Tag Archives: napowrimo.net

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 29

Standard

Read the full post here.

For the first time, we have a trio of featured participants, as there were so many wonderful responses to Day 28’s “concrete” poem prompt! First up, here’s Alice Whitehead‘s lovely pear-shaped poem. Next, Joy Wright‘s criss-crossing, repeating poem about a bandstand, and last but not least, flippedserendipity‘s wavy ocean poem.

Today’s featured online magazine is On the Seawall. From the poems they’ve recently published, I’ll direct you to Barbara Daniels’ “My Lost Generation” and Melissa Eleftherion’s “Fool Reversed/Let Go.”

PROMPT: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.).

The penultimate day of NaPoWriMo 2022 and I started with a much needed catch up. You will see the last 3 days have been added to and now I am ready for poem 29.

Alice Whitehead‘s Pear-shaped poems is gorgeous, it is posted on an open FB group (which is already in the public domain), so I hope to share it here for you to read again.

Joy Wright‘s Bandstand poem is equally brilliant and great fun to read. I gained permission from the poet to use this image because you can’t discuss concrete poems without seeing them. With thanks to you both.

© Joy Wright 2022

And finally I read Flippedserendipity‘s sea poem – Waves of the Ocean, which was incredibly visual and seemed to pull in and out like waves of the sea.

In wave after wave, carving the sand
by sea.

Then I headed over to On the Seawall and read My Lost Generation by Barbara Daniels. I loved the playfulness of this poem, which is actually covers some serious topics.

Mary Lou took off after Mai Tais went out.

Without leis, rattan, and almond syrup, she lost

her desire to live. 

The market bottomed, so Winslow

relocated to a treehouse. Each day he wheels up

bagels and cream cheese and dumps his trash

on the lawn.

The last onionskin, Wite-Out,

and carbon paper led to the last of Miss Rossiter,

said to be reading palms in LA. 

I then read Fool Reversed / Let Go by Melissa Eleftherion. A brilliant contemplation and I adore the conclusion!

Both these poems are exceptional and I look forward to reading more in On the Seawall journal soon.

PROCESS NOTES:

In certain versions of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, various fairies or witches are invited to a princess’s christening, and bring her gifts. One fairy/witch, however, is not invited, and in revenge for the insult, lays a curse on the princess. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). © napowrimo.net

Just wanted to remind myself of the prompt after getting lost (in a great way) with all that poetry reading! I will gather my thoughts and write them out in a bit.

Photo by Jure u0160iriu0107 on Pexels.com

It is (another Bank Holiday weekend in the UK) and I have pushed out 3 Napo poems today on catch up mode. Spent some time with Mr G. after work and went to class. Where I spent another while writing, so coming back to re-read the prompt and have decided I will dabble tomorrow after work.

Another update on the way!

NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 28

Standard

Read the full post here.

Today’s featured participant is yet again, two participants! First up, we have Eunoia and second, Karen Morris, bringing us a fully-rhymed duplex.

Our daily online magazine is failbetter. Among the poems that they’ve published recently, I’ll point out Jessie Raymundo’s “Memory with Water” and John Wall Barger’s “I Received a Bitter Email from a Good-Hearted Man.”

Prompt: write a concrete poem. In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. For example, May Swenson’s poem “Women” or George Starbuck’s “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree”.

I am behind by 2 days so will look into this prompt and poems tomorrow. I want to write my missing days first.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

One day later…

I read Adapting, by Smitha V. The poet felt the Duplex was an effective form for this telling and so do I.

It's meeting the old and the pain resurfacing, that scares me. 

Old memories scare me and the pain, the past brings with it.
I'm used to forgetting and being forgotten.

        Forgetting and being forgotten takes time to get used to





And Karen Morris even managed to rhyme her Duplex! Kudos. The poem is on FB so I had to take care of rabbit holes.

(Like full-time work’s not chore enough),

Shelves to dust and floors to buff.

Many of us have probably written about the memory of water (I know I have).

