Happy Thursday, all. I hope that your first day of Na/GloPoWriMo went swimmingly, and that you are ready for another dip in the refreshing pool of poetry!
Featured participant is Poem Dive, where Day 1’s life-as-metaphor prompt generated a visually arresting reverie rooted in painting and internet research.
Our poetry resource for today is this PDF of a short, rather whimsical chapbook by the Pulitzer Prize-winnning poet James Schuyler, whose poems are known for constantly mixing together spoken language, observations about the weather, high and low diction, and for their attention to the profundities (and absurdities) of everyday life.
Our prompt for the day takes a leaf from Schuyler’s book – write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild places.
A great many poets share their NaPo poems across social media so I spent some time reading other people’s metaphor poems yesterday, depending on how much time I have I sometimes go and check out the participant sites on napowrimo.net I also like reading the poems that are chosen each day. So this is where I started this morning.
I downloaded the PDF version of ‘Damage’ – I thought the combination of activities was an interesting take on the metaphor prompt. I wished the typesetting had been intentional – a happy accident at least. I liked the different narrative voices and the universal knowledge of these activities. Some power lines here. A much more substantial poem than the effort I was able to produce on Day 1.
I also enjoy discovering new voices through the resources and reading work that I may not otherwise discover. I had fun exploring the chapbook and loved that it is about a place local to me that I know well.
I was interested not only in the writing but the format of the chapbook, how it was made.
As far as the prompt – this is the sort of writing I do often. So I wanted to choose a place I had not written about before. Again, bearing in mind my current projects I knew what I wanted to use to write.
I started my writing with a search for maps, to remind me of the names of streets I have not walked down for 2 years. I searched for a company website and harvested some images shared online from the place. I wrote and edited and wrote again. Three treatments later (I know part of the theory of NaPo is to silence the inner editor and not work on the poems until May or later) but I want my rough poems to be vaguely polished this year because they are forming part of a body of an already project and will be more useful this way. I wrote about a Deli and for the 2nd time in as many days there was a topical reference to the world crisis.
Welcome, everyone, to the official first day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020! First featured participant, Honey Stew, where the early-bird poem is a paean to sanderlings and the ” many fast little birds who peep by the sea.”
As in past years, we’ll be featuring a different poetry-related resource daily. This year, including online poetry chapbooks, poetry-related Twitter accounts, and more.
There are any number of poems out there that compare or equate the speaker’s life with a specific object. This poem of Emily Dickinson’s). Today, however, I’d like to challenge you to write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.
I spent sometime reading the participant’s poem – some lovely lines. I then looked at the Sanderlings, a prettier bird than the Royal Spoonbill.
As I knew it would be, the online generator is addictive. I copied a few into my NaPo word doc. I used part of one phrase to almost form the first line of a Haiku (you will become a fan of short form trying to write this many poems in a month). I wrote the rest of the haiku – it is the 2nd time I have written about coronavirus. An unexpected extra poem!
I am an Emily Dickinson fan, so I looked forward to discovering which poem was today’s example.
I read it and also listened to the Power and Art podcast– discussion of Susan Howe’s version hosted by Al Filreis and featuring poets Marcella Durand, Jessica Lowenthal, and Jennifer Scappettone.
I am still thinking about the self portrait prompt. I will be back later to post about the process.
I sort of managed it. Not quite a self portrait – more a fragment from our current time. I used the metaphor of shovelling snow. It started with the end line and I worked backwards for 2 stanzas, then started looking up shovelling snow and some scary statistics that I had never considered before!
I edited the middle section into couplets and started and finished with a 3 line stanza. It is a metaphor for a moment, the one we are all sharing right now.
I have a digital Stanza meeting on Friday and now I think I have a poem.
Today was a day filled with the anxiety of a hospital appointment I have had to wait 6 weeks for, so I read the prompt and checked out the resources but did not have time to complete any writing. (I did spend 3 hours making new animation!) My head was not in the right frame of mind for poetry. By 10:30 PM when I came to post, our internet was down and all I could do was copy and paste on my very old mobile phone, so wasn’t sure if the links were active.
