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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading.

My writing group is here this week with a new name and a new challenge. Formerly, the Sunday Swaggers, we are now the Inklings. Catherine Flynn challenged us this month to write an Ekphrastic Poem.

From the Poetry Foundation:

Ekphrasis

“Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

A few weeks ago I was participating in #WriteOut, a virtual writing marathon from the National Writing Project. On this visit, we were in San Antonio, Tx. One of the prompts was a work of art by Georgia O’Keefe that is housed at the McNay Art Museum.

Evening Star V by Georgia O’Keefe, from the McNay Art Museum

Evening Star

Texas sky
blooms
into star-gaze
red glare haze
across blue waves–

And there–
a point of light
opens a minor C–
insignificant note
like a dust-speck
glistening then gone. 

Margaret Simon, draft

To see more Inkling ekphrasis:

Molly
Linda
Heidi
Catherine

For #TheSealyChallenge, I have read 5 poetry books. This week I wrote blog posts about Before the Ever After, a verse novel by Jacqueline Woodson, and Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic, a totally different novel in verse. I also blogged about The Bridge Between Us, a collection of poems about teaching through the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ve read Robert Bly’s Morning Poems and Naomi Shihab Nye’s Cast Away, but haven’t blogged about them yet. I am enjoying this challenge. It’s making me pick up poetry books that I have had on my shelves and never read through. I only heard about this challenge this year, but it’s been around for a few years. Is anyone else doing it? How are you handling and processing?

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Becky at Sloth Reads.

Two weeks in covid times is a lifetime, time enough for the Delta variant to quickly invade my territory. It has taken a few weeks for the CDC to catch up to this invasion and to adjust guidelines. From our own family’s experience we knew a few things before they did. The virus Can infect someone who is vaccinated. The virus Can be spread by vaccinated people. And the vaccine Does protect from grave illness. My 90 year-old mother-in-law was vaccinated in January and February. Two weeks ago she started coughing. She took a rapid antigen test that showed she was positive for Covid-19. Today she is fine. She’s back to swimming daily and has only an occasional cough lingering. No hospitalization was necessary. We aren’t even sure if her case was counted in the long run; however, in these last two weeks, CDC has taken an about-face. And we are glad they have.

In my anger over this viral outbreak, I wrote a villanelle for an Ethical ELA Open Write prompt. The Seven Poetry Sisters put out a villanelle challenge for this month, so I asked for critique from my writing group and revised. A villanelle is a challenging form. I used Rita Dove’s Testimony, 1968 as a jumping off place.

This poem is a jeremiad. (prolonged lamentation or complaint, originating from Jeremiah whose Biblical book is lamentations)

Delta Invasion

Who comforts me now that the virus has broken?
Numbers mean nothing now that you’re ill.
Anger invades my trust, hope lost or stolen.

We thought our lives safe to reopen,
but Delta arrived with its own stubborn will.
Who comforts me now? The virus has broken

through the vaccine’s promised protection.
Credence is shattered on CDC’s sill.
Anger invades my trust in hope; lost or stolen.

Safe, unsafe rules are misspoken
as dispersed droplets aim to kill.
Who comforts me now that the virus has broken?

Our lines of defense should be woken
to what we now know is out there still.
Anger crumbles trust as hope is lost or stolen.

Some still reject life-saving vaccination
yet your nagging cough didn’t kill
what comforts me now is the virus has broken
and relief restores trust. Hope not lost or stolen. 

Margaret Simon, 2021
Don’t trash those masks. Time to wear them again.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Kat Apel down under with snails and cats and #petpicpoems

I have a new creative obsession outlet: zentangle poems. I signed up for art card exchange with Amy Souza at Spark . I have a pocket Buddha reader. The pages are small (2″ x 3″) and full of wonderful Zen words in which to create small poems. Here are the art cards I sent out.

The winds, coming and going
free
See beyond reality,
illusion, vision, dream
beyond the realm of words.
(Zentangle Buddha Poem #1)

Disentangling truth
can free you.
Understand sweetness.
Trust the self.
Nothing exists forever.
(Zentangle Buddha Poem #2)
Find truth
in a tangle–
hopelessly question
Understand the tangle-truth.
(Zentangle Buddha Poem #3)
How brightly you will shine!
You are yourself.
You, wherever you are.
(Zentangle Buddha Poem #4)
You will know
the scent of sandalwood
against the weed.

My sister is an artist. (You can find her on Instagram at bethsaxena_art.) Beth sent me this folded book with the message “This book wants to be a poem.” I’ve had it for a while. She painted in blank spaces just the right size for Zentangle Buddha Poems.

The womb is pure and free.
Wonder indeed
entered
is calm insight
and truth.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with my friend and writing group partner, Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone

One of the best things about summer is having time to be creative. I’ve enjoyed designing collages on marbleized notebooks as well as writing poems for the Summer Poem Swap, coordinated by Tabatha Yeatts. The third exchange I sent off a notebook to Tabatha herself. And she gifted me with a poetic zine, Today’s Poem (after me, after Cheryl Dumesnil’s Today’s Sermon.)

