut a lot of original content and rewrote it a couple of times. In the end it is still holds the essence/theme of survival – after all it is animals and plants suffering due to the impact of Global Warming.
Prompt: Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to… write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Featured participants – Kiwi Fruit by Donna M Day was such a moving poem, as small as a kiwi fruit with all the punch of the bite. Deeply touched.
Cowboy on an Off-White Charger by Judy Dykstra-Brown comes from a blog already in my Reader. When I read the task – Prompt words today are dusty boots, monotonous, ambit, speed and queen. The NaPoWriMo prompt today discussed different poetic devices. I decided to try to use metonymy, polysemy, synecdoche and metalepsis in one poem- I’m amazed a poem came out in just 3 short stanzas!
Next I went to look at the reading event and fell down an Eventbrite size rabbit hole, I was gone for some time! I have been to readings with Rebecca Morgan Frank before and would love to make this event but Midnight -2AM (BST) on Sunday night may not be feasible. There are a lot of poets I don’t know reading, which is exciting.
Today’s prompt includes some tried and tested workshop methods, I decided to investigate the poetry examples linked and see which settled with me. After reading the 4 poems and stepping around carefully burrowed rabbit holes* I chose my starting point.
*I set a 10 minute alarm for each search activity – otherwise I would have spent an entire morning chasing threads.
I chose ‘It seems like another life:’ from La Chalupa, the Boat, by Jean Valentine as a springboard to jump off from. I used a notebook to write today (mainly because I crashed the word doc file), but also because it was sunny and I had a coffee and it seemed the garden was calling!
It was the right decision to write off screen* – I am fairly pleased with the first draft outcome, which uses a refrain and plays with punctuation as a tool for changing gears.
‘time was measured in four-hourly frames’
*I used to use notebooks ALL the time and then type up, but I was generating so much writing that there wasn’t time to type it all. Edits were messy to the point of unreadable etc. and I naturally morphed into writing at the desk straight onto the document. Lockdown put an end to that (mainly because the screen was hosting events, but also because I am the proud possessor of 18 years worth of collected too-pretty-to-use notebooks and I thought this was the rainy day (understatement) they had been waiting for…
and book by book, (I spent pleasure time choosing the next one) I wrote notes and scribbled poems and didn’t have to worry about the shops being shut or not being able to afford to buy new paper, I had it all here. So for the past 13 months I have been writing in notebooks, except for NaPo which has been on screen.