Saturday, May 23, 2009

Call for poems inspired by "Evaporation"

We are so pleased to have been discussing Brent Goodman's poem "Evaporation" this month, and we can't wait to see where the inspirations and challenges have taken you! Leave links to your poems in the comments section of this post, and be sure to go visit the poems of your fellow virtual poetry group members.

Yes, we know this post is going up Saturday, a day early, and we know how much this may shock you. However, Jill is traveling for the holiday weekend (Memorial Day here in the U.S.), and on Sunday, Carolee will be "celebrating" the holiday weekend at a leisurely and delightful cookout with friends. Yes, all day. And into the night.

In case you've missed all the excitement this month, here's how you can catch up: 1) study the poem "Evaporation" and join the discussion; 2) consider the writing prompt and write a poem of your own; and finally, 3) post a link to your poem here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

We interrupt this broadcast...

This just in... poem. has been selected by University Reviews Online as one of the Top 100 Poetry Blogs! See it here:

Wow! And just think, every one of our readers, writers and commentators, all of you, are part of the magic! Thank you! Thank you!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

PS: Please also note, one of our sister projects, Read. Write. Poem. was also selected! If you've never visited, now's the time!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

poem condensation follows "evaporation"

Now that you have read and discussed Brent Goodman's "Evaporation" (here), it's time to write your own poems. When something evaporates into the air, it does (under the right conditions) return to a physical form. Let your muse, your reading and the stories around you condense into a poem from this week's prompt(s).

Feel free to write from anything the poem inspires in you, but here are some ideas in case you need help:
  • Write a poem with a first line about someone other than yourself.
  • Write a poem that tells a story about someone you know (or someone you read about in the newspaper). Weave into it the ways in which the story has affected you.
  • Write a poem about the scientific aspects of evaporation or condensation, or write a poem about another scientific phenomenon. Using Brent's example, don't allow the science to rule the poem. Instead, use it to enhance the poem's imagery.
  • Write a poem about something you missed.
  • Write a poem using repetition. What many of us like about "Evaporation" is how the repetition sets the pace by creating a halting or hesitating motion. See what you can do with repetition.
Don't post your links yet! Come back next Sunday for a chance to share your poem with your fellow poemers.Link

Sunday, May 10, 2009

evaporation, by brent goodman

This month, poet Brent Goodman has given us permission to discuss one of his poems. We've selected "Evaporation," which appeared December 30, 2008, as the weekly installment of Linebreak.

Read the poem several times. What are your first impressions? What story is the narrator telling? How does he feel about the story? Remember: for purposes of discussion, always assume the narrator is different from the poet. In your initial read of the piece, try to simply absorb the characters, the settings, the images, the "happenings" and the emotions.

Then read the poem out loud. Read it out loud again, but slower this time.

How has the poet crafted the piece? What devices is he using to deliver you the images, happenings and emotions you grabbed the first-time through? Remember: the poet is the author. He has placed his words exactly how he wants them to "make" the poem. On these reads, think about things like repetition of phrases or sounds, stanza breaks -- or the lack of them and line length. Think about the strength of each word: how precise the verbs are (cuts, splices, confides) and how specific the nouns are (MGB instead of "car" and moraines instead of "hills" or "ridges").

Use the comments section to discuss any of these ideas or let us know what the poem brings out in you. Next week, we'll propose a writing prompt based on our discussion!


Brent's debut poetry collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009), is available from Black Lawrence Press. He is the author of two chapbooks: Trees are the Slowest Rivers and the award-winning Wrong Horoscope.

Be sure to go visit Brent at his blog (the brother swimming beneath me) to thank him for offering up "Evaporation" to us and to encourage him in his recovery from a recent heart attack. He's making wonderful progress!


Administrative note: As you may have noticed, we got off track a bit last month. We're catching up now. If you're interested in how it happened, you can check the housekeeping note here. Welcome back!

back on track

Hi, everyone! Even though we stress our relaxed tempo over here at "poem," our hope is to follow a schedule that reasonably resembles a weekly (Sunday) posting. In April, we really didn't make it. April was my month to post, and I spent half of the month in Maine with my mother, father and sister through the final week of my mom's battle with cancer and then, following her death, attending the service and just being together. It's complicated by the fact that I live nine hours away.

When I wasn't there or traveling there, I was at home in New York trying to handle "normal" life with three young boys. It didn't leave much time for things like blogging. Jill did her best to patch up the holes, but her daughter had pneumonia. So we just did the best we could.

With any luck, now, we're back on track. I'm getting ready now to post our poem for discussion. I hope you're still with us! And please be sure to let us know if you'd like to be added under "members" in the sidebar. (You can email Jill at the address she's provided in the sidebar.)


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

free-for-all week: get up close and personal with an insect

Hi all! We're still recovering from National Poetry Month around here! If you participated in napowrimo, leave us a note in the comments and tell us how it went for you!

In other news, although you may have had your share of prompts the past four weeks, we couldn't resist just one more... Our free-for-all this week is a Moth-based writing prompt: a little research, a little examinaiton, a little poetry. Here's what you are invited to do:

  1. Choose an insect: a moth would be great, but there are so many more! ladybug, ant, beetle, stink bug...
  2. Google your insect. Gather all the information you can: names of body parts, full-color photos, mating habits, gestation periods, habitat, folk lore... Pull together every bit of information you can about your chosen insect.
  3. After you have all your information, write a poem from the viewpoint of the insect.
  4. Stuck? Need some inspiration? Try starting your poem with "When I was a..." or "I am a..."
  5. Of course, as with all of our prompts, these are just suggestions. And this is just a free-for-all. So, as long as your poem is insect related, anything goes. Post a link to your poem all week long. Come back Sunday to see what new poet and new poem we have chosen for the next month's discussion.