Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Vacation

Dear Loyal poem. Readers/Writers,

We will be taking a summer vacation! Gone fishing. Wish you were here. Have a great trip. See you next fall. Hmmm... I'm out of corny metaphors!

Please use the remaining days of June, or all summer if you wish, to post links to poems you may have written is response to our latest poem, You Heard the Man You Love by Margaret Atwood.

If you are new to the site, and happen to stumble by in the months of July or August, please come back in September where we will begin the school year with a new poem to study!

Thank you to everyone who made this blog an interesting and insightful poetic stop on the cyber superhighway! (Will the corny metaphors never cease? Can you see why a vacation is needed?)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

You heard the man you love

Sorry for the delay, poem-lovers! But we're back! And here is our poem for the month: You Heard the Man You Love by Margaret Atwood.

Read it online. Print it. Read it out loud. Read it to a friend. Copy it into your favorite notebook, word by word. Absorb the poem. Be the poem. Consider the poem.

All this week you are invited to stop by and discuss the poem. Discuss Margaret Atwood. Next week, we'll post a prompt for writing a poem inspired by "...the man you love."

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the poem!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

tell the truth: you're excited to post your links

It's time for show and tell. Use the comments section to post links to poems you've written based on our "truth" poem. Hope you had fun with it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

inspired by "a true poem"

now it's time for you to do some writing based on our discussion of "a true poem" by lloyd schwartz. are you inspired to write something about the precipice you teeter on in your own writing process? are you imagining a piece about your own fears about the subjects that arise in your poems?

of course, there are many other places to go with this, as well. what kinds of subjects make tricky writing because of their implications? relationships. yes. secrets. yes. wounds. yes. grudges. certainly. maybe you'll write that true poem schwartz alludes to, the one that can't be shared, and maybe you'll share it.

another angle would be to think about your reader, the one who may be hurt, reading your poetry. describe that occurrence. what is the reader's reaction? what happens to you as a result?

you have a whole week to write your poems. come back next week and for the invitation to post links to your poems.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

poetry and other sharp objects

we're starting this month with a poem by lloyd schwartz called "a true poem." you can find it here at the website for the academy of american poets.

whether you did a lot of "extra" poetry writing last month because of napowrimo or whether you write a lot, a lot, a lot of poetry all the time or even if you're only vaguely attached to concept of poetry -- this poem is worth reading over and over. it addresses not only what many of us believe about the truth in poetry (that it can be dangerous and is often painful) but also what many of us contend: that we are compelled to write, sometimes inexplicably and against rational thought.

let's spend some time this week talking about the risks of poetry and the need to write it. in addition, of course, we'll discuss the poem itself. "a true poem" goes beyond telling us about the narrator's tangle with poetry; it wraps us up in it, as well. how does it accomplish this? what is the role of repetition in the piece? what other devices does the poet use? do you read the piece as sarcastic or as a description of genuine struggle?

in about a week, we'll post a prompt based on our discussion. until then, see you in the comments section!

Monday, April 28, 2008

call for "seed" poems

sorry to keep you waiting! little seeds of drama in our own lives (plus napowrimo) have been keeping us busy, busy, busy, but here we are, anxiously awaiting your poems.

what seemingly simple, ordinary, everyday "thing" lead you to explore a greater life drama? or where else were you inspired to go by the prufer poem?

post links to your poems here in the comments section. thanks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Poetry prompt based on Kevin Prufer's "Seeds"

Kevin Prufer's poem, Seeds, is loaded with concrete images, scenes from a daily life. From the opening visual of "The pepper on the cutting board and the seeds inside it..." to the "sliced cantaloupe and its stringy heart..." and the faucets which won't stop dripping. However, this is far more than a poem of the domestic. Prufer seemlessly merges the domestic with the dire, using the simple action of cutting, and then bleeding, to ruminate on a loved one in the hospital.

How can you merge the domestic with a greater theme? This week, give it a try. You do not have to write about a huge drama. It could be as universal as a fender bender, no one harmed. The spilled milk, maybe? The idea is to move from the mundane, common, the everyday, into the universal ache. Of course, it could be the illness, but it could also be the fight with a child, friend or spouse, the bills, the taxes, the lonliness, the regret...

Maybe this poem meant something entirely different to you. Perhaps your reading of it lead you in an entirely different direction. Whatever the path, follow it. Re-read Seeds, then write a poem based on your reaction/interpretation.

