Friday, April 22, 2011

Poetry Friday - Is Every Day Friday??????

A Real Spanish Dove

What has happened to the length of a week?? It used to be seven days between Fridays, but now it seems like every few days - sometimes every few blinks -  it's another Friday, and I've missed an early posting of something on The Drift Record for Poetry Friday. 

Well today I'll keep it short (not easy for me): Click here to see one of my poems called "Far from Home." It appears online as part of Greg Pincus's Poetry Month series, 30 Poets/30 Days - which is part of Greg's blog Gotta Book. Greg invited thirty poets to give him an unpublished poem to use for his celebration of National Poetry Month - definitely go to his blog to check out some of the fine poems he chose.

My poem was written in Seville - or was it Granada? - where a dove cooed for hours outside our hotel room. I guess old age has something to do with this blurring of days and places? One thing for sure: I can't keep blaming the blur on jet lag. It's in me permanently now - which is why I must be thinking so often of the importance of slowing down.

I'll post the poem here, too, now that Greg has new poems up to finish out the week.

Far from Home

From my room this morning I could hear
the the cu-cu-ru-ing of a Spanish dove…
this little bird calling me is why I love
a long trip, when I know I’m near
creatures I never thought I’d meet:
a French dog barking, a Welsh cow mooing,
a Czech hen clucking, a Spanish dove cooing –
even a river rippling in a language new to me!
Now I see kids on the bridge, playing –
I wonder what they’re saying?

An Imaginary Spanish Dove - Wish It Were Real....

Poetry Friday this week is being posted by The Book Aunt - go there to see what other people have posted!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry Friday: After Todd Boss

Photo by Sarah-jane Laubscher - See link below.

My writing group and I took a look at the work of an interesting young poet named Todd Boss in the latest Poetry Magazine, then tried to duplicate the short-line rhythms, rhymes and wordplay in his poem "Amidwives."  Imitation can be an intriguing way to get yourself out of old ruts, strengthen some poetry muscles, and surprise yourself (no surprise for the writer = no surprise for the reader.)  Give it a try sometime with an unfamiliar new poet whose work intrigues you. Whether you're writing for adults of for kids, it's not hard to identify other writers whose work you love, and to figure out the parameters of your imitation. I straddle the fence between work for kids and work for adults, which I used to find difficult (maintaining my balance) but which, more and more, I'm enjoying. One effort refreshes and strengthens the other.

Here is what I came up with - not sure yet if it's just a yo-yo trick or if it works, though I know it falls short of Boss's tight control.  But it goes somewhere I wouldn't have gone without the challenge. The word "parsimony," by the way, is defined many ways in the OED, one of which is "the principle that no more entities, causes, or forces than necessary should be invoked in explaining a set of facts or observations" (thus, the short lines, which is a choice I usually don't make....) 


This frugal route
between here and the other

riverbank could be seen
as the root

of all evil,
laid out by the Devil

to keep me in doubt
about the after-

or a rowboat
to tow me

past the last level
of Hell.

Once I can tell
one side from the other

I'll go right
to the right bank
of one right
river or another,

row across
then thank my dopple-

(the original loss
of which was either more than
double or less than

a little trouble.)

Diane Mayr is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-up over at Random Noodling - head there to see what other people have posted.

Also: I recommend the work of the South African photographer Sarah-jane Laubscher to you  She has a wonderful eye - I love the rowboat (above) -  and her photographs of trees are eerie and powerful.

Friday, April 1, 2011

National Poetry Month at the Meow Puff Cafe

Confession: I am a dog person. But I did have a stuffed white cat when I was little.
Happy National Poetry Month, everyone. For 30 days, America sanctions a full-frontal assault on Poetryphobia!

In honor of the occasion, especially since the first of the thirty days falls on Poetry Friday, I offer up this charming poem by a Seattle Public School second-grader named Romanette who is headed for great things. The poem makes me long for a little cafe with such a name (and shouldn't all poetry make you long for someone or something?)

White cat meowing in the house, sleeping
In its bed. White cat sleeping with its
Pink crown with red rubies. White cat talking
In its sleep. A girl leaving a gift.
White cat said, “Let’s go to the Meow
Puff CafĂ©.”

Romanette worked with writer Ann Teplick in the Writers in the Schools program here in Seattle - I was invited for one brief visit to talk about my book Yellow Elephant with them. What fun! Ann did a wonderful job of getting poems from three different second-grade classes, and you can read about her experience at the WITS website
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted today by Amy over at The Poem Farm. Go there to check out what other people have posted. And for an extra treat, be sure to visit Gregory Pincus's blog, Gotta Book, every day this month for his annual 30 Poems/30 Days (Full disclosure: One of the days will feature one of my poems.) Also for a treat (many treats this month!) follow Jama Rattigan's 2nd Annual Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck for delicious food poems (and occasional recipes....) from 19 different poets.