Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

I hope you will join me along with 29 other Kidlitosphere friends who are participating this year in Irene Latham's Progressive Poem Project. Each April day, in honor of National Poetry Month, invited poets will add one line a day beginning on April 1st. No one knows where the poem will go, so the twists and turns come as each poet adds his or her take on the direction it's already going. At any point, a stanza may break, or a line may be enjambed, leaving it up to the next poet to decide how to finish the thought. It's a roller coaster ride, or (as Irene's logo for the project shows) a lovely wall being built brick by brick. Something tells me that 30 bricklayers might make for a crazy wall, and there might be extra mortar in places or a lack of mortar in others - but that's all part of the fun. For me, it's hardest to follow a line with abstractions in it - I think poetry does best when it looks at those abstractions indirectly. "Show, don't tell" applies to poetry along with fiction - and staring too directly at an abstraction or a sentiment is the telling side of things. I like poetry that comes at things sideways. As Archibald MacLeish famously said, "For all the history of grief / An empty doorway and a maple leaf." Get too sentimental, and you get abstract - and abstractions can take all the breath away from a poem. That's my approach, anyway. With a poem written by many people, there are many ideas of what is best for a poem, so hang onto your hat, the roller coaster ride is about to begin!

My day to add a line is April 8th and I'm looking forward to it.

You can click on dates below to see how the poem is progressing. I will also add the growing poem to my Poetry Friday posts this month. 

Here we go, with the first line, second line, etc.

When you listen to your footsteps       (Amy, 4/1)
the words become music and              (Joy 4/2)
the rhythm that you're rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.     (Matt, 4/3)
Your pen starts dancing across the page  (Jone, 4/4)
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until   (Dori, 4/5)
smiling, you're beguiling as your love comes shining through. (Gayle, 4/6)

Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers (Janet, 4/7)

30  April Halprin Wayland

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading. Head over there to see what other people have posted. And wow, it's April - a lot is happening for National Poetry Month!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Poetry Friday: The Games Have Begun!!

Round One of the 2nd Annual March Madness competition (a thrilling, maddening, intoxicating poetry-under-pressure playoff) is underway at Ed DeCaria's THINK KID THINK. How he manages to organize and keep up with the avalanche of  work involved (this first round = 64 poems from 64 poets!) just boggles the mind. He designed the competition, posted the brackets, posted overviews and a calendar, assigned us all our Round One words (no, we can't just write anything we want - we have assigned words, with different levels of difficulty.) Tomorrow? New words, new poems.  For a good explanation of how it all works, click here. Ed, thanks!

What makes it a competition?  Readers get to vote for their favorites! (Don't hesitate - voting ends on a staggered basis throughout the day today.)

Here's my approach to the contest: If, as a poet, you enter the Madness feeling anxious, terrified and/or cutthroat, it's probably not too pleasant. But if you enter for the delight of it (it's amazing to see what people can come up with quickly) then it's a lot of fun. 64 poets at play!

My assigned word for Round One? "Diphthongs."

English Vowel Sounds (those with two separate symbols in one box are gliding vowels, aka in #20 - "how")
Yes, DIPHTHONGS! (I thought that was bad - someone got "anthropomorphization" and someone else got "necrotize.") My word turned out to be the perfect challenge - I had a ball coming up with something kids might enjoy (and I might, too.) Bottom line: Win or lose, I have a new poem I like.

Click here to read it (I've also pasted it in below) and also read its rival, a poem by Victoria Warneck (assigned word: "dazzle) yesterday.

And click here for "the scoreboard" - a list of links to all Round One pairings, divided into Flight One (vote by early afternoon today - Friday) and Flight Two (vote by 7:30 tonight.) You can vote easily at each link.

I know that by the time you read this, there might not be much time left to vote. But if you miss the Round One deadlines you can still vote in all the other rounds - they'll come fast and furious in the next few days (which is why we say "poetry under pressure"!) so be looking for new scoreboards and poems posted overnight at Think Kid Think.

Many regular Poetry Friday poets are part of the competition - check out poems by Laura Purdie Salas, Renee LaTulippe, Mary Lee Hahn (whose poem sent me down for the count in Round Three of last year's Madness!), April Halprin Wayland, Amy Vanderwater, Heidi Mordhorst, Robyn Hood Black, Greg Pincus, Katya Szaja, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, susan Taylor Brown and Charles Waters - all of them have poems up in the First Round. Special shout-outs to Vermont College of Fine Arts students and alums Anna Boll, Callie Miller and Jim Hill. Go, Team VCFA!

Take a few minutes to vote for your favorites!

Here's what I submitted for Round One:

Hound Dog’s Lament

I’m the Duke of Diphthongs – I know that it sounds nuts,
but when I howl the vowels glide around, unlike a normal mutt’s.
I howwww-owwww-owwwl my head off. I never bark, I mourn.
I have to play my diphthongs just like Louis Armstrong played his horn.
A dachshund is no Blues Man – his song consists of yips.
But I’m a hound, my sound is true
to how-owwwwww-OWWWWWWWWWW a diphthong dips.

[Ed. Note: Alas, my poem did not prevail! Hound dog, I still love you, but I am out of the running, so I'm going to kick back and enjoy the show for the rest of the tournament.Have fun, poets!] 


The Poetry Friday round-up today is being hosted by Jone at Check It Out. Head over there to see what other people have posted.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Poetry Friday: Lions, Primroses, Sighs, Moans

March roared in like a lion in Seattle, though it was hard to tell the difference between that lion and the February lion that roared in four weeks earlier. Lions of the weather variety do plenty of roaring in the Pacific Northwest. Wind, rain, roar, bluster, rain again, roar again. 

Maybe what differentiates March from February is the display of primroses everywhere. How do those little flowers face all the roaring...yet remain so cheerful?

For Poetry Friday, I'm offering a little something about wind - though this wind sighs rather than roars. Maybe this is the wind after the lamb has made an appearance. Or maybe it's not really the wind sighing....?  The poem was written by the wonderful English writer, Walter de la Mare, and if you don't know his collection titled Peacock Pie, here's my advice: Find it, read it, and revel in it. And read the poems out loud. They were made to be heard.


Old Tillie Turveycombe
Sat to sew,
Just where a patch of fern did grow;
There as she yawned,
And yawn wide did she,
Floated some seed
Down her gull-e-t;
And look you once,
And look you twice,
Poor old Tille
Was gone in a trice.
But oh, when the wind
Do a-moaning come,
'Tis poor old Tillie
Sick for home;
And oh, when a voice
In the mist do sigh,
Old Tillie Turveycombe's
Floating by.

Walter de la Mare...

...and Walter de la Mare.

The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. Head over there to see what other people are offering.