Tag Archives: Carrie Etter

NaPoWriMo Day 30 – The End

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NaPoWriMo Day 30 – The End

This was my 4th year participating in Napo and I have to say the most enjoyable yet and the most committed to using prompts from several sources.

Yesterday I spent most of the day rehearsing and performing at Stourbridge Literature Festival and was out for about 8 hours, before I left, I wrote my final prompt poem from Carrie Etter’s group. I had plans for writing and submission when I got home, but then had an impromptu night with neighbours and didn’t write this last Naponet prompt poem until this morning.

Yesterday I read the prompt and started listing things that repeat.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Well, everyone, we all knew it was coming . . . today is the thirtieth of April, and the final day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2017. I hope all of you had fun, and that if you didn’t get 30 poems, you got at least a few!

As is usual, I’ll be back tomorrow with our final featured participant. I’ll also keep the participants’ list up and live until we start to get the site ready for next year, when we’ll go “dark” for a bit of annual housekeeping. And of course, all this year’s posts and comments will remain as a permanent part of our archives.

Our featured participant for the day is Words from a Lydian World, where the favorite-word poem for Day 29 has the lyrical sense of a song, and the mysterious feeling of a fairy tale.

Today’s interview is with Cathy Park Hong, whose pop-culture-filled verse explores language, genre and place, wheeling between the American west and the tech-industrial boomtowns of Asia. You can read more about here, and you will find two of her poems here, and another here.

And finally, our final prompt – at least until next year! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story at Thanksgiving every single year. It could be the swallows returning to Capistrano or how, without fail, you will lock your keys in the car whenever you go to the beach.

Happy writing!

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In the end, this morning I took a scientific route involved atoms, crystallised theory and polysomnography. I spent some time taking notes before settling on the idea of writing about the sleep cycle.

I am perfectly happy with the final result of my last NaPo poem – although I am tempted to write just one more – as it will make 100 poems for April!

Body immobile,

you know nothing of this

or your pillow.

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Carrie Etter’s final prompt was to use a song you loved as a teenager and describe the scene of listening, allowing the reader to discern how the song made you feel.

This is not a poem that enthrals me, but when researching I did happen upon other tracks which hold significant memory so it is a task I may return to.

I’d sing this one

upside down

gymnastically hanging off

my friend’s huge climbing frame…


Jo Bell finalised NaPoReMo with an ancient 4 line gem.

I wanted something that would take us back to the essence of poetry. I wanted a poem that would remind us why we write, how simple it can be at base – and how reading well helps us to write well, which has been the whole point of these blogs. So instead of Auden’s magnificent, multi-layered reflective poem (which I urge you to read anyway), I offer you this ancient gem. – Jo Bell

Go find it for yourselves here http://www.jobell.org.uk/


The Poetry School PS Napo finished with Julia Bird and the Cover Letter.

Good Morning! We made it to the end of the month! At PSHQ we’ve been overwhelmed with the response to NaPoWriMo – the numbers of you taking part, the commitment of your participation, the quality of your poems. Thank you very much for joining in, and we hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves.

The prompt was from Ali Lewis.
#NaPoWriMoPrompts

Day 30: The Cover Letter

An unusual form, and one that a lot of poets get wrong. This is a type of prose poem, which obeys the following conventions:

It always starts with the words “Dear [name of a literary editor]”. This should be followed by a stanza break.

Much like a ghazal, the Cover Letter always ends with a name, usually the poet’s own.

The middle-section, which is written in long, enjambed prose lines, explains the poet’s fervent desire to be published by the addressee and often lists said poets prior achievements and publications.

The Cover Letter should be placed at the head of a sequence with 1-6 more conventional poems by the same author.


Let us know how NaPoWriMo was for you.

NaPoWriMo – Day 29 – The Penultimate Day

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Well we have nearly made it! 1 more day to go…

Day Twenty-Nine

On April 29, 2017

Hello, everyone! It’s the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant for the day is orangepeel, where the Skeltonic verse for Day 28 celebrates (sort of) the experience of being sprayed by a skunk!

