Monday, April 8, 2013

My Turn! The 2013 Progressive Poem

It's April 8th! 
My turn to add a line to Irene Latham's Progressive Poem 2013
[Click on the poet name below to see how the poem grows day-by-day through April]

So far, seven  Kidlitosphere poets have posted their contributions to the growing poem.You can find my first post about this on Friday, March 29th.

Here is my thought-process as a contributor:

I've watched as the poem opened with a possibility (when you listen to your footsteps) and moved quickly into dreamier metaphorical territory (words become music), then got rhythmic with a clever line by Matt (rapping and tapping feet/fingers.)

In Line 4, what feels almost like a new stanza equates the pen to a dancer, with the fifth line adding types of dances, and the exuberant sixth line picking up on and continuing the rhythm Matt introduced in Line 3. I'm not quite sure where the dancers have gone, though.That word "love" worries me - love is always a loaded cannon, it makes a lot of noise if named, and I get a little weird with big emotions in a poem.

My line is coming soon, and I can feel the urge which comes over me (when things get dreamy) to put the brakes on and bring the poem back to the real world.Wind whispering, maybe, but to what? To water? I will try to resist the urge to darken it up because, after all, it's spring, why not save the dark lines for winter and go for something cheerful? a little voice inside says, "Love is quite nice in the springtime, Julie." But I don't know if I can do dreamy.

My line is coming soon. What will Line 7 do?

Line 7, it turns out, begins a new stanza. It's sweet and floaty, too - dreams and whispers. So now I have to choose -  push the poem back into the real world (can we get those dancers back, can we take the poem outside for some fresh air, forget words on paper and forget about metaphors that are self-referential to what we do when we write?) or should I try stay with the idea of words whispering?  I can feel the normal panic and pressure of trying to find the poem's proper direction, only I can't go back and revise as I do constantly (as I compose) to make everything line up with my own choices! That's what the roller coaster ride is all about - letting go. Right?

I'm still hoping the rhythms of Lines 3 and 6 can be maintained at the proper intervals. But letting go, letting go.  Hmmmm. A shortish line is needed now, no rhyme at this point (though could there be an internal rhyme? I do love rhyme....) What to do?? Well, since I'm not the Lone Poet here and here are a lot of lines to come, lots of poets to add twists and turns, I'm going to relax. Forget wind whispering. Forget  about taking the poem outside. Just bring back the "dancers" - the words -  and leave it as wide open as I can for the imagination of tomorrow's poet.

Okay, here's my contribution.  I'm diving in to the dance:

When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and            
the rhythm that you're rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page 
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you're beguiling as your love comes shining through.

Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying

 Take it away, Carrie, for Line 9! Here is the line-up of contributors and dates:

30  April Halprin Wayland


  1. Julie - I love your thoughts here! I think you landed just right, with an interaction, those dancers, whoever they are! Thank you. xo

  2. Since I have only one more line before I must offer mine, it was terrific to travel through the poem with you, Julie. Thanks for 'whispering' all your words!

  3. Oooh, Julie. Thank you for this! What WILL those dancing words say to each other?

    I'll carry this with me today, pondering.

  4. I enjoyed a peek behind the curtain of your deliberations, Julie! Thanks for sharing. You've set it up quite nicely for the next line.

  5. I'm glad you brought the dancers back. Nice line!

  6. I like how this line grounds us in our bodies and the space, and I also like knowing that there are other dancers too. Let the turns and twists continue!

  7. Your line is perfect. I love that you brought back the "dancers" - the words -! Really nice move!

    Thanks for sharing the thoughts you processed, Julie! You expressed the excitement and bit of panic I felt last year when it was my turn. I loved it when you said you decided just to relax into it! I'm sure I will experience it again this year on April 17th as I read Renee's line and then prepare to post mine on the 18th!

  8. Wow, you've left it wide open--no pressure, Carrie, but you can now take this poem ANYWHERE! (great fun to read about the thoughts behind the lines, Julie!)

  9. Hi, Julie - I attempted leaving a comment earlier but now can't remember if it seemed to go through! Thank you for this peek behind the curtain at your deliberations. Your line is a perfect set-up to keep the poem going.... Happy Poetry Month!

  10. I'm glad to see action--yay, Julie! The lines are all lovely so far, but a whole poem of lovely abstractions would end up leaving not much to remember...

  11. Dancing words...loving it. Where will it dance to next? I am getting a little nervous about my contribution on day 11. I was happy to read your process, too.

  12. Julie,
    I love the line you added and am so grateful to hear your thinking about what to do and where to go.

    I probably wrote 50 various versions and lines, weighing ideas about how to balance the poem for meter and rhyme, to see if it needed to turn in a different direction but not wanting to jump there in line 7. I particularly love how the words are whispering now.

    Thank you for your very educational posting.
    Janet F.

  13. We Lindas stick together, and we share the same thoughts on your line. I love that you kept it so open for the next writer. As my turn approaches, I'm wondering where the poem will lead us next! : )

  14. This is becoming more and more beautiful as it builds. Nice line; well done!

  15. Julie, your process is fascinating. I too always have the urge to keep a poem in the here and now, in the concrete--to give the poem some gravitas, some substance. (Dreaming is lovely and surprising, but moreso if the substance of the dream gets to come out and play. Today one of my kinders wrote about his dream in which he met a classmate scootering in New York and along the way they found a enormous green cooking pot. Huh.) I do like your idea of the words as the dancers, whispering to each other.
    The first says "private;" the second answers "pirouette." The third says "solitary;" the fourth calls "samba!"

    Do stop by and help out with my collaborative, "crowd-sourced" poem sometime soon...

  16. I was just about to say what Janet said - your line can indeed, take us anywhere! Looking forward to following this!

  17. Julie,
    I'm so glad you brought those dancers back! I, too, like to be grounded in the here and now, but my process is not nearly so well thought out. I enjoyed seeing yours.

  18. Yay, dancers are back! Really fun (and informative) to read your thought process, Julie! You left the field wide open...