I read the prompts this morning before I left for a meeting in the city. I got home shortly before Mr. G finished work. I spent the evening researching and organising festival events and then sat down about an hour ago to work on my poems.
Here are today’s prompts and lines.
Our interviewee for the day is Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, a play, a collection of short stories, and a book of essays. Whew! That’s a lot of writing. You can find a number of her poems here. If you’re not sure which one to choose, here’s my personal favorite.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.
I love the Jabberwocky, despite having to study it in school and subsequently using it for teaching. Sometimes when academia is involved creative enjoyment diminishes, not the case here. My poem was not intended as a nonsense poem, but the result is definitely just that.
I started with a list of portmanteaus, then proceeded to use almost all of them in my poem.
when eyezips restored the balance,
allowed lightwalls to crumple beneath
I also love Rita Dove and was fortunate enough to see her in action back in 2015. Birmingham Literature Festival
Carrie Etter left a choice of 5 words from a list of 6. I wrote a short 6 line poem.
… tie your hopes to branches of the Willow,
hear them catch
beneath the weight of leaves.
Jo Bell gave us Yes by William Stafford http://www.jobell.org.uk/ along with a what is poetry discussion.
‘Some poems derive their power from the act of isolating a thought or a moment, and focusing attention on it – almost like a meditative text. Isolating that idea and expressing it concisely and with clarity, is perhaps the most important skill.’ – Jo Bell.
The Poetry School offered
Day 18: You’ve Got To Start Somewhere!
- Getting started is the hardest part of writing, so let’s get it out of the way. Either:Go to the Random Sentence Generator and click the button to generate a completely random new sentence. You might have to have a few goes before you get one that makes sense.Or choose a sentence that appeals to you from a nearby book. Don’t think too hard about it. It can be poetry or prose.There – you have the first sentence of your new poem. Now lineate it in a way that adds meaning, and you have your basic line length. Finally, write the whole thing, then (optionally!) delete your first sentence.Off you go! Nearly on the 10 Day Countdown, keep going!