Today’s interview is with another poet/publisher, Sarah Gorham, the editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books. This interview explores her dual role as writer of her own work and the promoter of others’ poetry. You can learn more about Gorham here and read some of her poetry here and here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

Happy writing!

I really enjoyed this prompt as it gave me time to indulge in my poetry bookcase before choosing my starter poem – Mansion Polish by Maurice Riordan (who I was lucky to meet back in 2013, after 4 weeks in my poetry skin).

I followed the prompt and my concrete noun was horseshoe. After free writing I settled to the making of a poem. Not happy with my first two attempts, I cracked it on the 3rd. They are all relatively short poems. I have currently written 94 NaPo poems! I took one to Stanza last night and it was approved, so there is some hope for a small % of them.

the brass one her mother hung over the fireplace

is now a dead tissue memory, wrapped carefully

in brown paper.


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about an object belonging to a parent, the focus was on what it means to you. I was happy with the overall result although it still needs a little work.

I could read stories, but not between the lines.

… I outgrew my own, this hand

was never for giving.


Jo Bell posted This by Maitreyabandhu

This neat poem describes a single moment of paying attention.

…. Give yourself permission to read critically, and if a poem you enjoy seems to have a hairline crack in it, take Maitreyabandhu’s mindful approach – notice it, but don’t let it spoil your enjoyment of the poem as a whole. The poems we learn from, like the people that we learn from, can be imperfect. – Jo Bell

I shall miss Jo’s daily reads and discussions much more than writing daily poems.

Thanks for the great effort, Jo. jo bell

http://www.jobell.org.uk/


The Poetry School  58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullseem to have gone AWOL – they are in, but seem to have hidden the prompt. Thanks to Jackie Biggs, I found it on an attachment.

Day 29: The Self-Cento

Good morning on this penultimate NaPoWriMo day! Today, we’re asking you to reuse, recycle and rehash with a cento.

A cento is a poem made up entirely of lines from other poets’ poems. Our version differs in only one way. We’d like a 28 line cento, but it should use lines from your own poems written during NaPoWriMo. Not managed 28 poems so far? No matter. Write a shorter poem, or use multiple lines from the same poem, or use lines from your pre-existing poems. The important thing is it’s your own voice you’re remixing and restyling. You’re allowed to make minor tweaks to the lines to make them fit, so don’t worry about changing tenses, adjusting grammar, or rephrasing slightly, but don’t add words.

There are lots of excellent centos out there, but we’re going to go for a classic: John Ashbery’s ‘The Dong with the Luminous Nose’: http://www.english.txstate.edu/cohen_p/poetry/Ashbery.html

NaPoWriMo – Day 28 – Real Time

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What wonder I feel when I have time to participate in real time. Today is a writing day and I have just immersed myself in the prompt in the way it should be done. I cannot believe we have just 3 days of the challenge left! I am happy that they are days where I have time chiselled out to make a proper job of it. I am utterly amazed at some of the poetry I have read on participant’s sites.

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is little learner, whose poem for Day 27 is all about an acquired taste!

Our interview for the day is with Kazim Ali, co-founder of Nightboat Books and author of three books of poetry. The interview we’re featuring was done when his first book, The Far Mosque was published, and provides a good look at what it is like to have a book finally out in the world. You can read more about Ali here, and read some of his work here.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:

Dipodic What?

Dipodic Verse
will be Terse.
Stress used just twice
to keep it nice,
short or long
a lilting song
or sounding gong
that won’t go wrong
if you adhere
to the rule here,
Now is that clear
My dear?

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I urge you to look at the explainer site as it is a straightforward definition, not that this form is particularly hard to master.

My initial reaction was ‘oh no, rhyme’ – and endless repetition of one word didn’t conjure hope. Actually it almost wrote itself, without a rhyming scheme to adhere to it is freeing creating the end rhyme. Less constrictive.

I managed a poem and one that I think I will be performing. I am not sure there are many editors who publish this style (from the 15th Century), then again I am not that confident my NaPo poems will be submitted anywhere. The term ‘NaPo rejection’ is already frequenting social media. I have the perfect place in mind for this poem and will be performing it soon.

I had the form but not the motive – so I borrowed from Carrie Etter’s prompt for today – writing about something/action you dislike and much as this sounds daft I really HATE waking up, getting up, getting dressed and the internal monologue this daily ritual allows.

