Category Archives: NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 24

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Day Twenty-Four Click here for the full post.

Today, our featured participants are Writing in North Norfolk, where you will find a swift and lyrical poem responding to Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Light Gatherer,” and Graham Parker’s Poetry, where you’ll find a meditative response to the Carl Phillips poem we shared yesterday.

Our featured reading is pre-recorded. It’s a reading by Ross Gay for Kelly Writers’ House.

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.

Happy writing!

© napowrimo.net
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES: Updated

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.

UPDATE:

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”

And Graham Parker’s poem Bouée de sauvetage pêche uses one of the example poems  “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips, as a starting point. I enjoyed spotting the connections.

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.

THE PROMPT

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.

a trace of once grand green.

© National Geographic

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 23

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Day Twenty-Three Click here for the full post.

Featured Participants – Donna M. Day, who brings us a lovely meditation on kiwi fruit, and Judy Dykstra-Brown, who has basically written us a country music song.

Our daily featured reading is a live event scheduled for tomorrow, April 24, at 7 p.m. eastern time. Poets Martha CollinsLaura CronkRebecca Morgan FrankNathan McClainAimee Nezhukumatathil, and Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers will read for the COUPLET Reading Series at New York City’s storied KGB Bar.

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.

Happy writing!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES:

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!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is owl.jpg

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…

Range cute – practical – too pretty

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.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 22

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Day Twenty-Two Click here for the full post.

Our featured participants today are Connect/Hook, with a rollicking and silly response to the “double deed” prompt for Day 21, and My Musings Through Life, which brings us a softer, more haunting response.

Our featured reading is a pre-recorded one, … the poet James Dickey  reading his poems for the Library of Congress back in 1960.

Prompt: comes to us from Poets & Writers’ “The Time is Now” column.

Poets & Writers directs us to an essay by Urvi Kumbhat on the use of mangoes in diasporic literature/ the strength of metonymy in poetry… write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES:

I am loving the fact that Maureen is doubling up the featured participants, extra poems for us! Chado’s poem Martian Ladies: The Lost Lines made me smile. It holds true to the prompt and because of which has great rhythm, flow and story! In the comments we learn it is like/based on an old playground chant;

“… a mzungu rhyme that young children learn in America maybe Canada too.” – Chado

This knowledge brought some lovely recollections skipping into my mind of elastics, playtime games and chants.

Sunita’s poem is a complete contrast, philosophical and lingering. The story of us all.

The James Dickey reading reminds me how much has changed of poetry in the past 60+ years and how much is still similar/ the same – some of the lines are hauntingly beautiful. Other poems are violent in subject matter and hard (but important) to listen to. I enjoyed listening to this slice of history and spent some time reading Dickey’s poetry. Another new-to-me poet (despite being another US Poet Laureate).

It amazes me that he reads for 30 minutes and they ask for more. They don’t make them like they used to! And it sounds like the organisers/presenter was close to tearing up (messing up) the manuscript! The understanding of poets was different back then too!

When I read the prompt I felt my head spin! Looking at the long essay first thing this morning was a little off putting – but I know the P&W website and prompts and knew it would be worth it and also felt it was important to educate myself about this argument.

I read the article on Lithub On the Complexity of Using the Mango as a Symbol in Diasporic Literature – Urvi Kumbhat Maps a Personal Genealogy of the Fruit complete with all the links.

I then looked at the prompt again and went with my first response.

In writing development we are often taught to avoid the initial/automatic responses/ perhaps even the first 4 or 5 ideas… this is to increase originality but here in NaPoLand I always feel the great wall of time is against me and so I jot the other ideas down in the to-go-back-to document and just run with whatever presents… after all we are also told/taught to TRUST!

After much searching and a change of direction I went with the object first and didn’t write what I had intended – another law of writing – when the poem writes itself it is rarely the same as the poem you thought you were going to write.

My subject/object was a Victorian dress.


NaPoWriMo 2021 – 3 Weeks In

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We made it to 3 WEEKS! Give your writing hand a well deserved shake out. You can do this! Just one more week to go.