Memory with Water

Jessie Raymundo

who carries a pair of Neptunes
in her eyes

Gravity is when
the psychiatrist assessed you
& located a heart that is heavy
for no reason.

like a remembrance possessed by echoes

This poem was superb. So much backwater (no pun intended) story and a drive that flowed like rapid water.

I Received a Bitter Email from a Good-Hearted Man

John Wall Barger

John Wall Barger had me from the start. Wow! And the resolution of the piece is blessed. If only we could all find such peace and certainty when friendships fail.

So twenty years of friendship
ended in a small gesture
like a door sliding shut,

How blessed I was,
it didn’t seem real, like a gardener
who keeps finding seeds
in the creases of his clothes,

Well aware of concrete poems (shape poems), have taught them on the curriculum for decades and occasionally enjoy writing one. I read the example poems anyway. Love all the reading you get to do with Napowrimo.

I thoroughly enjoyed May Swenson‘s, Women and to think it was published in 1978! Wow. And the content of George Starbuck‘s, Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree was certainly different to other concrete Christmas tree poems I have read! And a Sonnet to boot! I struggle to write them without creating a shape on top.

I have no idea of a starting point and I know shape poems can be digitally challenging, but I am in catch up mode and ready to dive in!


Cheesy as it is – I went for the ‘shape of love’ and of course, contoured a heart. Although it currently looks like a map of Australia with the basic prog. I am running!

your eyes which speak whole

stories out into the space between us.

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 27

Standard

Read the full post here.

While the poems may have seemed difficult to write, the responses to Day 27’s “homeric similes” prompt were really quite amazing. Featured: First up, we have Vixie’s Stories, second, we have Poetry by Hasen.

Today’s featured online magazine is Wood Cat Review, I’ll point you to William Doreski’s “Toads in Early Spring” and Christian Ward’s “The Judges of Wandle River.”

PROMPT: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Here’s one of his first “Duplex” poems, and here is a duplex written by the poet I.S. Jones. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.

And what is it I say? You have to love a Duplex!

Flash of orange by Vickie Johnstone was a wonderful poem.

blazed his way through the carriage
like an orangutan swinging between branches,
looking for the swiftest route through
the fervent foliage and busyness of leaves.

Winter Snow Barges by N. K. Hasen

the cars now under
Frozen mounds over eight inches high of snow,
Trapped like ancient shells in a block of ice.

I look forward to reading Wood Cat Review properly. Today I read the suggested poems.

William Doreski’s Toads in Early Spring

A cracking opening.

At mid-day, huge slobbery toads

slug up through the melting snow.

I collect them like truffles

And despite using language like slobbery/slug up/ there is beauty in this, perhaps from the truffles. It is a beautiful poem.

Christian Ward’s The Judges of Wandle River

Again, an incredible opening:

A drizzle of midges 

The wedding dress of a white 

shopping bag suspended 

above the river

threaded with comparisons in judgement. Great poem. I read it many times.

Duplex – I think the 2nd or maybe the 3rd one written during this year’s Napo – will have to check document. In a similar position to yesterday having just spent an hour in poetry, we now have all those life tasks to do before work tomorrow. So I am carrying my duplex around in my head and will catch up with myself on Friday.

I have just written a poem which feels important to me so I may use that as a basis and see what happens when it emerges as a Duplex.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Two days later…

I know Jericho’s poem well. In case you don’t here is the man himself telling it because you have to hear it in his voice for the full read. I know I have posted it before on this site.

Mellon Foundation

And I.S Jones‘ poem, Self-Portrait as Etioly is similarly powerful. You can listen to the poem on the link above.

I am a spell of six letters.
I have a name that begins and ends countries.

 
           

I set about working on my own Duplex.

  • Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines.
  • Seven, two-line stanzas.
  • The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza.
  • the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza.
  • The last line of the poem is the same as the first.

This description (from the Napo prompt) and the example poem from I.S Jones are different to other Duplex poems I have read in the variation on words in the repeated lines. So I will do the same today.


And as with all Duplex structures extracting a line or two doesn’t have the same affect. However. this poem has legs and I want to do something with it. So today I leave just one line which explains what the entire Duplex is about. A magical moment caught on camera. Written about in a class earlier this week when we were asked to think of an ordinary miracle moment.

the day he fell into a flower.

