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We Wordle #10

March 17, 2014

Wordle 10

Welcome back, poets, for the tenth edition of We Wordle! This week’s words are mined from poems submitted to Irene’s prompt of March 5, “Shell“. Three words have been selected from each poem.

Contributors and their words:

Rosyln: sanctuary, soul, knowing
Debi Swim: spiral, vapor, carapace
Barbara: honeysuckle, rain, year
Jules: eggshells, drums, demons
Marian: roots, chrysalis, wings
Nicole: seafoam, hookah, witches
Abby: angels, blue, truth
Irene: curvature, cathedral, votives
Benjamin: filament, cocoon, stoic
Elizabeth: fortune, inky, nurture
Barbara (poem 2): nightmares, kimono, geisha
De: tangles, bloom, stripes

Hear ye, hear ye! These be the rules for playing:

1) You are not required to use all the words in the word list. If you want to, that’s entirely up to you.
2) One helpful possibility: generate associations and meaning from the words you see.
3) Feel free to change the tense or form of the word.

If you’re feeling stuck, try:
1) juxtaposing the words
2) think of alliteration, assonance and consonance
3) Find a framing device for the words you see, like another prompt for triggering your flow of thought. You can try Qweekly’s Monday prompt or any other prompt on the Internet.

And yes, the Wordle is green because of St. Patrick’s Day. Happy St. Patty’s, to those who celebrate! The picture links back to the original Wordle, but I recreated it in GIMP using a nice Celtic-style font (Uncial Antiqua for those interested — no pun intended 🙂 ).

Sláinte!

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Prompt 204 Measured loss

March 12, 2014

Today we’ll continue to think about a subject that is close to our hearts.

Loss is one of the most potent subjects of poetry. It is, I suspect, what truly moves us in a poem. As the true marker of our humanity, it snucks up on us at various moments. What it summons up when it does, it summons up wherever we are, wedged on the kitchen floor, as in Therese Broderick’s poem, “Their Moving Van Drives Off”, or looking at a christening gown, in Grace Harriman’s “Fort Andros Flea Market: Christening Dress: Circa 1895”. It is so true that time past is contained in time present.

As a kind of blue light. Purest flame.

Then there’s language, where we poets find ourselves, find our truest habitation. It forms a firmament for grounding our experiences. It is what art does. To measure loss. To take it in again. Deeper this time. Let it become rhythm, second breath. The bird having flown. So as it is, “the bird lies still while the light goes on flying” (W S Merwin, “Unknown Age”).

So write a poem about measured loss. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about grief. It could just be making notes about the day passing. I find it best to write about the present. And then somehow, allow the past to wedge itself into your present.

Again, and if you get lucky, your poem gets to be featured in Red Wolf Journal. Let this also be a repeated call for submission. Don’t be an easy bystander. Go through your drawer of poems. If you’ve submitted before, submit again. The Spring 2014 issue will only officially close on 30 April 2014. If we run out of submissions, the real door will close even before. Without the language of your poems, we—reader, poet–find ourselves bereft. Or elsewhere.

We Wordle #9 (A Blockbuster)

March 10, 2014

WWP Wordle #9

Welcome back, poets, for the ninth (blockbuster edition) We Wordle! This week’s words are mined from poems submitted to Neil’s prompt from Thursday, February 27–“journal poem.”   I, the poetic rabbit, have selected three words from each poem.

Contributors and Their Words:

Irene (day one):  washing, blinds, swollen
Elizabeth (old journal, new eyes):  defective, omen, ring
Elizabeth (second journal poem):  shell, waste, steering
Irene (day two):  fruit, riddled, spirit-filled
Elizabeth (journal poem three):  suddenly, fear, logic
Barbara:  sandstone, silly, Sewanee
Irene (day three):  mirage, flaked, scent
Irene (day four):  rings, notch, inside
Roslyn:  muddled, applause, sodden
Elizabeth (fourth journal poem):  touts, natural, self
Nicole:  lapis lazuli, transplant, story
Irene (day five):  ham, library, dreams
Jules (The Pieces):  casually, scams, heart
Jules (The Composite):  dusk, clarity, today
Elizabeth (final journal poem):  turtle, age, sustains
Marian:  woolen, palms, please
Hannah:  ripe, flowing, tea

Here are the rules for playing.

  1. You are not required to use all the words in the word list (and certainly not expected to for this edition). If you want to, that’s entirely up to you.
  2. One helpful possibility: generate associations and meaning from the words you see.
  3. Feel free to change the tense or form of the word.

If you’re feeling stuck, try:

  1. juxtaposing the words
  2. think of alliteration, assonance and consonance
  3. Find a framing device for the words you see, like another prompt for triggering your flow of thought. You can try Qweekly’s Monday prompt or any other prompt on the Internet.

As always, have fun creating. :)

Prompt 203 Shell

March 5, 2014

cocoon2

Artwork credit: Catrin Welz-Stein’s “Cocoon 2”

Egg shells. Snail shells. Sea shells.

A shell is a covering. Appears hard. An exoskeleton. But it’s brittle. Much like a heart. As you probably know–unless you’ve been living under a rock—Neil and I have been bringing out your poems for the inaugural Spring 2014 issue of Red Wolf Journal. Today I’d like you to think about the journal’s cover art, Catrin Welz-Stein’s “Cocoon 2”, and write an ekphrastic poem. Why does the nautilus-like cocoon harbor a woman holding lilies? Think about a harbor. Or chrysalis—ah my favorite past-time. Every poet’s favorite, I suspect. Does time seem to stand still when one is in a chrysalis? Is the process of making art a chrysalis-like thing? Why are we seeing double? Is the universe in fact not one, but two? The one you’re in being mirrored in another? Or the one you’re in, versus the one you’d like to be in? Is that also a function of art? Think about what T S Eliot, in “Burnt Norton”, means when he writes of a rose garden:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Toward the door we never opened
Into the rose garden.