I am 24 poems in and am keeper of a whole sprawling file ready to sift through in June (perhaps May), I have a few NaPo poems now which are staying in my head (a sign they are keepers). I am inspired. I am happy writing. I am playing and having fun. Don’t even worry about the poetry – just ENJOY it!

Napo gives me that holiday feeling everyday and in a world with restricted air travel and unlikely holidays – such pleasure is pure. I haven’t seen the ocean since 2018, haven’t been out since Dec 2019, haven’t been on holiday since 2018 either but right now I am grateful to still be here, the rest doesn’t seem to matter. Take happiness where you can get it and hold onto it with both hands!

ENJOY your final week of NaPo Writes.

REFLECTION – 3 WEEKS IN

This week another 7 poems have been created, I have discovered new to me poets and their work and watched superb readings.

When the 3rd week started I was still getting over the emotive reading from the night before with Hanif Abdurraqib.

IF I HAD TO PICK THE BEST BITS…

My favourite prompt(s): From Day 20  write a sijo 시조 & Day 18 using contents from Poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge

Most enjoyable day: Day 15 Juan Martinez thinking about the habits inherited from parents and Day 20 – as I learnt a new form.

My valuable resource(s): Day 18 – Poemcrazy – just for the sheer number of options.

Favourite Readings:  Day 16 – The Ted Kooser reading has got to be up there! It was my first meeting with this poet and there was so much to love. And Day 20 – Joy Harjo (although I saw this reading LIVE in March).

I also enjoyed several rabbit holes including exploring the poetry and performance of  Douglas Kearney.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 21

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Day Twenty-One Click here for the full post.

Today’s featured participants: Words with Ruth, where you’ll find a slightly jarring but very wonderfully observed sijo and Smoke Words Every Day, which braids three sijo verses into a single poem.

Our featured daily reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 22, at 7 p.m. eastern. Poet Douglas Kearney giving the Bagley Wright Lecture at New York University.

Prompt: Have you ever heard or read the nursery rhyme, “There was a man of double deed?” It’s quite creepy! A lot of its effectiveness can be traced back to how, after the first couplet, the lines all begin with the same two phrases (either “When the . . .” or “Twas like,”). The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.

Prompt: write a poem that, like this one, uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. Here’s an example I came up with after seeing this video of . . . a bucket of owls.

Bucket List

Several owls can fill a bucket.

Several buckets can fill a wheelbarrow.

Several wheelbarrows can fill a truckbed.

Several truckbeds can fill a song.

Several songs can fill a head.

Several heads can fill a bucket.

Several buckets filled with heads and owls

Sing plaintive verse all night long.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES and a long non-Napo ramble

WE ARE THREE WEEKS IN! Can you believe it? WOW.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

At this point NaPo to me is feels like refreshing lake water after a long trek. I am thoroughly ‘in’, often the first element on the TO DO LIST and this week I have made sure it is not an elongated task that stretches over days as I am busy and I know that would stress me out.

There are prompts/resources/days I plan to come back and revisit, dip back into – I tell myself this every year and post edit the NaPo docs hardly get a click, we’ll see this year.

I was looking something up yesterday and was horrified to discover 2019 was a year that holds only 2 folders. I accumulate over 40 usually! One was the manuscript which hit editing as I hit hospital, the other was a file of proof of all medical forms/notes etc. and the I had one other document file was NaPo – to be honest I don’t even remember doing it in 2019, I certainly never plan to edit on morphine again! My mind was idled from a body on medication and I didn’t make it to the desk until late summer/early Autumn. So who knows if these NaPo writes will see any light after May -probably – I usually submit several – there are quite a few Napo poems on my publication list.

Anyway this year the resources have been fabulous and I definitely plan to look again – perhaps I should copy some into the August Folder to make sure I follow up!

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

I started as always at the top with the featured poems. I really liked the first sijo – it lingered in my mind, echoing long after the read. The twist burns, it is brilliant. Just read it for yourself, masterful. I have added Words With Ruth to my Reader. WOW.

The 2nd featured poem is a string of sijos which explore metaphysics in a circular way. I liked the repeated images. Read it here. There is a lot of deepness explored here and a lot to read into. Capturing vastness and conveying it in such short form is fascinating.