Come back next Sunday, April 27, and post a link to your poem.

And, hey, if you have an idea for a prompt related to this poem, leave your idea in the comments section this week. No poems, please! Save those for next week!

Happy third week of National Poetry Month!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Seeds by Kevin Prufer: Our April Poem

Thank you, everyone, for all of your wonderful suggestions! So much great poetry to choose from. The truth is, our choice, Kevin Prufer's poem, Seeds, was our immediate choice because it resonates for both Carolee and I, what with hospitals and mortality being our own personal "white elephants" of late.

We hope you approve, enjoy, read, think, respond! Discussion begins today and will continue through Saturday, April 19. Sunday, April 20, we will post a prompt related to this poem. You will have all of TV Turnoff Week (April 21-27) to write a poem! (Aren't we thoughtful?) Then, Sunday, April 27, you can come back and post the links to your new poems.

Consider the entire month of April your "free-for-all!" After all, many of us are attempting the 30 poems in 30 days challenge, and that is tough enough!

Thanks for poeming with us!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

in-between week! pick a poet!

Hey all! Since we technically have one more day of March, AND because we didn't have a lot of response to the free-for-all, we are going to stretch our fourth week into the last and first of March & April, respectively.

Also, to liven things up, start national poetry month off with a bang, we're going to try something a little new. We know it's high time we examined a poem by a male poet. We just can't decide on which poet. It seems an auspicious honor to be the poet up for discussion during the month of April, no? So, fellow poem-ers, help us choose. Leave a few choices in the comments, and next Sunday we will surprise you with a new poem/new poet.

Now go out there and spread the poetry this month!

Monday, March 24, 2008

week four free-for-all

Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay! Easter, travel. know!

Our free-for-all this week is an "immediate" kind of poem. One day this week, when you have the time, write a poem about something you just put away. For instance, after a 3-hour train trip and four days away from home, I am stripping the sheets off the beds and putting away the luggage. If my son stops chattering directly in my ear about the Jedis and the Clones that he is fighting in my bedroom, I might be able to write a poem. Maybe I'll write about putting away the Clones...

You could write about a literal putting away--the groceries, the dishes, the toys, the books, the car, the tools. Or you could write about a metaphorical putting away--the lover, the fight, the worry. The only caveat (and this it what makes it a free-for-all!) is the immediacy. Really try to write immediately after you perform the task.

Have fun! Post your put-away-poem links here all week. Next Sunday, stop by for the reveal of our new poem/new poet for the month of April! National Poetry Month! Yahoo!

Monday, March 17, 2008

call for poems

Hi, everyone! We hope you had a great week writing from our latest prompt. From today until next Sunday, you can post links to your poems in the comment section. Be sure to visit all your fellow poets and read about their traditions, rites of passage, and the like.

Next weekend, we'll post a free-for-all and then on or about April 1, we start the whole thing over again with a new poet and poem up for discussion.

Monday, March 10, 2008

poem. prompt based on "the putting away of dolls"

This week, draft a poem of your own based on a real or symbolic rite of passage. This can be something in your own life or something unrelated to you that inspires you.

The original poem, part of a collection of poems based on Eskimo mythology, is rich with cultural references about clothing, materials, traditions and roles. We encourage you to reach into your own culture or another culture (in our time or any other time) to enrich to your setting, your character, your metaphors. These details, like those in "The putting away of dolls," will add depth and texture to your piece.

You may want to gather up your words and images before you sit down to write the poem. Begin with the culture you've selected. If it's your own, brainstorm meaningful qualities and traditions, stories about family members, places you've lived and activities you've enjoyed. Consider all the physical details. If you've chosen a culture outside your own, research beliefs, festivals, lifestyles, etc.

You won't use everything you've collected, but if you don't surround yourself with it, you won't be able to convince your readers!

Now think about a rite of passage and imagine yourself there. Immerse yourself. Try to stay in character, time and setting through the entire piece.

Next week, on or around Sunday, we'll post a request for links to what you've created. Have fun! We can't wait to read about your travels, the people you meet, and how their lives are about to change!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our Third Poem: The putting away of dolls by Denise Duhamel

Our March discussion will focus on Denise Duhamel's "The Putting Away of Dolls" from her collection The Woman With Two Vaginas: Poetry based on Eskimo mythology. (The entire collection, which won the 1994 Salmon Run Poetry Prize and was nominated for an American Library Association award, is available online through the Contemporary American Poetry Archive.)