Skeltonic verse is supposed to be funny and full of energy (created by the tumbling rhyme and speed it can be read), I think on this front – I may have succeeded!


Carrie Etter encouraged us write an anti-ode, thank goodness I did all that form revision! Use vivid, concrete details to make your dislike palpable without saying it.

Having already used my subject for the NaPo poem, I had to go back to the drawing board – but fortunately being a little Eeyore there are lots of something you don’t like or an action you don’t like to do in my world!

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I have a real issue struggling with envy, I thought I would write a comical anti-ode about that. I wrote in two different forms, the message was the same.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ Pulse by James McGonigal

The discussion that follows this 8 line poem is full of pondering thoughts and sound advice, telling not showing and an intensive look at the language of the poem.

A title can prime a reader so they know what to expect, or give them a jigsaw piece which only fits in when they’ve completed the rest of the reading…

The title launches you into the poem but when you arrive at the last line, it often sends you back to the title, which now has some extra meaning. I can’t say it often enough – the title is a part of the poem, and must be active within it. It isn’t just an aid to filing.

Glyn Maxwell says in On Poetry, ‘Poets – your brain’s in your body’

and there’s no better motto for us. Always, always come back to the five senses.  They are always the best way to make the reader share the writer’s lived experience. Even the metaphysical needs the physical. – Jo Bell.


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School

Day 28. Haiku Day

Morning poets. Today I’d like you write a haiku. Don’t bother with counting syllables – it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the juxtaposition of two ideas or images, separated by a ‘cutting word’ (“kireji”). You may also wish to include a seasonal reference (“kigo”), to write in three short lines, and to focus on nature, but none of these are as important as the contrast between two ideas. In the below examples, I have marked the two contrasting sections in bold and italics, while the seasonal reference is underlined. The Haiku Foundation has an excellent guide on writing Haiku in English, which dispels many myths. However you go about this, try to avoid any unnecessary words or repetition. Instead of “It was a hot summer’s day” try “A summer day” or better just “Summer:”.

After an Affair

Just friends:
he watches my gauze dress
blowing on the line.

Rain Dance

Millions
of tiny Royals
dance beneath the surface,
their glass crowns erupting from the 
puddle


 

NaPoWriMo – Day 27

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napofeature2017-2This morning I was awake early, so I checked out today’s prompts, wrote lists of tastes and imagined some music. I thought I would post this in a timely manner (sometime on the 27th) but Mr G. and I were out and I crashed out as soon as we got in, so even though I had it ready, I am posting a few hours late!

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant today is A Thing For Words, where the archaeology poem for Day 26 imagines future scientists stumbling over the remains of a man without apologies.

Today’s interview is with the poet Sharon Olds, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Stag’s Leap, the definitive sick burn on an ex-husband (Warning to husbands: if you divorce Sharon Olds, she will write a book about it that wins the Pulitzer Prize, and everyone will know). Of course, that’s not all she’s written, but I’ll have to say that book is bracing, to say the least. You can learn more about Olds’ work here, and you can find some of her poems here, here, and many more here.

And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt! Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste! This could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.

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I was interested in reading another take on Day 25 poetry and having recently purchased Stag’s Leap (following a conversation with poets about the book), I was happy to see today’s reading.

I wrote a list of tastes.

The poem itself was alright, based on short form structure. My initial editing response is I need to put more taste in it and less story. I enjoyed writing with the food in my mouth, tasting my words.

… saccharine fruit honeyed on my insides…


Carrie Etter suggested writing a poem in response to a song. This is something I do from time to time. It is a useful free-writing experience, often used in schools.

I have read comments from other poets who have already approached this prompt. I am currently thinking track choice, but also like the idea of a random piece.

I discovered a website http://top10songs.com/ where you can chronologically search Top 10s from different years. I knew where I was going for this one. I also want to revisit this idea and write differently. I listened to all sorts of soundbites, music I had completely forgotten. In teenage years music carried me through extremely hard patches and I know the transformative power of music, how you are transported back to that time.

The track was Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved.