No sooner had I read these poems than I fell down a Douglas Kearney size rabbit hole! Sadly I doubt I can make the event as I am elsewhere, but this is a poet I shall come back to. Incredible work. I have no time for holes today as I’m squeezing Napo in before a hospital appointment.

I had never read this Nursery Rhyme, creepy indeed – as with most nursery rhymes. I liked the idea of this prompt and the direction of Bucket List/ the owl poem. I love how Maureen Thorson is throwing in examples of her own work this year too!

I started with a poem I was not at all pleased with so drafted a 2nd one distilling the essence of the first and not only did it work with the repetition and an end pun but it also became a shape poem (concrete). Happy accident. All about lifting boxes (I started with what repetitive tasks could I think of).

No extract today because nothing makes sense without the other lines around it.

HAVE FUN!

Photo by Tiger Lily on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 20

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Day Twenty Click here for full post.

As of today, we’re two-thirds of the way through Na/GloPoWriMo 2021.

Our featured participants today – First up is Lucky Cat Comics, which brings us a rhymed rant in the voice of a raccoon. Our second featured participant is Experience Writing, where you’ll find a rant not in the voice of an animal, but about an animal — namely, the perch.

Today, our featured reading is a pre-recorded one, a very recent reading given by American poet laureate Joy Harjo for Emory University. Before the reading, there are discussions of Harjo’s work by Craig Womack and Jennifer Foerster. If you’d like to skip these, go to minute 22 of the video.

Prompt: write a sijo. This is a traditional Korean poetic form. Typically, they are 14-16 syllables, and optimally each line will consist of two parts – like two sentences, or a sentence of two clauses divided by a comma. In terms of overall structure, a sijo functions like an abbreviated sonnet, in that the first line sets up an inquiry or discussion, the second line continues the discussion, and the third line resolves it with a “twist” or surprise. For more on the sijo, check out the primer here and a long list of examples in English, here.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES:

I can’t believe we are 2/3 of the way through NaPoWriMo!

I started (as always) with the participants sites, I not only enjoyed the poems today but also the websites.

The Trash Panda's Lament (A Raccoon Sonnet)

is a poem from the point of view of an animal rant, it was amusing and entertaining and perhaps an extra nod to Shakespeare in sonnet form. Some of my favourite lines:

Oh foul vine threading on thy chain link fence.


Tendrils wrapping chain, a viney citadel.

 Those bins, I do sense, are now concealing
 Corn, fish, and berry pie, most appealing.
The Trash Panda's Lament (A Raccoon Sonnet) 

I had a good look around Meg’s site. The 2nd participant cleverly weaves 3 NaPo prompts into one poem. Maria L. Berg certainly manages ranty, a great air of frustration voiced in this poem.

soon swarming the ladder–
leaving a trail of excrement,
flaunting your occupancy

You slimy, slippery, carnivorous
cannibal, 

but that’s another tease
isn’t it? The excitement
of the tug on the line
then your scales are sharp
and cut and you’re so full of
bones, 

I had a good wander around this website too.

I listened to and read some of Jennifer Foerster’s poems and then re-watched the Emory University video.

The observant amongst you will realise there is no link for today’s reading, fear not – I was fortunate enough to attend this event last month (I am a huge fan of Joy Harjo), it was well worth a 2nd watch. Plus another chance to listen to some of Joy’s new album.

And here it is… ENJOY!
Joy Harjo after 27:00

Welcome to the “Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series presents Joy Harjo” on March 20, 2021, hosted by the Rose Library at Emory University.

Harjo became the 23rd poet laureate of the United States in 2019, the first Native American to hold the title, and was recently appointed by the Library of Congress to a rare third term, to begin in September 2021. She is an internationally renowned musician, writer, and citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma.

Emory University was founded in 1836 on the historic lands of the Muscogee (Creek) people, 15 years after the First Treaty of Indian Springs (1821) through which the US government acquired this area of land from the Muscogee Nation. After this treaty, many Muscogee people relocated to Alabama, and were then forcibly removed to present-day Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in 1836.

