Writer Wednesday: Renga Chain

Inspired by a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, this poem is a series of haiku formed together, creating what is called a Renga Chain. Enjoy!

Nightfall on the Gulf

The white shore sands sizzle
while the gulf’s frigid water
ushers in the breeze.

Palm trees sway gently,
gulls glide in the sky above –
not a cloud in sight.

Nautical twilight
fades blue to red, then to black.
Now, nothing but stars.

Celestial sky, now
so close – almost touching the
small metallic dots.

The zephyr softens
and the sapphire sea calms.
Waves never reach shore.

Writer Wednesday: More Tankas

Tankas have become a form I enjoy, and the following poem is a tanka (or a series) of awkward moments. We’ve all had them, so why not make them poetic?

Well, That Was Awkward…

1.
“Great first date,” he said.
Her eyes shone bright in the moon’s
light. She leaned up and
pouted her cherry red lips…
but he grabbed her hand instead.

2.
Study hall… silent –
you could hear a pin drop.
That’s when my belly
rumbles, louder than a
diesel truck engine starting.

3.
Walking back to the
bar, heads turn – I must look great!
Glance behind, notice
people staring… the breeze breaks
the bad news – my skirt: tucked in.

4.
He raised his hand in
class – ready, proud to answer
the question… he wins
a prize from teacher. “Thanks, Mom.”
Face flushed with embarrassment.

5.
Ran into colleague.
Never close. “Nice to see you.”
“You too!” We part ways,
say goodbye and leave… only
to walk the same direction.

Writer Wednesday: Favorite Poetry

This week for Writer Wednesday, I’m taking the easy way out: sharing three of my favorite poems instead of posting one penned by yours truly.

Listed in no particular order, these three have always given me inspiration. Jim Morrison is my favorite American poet (his eccentric and completely warped mind has always intrigued me); I also love the works of Shel Silverstein (reminds me of my childhood obsession with his famous poetry books I would check out of the school library for weeks on end) and Maya Angelou (so inspirational).

Without further ado… enjoy!

POWER  (Jim Morrison)

I can make the earth stop in
its tracks. I made the
blue cars go away.

I can make myself invisible or small.
I can become gigantic & reach the
farthest things. I can change
the course of nature.
I can place myself anywhere in
space or time.
I can summon the dead.
I can perceive events on other worlds,
in my deepest inner mind,
& in the minds of others.

I can

I am

————-

Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Goodbye to the Grove

Orange groves garnish
the south Florida countryside,
so far and so wide.

A girl of ten plays hide and seek
with the trees north of Lake June Road.
Running through the dirty blonde sand,
she stops to grab a fresh bite.
The juice trickles down her chin…
she tosses the peel, hoping
that Farmer John doesn’t catch her.

At sixteen she had her first kiss,
under the early spring blossoms
blooming. Lying in the sand,
wrapped ever so tight in his arms,
believing their love would last
forever… or at least beyond
the first unwelcomed winter frost.

At eighteen, the time came to say
goodbye – her studies took her
miles away from her cherished
groves. In Minnesota, she
found solace and solitude
in a quiet apple orchard.

At twenty-two, she met a new
love and shared with him her orchard.
This is where her forever
indeed began. Lying in
the meadow, she took him in and
tangled together, they counted
the stars that twinkled the north sky.

At twenty-four, she made the trip
home to the sandy groves. She
took a stroll to reminisce…
Closing her eyes, she caresses
her belly while thinking deep –
her new forever will arrive
in just a few months down the line.

Saying goodbye to the
the grove, she grabs one last orange,
takes a taste… goodbye.

——

This poem went through 7 days of revision, guided by a packet given to us by our professor for our “X-Treme Revision” poetry project. Read the original version here on Versification, my poetry Tumblr. I really feel like it has really come a long way, but I don’t think it’s finished. But then again… are these things ever finished? I may just put this one away for a while and see what happens the next time I look it over. So, if you’d like to give me some feedback, please do in the comments below – I really enjoy hearing your thoughts and any advice you may have for me!