Lyrics stick to the back of my tongue,

break my smile.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ gave us God’s Justice by Anne Carson to read.

A good poem, like a good painting, will affect you emotionally before you understand how it does so. – Jo Bell


The Poetry School 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullAndrew Parkes gives us

Day 27: The Elements

Fire. Water. Earth. Fermium. Platinum.

Your poem today should contain one or more of the elements, classical or scientific. This excellent dynamic periodic table will be very useful. The title of your poem should be your chosen element(s). Try to steer clear of gold and ‘the element of surprise’ because they’ve both been done to death, and go for one of the more interesting ones. Research is your friend.

Your example poem is ‘The Manhattan Project’ by Spencer Reece on the element ‘Uranium’.

NaPoWriMo – Day 26 – On Target

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Look at this miracle, Day 26 ON Day 26 – cue flying pig!

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is fresh poetry, where the “poetics of space” prompt for Day 25 takes back in time to a very particular classroom, while also launching us out onto the sea.

Our interview for the day is another two-fer – the poet Melissa Range interviewed by the poet Stephen Burt about her book, Scriptorium, sonnets, and incorporating colloquialisms and slang into poetry. You can learn more about interview-er and interview-ee here and here. And you can read three of Range’s poems here, and at this link, you’ll find a lyrical essay by Burt.

And now for our (optional) prompt! Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

napo2017button1I had great fun with this prompt and went with my initial object that was on my desk as I read the prompt. It got a bit sticky when thinking about futurisms and how much of our language would have been used and when I have more time I would like to invent a half language and translate.

Writing this poem sparked a few new ideas and I have made some science based notes on the sun and the moon too. More to play with later… looks like I may need to take next year off.

The Sea of Showers looks brown,

this leads some of the Scientists to predict

our archaeological response wrong.


Carrie Etter offers – in a place where you have lived before (or where you live now), list some specific names of the flora and fauna of that environment:

the names of one or two birds;

other animals;

one or two kinds of trees, plants and wildflowers.

Next she asked us to imagine ourselves as a character in this environment, one with a specific worry. Give a strong impression of place through intermingling the concerns with details of the environment.

Poetry that uses senses and a sense of place.

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I have lived in so many places, but for the ease/speed of writing several poems in a day, I chose my current abode. My Great Aunty has always wowed me with her ability to name every tree, plant and bird, this gift/talent/knowledge is not something I possess, so I knew there would be some research before I could launch into poetry.

The list was fairly easy to compile – but at the start of the poem, I very much felt it like a writing exercise, a slightly forced one at that. I relaxed into it and halfway through the tone became more natural and the words started to flow. I have a poem I can work with now and a future idea for more.

you can never be sure when rain will come.


Jo Bell offered tonight by Charles Bukowski

http://www.jobell.org.uk/

A great discussion on Bukowski, King, expressing the truth and down to earth wit.


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Day 26: Acrostics

We’d like to see your acrostic poems, ones where the first (or last – or first and last) letters of each line spell out a word.

A lot of people think acrostics are childish, but they needn’t be. Kathleen Ossip’s sequence of acrostic elegies elevates the form to art.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/56631

NaPoWriMo – Back On Track – Day 25

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Day 25

http://www.napowrimo.net/

This prompt enabled me to write a corker and I am delighted. I know that writing several poems a day for a month means that they won’t all make target, I can safely say they are all poems – but whether they are good poems or not (well I wouldn’t want to tell them – but even after editing next month some will be notebook bound forever), others like today’s may grow wings and fly.

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Our featured participant today is Tea Parties on Neptune, where the medieval marginalia poem for Day 24 involves some peculiar rabbits!

Our interview today is with Douglas Kearney, whose poetry often involves very visual, altered typography as well as onomatopoeia – poems meant to be seen and heard out loud. You can learn more about Kearney here, and read some of his work here and here.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

I wrote about a print Mr G. bought me as a Valentine’s gift, my small specific place the poster tube that still houses it two months later. I am searching for the perfect frame!


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about a pet and show how the behaviour influences you, without naming the pet, leaving it to description to identify the subject. I have had pets – but we are currently pet-less, I wrote about a neighbouring creature instead.

Soaking up puddles of sun,

one stroke and your skin is raked.