On waking (1st May) I had a little sinking feeling (like post-Christmas blues), NaPo was over and then I remembered I still had to complete yesterday’s write – and this made me happy. Then I thought about all the things I should have time to do now NaPo is over and how proud I am for having completed the challenge. This year has been easier in a way (I have done it since 2013 when I embarked on my writing life), because I am off from work and have more time than ever before, I cannot do much and it is frustrating to be so restricted. However, I can now manage desk time and no longer take the medication which drained me of creativity and consciousness… ! so, I have time to write and NaPo has eaten up daylight hours for me. It has also gifted me the opportunity of writing again, I feel well and truly quenched.
Our featured participant for the day is Summer Blues, where the meditative prompt for Day Twenty-Nine gave rise to not one, but two, wry and poignant poems.
Today’s video resource is this short film in which the artist Iris Colomb “translates” the minimalist poems of the Russian poet Eta Dahlia into gesture drawings. This is another great illustration of the way that poetry and other art forms can intersect and inspire one another. This video also shows that the rhythms and sounds of poetry can cross language boundaries, allowing a form of communication beyond the merely literal.
And last but not least, now for our final prompt for this year! Taking a leaf from our video resource, I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem. A poem that is quite short, quickly/ simply capture an image or emotion. Haiku are probably the most familiar and traditional form of minimalist poetry, but there are plenty of very short poems out there that do not use the haiku form. There’s even an extreme style of minimalism in the form of one-word and other “highly compressed” poems. Think of your own poem for the day as a form of gesture drawing. Perhaps you might start from a concrete noun with a lot of sensory connotations, like “Butter” or “Sandpaper,” or “Raindrop” and – quickly, lightly – go from there.
I started by reading the poems on Summer Blues , I read them over and over. I fell in love with Natasa Bozic Grojic’s blog and had a good read around. Her featured poems are beautiful and caught my breath as I read, of course I have saved her featured poems to the resource file for today – because I don’t want to lose those words.
I was also delighted to hear how happy this year’s challenge had made her feel and how a one word poem, created a while ago, had now found that it could be credited as a poem and displayed. Poignant.
When I did NaNoWriMo – both camp and full on November challenge (back in 2013), there were these small buttons you could display (see Homepage) and despite people creating jpegs for NaPo I have never found such a thing. Here on Natasa’s website, I found she had used the annual banners to create ‘I have completed…’ buttons which is an idea I am going to Magpie, AWF needs some updating. We have both been participants since 2013.
I love her joy, reflecting on being a featured participant. Natasa’s poems were a wonderful way to step into today. It was hard to tear myself away from her website!
Before I watched the video. I played in a different (hidden) window, listening only to the language. The metre/rhythm/voice of the poem. You almost begin to understand, the repetition of the line helps and the similarity between some words.
Then I watched it properly.
Semechki (Семечки) is a series of experimental translations of Eta Dahlia’s minimalist Russian poems into gestural drawings by Iris Colomb.
The closest attempt I have made at this genre has been through teaching Wordplay in schools and back in 2015, where as part of a workshop we looked at the work of e.e cummings and emulated it. Although not strictly minimalist, my poems were by comparison to what I was writing at the time.
The article was full of great examples, I enjoyed the typography. I felt like I was back in the world of study again.
I started with a quick skip around the internet to discover minimalist poetry – examples and the history of it – although the referenced articles covered it well. I then started to think about words which have other words in them.
What I like about today’s prompt is I get to share entire poems with you. I started with highly compressed/ one word poems.
This is dark, I wrote it and then used Special Characters to change the typography (and I hope) portray the vileness/threat of the statement. Apologies for the content. Try thinking of the Wicked Witch of the West and it won’t seem so violent!
I thought smot was a made-up word which I was using like swot – (swat), I was a little horrified when I identified the Urban dictionary definition. I guess it changes the context to smoke her… which still mirrors the violence.
I don’t really like what this poem has become or the connotation of it all – but it is part of the writing process and as a starting point, I am sharing.
After this initial write, I discovered this list of words which is a good source of words inhabited in other words. So I wanted to try again and create a more suitable/shareable/less horrible poem!
Next I created this –
Which I was more happy with. I thought of Small age – as being a toddler, a youngster. I then discovered it was a plant, celery – so that is why I chose to display it vertically like a stalk.
I think the one word poems have to come to you, rather than seeking them. So I left it there to move on to composing a short form poem.