Harjo’s poetry directly engages these histories of removal, displacement, dispossession, loss, resilience, and resistance.

She is the author of nine books of poetry, among them “An American Sunrise,” “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” “How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems,” and “She Had Some Horses.” She is also the editor of two anthologies, including the recently released “Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry.”

The event was hosted by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library as part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, now in its 16th season. It was sponsored by the Hightower Fund and co-sponsored by the AJC Decatur Book Festival, presented by Emory University; Creative Writing Program at Emory University; Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

PROMPT: The sijo is a new form to me so I followed the links and read up on it first. I enjoy short form poems and particularly Haiku and Tanka so I knew this would be a treat – and it was. I loved the way these forms bend language so you find the right words to fit the syllabic count and it changes how you (would) write completely. My brown land became yellow. I like the puzzle of working out how to keep the essence and lose the words!

I wrote about the place we go for nature walks – which is blemished somewhat with a motorway in the middle of the horizon – which presents itself as the twist in my Sijo.

eyes on soil

I know I shall return to this form in future. Another enjoyable NaPo morning to celebrate reaching 2/3 of the challenge. At 2/3 point I have 23 poems *Twilight music*.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 19

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Day Nineteen Click for full post.

Our featured participant today is Poem Dive, where the chapter title “The Answer Squash,” from Day 19’s prompt, led to a deliriously rollicking trip to the produce aisle.

Today, our reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 20, at 6 p.m. eastern daylight time. It’s a tribute to the work of the poet John Godfrey, hosted by the Dia Art Foundation. Readers at the event will are Erica HuntDuncan McNaughtonMaureen Owen, and Anne Waldman.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a humorous rant. In this poem, you may excoriate to your heart’s content all the things that get on your nerves. Perhaps it’s people who tailgate when driving, or don’t put the caps back on pens after they use them. For inspiration, perhaps you might look to this list of Shakespearean insults. Or, for all of you who grew up on cartoons from the 1980s, perhaps this compendium of Skeletor’s Best Insults might provide some insight.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES:

I thoroughly enjoyed today’s featured poem. It was a fun, entertaining and at times surreal. A great concept – the talking butternut squash and a clever use of fonts (which used to be possible on WP but has been done with images), I read it several times.

These lines shone out to me – they won’t make sense without the rest of the poem, so make sure you read it too!

…. I’m decisive

as tattered chard

O butternut dumbbell

My intellect is a butter knife

Then sage silence.

And you, my anti-Siri,

I spent some time reading up on the event and people involved. I read a selection of poems, I particularly enjoyed Anne Waldman’s work.

Then I moved onto the prompt. I love the parallels which happen all the time in April! I spent time yesterday researching Old English insults – including a handful of Shakespearian ones, littered throughout his plays. And here we are today with a link to this rich resource material.

I feel the opposite of rage and rant this morning – but have plenty of bug bears so sure I can vent my way through today’s prompt.

The Shakespearean insult generator was fun. And He-Man & Skeletor – blast from the past!

And with that all familiar theme tune I set off to write a poem!

First I listed all my narks/pet hates

then I played with the insult generator and listed 5 insults

then I did some free writing in verse form marrying a selection of the two lists together.

I am fairly sure the end result using humour to gut punch the reader at the end.

automated ticket apps have done a lot

for these frothy fool-born flap dragons

who have all day to make the bus late

for those who don’t.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 18

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Day Eighteen Click here for full post.

Our featured participant for the day is The Coffee, The Diesel, The Methamphetamine, which provides us with a haunting, rhyming poem in response to our moon-based prompt for Day 17. It reminds me of this poem by Walter de la Mare!

Today’s featured reading is pre-recorded … the poet Eileen Myles, reading in 2015 at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas.

Prompt – this one comes to us from Stephanie Malley, who challenges us to write a poem based on the title of one of the chapters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. The book’s  table of contents can be viewed using Amazon’s “Look inside” feature. If none of the 60 rather wonderful chapter titles here inspire you, perhaps a chapter title from a favorite book would do?

Happy writing!

© napowrimo.net

PROCESS NOTES:

I read PrimaDonna, the end imagery is strong and better the comment after the poem shows the power of participating in NaPoWriMo.