Jo Bell encouraged us to read Why We Need Libraries by Ian McMillan. http://www.jobell.org.uk/ books-1204029_1280 

I moved around a lot and have always found my home in Libraries.


The Poetry School PS Napo offered

Day 25: It All Ends The Same Anyway

A fun task for today. I’d like you to write a poem in which every line ends with the same word. That’s it. It lends itself to comedy, but if you can make a tragic poem out of the prompt, I’d be dead impressed.

Paul Stephenson’s ‘The Apprentice’ is your example poem.

Paul’s pamphlet ‘The Days That Followed Paris’ was one of the Poetry School’s ‘Books of the Year’, published on our blog. You do read our blog, don’t you?

NaPoWriMo – The BIG Catch Up – Day 24

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Day 24 http://www.napowrimo.net/

Welcome back, everyone, for the twenty-fourth day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant for the day is The Mother of Adam, where you will find not one, not two, but eleven double elevenie poems for Day 23!

Today’s interview is another two-fer, with the poet Rachel McKibbens being interviewed by the poet Jennifer L. Knox. Both McKibbens and Knox have ties to the “slam” poetry movement, which focuses on performance. McKibbens is known for her work’s direct, fierce, emotional address, while Knox’s poems often exhibit a gonzo humor that can suddenly give way to deep pathos. You can read several of McKibbens’ poems here, and examples of Knox’s work here.

Last but not least, our (optional) daily prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!

I love Ekphrastic poetry and I fell in love with the Monk’s Marginalia. I saved several images to my phone as I want to delve deeper into this prompt at a later stage. I thoroughly enjoyed my writing experience on Day 24. I love the idea that Monks could imagine such images and like early Banksy, left them on copied manuscripts. Part of me thinks all the search engine images must be faked.

I choose the image which had the most impact. A creature morphed from at least 8 animals that I could see. My way in was just to write lines of narrative describing what I could see, this enabled me to get inside the mind of the beast and write my poem as he.

The marginalia dream of escape, trapped by words.

Nutmeg eye, laboured with anguish, magnifies sin.


Carrie Etter’s prompt suggested we look at a poem that does not work, choose a favourite line as a starting point and write a new poem.

Well I have plenty of Napo poems that haven’t quite worked, so didn’t have far to look.

I took ‘Word wise and letter loving…’ and penned a new poem around it.

Bake until our ideas glaze.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ posted Warning by Malika Booker.


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  • Day 24: The Single-Use Poem

    Morning poets. Welcome to the home stretch! Just one more week to go…

    What is a single-use poem? Well, it’s one that breaks after the first time you read it. What falls into that category? Twist Endings. Riddles. Jokes. Sudden revelations. Anything that relies on surprise for its effect. I want you to write a poem that will make people say, ‘You have to read this. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!’.

    For inspiration, have a look at Matthew Francis’ ‘The Ornamental Hermit’. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!

    It’s hard to find a decent copy online, but Michael Donaghy’s ‘Riddle’ is also a good example.

NaPoWriMo – The BIG Catch Up – Day 23

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DAY 23

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Wow! It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this for 23 whole days already. I hope you each have nearly 2 dozen poems under your belt. And if not, that’s okay too! Whether you try to catch up, or just jump back into writing now, either way works for us!

Today’s featured participant is Marilyn Rauch Cavicchia, whose georgic poem for Day 22 explains to us how (not) to grow a cabbage!

For our interview today, we’re “kicking it old school,” with T.S. Eliot being interviewed by Donald Hall. Not entirely sure who these two are? (Maybe you went into a defensive faint when asked to read “The Waste Land” in high school?) Well, here’s a little information on Eliot and Hall. You can also check out a number of Eliot’s poems (including some blessedly short ones) here, and some of Hall’s poems here.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above.

A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all. It might be fun to try to write your double elevenie based on two nouns that are opposites, like sun and moon, or mountain and sea.

I had to study The Waste Land at A-level and remember enjoying it immensely. Just as I enjoyed discovering how to write an elevenie and writing several. I wrote three and this is a form I will return to.