I took the concrete noun prompt ‘butter’ and wrote:
Which is satisfying. But then I got enticed by butte… which aside from being a county in Montana is also an isolated hill/mountain. So I extended the minimal and wrote these poems.
But… butter melts not like Butte, a county will not fit in my frying pan.
And then I wrote this one, which has my favourite play-on-words title of the day!
butter melts but… not butte which rises
I could play like this all day, but have spent nearly two hours online and have lots to do. I will have another play around another day.
I hope you have enjoyed NaPoWriMo as much as I have, see you next year!
Today’s featured participant is Voyage des Mots, where the meta-poem for Day Twenty-Eight called forth a lovely ode on a teacher.
Today’s video resource is this short reflection by the poet Lucille Clifton on “Where Ideas Come From.” This video really speaks to me because I have often found myself feeling short of ideas, or that the ideas that I have aren’t “good enough” to become a poem. One of the goals of Na/GloPoWriMo is to help poets push past all these inner voices and editors, and just get words on the page, without worrying too much about whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. When you stop trying to assign a value to things that haven’t even been written yet, you find ideas everywhere!
Prompt: The poet William Wordsworth once said that “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” For Wordsworth, a poem was the calm after the storm – an opportunity to remember and summon up emotion, but at a time and place that allowed the poet to calmly review, direct and control those feelings. A somewhat similar concept is expressed through the tradition of philosophically-inclined poems explicitly labeled as “meditations,” – like Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas,” the charming Frank O’Hara prose poem, “Meditations in an Emergency,” or Charles Baudelaire’s “Meditation.”
Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poets, and poems.
What a week it has been. Let’s get growing – for sure!
This week NaPoWriMo has helped me discover new artists, poets and forms. I have written poems, created poetry film animations and read widely. This is when NaPo works best, I feel inspired and fulfilled.
I always enjoy research and many of my poems call for a lot of it. This week has been no exception to that, I spent the first part of it almost glued to the National Geographic. It was quite an animal filled week.
This week I discovered the incredible art of body painter Gesine Marwedel and the intriguing manipulation of artist Laura Christensen. I researched Seahorses, Whooping Cranes and the Smalltooth Swordfish. I discovered the latter was an endangered species and only 5 species of Swordfish still exist! I created a poetry film animation called Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica, which I showed over the weekend at our Worcester Film Poetry Collective meeting. There may be a series of Eco Animations created on the back of this and none of it would have happened without NaPoWriMo.
I revisited the wonderful work of Marie Craven in Dictionary Illustrations, one of my favourite pieces to be shared at the Worcester Film Poetry Collective. I wrote a poem involving both a Whooping Crane and a Buick Engine Manual.
I wrote about spring and discovered the work of Jericho Brown, tried a new form of poetry, the Duplex, tore my hair out over Shakespearean sonnets and read lots of poems, articles and interviews. I feel like I have completed a study week!
This week’s poems:
Seahorse After German artist Gesine Marwedel
Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica
North of the Equator – which I edited and then took to Stanza.
Remains – my first Duplex
There are only 2 days of NaPo left, which I cannot believe! This month of writing has passed quickly. It has been a joy to write again, my 6 months of illness has resulted in very little creativity. I am becoming again, which is good and fills me with relief.
And the two remaining days of April brought riches, on Day 29 I indulged in the referenced Meditation poetry and wrote another poem about illness.
On the final day of NaPo I had great fun with wordplay and minimalist poetry.
*Celery (which is the same poem as Cultivated with different Typography)
It has been a good year!
I have thoroughly enjoyed most days and have managed to write 40 poems, created two animated poetry films, added several blogs to my Reader and discovered lots of new-to-me poets, artists and resources.
The glory of a Sunday, a day that stretches before me filled with the possibility of new words. It feels good.
I wanted to start with a tip on frustration. Which is the opposite of how I feel today but was very much how I felt last night after attempting the Shakespearean Sonnet prompt. Sometimes Art is frustrating, it is part of the creative path and something we learn to overcome/live with/abide.