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 26

Standard

Read the full post here.

Two featured participants for the day! First, A Poet’s Vision and Arti Jain.

Our featured online magazine for today is Longleaf Review, I’ll point you to Sara Elkamel’s “A Bride for a Flood” and Jad Josey’s “Not Bruise, Not Eggplant.”

Prompt: A couple of days ago, we played around with hard-boiled similes. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that contains at least one of a different kind of simile – an epic simile. Also known as Homeric similes, these are basically extended similes that develop over multiple lines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have mainly been used in epic poems, typically as decorative elements that emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject (example from Milton’s Paradise Lost).

But you could write a complete poem that is just one lengthy, epic simile, relying on the surprising comparison of unlike things to carry the poem across.

I read Gospel of Rain by Krissy Mosley and watched her poetry film of the piece.

she smelled familiar like I knew her,

rain has descendants –

I then had a class online and somehow when I came back to take up my place, I read another poem by Amita Paul (who was featured on Day 25). It is because the link to today’s poem is in the discussion on Day 25 – mystery solved. It meant I read an extra poem today.

I read Maa by Amita Paul. It is a difficult subject. A strong woman to come to a dream.

 Tell them , my Child ! , “ she answered , “ to look up

From their business of manufactured angst

And take a hard clear look at real life

And at the World which they say they will conquer

And see how they are fooled by the false praise

I then today’s 2nd featured poem “Verdant Devi Divine” by Arti Jain.

A beautiful exploration of garden and spirit.

She holds, like all my creatures, the fragrances,
the essences of the first—
the first kiss on Earth.

Photo by Cup of Couple on Pexels.com

I am coming to the day late (after work) and the prompt looks fairly epic… so I read the selected poems from Longleaf Review.

A Bride for a Flood

by Sara Elkamel

As you all know I love a duplex and the work of Jericho Brown so I was excited to read this. I read it a few times.

     Like prayers into a white lotus corset.

Not Bruise, Not Eggplant

by Jad Josey

A striking poem which encapsulates urgency.

like a bird waking from a dream
of silver-edged clouds …
to find its feathers vanished —

Later you are making tea,
water rumbling over flame,
and the gloaming is too loud, too quiet,


PROCESS NOTES:

Honestly I want to say – forget it, I will do it tomorrow! But this year I have managed not to fall behind and I don’t intend to start now, 4 days from the finish line! So I re-read the prompt and got writing.

The first example (from the linked definition) is useful if you are unsure;

As when the shudder of the west wind suddenly rising scatters across the water,
and the water darkens beneath it, so darkening were settled the ranks of Achaians and Trojans in the plain.
– © Britannica

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tired head stretched for ideas notebook to find a starting point and in had to face the truth that I still have jobs to do before bed and whatever I write right in this minute wouldn’t be anything good. So I am banking this, sleeping on it.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

3 Days Later

I finally have some catch up time carved out. I decided on ‘nature’ as a starting theme to explore Homeric similes. Many of the example poems which use this technique are archaic and I needed to step back to get the thou and thus out of my mind. Needless to say my poem is a contemporary take. I am already looking forwarding to reading deeper the featured participant poems from this prompt.

The sky is blue and my pen is ready…

and the rabbit hole open wide! I watched incredible videos of real places in our world which are awe inspiringly unique, I watched relaxing nature videos showing some of the flora and fauna from this island. I watched several click-caught videos on unique people and natural phenomenon that no scientist can explain. Then I gave myself a talking to (I have lots to do today) and plumped on native plants – choosing as my focus ‘Golden Shield Fern’, which is a common sight in UK Woodlands.

My poem came out as a prose block and based on the weaving of multiple connected strands I think I have managed homeric similes, whether the poem is any good or not, is another story! This extract is most of a stanza after I played around with the format.

I wonder if I’d wear green,
something like a jungle outfit seen on Sunday morning
black and white episodes of Tarzan, a misty memory
of sharing them with Dad.

