Calm, cool & collected – exactly how you should be if you are several days late starting NaPo or behind already. Let’s breathe!
Our featured participant today is this and other poems, where the poem for Day One evokes mystery, sadness, and danger.
Today we are presenting you with a new craft resource, an essay by Katie Rensch on the poetic “I” – you know, that mysterious self who sometimes speaks in your poems. Rensch discusses how the use of the first-person voice affects a poem, and how the poet can draw the reader in or push them away by the selection of a voice, and how even within the first-person voice, both the identity and complexity of voice can change.
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Taking a cue from our craft resource, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that plays with voice. For example, you might try writing a stanza that recounts something in the first-person, followed by a stanza recounting the same incident in the second-person, followed by a stanza that treats the incident from a third-person point of view. Or you might try a poem in the form of a dialogue, which necessarily has two “I” speakers, addressing two “you”s. Another way to go is to take an existing poem of yours or someone else’s, and try rewriting it in a different voice. The point is just to play with who is speaking to who and how.
I read the article with great interest as there are currently workshops about this very issue of overcoming the I or how to write the I of poetry. I started thinking about dialogues and prompts for conversation. I have written at least one overheard/imagined dialogue poem before. I took myself away from the screen and it was whilst I was doing something else that Muse struck me, glad to her back after my slog of writing for Day 1 Napo.
I wrote a deeply personal memory of visiting a relative in a home. It has undergone a few editing treatments and I plan to take it to an editing circle this weekend. It has legs as they say. I think it may become something, although it already is… it is the saddest Christmas poem I have ever written.
Just a line –
She is miles away from us now, North of the town of Whoville.
The Poetry School Day 2
Day 2: An Apology For a Poem
Today’s task is to write an apology poem — one which either says sorry for something your speaker has done, or includes an apology in some other way.
There are plenty of good examples, most famously perhaps Robert Burns’ ‘To a Mouse’, but I’ve chosen the much-anthologised ‘Dear Bryan Wynter’ by W.S. Graham.
The process behind the poem created for this 2nd prompt could not be further from the first poem of Day 2. It was incredibly hard to cut ties with my first poem. Emotionally invested in the subject and having written something similar for a current poetry project I am working on – similar in as far as these poems share the theme of dementia, heavy poems. It is hard to snap from dark writing. I took a breather between these tasks.
I thought briefly about things I would/should apologise for. The resulting work is comical, humorous, tongue in cheek with a twist and is a poem that although I am vaguely accepting of, am unlikely to do much with it. Unless one day there is the perfect submission call for such a thing. I might extend my comical performance repertoire to 6 poems.
Just a line –
dance writing over tapping keys