They are so short and each line needs the preceding one, so I do not feel I can share any of the lines without the rest of the poem. I wrote one on sky and then followed the Double Elevenie idea of combining Mountain/Sea as opposites.


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write something unpleasant that happened to you as a child in third person, showing how the child feels. I, like many others wrote about a wasp sting.

She learnt hard lessons that summer:

not to leave sticky lollies to heat,

the sugary fascination of striped creatures

and how best to avoid airborne predators.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ posted Rhetorical Questions by Hugo Williams.


The Poetry School PS Napo set an incredibly challenging task. I believe it is the act of writing that helps create my writing. I do know a few incredibly talented/renowned poets who work in this head first way.

Day 23 It’s All In Your Head

Poetry is supposed to be i) read aloud and ii) memorable. Bearing that in mind, I’d like you to explore a compositional process that forces you to actually speak the words you’re crafting and make sure they stick in your head.

So, for today’s task, I’d like you to not put pen to paper. Compose in your head, or aloud – nowhere near a pen, pencil or computer. Smart phones are particularly toxic for this exercise – if you can go out without yours, do so. I suggest you go for a walk, take a long bath, sit in the library, garden or park – or just let your mind wander over the hoovering.

Don’t set pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, until the poem is perfect and whole in your head. It’ll be indescribably tempting to rush to a notepad as soon as you get a good line in your head – resist this urge!


 

 

NaPoWriMo – The BIG Catch Up – Day 22

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I think Day 22 was one of the most enjoyable writing I have experienced this year. As a vegetable lover and ex-allotment owner with a green-fingered (I would go as far as Green -God), Mr G. – how could I resist the material from today.

napo2017button1 http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant today is Arash’s Poetry, where the overheard poem for Day 21 is a wonderful rendering of speech in a busy cafe.

Our interview today is with Kyle Dargan. Originally from New Jersey, Dargan now lives in Washington, DC, where he directs the creative writing program at American University. He is the author of four books of poetry that explore the intersection of the personal and the political, with a twist of science fiction. You can learn more about Dargan and find some of his poems here, and find an additional poem here.

Last but not least, here is our prompt for the day (optional, as always). In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.

Well, I had never heard of the form before, so with my research head still on my shoulders I delved into discovering the Georgic. After this some Agricultural research which was scribbled all over my notebook and finally a list of the most grown crops internationally. It was good to see some of our allotment fodder on our list – and there went my muse again, setting off fireworks. There is still a mountain of untapped ideas waiting for exploration over the summer.

I eventually calmed down enough to pen a poem, back in the notebook after several days at the keys. I wrote two short poems and a longer Georgic about growing tomatoes (the 8th most valuable crop in the world).

Accept that neighbours will pinch the odd one or two,

eat a healthy quota when hanging out the washing,

Sample a few whilst watering the garden.

And YES, I know tomato is a fruit, a berry in fact.


Carrie Etter’s prompt for Day 22 was also vegetable related…

Write an ode to your favourite vegetable. For inspiration, here’s Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Artichoke”: http://www.versedaily.org/2013/odetotheartichoke.shtml

the cabbage

devoted itself

to trying on skirts,

….

who fearlessly

picks out

an artichoke,

looking at it, examining it

against the light as if it were an egg.

From Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Artichoke”

Having just come up for air after my agricultural research, I had a million (well, 5 or 6) ideas from this prompt as well. I also had fun (yes, I said – FUN) revising the Ode. The Pindaric, Horatian and Meditation Odes.

In the end I swung vegetable odes for a Fruit ode and wrote about my favourite to plant and eat, strawberries.

….we reaped you fast, gobbled you up, greedily.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ encouraged us to read… if any poet can, it would be Kei Miller – go and read him if you haven’t!

When Considering the Long, Long Journey of 28,000 Rubber Ducks by Kei Miller

I remember this story being news. Jo’s discussion is filled with consideration. Treat yourself.


The Poetry School offered a prompt from Julia Bird. The Golden Shovel – featured in past Napowrimo and a firm favourite amongst the poets in Carrie Etter’s NaPo Prompt group. I have written several already this month. 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfull

Day 22 The Golden Shovel

A modern form, which has really taken off since it was invented by Terrance Hayes. Take a line from a poem you admire, then use each word in that line as the end word in your own line, keeping them in order. If all goes well, you should be able to read the original poem down the right hand margin of your poem.