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 25

Standard

Read the full post here.

Featured participants Jacqui Dempsey-Cohen and Amita Paul.

Our featured online journal for the day is Okay Donkey, I’ll point you to Audrey Hall’s “Old Man in the Kitchen,” and Amorak Huey’s “A Small, Private Sadness.”

Today’s prompt is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.

I enjoyed the fun of Jacqui Dempsey-Cohen’s poem, although it was Facebook – so I had to resist all temptation to catch up on there! Some of my favourite examples:

I enjoyed the scene described in Amita Paul’s poem and felt incredibly sorry for the grandmother. A very translatable scene! I have a dear memory of our own Great Aunty being wrapped up in curly chord by a then three year old great-great nephew! She was golden, just sat there and let the play happen!

while some of her progeny’s progeny and their progeny

tumble all over her in an excess of affection and youthful exuberance.

I know Okay Donkey and have them listed to submit to. I am very good at letting deadlines whoosh past and since March haven’t submitted anywhere due to life intervening the way it does and the places it leaves us in.

Old Man in the Kitchen by Audrey Hall, a poem which moved me, especially as the last one reminded me of a relative we have recently lost. The passing is heroic and Biblical, the relationship explored so succinctly.

Take the soggy reins dangling
from your veiny hands
away from Sunday breakfast.
I do not need you to split
this egg on the pan’s edge
or slice this banana into circles.

 

splinters
and brambles crowning your corpse.

A Small, Private Sadness by Amorak Huey – at least the title prepared me for the deep inhalations I knew I’d have. This poem brims with sadness and loss.

& this breeze hums your name

& pat a space next to them on the bed
& the temperature falls

& out beyond the pines
a great lake churns & churns.


The aisling is a poetic genre I know. I was taken by some of Maureen’s suggestions on this prompt:

a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.

  • Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights,
  • or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops.
  • Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves.

So my plan was to go and have a think about who my woman might be – but at the same time I am tempted to skip straight to one of these suggestions.

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES

I came up with 5 possible women (I think I will return to the list and write an aisling for each of them in the future).

Fairly sure Bus Stops were in my head from the suggested ideas but also we have a bus station that despite several revamps ours had some of the old metal bus stands for a while. All updated now, but it amused me the gradual update and how the customer bit came after the rest.

I also have this internal conflict that I moved and lived all over for a decade and when I came back to the county, I promised myself I would live close to but not in the town I was born in. I did for several years and then I met Mr G. and the rest is history.

And today… I am going to share the whole poem!

The Waiting Lady of Green Metal Bus Stops

I used to see you half your life ago, longer –
you’d sit and wait on narrow seats,
head full of thought.
Your frustration of lateness,
your willing belief in the public transport system.

You who saw past the old, green metal bus stands
and looked instead to the sweep of branches
the bank of grass, who would canter over
to the brook to watch water flow over stones.
And read and re-read the timetable

despite knowing your schedule by heart.
I watched you pick at conversations
from those bus stop strangers,
how the ideas would elongate in your mind,
you’d carry them onto the bus

(when it eventually turned up), like precious
cargo, in case you spilled a line before
you reached your destination,
the city of Worcester.
Well, I’m still here and after you

moved away I saw other girls like you,
heads full of dreams, ambitions to leave
this town behind them.
You always knew the pull of this place,
your analogy was more a spider’s web

and trapped flies – but you see the beauty
now you’ve lived in cities without
stars and trees.
You came back to the green, to countryside
and small market towns, to urban sprawl

and this battered, old, bus terminal.
You admired the new digital destination board,
the ever changing roads around this space,
and smiled when you saw the old, familiar
bus stands. I am here to remind you

of this love. Of the attraction of home,
of the importance of roots –
and no matter how bad you think it’s got,
at least you’re not stuck forever
at the Bus Station, waiting.

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 24

Standard

Read the full post here.

Our featured participants – Rhyme and Reason and Xanku.

Our featured online magazine – Miracle Monocle, Jessica Barksdale’s “Zoo Story,” and Coleman Childress’s “Broken Cabins on the Beach.”

