Tag Archives: John D. Scott

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 23


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

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


Day Twenty-Three

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

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

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


NaPo Process Notes 



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

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

You collect trout scales
to adorn your skin with rainbows,

and hide your memories
under the sturgeon’s fin.

And a strong ending. A reader-stopping one.

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

pressure urging you to grow gills
and breathe.

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

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

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

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

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


On Writing 


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

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

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