Think about consciousness as a rose garden. Hold that image. Then write.

Oh (and if you get lucky), your poem gets to be featured in Red Wolf Journal.

prompt 202 journal poem

February 27, 2014

journal poem   (easy as falling off a piece of cake)

this poem requires some time to do.   minimal fudging please, else you’ll miss out on the process and value (please again).

(about the what, how and why)

why?   (why first because it may better inform and color how and what)

    a journal poem melts the boundaries between prose and poetry (and that’s a good thing to be comfortable about either way and to realize how they may combine and intermix).

    a journal poem inherently has a sense of immediacy (intimacy?).

    a journal poem is also: what to do when you have nothing to say!

the process?   (aka what and how)

each day write 1 or 2 or 3 sentences (no more than a short paragraph at the most please) (being simple, concise, matters here).   now then a “sentence” may be defined as a sentence, a phrase, even a single word, however and whatever comes to you in a brief selected description of your experience of that day.

(ask yourself this question: what do I want to say about today?)   your answer needn’t summarize your whole day, although it might.   your answer might be one word.   your answer might be a surprise, unexpected – just accept what comes when you drop that pebble in the water.   there is no wrong answer.   neither worry about being neat or poetic.   just write.

do this for about 5 (five) days.

then review.   edit.   clarify.   reword.   and please, edit language, not story (content).   while as a “prose poem” you may use sentences in your poem – let go adherence to the usual rules (this is still a poem at heart) (so is prose too, if you really look).   some broken syntax, single word sentences are all allowable.   OK?

will it all make sense?   two answers: we don’t care, and yes it will.   become more comfortable with the seeming abstract, seeming discontinuity of life and experience.   yet the “connections” of your writing will still be present (even if less obvious).   your life IS the connection, the continuity.   THAT is the poem.

a journal poem done in this manner may also become a discovery process, allowing associations to be more visible.   (think finger-painting!)   those small stray feelings, thoughts, images do matter to us.
see you in five days!

We Wordle #8

February 24, 2014

wwwordle 8

Welcome back, poets, for the eighth We Wordle! This week’s words are mined from poems submitted to Neil’s prompt from this past Thursday, “1000 Birds“. I have selected three words from each poem.

Contributors and Their Words:

Irene:  jade, insulated, chandeliers
Jules:  weather, scattered, mourning
Hannah:  albatross, plague, plucked
Elizabeth: messengers, wings, difficult
Viv: quest, mysteries, morph
Nicole: purgatory, royal, journey
Marian: believe, thousand, tumble
Debi: guttural, deceit, twittering
Misky: sea, peeled, pessimism
Barbara: mindless, tornado, hummingbirds
Abby: balancing, whirlwind, scribbling

Here are the rules for playing.

1) You are not required to use all the words in the word list. If you want to, that’s entirely up to you.
2) One helpful possibility: generate associations and meaning from the words you see.
3) Feel free to change the tense or form of the word.

If you’re feeling stuck, try:
1) juxtaposing the words
2) think of alliteration, assonance and consonance
3) Find a framing device for the words you see, like another prompt for triggering your flow of thought. You can try Qweekly’s Monday prompt or any other prompt on the Internet.

Have fun creating. :)

prompt 201 1000 birds

February 20, 2014

Well there was a prompt in mind to do, BUT THEN THE INTERNET WENT AWAY, and besides things changed in big ways, both far and near. So now this is something else (along with my apology for being a day late here).

Tell us your version of the story of a thousand birds (referring not quite literally to the Peter Sis book, The Conference of the Birds). Don’t know that book, that story, based upon the classic twelfth-century Persian epic poem? That’s just fine. Go ahead and imagine a story of your own!

What’s the condition of the world? How do the birds gather to consider what if anything to do? What might that conversation be? What along their thread are their doubts, confusions and fears? What might keep them going? What are the pains of discovery? What confusions, what temptations, what losses? Any remedies? What about understanding? What about love? What questions are asked, what questions answered? What color is the sky, the river, the rain, the earth?

Examine and describe what details you choose to include. Take on just some smaller part of a story if you wish. Offered here are only a few suggestions. You make up what you will. And while epic in scope, keep in mind that this poem translation was done in perhaps 1000 words or so, and you need not be even that much epic. Just take a smaller bite of the pie as you wish.

Story people, this should be cake for you. Not-story people, then consider how broad can you be with as few words as possible. Birds don’t speak in complex sentences! Simple, concise is good.

And yes, of course, this poem-tale is allegorical, howsoever you wish for it to be.

Not sure how to begin? Try this. Write little snippets of ideas or prose. Let them build up for a time. Then review, condense, looking for the poetic sense of story within. See what you get. And as you begin, progress, if your words seem to be leaning another way, about fish instead of birds, then fine, follow your language trail. And remember, you needn’t “justify” any positions or statements your poem makes – it is what it is, allow it to be.

This is a story-prose-poem if you haven’t already guessed. Make it something we’ll remember. Your hand has the pen. Fly.

Lastly here’s one line from that book. I think it applies.

Love loves difficult things.