Prompt: Hard-boiled detective novels are known for their use of vivid similes, often with an ironic or sarcastic tone. Novelist Raymond Chandler is particularly adept at these. Here are a few from his novels:

  • A few locks of dry, white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.
  • Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
  • From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile… use just one, or try to go for broke and stuff your poem with similes.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I read today’s prompt whilst I was out in the garden planting seeds. Rhyme and Reason wrote a thought-provoking poem.

The kind of blot
That none forgets,

A contrast to featured poem from XankuFront by Xan.

Mind you
my address is
on the front of
my house but
my front door is
not 

I loved the exploration in this one and that ending… perfect!

JESSICA BARKSDALE’S Zoo Story

was an intriguing poem, a force of poem which pulled me right in. A fantastic opening couplet:

Let’s not think about bears, or anything cute (and dangerous)
like a marriage, a first husband, and how things go wrong.

you once married to a bear

and now a giraffe, mother to a chimp, a steadfast rhino, stepmother
to a moth and a gecko, daughter to nocturnal beast undiscovered.

COLEMAN CHILDRESS

Next I read Broken Cabins on the Branch.

The furrowing of branches, of hardwood, of sun.
your hands statuary with tranchelight

There’s some beautiful imagery in this surreal poem.


PROCESS NOTES:

Write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile.

Before I had a clue about subject I went here to read some similes to get my evening brain working! I just had a quick glance over the list. I thought I would create 1 simile and then as I started to write I decided to incorporate more (not to total saturation).

I wrote the poem and made several drafts/ playing mainly with the white space. I have something I think I can work on and found myself not just writing similes but making links to traditional nursery rhyme characters and these two well known figures.

We demarcate with love
like Romeo and Juliet,
although –
we’re not star-crossed
and don’t have a balcony.

I have used two similes but have chosen to share this part with you instead.

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 23

Standard

Read the full post here.

Today’s featured participant is Jane Dougherty Writes.
Our featured online magazine today is Peach Mag, among the work that they’ve recently published, I’ll point you to Ai Li Feng’s “echolocation” and Bob Sykora’s “Crying on the Exercise Bike While Watching The Great British Bakeoff, February 2021.”



Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, whose poems tend to be short and snappy – with a lot of rhyme and soundplay. They also have a deceptive simplicity about them, like proverbs or aphorisms. Here’s her “Token Loss,” “Blue China Doorknob,” “Houdini,” and “Crustacean Island.”


Morning questions by Jane Dougherty – a poem packed with ponder and wonder.

Deep night time dark is full of song,

I loved the beginning of echolocation by Ai Li Feng.

The faint scent of fabric softener in every fold


of sky.

In my dreams, I am not afraid of light,
and every truth that it forces me to tell. What I mean to say is that the dark


allows us to be anything, even beautiful.

And what a cracking title Bob Sykora‘s poem has Crying on the Exercise Bike While Watching The Great British Bakeoff – talk about specific! A powerful example of using repetition well, an enticing cascade poem.

The cake turned out poorly.

Someone is going home. The layers

crumbled.

I pedal faster and get nowhere.

Crumbling. Overcooked. Crying,

Because next week your baking

won’t be judged. Because the cake

was perfect when you practiced.

PROCESS NOTES

Coming to today’s prompt very late and tired. So we will see what happens.

Write in the style of Kay Ryan – “Token Loss,” “Blue China Doorknob,” “Houdini,” and “Crustacean Island.”

First I had to read / listen to the example poems. I had my subject in mind at least – just had to attempt the write. I may have to revisit to get the wordplay but used short clipped lines and wrote more in the style of Kay Ryan than myself.

Sleep-smiles
come
when you’re
dreaming
of angels.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 22

Standard

Read the full post here.

Today, our featured participant is Jessie Lynn McMains.

Our featured online magazine for the day is Five South. Among their recently published poems, I’ll point you to Alina Stefanescu’s “The Home is Six Hens Which Never Lay Eggs” and Erin Carlyle’s “Moon Landing.”

Prompt: I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.