The Putting Away of Dolls

This is what they called the day
her first blood came, the day she was too old
for her long slender doll made of reindeer bone.
It had taken a long time for her to learn
how to sew seal intestines without tearing them,
how to guide the ulu
so no part of an animal's hide was wasted.
She'd given her bone doll a wolverine ruff
because breath would not freeze
on that kind of fur. Though her father
carved her a doll with no arms,
she'd made parka sleeves from the seamless skin
of a ground squirrel's front legs.
She'd crimped the doll's moccasins with her teeth,
double checked each stitch to make sure
no wind or ice could pass through it.
An ill-sewn garment could mean death.
An ill-made marriage could mean unhappiness.
Her dolls' outfits were perfect as her mother
packed them away. The sticky blood,
slow and strange between her legs. She grew
dizzy as her family began to talk
of husbands and babies. She was an animal
strung upside-down, drained before drying.
Her hands never to touch skins that small again.

(Reprinted with permission from the author.)

Spend some quality time with the poem. Read it again and again. Make sure you read it out loud at least once. Slowly. Then share your thoughts, observations, questions and impressions in the comments section of this post.

Upcoming: Next week, we will post a prompt related to the poem!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

poem free for all!

Well, it's week four in our poem cycle, time for some fun. Why don't we try a smorgasbord? Pick one and report back with your results!

1. write a poem about a person, place or thing without naming the person, place or thing.

2. find another poem about a name and tell us about it.

3. write a name acrostic--that is, a poem which spells out something in the first letter of each line. ex:

Joy for mothers
is seldom found
lying under
low-flying hairballs.

(first letter of each line spells out my name, Jill.) yes. i know it's a lame poem. i'm kind of tired.

4. write a list poem of all the names you wish you'd had, all the names you've been called, the names of all the personalities you have, etc...

5. write a poem under a psudonym. that is, write a poem from a view point or a voice you would not normally write in, or about a subject you would not normally write about. sort of an anti-you poem.

6. send the poem you wrote about your name to the people who named you.

7. engage in any other creative poetry outlet you feel so inclined to enjoy!

There's a new poem/new poet next month, so stay tuned! And, as always, thank you, everyone, for participating!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

call for "name poems"

Hi, everyone! We hope you had a great week writing from the name prompt. Post links to your poems in the comment section and visit all your poet friends who spent the week naming names.

Next weekend, we'll post a free-for-all and then on March 2 we start the whole thing over again with a new poet and poem up for discussion and inspiration!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

poem. prompt based on My Name

Many thanks to everyone who offered their comments, interpretations and impressions of My Name, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil! We can keep the discussion going, if you like!

Now it’s time to write your own poems about your names. Or maybe someone else’s name.

Read My Name again. Jot down the thoughts/images/lines that come to you as you read. No editing (at least in the idea gathering, gotta give your muse a break…)!

Do you remember learning to write your name? Learning what your name meant? Maybe how your parents chose your name? Do people always mispronounce your name? Have you ever thought about changing your name? How do you relate to your name? Do you like it? Hate it?

In her wonderful book, poemcrazy, Susan Wooldridge writes, “Poetry can be about discovering and naming ourselves. And creating a name can be like writing a poem.”

Borrowing from her chapter entitled, our real names, you could try starting a poem with "my real name is," "yesterday my name was," or "tomorrow my name will be."

Of course, feel free to ignore everything we say! These are all just prompts—little sparks to set your creative fire roaring. The real poem will come from you.

Take a week and give it a shot. When we post again next week (on or about February 17), we'll ask you to share what you wrote. In the comments section of that post, you can publish a free write, draft or finished piece, or you can publish a permalink to something on your own blog.

ps: everyone and anyone is welcome to post a name poem. It's ok if you didn't participate in the discussion. We're equal opportunity poets around here!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Our Second Poem: My Name by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Welcome to February here at poem! Our poem for the month is My Name by Aimee Nehukumatathil. It's from Miracle Fruit, her first book of poetry. * (In case anyone is worried, we actually have Aimee's permission (!) to use this poem! How cool is that?)