Remember Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem ‘We Real Cool’ from a few prompts ago? Well, read down the right margin of Terrance Hayes’ ‘The Golden Shovel’, after which the form was named.

(Hayes’ poem uses all of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem and does so twice but you only need to use one line, and to do it once!)

https://poetryschool.com/courses/masterclass-patricia-smith-malika-booker/

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/55678

NaPoWriMo – The BIG Catch Up – Day 21

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As I have said – I managed to keep up to date with writing poetry for the NaPoWriMo challenge, but the blog posts have lacked due to generally being extremely busy over the past week.

I am back at work now and my schedule is all about attempting balance. I have events booked for the next 5 days though, so I am trying to catch up with blogposts this evening.

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I can tell you where I went… researchland – and I got stuck there for almost an entire day.

The reason… I started with Carrie Etter’s prompt today and not napowrimo.net. Carrie’s 21st prompt required finding a photo/image online of the place you live, fifty years ago. At first I thought that was ages ago, then I keyed into how old I am and that these images wouldn’t be that historical.

I started my mammoth search and from the hunger of image came video exploration and a whole new obsession about our town twinning and the expeditions of local swimming clubs, then to the German town we are twinned with – as it was then and is now – then back to a Local Historian Society, more images… some quick scribbles, fleeting muse and then the seed of a huge, enormous post-Napo idea.

A visit to the reference section of the library, more notes… scaffold poems… more ideas. Once home some forgotten memories of my own and a local search in pursuit of an image of a building, long since demolished.

Another seedling idea.

This took me to a site where people film in derelict places and another local story. Needless to say it was late when I started my poem, I chose an earlier image I had collected before all my ideas started to explode like firecrackers.

The idea of Carrie’s prompt was to write as if you were there now. The photograph was a family picnic, in the background a special building central to our town (which is a lot older than I imagined)… the town not the significant building.

I picked my narrative from the youngest child (I am a middle child). It was nice to wear the baby shoes!

As with Day 20, I wrote straight onto the laptop and messed with the form of the poem with ease.

Dad’s car, our windbreaker,

I licked my fingers

as an hors d’oeuvre to chicken legs


napo2017button2 http://www.napowrimo.net/

Our featured participant for the day is rhymeswithbug, where the sports poem for Day 20 imagines poetry as a game of golf!

Today’s interview is with Eileen Myles, a longtime New Yorker and erstwhile presidential candidate, whose poems exhibit a direct, punk sensibility. You can read more about Myles in this brief New York Times profile, and you can find a number of her poems here.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. It could be something you’ve heard on the radio, or a phrase you remember from your childhood, even something you overheard a co-worker say in the break room! Use the overheard speech as a springboard from which to launch your poem. Your poem could comment directly on the overheard phrase or simply use it as illustration or tone-setting material.

I have a carry about notebook filled with overheard speech, but decided to listen out for something fresh. This meant that my poem was written after the 21st day (but as I am following 2 prompts and producing more than 60 poems, I can forgive myself). It was worth the wait. Overheard siblings.

I wrote two Haikus.

… meanness, fault shifted.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ encouraged us to read And by Alison Brackenbury. I have met Alison several times, but this poem was a new read for me.


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School offered writing in the style of someone else.

Day 21: In the Style of…

Morning poets! Today I’d like you to write in the style of another poet. Study their subject matter, the way they phrase things, the way they break lines, their vocabulary, their world view. Try not to do this from memory, but to actually read your chosen poet.

Do not say whose style you are writing in because I would like you to try to guess each other’s. Because they have such distinctive and easy to guess styles the following poets are banned: Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, Sharon Olds. Contemporary poets preferred please!

As an example, I have quickly written the following in the style of a contemporary American poet. Can you guess who?

Ringers

Leaving our beds

in the thick dark

and walking

to the light switch

on the wall

we have to just step

out and trust

there’ll be a floor

beneath us

as bell ringers

pull their ropes hard

before they’ve heard

the note before

the note before.


Feel free to solve this in the comments below.

Happy writing NaPo-ers!