I started as always with the featured site. Firstly, WOW at Jessie’s site, I never did tumblr and I think I missed out!  

Untitled (American Windows) by Jessie Lynn McMains is an amazing, powerful poem. The depth of detail and her voice in this poem grabbed me, I was hooked from the opening line. This poem holds its impact. It is a force. How ‘falling’ is described… left me winded!

Here are some lines which stunned me and stopped me:

smoke-
wreathed over coffee by the window-glass, blurred beneath
the bare-bulb glare in the Howard Johnson’s basement,

I’d remember him, how if I could make our own
windows, our America, they’d have the broken bottle-glass,
drought-dry grass, blur of headlights, sun-warmed suburban
aqueducts, 

a bouquet of construction-paper
stars, 

What a beautiful reading experience to start today!

I then read the poems from  Five South. Starting with The Home Is Six Hens Which Never Lay Eggs by Alina Stefanescu, I have to say I loved the title. The unravelling narrative is encaptivating and I read it several times reading different stories in.

the trusted friendship of crimson azaleas.

I listened to Moon Landing by Erin Carlyle, it’s an intriguing poem.

It had a key

made of little raised markings—broken

beer bottles, but no way to land

on the moon.


And for once, I have the perfect starting point for today’s prompt to use repetition. I love Jericho Brown‘s poetry and his invention of the Duplex form (which works really effectively as long as you feed the right subject and incredible lines)… it does however, take some time to get this right and I have some scribbled notes of a poem which was tasked to be a Duplex, I am going back to that page today to see if I can weave some magic in.

Duplex —a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—

Whilst I go and work on my poem, I will leave you with Jericho.

PROCESS NOTES

I absolutely love writing a Duplex, but it takes a while to get my engine ready. Today I found absolute alchemy. Some medical notes I had been holding onto (living with incurable, chronic diseases) and the form of repeated lines. It wrote itself for 6 couplets so I only had to find 1 line. I am pleased with the result and think it will join my body of work.

It is a poem about thought adjustment and it was an incredible experience writing it!

Compress difficulty into love,

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 21

Standard

Read the full post here.

Happy end of the third week of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, everybody!

Featured participants Poet Voice and Orangepeel.

Featured online magazine The Night Heron Barks. I’ll point you to Michael Montlack’s “At 23” and Adrie Rose’s “The Flower is Haunted By.”

Today’s prompt is one I got from the poet Betsy Sholl… write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.

I loved the first featured poem, Kielbasa Speaks to the Vegetarian of Polish Descent by Jacquelyn Markham, which was packed with food but actually for me was all about those Grandma’s. Wonderful.

Brussels Sprouts Make Their Case by Bruce Niedt, combines prompts from NaPo & Write Better Poetry. A brilliant humorous sprout poem.

I listened to At 23 by Michael Montlack, a beautiful, reflective poem.

At 23 love was inevitable as the sun
on a windowsill. Days disposable.
Nights thinly disguised afterlives.

Then I listened to The Flower is Haunted ByAdrie Rose. Powerful poem.

Wooden trays filled

with slabs of moss, little caskets
        limned with plush greening,

I also read The Knife, Sharpened by Adrie Rose. A story I know well.

The Night Heron Barks is a beautiful journal which I will be going back to delve into and read.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

PROCESS NOTES

I started at the end of the prompt with an unanswerable question and then it seemed natural to follow in reverse. There is one piece of stunning art which has never left my mind, I have jobs I remember that I no longer have, so that was just a matter of choice. Friend was harder, mainly as social media has put us all back in contact, but I got there.

I wrote the whole prompt out as a free write and then decided which words/phrases to pull into the final poem (or the first draft of one, at least). The whole result felt a little disparate initially and the poem felt too long. After some form it felt more connected. I realised I should have added the question at the end to tie it together better. I spent some time considering this change.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Extracts from each of the prompted sections:

how different our lives were,
how unalike our mothers. It was that night
I started to understand.

creatures of habit – same day,
same time, same order.

I let the image light my head
with its glory,


NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 20

Standard

Read the full post here.

As of today we are two-thirds of the way through Na/GloPoWriMo 2022.