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be composing a case study on my revision and will describe in detail what went into changing this poem. Once that’s turned in, I’ll be sharing it (at least a condensed version if not the full thing) here, in case anyone is curious about how the process went for me.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wind Tankas

Tankas are a form of Japanese poetry, with a structure very similar to a haiku. Instead of stopping at 5-7-5, we add 2 more lines, making it 5-7-5-7-7.

Below are some I composed for my poetry class about wind. We are collaborating with the Herron School of Art at IUPUI for an exhibit coming up in November. When I have more information about the show, I’ll be sure to post!

Enjoy! :)

—–

When the winds change, you
feel it everywhere. The gust,
forgiving of the
past, sends you into a spin
pushing you to what’s ahead.

—–

The gulf’s heavy sigh
brings me back to life – opens
my eyes, awakens
my soul… I can now see the
world – unfiltered consciousness.

—–

Indiana breeze;
it tickles my ear and tells
me secrets of past…
the hot days will pass
and cool nights will soon arrive.

—–

Leaves thrashing, sending
limbs flying, debris swirling
around me… I’m lost –
my world, gone, from the Mother’s
wrath and her furious gust.
Revision & Poetry

Revision & Poetry

Well, this is embarrassing. I haven’t been updating like I should. I have let things get in the way of writing for me again. That changes today. For those who know me, I’m somewhat a perfectionist when it comes to sharing my writing. I need to work on being more candid on my blog, because that’s what it’s for, right? So, here we go again. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. :)

I am in a poetry course this semester, studying under the Indiana Poet Laureate. Thus far, this class has helped me change the way I view writing poetry. I’m becoming unafraid to share my works-in-progress, and learning to better embrace critical feedback. Last night, we were discussing readings about revision. A few things grabbed my attention, but especially the notion that we have to stop being nice and sweet throughout our poems. This is me, completely. My poems are generally whimsical and fluffy and nice, leaving me with either a longing or a warm, fuzzy feeling. But sometimes we need that harsh reality to shine through. That darkness is everywhere in our lives, and we shouldn’t sugarcoat it when we share our experiences with others by way of writing. We have to stop letting our good manners get in the way of being raw and rude. Our poems can mean so much more if they have that bite or sting. That means it’s real. If it provokes emotion, then we’re on our way to a good poem.

Revising is something I’ve talked a lot about on here in the past.
TL;DR:
I revise as I go and that’s kinda bad for my writing.

I need to learn “first vision, then revision” (wise words by Lynn Emanuel in her piece “In Praise of Malice: Thoughts on Revision”). The idea of getting it out on the page without trying to revise immediately is key. I’m beginning to learn that I need to put a piece of writing away for some time before revising it, because the person I was when I wrote that poem is not who I am now, in this moment… or even five minutes from now. Something new will come along, either through education or experience, and I can apply that to an editing/revising session down the road. In fact, I pulled out a poem I wrote 12-13 years ago for our “X-Treme Revision” process in my class. I read through it and like the thought of it… but my age shows in my writing. I look forward to sharing it later after I complete this process with my class.

There is another poem I am working on for our packet project – this basically is an assignment that will track our revision process. As a class, we all took an oath to revise this one piece of work over the course of a week for a minimum of one hour each day. I will be tracking my progress and will probably scan my revisions so I have them saved electronically – I will be glad to share with you. I always enjoy seeing how others revise or get from one point to the next with their writing, so I hope you will find something useful out of my experience. Also… I urge you to give me feedback – I want to know what you think of my work. Tell if if it sucks, tell me what I need to work on, tell me what you’d change if you were the author… I don’t like hearing “this is great, don’t change a thing!” (See my earlier post on peer response sessions.) Side/end note: one thing I struggle with when it comes to poetry is knowing when it is done. When do you stop revising a poem? When do you call it done? I don’t have an answer for this yet, but I hope to get closer as my poetry improves.

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