I know that my forte is not rhyme, which is one reason I find writing sonnets hard. I know that I have a blinker when it comes to sonnets, if you said Wankel rotary engine, my reaction would be the same, although I could probably explain the engine more efficiently! Despite all this I tried to open my mind to the prompt and although I had the freedom to dismiss it, I wanted to give it a go. This is my attitude to NaPo and Poetry, always learning, staying open. But it hurts a bit when you fall flat on your face and that is how I felt by the end of my creation. I liked the story behind it and when I read it over next week, maybe I will like the poem… what I didn’t want was the residue of negative feeling, especially before bed. (A bed that was still covered in props from earlier animation making.)
So I set off to find another prompt and that is what you can do. So in actual fact last night I had practice with rhyme, meter, structure, metaphor, and argument and attempted one of the oldest traditions in English poetry and also wrote an extra poem about illness called Vertical. Looking back at yesterday’s prompt I could have done a number of things other than try to write my own sonnet, I may revisit it.
Frustration – accept it, deal with it, do not break things – write more poems!
With this in mind, let’s get stuck into Day 28! Can you believe you have written 4 weeks of poems?
There are only three days left now in Na/GloPoWriMo 2019. I hope you’ve been enjoying the month so far, and are ready for the home stretch.
Our featured participant for the day is paeansunpluggedblog, where the Shakesepeare-inspired prompt for Day Twenty-Seven gave rise to a bard-inspired cento.
Our video resource today was suggested by Elizabeth Boquet, she and a fellow group of poets in Lausanne, Switzerland, have been engaging with the concept of meta-poems – which are poems about poems! In this video, the poets Al Fireis, Lily Applebaum, Dave Poplar, and Camara Brown discuss Emily Dickinson’s “We learned the Whole of Love.” Find additional background and video discussions of other meta-poems here.
As you may have guessed, today I’d like to challenge you to try your hand at a meta-poem of your own. You might check out the Wallace Stevens and Harryette Mullens poems featured in the article about metapoetry linked above, or perhaps Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica” or Kendel Hippolyte’s “Advice to a Young Poet.”
Our featured participant for the day is Put Out To Pasture, where the “repetition” poem for Day Twenty-Six leans in, hard.
Today’s video resource is this droll tutorial that promises to teach you poetry techniques in 30 minutes. It may seem a bit silly, but there’s a lot of technical detail packed into that half hour! If you’ve always had trouble distinguishing alliteration from assonance, or understanding how the heck to “scan” a poem for metrical stress, this may help clear things up. At they very least, it will make you smile.
And now for our prompt. Our video resource for the day promises to teach you everything you need to know to write a Shakespearean sonnet, but I’m not going to ask you to do that, exactly. Instead, I’d like to challenge you to “remix” a Shakespearean sonnet. Here’s all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can pick a line you like and use it as the genesis for a new poem. Or make a “word bank” out of a sonnet, and try to build a new poem using the same words (or mostly the same words) as are in the poem. Or you could try to write a new poem that expresses the same idea as one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, like “hey baby, this poem will make you immortal” (Sonnet XVIII) or “I’m really bad at saying I love you but maybe if I look at you adoringly, you’ll understand what I mean” (Sonnet XXIII). If you’re feeling both silly and ambitious, you might try writing an anagram-sonnet, like K. Silem Mohammad has done here.
Once again, I read the post from bed this morning on my phone – knowing that I wouldn’t have time to act on it as today was our meeting for Worcester Poetry Film Collective and I was very excited about sharing some of the 12 animations I have made over the past month!
I did manage to read the participant site poem and have a quick panic over Shakespearean sonnets – which are hard enough without the additional challenge of remix/modernisation. I didn’t have time to tackle a half hour video as I only had an hour to get up and out.
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com
This evening I re-read Maxie Jane’s poem She Wore Armor, which was inspired by Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”, which you can find here. It wasn’t a poem I knew, but as far as repetition goes it was a perfect influence/starting point.
With Maxie’s poem I liked the fact that although this armour could be literal – it isn’t – also the amount of times in life we wear it – and to see all the listed examples and to meet some of them with a knowing hmmm, Thought provoking and intense. It was good to revisit Put Out to Pasture, one of the participating sites I chose to visit and blog about on Day 20 of NaPo.
I then set aside half an hour to watch the video resource. It was good revision and easy to follow. I liked the example villanelle and they clearly showed the rhyming scheme in a colour coded system.
I also watched the following video, which played afterwards. Some good tips – especially for people beginning to write.
Then I took a deep breath and set out to write today’s poem.