… she waltzes with the trees.

She rises, falls and drapes her shawl

To filagree the sea.

I read Silver – Walter de la Mare.

Silver fruit upon silver trees;

I read some Eileen Myles poems and watched the featured reading.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Since her start reading poetry at famed New York City music club CBGB’s in 1974, Myles has authored over 20 volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and stage productions. She has been described as poetry’s rock star, “a lesbian culture hero”, and by Holland Cotter in The New York Times, “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant-garde.” Her literature has been reviewed and lauded by numerous publications, including The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and Artforum.

Eileen Myles’ notable and influential writings can be found in the publications “Not Me” (Semiotext(e), 1991), “Chelsea Girls” (Black Sparrow, 1994), “Inferno” (OR Books, 2010), and most recently “Snowflake/different streets” (Wave Books, 2012). Her essay “Street Retreat” was part of the Semiotext(e) installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and her essay “Twice,” written for the catalogue of the 2014 Liverpool Biennial, will be the afterword in I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems 1975-2013, out from Ecco/HarperCollins in fall 2015.

© Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2015.

I enjoyed this touching, humorous and honest reading. I discovered they read in Ireland in January, wish I had known.

My introduction to ‘poetry’s rock star’ was a pleasure. Their introductions were as wondrous as their work. At the time of filming they had just finished a memoir about a dog – Afterglow (A Dog Memoir). Anarchy demonstrated at their hatred for the requested pedestal was an amusing start. I could have pulled lines from the whole reading, but you should watch for yourselves. I liked many parts of the last chapter they read Just Before and Just After:

/Astral dog memoir/purchasing your book at a library sale/ never go anywhere near a performer after the show, not even a week after the show/… not against the kindle// I like a card/ ancient smell of the library//

I had a look around Stephanie Malley’s website and read some of the poems before going off to follow the link to the chapter headings from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words.

I also had a look at Susan’s website – I can’t resist rabbit holes!

Now, with a choice of over 60 titles I thought the next hour would be me and my indecisiveness having a battle of wills, but I read the very 1st chapter heading and that was me done!

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge Published by Three Rivers Press – 1996

Plus the poem cooking in my head* was going to be added to my amusing cannon (I partially blame my morning with Eileen Myles).

*You can not rely on the oven temperature or mix of ingredients, poems are a law unto themselves and will often turn out how they want to!

By the time I finished today’s poem I also had an idea about what I would like to do with it too, a NaPo BONUS! And I even managed to shoehorn the term ‘poemcrazy‘ in there too! It is one of the longest poems I have penned for NaPo this year, but it did contain some short lines. Definitely one I will go back to.

Here’s an extract:

Unaccustomed to hecklers, other than the odd dog bark,

the poets were wrong-footed for a moment,

I am happy to say my poem pretty much behaved itself and came out along the lines of what I intended – which was just an idea that flashed quickly into my head when I chose the title (and I know we are supposed to discard our first and often unoriginal ideas) but I went with mine. I did gather some Old English insults which are wonderful in themselves and so the Outlaw character very much grew during the writing process, I can visualise him clearly!

Today was a very enjoyable NaPo prompt.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 17

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Day Seventeen Click here for the full post.

Today, our featured participant is A Writer Without Words, who wrote a tale of rodential woe in response to our Skeltonic verse prompt for Day 16.

Our reading for the day is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 18, at 4 p.m. eastern daylight time. The reading will feature poets whose books have recently been published by the press Lavender Ink/Diálogos, one of the founding organizers of the New Orleans Poetry Festival.

Prompt – I’ve seen some fairly funny twitter conversations lately among poets who are coming to terms with the fact that they keep writing poems about the moon. For better or worse, the moon seems to exert a powerful hold on poets, as this large collection of moon-themed poems suggests. Today, I’d like to challenge you to stop fighting the moon. Lean in. Accept the moon… write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon.

Happy writing!