As a reminder, this week, all you need to do is read the poem and enjoy a lively discussion of it! Think about it, sit with it, say it aloud, read it to family and friends...then post your thoughts, observations, questions and impressions here in the comments section.

Next week, we will post a prompt related to the poem. The third week of the month you can post your links to your own "name poems," and after that...surprise, surprise, surprise!


My Name

At four, I was ready: fat pencil and paper, lined
the way I like it best--two strong sky blue lines
with a dotted line in between the two, a soft ceiling
for the tops of lower case letters to brush up against.

In New Guinea, to identify a person's family, you ask,
What is the name of your canoe? My seventh grade
social studies teacher made up a dance to help him
remember how to pronounce my name--he'd break it

into sharp syllables, shake his corduroyed hips
at roll call, his bulge of keys rattling in time.
I don't remember who first shortened it to Nez,
but I loved the zip of it, the sport and short of it,

until the day I learned Nez means nose in French.
Translation: beloved nose. My father tells me part
of our name comes from a flower from the South Indian
coast. I wonder what it smells like, what fragrance

I always have dabbed at my neck. Scientists say some flowers
don't have a scent, but they do--even if it's hints of sweat
from blooms too long without drink or the promise
of honey from the scratchings of a thin bee leg, feathered

with loosestrife and sage. I wonder if I've ever smelled
our flower, if the smell ever wafted clear across the ocean.
I would swim out to meet it, brush the salt and bits
of pink shell away, apologize for the messiness of my hair.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"poem." free-for-all!

it's week #4 in our virtual poetry group cycle, and as week #4's will go, this one is tame. find a poem online that reminds you -- in any way -- of mary oliver's "cold poem." it could connect via imagery, meaning, style, etc. it can even be another one of your own. go to the comments and link up for us.

next week, we'll start this all over again, with february's week one introducing us to a new poem!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

poem away!

Now's the time to poem! From now until next Sunday, we invite you to post the links to your own cold poems here in our comments section. Then, sit back, grab a hot drink (or a cold one, if you prefer) and enjoy your fellow poets' work!

We would like to offer a big, hearty Thank You! to everyone for joining us in this new venture. Stay tuned for some poetic free-for-all next Sunday. Then, Sunday, February 3, stop back for a new poem/poet to read & discuss!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

poem. prompt based on "cold poem"

we had so many terrific comments in the discussion of "cold poem" (we can keep it going, by the way!). it is so amazing how much time everyone spent considering the piece and sharing their interpretations and observations. we're really moved by it! thank you.

now it's time for us to do some writing of our own.

read "cold poem" again.

take something out of what it stirs up in you and write your own poem. maybe it's simple: it makes you think literally about bears or winter. how does the cold affect you? or maybe it's more of an analogy. maybe you respond by asking yourself what strips you down to bare bones? what do you need to survive? how do you survive? in the dialogue about the poem, we talked about turning inward, stark reality, hunger, fear, loneliness, devouring.

take a week and give it a shot. when we post again next week (on or about january 20), we'll ask you to share what you wrote. in the comments section of that post, you can publish a free write, draft or finished piece, or you can publish a permalink to something on your own blog.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cold Poem by Mary Oliver: Our 1st poem. poem

Here is a link to the first poem up for discussion:
Cold Poem

welcome to poem.

Welcome to poem. a virtual poetry group. jillypoet & carolee, poets, moms, artists, have tried for years to gather our poet friends together for weekly or bi-weekly poetry meetings, to no avail. Everyone has such busy lives. Being two resourceful Northern girls (born and raised on the far east coast where life is tough and women are tougher), we decided to create our own poetry writing/discussion group, right here in the blogosphere.

That's how poem. will work--just like a weekly poetry group, only we have decided to space things out just a bit to accomodate all of our busy lives.

Week one:
At the beginning of every month we will post a link to a poem by a well-known or lesser-known poet. Read and re-read the poem. Take notes. Read it aloud. Make copies and pass them out to friends, family and strangers! Join us all week in discussing the poem. What worked for you, what didn't. Words you liked. Questions you have. A virtual classroom, you might say.

Week two:
We will post a prompt related to the poem.

Week three:
Participants can post the link to their response to the prompt for comment & critique.

Week four:
Week four is a free week. Stop by for surprises.

At the beginning of the next month, we'll do it all over again with a new and amazing poem!

We hope you will join us!