This evening, I have spent several hours making a new animation, so I am sitting down (quietly) now with NaPo to meet the challenge. Remember, if you feel this prompt is too tricky – it is optional. I am going to push through it though!
I couldn’t download the free e-book – well I could download, but not read. So I read the html online. I could have spent the night reading. Although the sonnet is not a favourite genre to write, I do enjoy reading Shakespeare. The NaPo prompt gave several ideas for staring points for today’s writing. I decided to scan the sonnets for lines and saved them on a word document. The idea of re-writing using these lines only became appealing.
At the end of 20 minutes, I had read 12 sonnets and collected 6 lines. I scrolled to the end of the book and copied an entire sonnet, Sonnet 109.
Like every sonnet I have ever written *and I can count them on just over 1 hand… I am not entirely happy with the result, although I have mastered the iambic pentameter and even found lines falling out of my head in perfect 10 syllable formation, I am not convinced by the poem. It feels forced.
I took one line from Sonnet 109 as a starting point –
Like him that travels, I return again;
My poem is called Grounded Flight. It explores my love for travel and my love, that wherever I go I cannot escape myself and how it is perhaps best to stay where I’m loved, close to home, sharing the same air.
I found this interesting post on iambic pentameter and am sharing it instead of a line from a poem I am not terribly happy with.
Not to be outdone by a poetic form, I ventured over to PAD (Poem A Day) challenge over on Writer’s Digest, where Robert Lee Brewer set the task of picking a direction as a starting point. I chose vertical and wrote a poem about illness. For now the poem is called Vertical.
Today’s featured participant is Yesterday and Today, where the seasonal/sensual prompt for Day 25 resulted in a summery villanelle.
And now for our video resource! Today, we present this recording of the poet Jericho Brown reading his poem “Duplex (I Begin With Love).” Note how simple the vocabulary of the poem is, and how Brown uses the power of repetition, rewording and building on prior lines and phrases to drive the poem along.
Today’s prompt is centered around repetition. Repetition is at the heart of the rhetorical strategy of “Duplex.” We engage with it daily in the choruses of songs, and it’s long been recognized as one of the ways to keep a listener’s attention and create a sense of satisfaction or closure in spoken or written language, whether that language takes the form of a speech or a poem or even a comedy routine. Many forms of poetry expressly require or rely on repetition – for example, the villanelle or pantoum.Well-handled repetition can give a poem an incantatory effect. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a word, or phrase. You can even repeat an image, perhaps slightly changing or enlarging it from stanza to stanza, to alter its meaning. There are (perhaps paradoxically) infinite possibilities in repetition. Want to look at some examples? Perhaps you’ll find inspiration in Joanna Klink’s “Some Feel Rain” or John Pluecker’s “So Many.”
NaPo Process Notes
I happily read today’s prompt in bed this morning, welcoming poetry in with the crack of light between my curtains. It was a pleasant waking.
I started by reading I Smell the Salt in Seaside Breeze by Merril D. Smith. This vivid poem evoked the senses of my favourite season, summer. Merril (like me) is steps ahead of the NaPo prompts, producing a villanelle on Day 25. The repetition worked well here and made me think of the pull of the waves on the ocean. I can see this poem. I think it is universally something we have all lived/felt. It is saved to the Poetry Resources file. Fine work.
I then watched Jericho Brown.
I listened to Duplex a few times. Listening to the poem and then to the form, the repetition.
The duplex is a form I invented. It’s a fusion of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues. – Jericho Brown
I know how to write a sonnet and a ghazal and have heard the blues. I am hoping to be able to unpick this form.
I then read the poem on The American Poetry Review, saved it to my resource file knowing I would be unpicking it later.
I then read the example poems, as if it wasn’t enough to discover Jericho Brown this morning, I fell in love with Joanna Klink’s Some Feel Rain. I kept reading it over and over.
Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be
WOW. Breath-catching read. Joyfully saved this one to the resource file, which is jam packed for Day 26.
Lastly, (before getting up), I listened to John Pluecker’s So Many, grateful for the audio as I struggle to read a poem which has no punctuation. It was also great to hear it from the voice of the poet. Stunning moments captured in this emotive poem.
Both of these poems were great examples of the use of repetition. They also made me feel ready for writing!
