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!