© NaPoWriMo

PROCESS NOTES:

Today (as with most of April) was a busy one, so much so I almost forgot about NaPo! Candace Shultz’s Skeltonic There’s a Mouse Inside My House made me smile, it had a drastic ending! Shultz also makes narrative sense, which is the biggest challenge/ accomplishment of this form.

The reading will be 8PM and I am already attending a festival event, I may be able to catch up by watching it through Facebook though. I was aware of the New Orleans poetry festival from the beginning of NaPo – there are many festivals happening at the moment and spending time at them all is impossible.

I have only written poems specifically about the moon a few times at the beginning of my writing career – it is something I love but rarely write, so was looking forward to diving into the prompt today. I feel a new obsession rising!

The large collection of moon themed poems article is a lot of text to get through, a great many references and some interesting quotations and information. If you have time I recommend you reading it all. Some of the poets cited were known to me and others, not so much. I clicked through all of the hyperlinks in the article anyway.

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

A poem that is about or involves the moon (my 3rd or 4th ever moon poem was about to happen)!

I took an ekphrastic approach, starting with a look at the Moon, free wrote around the images and then worked on the bank of words and phrases I was left with. I felt great urgency to create a concrete (shape) poem from my words.

I really enjoyed writing today’s poem and am happy with the initial result, a sort of breathless praise to the moon, deeper than anything I have written which has been moon based before. I felt I was writing to the moon/ for the moon.

Here’s a short extract:

I had never considered your evolution,

always thought you

unchanged.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 16

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Day Sixteen Click for full post

Today’s featured participant is Kyle M. Bondo, who penned an ode to his inherited inability to send back poorly-made restaurant food in response to our prompt for Day 15.

Our featured reading for the day is another pre-recorded one … a 2008 reading by the poet Ted Kooser, who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection, Delights and Shadows.

Prompt: … rather silly form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. In this form, there’s no specific number of syllables per line, but each line should be short, and should aim to have two or three stressed syllables. And the lines should rhyme. You just rhyme the same sound until you get tired of it, and then move on to another sound. Here’s a short example I came up with.

                             A toad beneath a log

                             Cares not for storm or fog.

                             He’s not a bee or frog

                             Or a naïve polliwog.

                             No! He’s wise and bumpy.

                             His skin is thick and lumpy.

                             He doesn’t work for money.

                             And his disposition’s sunny.

Happy writing!         

       © napowrimo.net

PROCESS NOTES:

I liked the concept/habit of Kyle’s poem – it is one many of us struggle with and also made me consider non-physical habits my parents had that I may have picked up (which is not a route I had imagined).

She would either eat around the problem,

I would love to have to courage to refuse it,
But I’m a son enslaved by my mother’s habit.

Thanks to an earlier NaPo reading (Donald Hall), I knew who Ted Kooser was. Relieved it is a pre-recorded event as the weekend diary is packed with online events, I watched the 2005 reading.

University of California Television (UCTV)


U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-2006) Ted Kooser is a major poetic voice for rural and small town America and the award-winning author of ten collections of poetry, most recently 2004’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Delights and Shadows. Nebraskan Kooser often draws from his native Great Plains and his poems are acclaimed for their simple, straightforward style. Kooser reads from his poetry before a standing-room only audience in Campbell Hall at UC Santa Barbara. [8/2005] [Humanities] [Arts and Music]

Loved Ted’s Hobbit story, the letters from children comments made me smile. Ted’s humility is clear and it was an entertaining intro. Many of his poems carry his humour. A wonderfully engaging reading and a great meeting of this poet. Student was brilliant. Splitting an Order – his valentine poem (and the 700 women on his list)… other times incredible powerful At the Cancer Clinic. This reading brought me joy!

I enjoyed reading about Ted and read some of the poems collected on the Poetry Foundation website too. I will definitely read more of Ted’s work, watch more videos of his readings.

I have written a Skeltonic poem before (for a previous NaPo), despite the form veering towards comic content I wrote about this Lockdown 13 months on and my practise year of the isolation part. Obviously it is a serious subject, I haven’t written a humorous poem. I don’t enjoy writing in this form so I doubt it will be reworked, but a few lines might find there way into something else. Here are the end-lines:

kept themselves safe and clean

coated in Polytetrafluoroethylene.