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!


  1. I had such fun last year, and can't believe I missed the sign up this year...but I can still enjoy the poetry!

  2. Julie, if we do this again next year, I want to create a roller coaster badge! Thanks for that image ricketing in my head this morning. Looking forward to your contribution.