I have already written one villanelle this NaPo and they are hard work, I often write pantoums but had never come across a duplex (other than an architectural term), so I fancied trying to write one and set about finding out more about this form Jericho Brown invented.
…inventing a new poetry form he calls the duplex. The new structure melds the formality of a sonnet, the inline rhyme and repetition of the ghazal, and duality of the American blues, all in nine to eleven syllables per line. It’s also the title of five poems in “The Tradition,” his third collection, published earlier this month.
I also watched Stand.
I found this article in The Rumpus which goes into the form in more detail. It is a great interview, one you should read!
GUTTING THE SONNET: A CONVERSATION WITH JERICHO BROWN
BY CANDACE WILLIAMS
The duplex is a new form that renders the musicality and structure of the ghazal, the sonnet, and the blues on a single plane. The poem starts with a couplet of two distinct lines. The second line is repeated and a new line is added, and then repeated until there are seven couplets of nine to eleven syllables each. Although the poem sounds iambic, it retains its relationship to the metrical tradition of the ghazal. The first line is the fourteenth line. The rhyme (via repetition) and the turn are reminiscent of the sonnet. The duplex holds tradition in its embrace while calling that embrace into question. This tension and release are a means for The Tradition’s speaker to interrogate and transcend their condition.
I also wondered why he had called the form Duplex and an article on Poetry Foundation helped me find the answer:
I decided to call the form a duplex because something about its repetition and its couplets made me feel like it was a house with two addresses. It is, indeed, a mutt of a form as so many of us in this nation are only now empowered to live fully in all of our identities.
I also found out more about the form and read more examples of Duplex poems.
Starting at the fourth line, every other line of the poem aims at “incongruous humor that…becomes ironic laughter mixed with tears.” The blues allowed for a poem that we teachers like to describe as “voice-y,” which is to say that the poems begin to take on more personality in those moments.
The end of the article gifted me the gold dust I had searching for. The form.
Write a ghazal that is also a sonnet that is also a blues poem of 14 lines,
giving each line 9 to 11 syllables.
The first line is echoed in the last line.
The second line of the poem should change our impression of the first line in an unexpected way.
The second line is echoed and becomes the third line.
The fourth line of the poem should change our impression of the third line in an unexpected way.
This continues until the penultimate line becomes the first line of the couplet that leads to the final (and first) line.
For the variations of repeated lines, it is useful to think of the a a’ b scheme of the blues form.
Armed with a little more information I decided to have a go – and if I fail on the form then I have a poem which would not otherwise have existed in a parallel coat. Nothing will be lost. My ego will declare that I have invented a new form, the not-quite-a-duplex-poem. A Du. I am excited to give it a go.
I managed to write a Duplex, unfortunately the battery died on the laptop halfway through the composition, so the 2nd half of the write was harder than it could have been, having lost the flow and the construction of the poem during my time offline.
I don’t think I changed the impression hard enough within the couplets. I got there though. Phew. It is an interesting result and is definitely a form I will attempt again.
I called it Remains which has layered meaning in the poem and think that the sense of the poem overall is beautiful. I think that is down to the Duplex/Blues rhythm and repetition. It is a love poem and this is how it ends…
A new tale on your chest tells of us. Open to love, I’m weightless in my baggage.
The final week of NaPo always feels strange, you have, by now become used to the daily writing and it feels alien that next week you will be released from the bounds. It takes a few weeks for this routine to feel anything other than arduous. I love writing and if I could write every day for the rest of my life, I would. But that doesn’t mean to say this challenge comes easily or feels glorious all of the time. Of course, within the first fortnight there were some incredible prompts, resources and poems and I had fun, but it takes a while to find your rhythm – and just as you do, the month closes.
Our featured participant for the day is Orangepeel, where the reference book poem for Day Twenty-Three is sure to put you in fits (emphasis totally intended).
Today’s featured video resource is this short film featuring a reading of Keats’ “To Autumn,” along with a sumptuously sensuous dessert. This video makes me hungry, and also, weirdly nostalgic for September!
And now for today’s prompt. Taking a cue from our video resource for the day, and from Keat’s poem, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that:
Is specific to a season
Uses imagery that relates to all five senses
Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)
NaPo Process Notes
I started with the participant’s site. Bruce Niedt’s poem Complete Guide to Page 427 of the Dictionary was a wonderful read, although I baulked a bit when I got as far as flay and flense. The ending held humour and as far as poems go, they need reaction. It worked well. A fairly, fabulous, frolic with F words.
