Sunday, March 29, 2009

A collaborative sestina! Why not!

We have something special in the works...we really do. In the meantime, we thought it might be fun to try some collaborative poetry--even more fun if we try a collaborative sestina!

The form appears complicated, but can be broken down pretty simply: 6 stanzas of six lines each. Each stanza uses the same six end words, in a different order in each stanza.

To be clear:
Stanza 1: 123456
Stanza 2: 615243
Stanza 3: 364125
Stanza 4: 532614
Stanza 5: 451362
Stanza 6: 246531

To begin, we will need people to contribute our first six lines. Whatever words each person's line ends with will become our six repeated words. So give it some thought!

To keep it simple, each time you contribute a line, please cut and paste the previous lines into your new comment.

Off we go!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

call for poems

So, did you pen a sestina? Were you pensive about writing in a form? Whatever your pencil was inspired to produce after reading and discussing Denise Duhamel's Delta Flight 659, we can't wait to see it!

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 their penultimate poetry!

Next weekend, we'll post a free-for-all (be sure to stop by and see the surprise!). Then, on Sunday, April 5, we will welcome National Poetry Month with a new poet and poem up for discussion.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time to write your own poems!

First, Carolee and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the great discussion of Denise Duhamel’s Delta Flight 659 last week! The exchange of ideas by a community of varied thinkers is exactly what we had in mind when we envisioned this site!

Now, on to the prompt. After so much discussion, it’s clear there are myriad ways to be inspired by this poem. Will it be a mock sestina using only one end word? A celebrity poem? What poem would you write to help deal with your fears? Perhaps you want to try your hand at a traditional sestina. If so, here’s a quick link.

Whatever Duhamel’s poem inspired in you, write it! And be sure to come back next Sunday, March 22, 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!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Delta Flight 659: to Sean Penn, by Denise Duhamel

Welcome to poem: an online poetry salon, of sorts! Our poem for the month of March is Denise Duhamel's Delta Flight 659: to Sean Penn from her latest collection of poetry, Ka-Ching!

Read it once, twice, or twenty times. 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. When you're ready to talk, you are invited to stop by and discuss the poem in the comments section.

Next week, we'll post a prompt for writing your own piece inspired by the poem. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the poem!

Delta Flight 659
to Sean Penn

I’m writing this on a plane, Sean Penn,
with my black Pilot Razor ball point pen.
Ever since 9/11, I’m a nervous flyer. I leave my Pentium
Processor in Florida so TSA can’t x-ray my stanzas, penetrate
my persona. Maybe this should be in iambic pentameter,
rather than this mock sestina, each line ending in a Penn

variant. I convinced myself the ticket to Baghdad was too expensive.
I contemplated going as a human shield. I read, in open-
mouthed shock, that your trip there was a $56,000 expenditure.
Is that true? I watched you on Larry King Live—his suspenders
and tie, your open collar. You saw the war’s impending
mess. My husband gambled on my penumbra

of doubt. “So you station yourself at a food silo in Iraq. What happens
to me if you get blown up?” He begged me to stay home, be his Penelope.
I sit alone in coach, but last night I sat with four poets, depending
on one another as readers, in a Pittsburgh café. I tried to be your pen
pal in 1987, not because of your pensive
bad boy looks, but because of a poem you’d penned

that appeared in an issue of Frank. I still see the poet in you, Sean Penn.
You probably think fans like me are your penance
for your popularity, your star bulging into a pentagon
filled with witchy wanna-bes and penniless
poets who waddle towards your icy peninsula
of glamour like so many menacing penguins.

But honest, I come in peace, Sean Penn,
writing on my plane ride home. I want no part of your penthouse
or the snowy slopes of your Aspen.
I won’t stalk you like the swirling grime cloud over Pig Pen.
I have no script or stupendous
novel I want you to option. I even like your wife, Robin Wright Penn.

I only want to keep myself busy on this flight, to tell you of four penny-
loafered poets in Pennsylvania
who, last night, chomping on primavera penne
pasta, pondered poetry, celebrity, Iraq, the penitentiary
of free speech. And how I reminded everyone that Sean Penn
once wrote a poem. I peer out the window, caress my lucky pendant:

Look, Sean Penn, the clouds are drawn with charcoal pencils.
The sky is opening like a child’s first stab at penmanship.
The sun begins to ripen orange, then deepen.

(reprinted by permission of author)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

welcome to poem. redux 2009

Welcome to poem. a virtual poetry group. jill & carolee, poets, artists, moms, have tried for years to gather our poet friends together for weekly or bi-weekly poetry meetings, to no avail. While we do, on a pretty regular basis, get together IRL to write (dish) and talk about poetry (husbands, crushes, our hair), we still have a mad desire for more talk about poetry. Resourceful Northern girls that we are (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 accommodate all of our busy lives. (And no-one can see how much you're eating or drinking amidst all the discussion!)

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 (coffee shop, bar), 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. This time around, we're hoping to have interviews with our featured poets, maybe even a virtual Q&A, if the poet is willing (tricked, coerced, kidnapped)!

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

Stay tuned for our first poet & poem, arriving on Sunday, March 8. (Sunday will be the day we'll try to launch each week's activity. Add us to your Google reader or other thing-a-ma-bob so you don't miss the slow beating of our sincere little hearts.)