Today’s featured participants… in response to Day 19’s “command” prompt, Jessica McWhirt brings us a tough but tender elegy, while Elizabeth Burnham provides us with a meditation on the role of the poet.

Our featured online journal for today is Diode. In their newest issue, I’ll point you to Heidi Seaborn’s poem “upon seeing an elephant seal in front of my house in West Seattle” and Michael Robins’ “If One Has a Mind That Way.”

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that anthropomorphizes a kind of food. It could be a favorite food of yours, or maybe one you feel conflicted about.

After reading Day 20 all I can think about is cake! It took a while to reset my brain to poetry! Although…

Cake + Poetry = the perfect combination!

© (Top) Ana Tavares, Deva Williamson, (Base) Natalie Chaney, Ulysse Pointcheval

Yesterday, I actually had some time to spare and read lots of poems other people had written for Day 19, so when I discovered today’s poem was the incredible Grandma by Jessica McWhirt, I was thrilled. Jessica’s poems was one I read yesterday which is still sitting inside me. Stunning, succinct work. And that ending! WOW!

Then I read The Poet is a Mirror by Elizabeth Burnham, which felt like a kaleidoscope experience as you read it, as the imagery twists and turns over multiple versions of the same truth.

locking herself in a round white room 
where her black-ink words and her blue-ink words and her red-ink words 
all ripple and roll from floor to ceiling 
til the once-blank walls are smothered in kaleidoscopic thought. 

I then read the poems from Diode. Heidi Seaborn’s poem “upon seeing an elephant seal in front of my house in West Seattle – it reminded me of whales in the Thames, a surreal incident, a cracking poem.

 Your torso turned, long as a drift boat, … Your bark breaking my perfect line.

I read Data too, which I very much enjoyed. Clever. Then I read Michael Robins’ If One Has a Mind That Way.” I have enjoyed these short prose poems, Michael had me at his opening line (because of the use of little);

The sun each morning burns its little weight.

Some flower paints the tongue or returns the name of the one you loved. 

The opposite of a promise fills the air,

I read Letters from Portland too.

Diode is on the list of journals to go back and read when I get a chance to. These past few days have been busy offline and today I am squeezing in a workshop, a meeting and an event online too.

I felt today like I’d rather keep reading poetry than write it and then I scrolled up and saw/remembered the cake – so grabbed a coffee and dived in!

Starting with a list of favourite foods… now which one was I going to anthropomorphize? I couldn’t release my brain from shackles of cake, so I found this website and set about choosing which cake! And there in the very first picture was my answer!

When we were born my parents planted a tree for each of us in the garden, mine was a plum tree and most years it yielded a hefty crop for us (and our neighbours). We’d have a freezer full of plums throughout the year and make all sorts of scrumptious delights but never a Plum Cake. So there’s the basis for today’s poem.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today, I am gifting the whole poem again. I have to credit the title to this wonderful site I found.

The Value of Patience

We were one of the first fruits you humans
domesticated. I don’t know of the wild days,
there were no relatives old enough to pass
those stories forward. You feasted on my ancestors,

sucked them to the stone. You baked – they watched
you through the kitchen window with your mum.
My family tree is a long line of crumble,
did you never think of cake?

Perhaps your parents thought plum too rich
for your young palette. Not one Christmas
did we adorn that table, not even the year
you were joined by fourteen relatives.

And all those who fell in action, left to rot
on patio stones the colour of Battenburg.
See? Your life was cake. We can never deny
our roots, the strands of us. The core remains

forever. I know you still feel the stone in yours.
Do you wonder how different it could have been,
if only you’d baked a cake with us? Until today,
you’ve probably not given it a thought.

You’d pick us every summer, marvel at our wax bloom,
eat several fruits before you made it back inside,
you’d carry a bowl of firm, juicy ovals carefully
to the tap, wash us and pat us dry. You were smiling,

happy. Innocent, ready. You still feel like a child today,
but not a joyful one. If you must dwell in the past,
find the pleasant lines, protect your future self with them.
And eat prunes, your future-future self will thank you.