I saved Bruce’s poem to my NaPo resource file. He also inspired me to collect my own list of F words, which I have banked to use post-NaPo.
I then watched the film Honey Pears, and mostly got hungry. I enjoyed To Autumn by John Keats and the soundtrack, which breathed power into the poem.
I also found a copy of To Autumnto read and save to the resource file, it is a beautiful poem, one I know I have in a book somewhere – but in modern times it is good to have it on the laptop. You can listen to the audio on the Poetry Foundation website.
Today’s prompt asks for a lot to be included, it will need some thinking time.
The prompt asks for the poem to refer to:
a specific to a season
use imagery that relates to all five senses
include a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)
So, I go in search of seasons. I knew I wanted to write about Spring – as it is happening at present. The blossom is out in full bloom at the moment in the UK and we are experiencing sunny days and heat waves, followed, of course, by days of rain and thunderstorms. Slightly more than April Showers.
The first thing which came to me was the rhetorical question as my meteorologist search brought up meteorological and astronomical spring. I was happy about that as the rhetorical question was the part of today’s prompt which I was most panicked by.
Following a link at the bottom of the Met Office webpage, I read some spring facts which helped generate ideas for incorporating 5 senses into my poem.
And so today’s poem started in a very fragmented way, answering the call of thoughts in short words and phrases, sometimes stanzas dotted amongst copied facts, ready to be quilted into a rich example to fulfil every sense for the reader. (Or at least, that was my hope.)
By the end of my emptying-of-thoughts, I had sound and taste to fit in, I managed this easily within one verse and as homage to the video resource from today, included pears.
In the end the poem has 12 stanzas (one of the longest I have written this NaPo and the most sensual, thanks to a prompt asking for delivery for all the senses), is titled North of the Equator. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and it has been hard choosing just one snippet to share.
watched our tulips wilt at the invasion of heat, watered everything back to the glory of green
Today’s featured participant is Zouxzoux, where the animal-themed prompt for Day Twenty-Three resulted in a zippy haiku.
Our video resource for the day is this rather charming film by Marie Craven, based on Sarah Sloat’s poem “Dictionary Illustrations.”
Today’s prompt is to write a poem that, like “Dictionary Illustrations,” is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem. For what it’s worth, my 1961 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 11, has just informed me that despite “his beauty,” the “profligacy” of the Emperor Heliogabalus’s life “was such as to shock even the Roman public,” while also presenting me with a lovely little line drawing of a variant of heliotrope, the flowers of which are said to smell like cherry pie.
I sat in bed this morning and read the NaPo page and followed the links.
Reading the enjoyable cat Haiku by Charlotte Hamrick, I had a thought to use short form for Day 23 too. I still owe a poem. Yesterday I spent time researching the swordfish and discovering it is now an endangered species shocked me. I had hoped to write a poem, but I ran out of time to do so. I had medical appointments.
I was delighted to see the film resource today as it was one we have watched at the Worcester Poetry Film Collective. It is a beautiful piece of work.
Dictionary Illustrations by Marie Craven won this last edition of O’Bheal International Poetry-Film Competition.
As far as books go for the prompt today, although I have them, they are packed away in boxes – so my online search began.
What I actually found was a website with lots of free books, so my current novel (I have read 2 books since I mentioned novels in NaPo posts), found itself strewn on Mr. G’s pillows and I was hooked.
This is the danger with internet research.
My first port of call was to find the base material to be used in today’s writing. I love the idea of mashing contrasting information together and the difficulty with using online reference books is you don’t necessarily get that double page spread.
I loved discovering how many encyclopedias of things there are, my favourite – The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasure. I spent some time copying reference information and searching for images of book pages before I harvested facts on the Whooping Crane and the Buick Engine (a wonderful old manual page). I tried to combine the migration habits of the crane with some mechanical descriptors. I used short form stanzas and although not 100% satisfied at the result have 7 pages of notes to work with post- Napo.
My poem is called Buick Bird, I can securely say it would not exist without NaPoWriMo. It has 4 stanzas, here’s a snippet.