More about making a zine from Tabatha here.

I love this personal-to-me poem, especially the line about toy phones. I’ve been answering a lot of toy phones lately with my little grands, and I love how this one line captures the Joy of being with them in just a few words. The magic of poetry! Thanks, Tabatha, for organizing this fun and meaningful exchange and for being my partner for this round.

Today’s Poem, zine by Tabatha Yeatts

Today’s poem
riffles through a pile of
to-do lists,
looking for blank paper

Today’s poem
answers calls
from toy phones

Today’s poem
hears sunflowers’
reminders to feed the birds

Today’s poem
clicks like a typewriter
while it’s napping

 Today’s poem
refracts a rainbow
into your bathwater

Today’s poem
runs back and forth
through an imaginary sprinkler

Today’s poem
fills your tank
and walks you to your car

Tabatha Yeatts, (for Margaret Simon, Summer Poem Swap 2021)

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Poetry Friday round-up is here! Scroll down to add your link to Inlinkz.

Finding safe online spaces for writing is invaluable to me as a poet-teacher in a small Louisiana town. During the pandemic shut down of 2020, writing kept me sane and real and present. Sarah J. Donovan, Ph.D. directs the website for teacher-writers at Ethical ELA. She is assistant professor of secondary English education at Oklahoma State University where she turned the writing we did during April 2020 into an oral history project.

With the help of colleagues, each volunteer was interviewed through a Zoom meeting and our contributed poems have been curated into a collection entitled Bridge the Distance, Teacher-Poets Writing to Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems. You can click the link to read the manuscript or order a hard copy.

I ordered a copy. No one profits from the sale of this anthology; you are paying printing costs only. I wanted to have this collection in hand to read and use with my students as mentor texts.

order on Amazon

My contributed poems can be read here:

The Duplex of Virtual Teaching.

Magic Bean

Eight Reasons to Take a Walk on Sunday Morning

8. Bells chime a call to worship
to empty pews echoing the song of trees.

7. I’m sorry I keep taking the same path,
the same images do not grow weary of me noticing.

I pick gardenias from CeCe’s side yard.
If she came out, she wouldn’t mind.

6. I stop by Anne’s to view her century plant as it reaches
skyward. A century plant waits 25 years to blooming,
blooming only once in a lifetime. A lifetime
I took for granted only weeks ago.

5. I can take my time.
No one will call to check on me.

I’ll check the feeders:
the hummingbirds like sweet water.

I’ll get to it in time.

4. I walk and walk
wondering if it will always be this way.

Hollow bells pealing for no one.

No one venturing out to see anyone.

3. It may rain tomorrow. Today,
the sun shines, the birds sing,
and I don’t have to join the chorus.

I’ll keep singing to myself.

2. A link was sent by email
to a video church service, one priest, one reader.

The organist plays
as though the cathedral is full.

Full feels scary now.
Full carries weight.
Who wants to be full?

1. I close this book,
heat another cup of tea,
and find my shoes,
find my way,
fill my day,
and perhaps…

Bloom!

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved
Bridge the Distance, 2021

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Shovan.

This being the first Friday of the month, our Sunday night writing group is up to a new challenge, this time from Heidi. Tabatha Yeatts recently posted a poem by Gail Martin. “What Pain Doesn’t Know about Me” makes a great mentor text for writing about nearly anything. Molly used the prompt to cleverly write about frogs!

Heidi added to the challenge to throw in anthimeria. Go ahead and click the link. I didn’t know what it was either, but I’ve likely used the technique before. Anthimeria is converting a noun into a verb, or a verb into a noun and so forth. I had already drafted a poem when I saw this added bonus, so I edited for the effect.

What Grief Doesn’t Know About Me

after Gail Martin

How I go to bed early and rise before the sun.

My duck-feet. How my surface-body is still while I paddle fiercely.

I can count syllables while walking. I lullaby babies.

He’s not taken my singing,

My generations in the South,

My ability to swim in the deep. Tread water indefinitely.

We don’t talk every day.  We have coffee together on Mondays.

Now, as I watch my cat bat at a black pen on the kitchen table,
I know not to put my hand in the mix. 

If you ask me how my day is going, I might cry.

Margaret Simon, draft

To read how others in our group met the challenge:

Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at A Word Edgewise.

    Today I am posting with the “Poetry Sisters” (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Sara Lewis Holmes, Kelly Ramsdell, Laura Purdie-Salas, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Andi Sibley) who challenged the Poetry Friday community to write zentangle poems. If you are unfamiliar with this form, check out this post by Kat Apel.

I have done zentangle before but I’ve never been satisfied with the results. I got a card in the mail from Jone MacCulloch along with a plaque print of her amazing collage response for our Spark exchange. Jone’s card inspired me to try again with a mentor to emulate.

Zentangle by Jone MacCulloch
From Preservation, Spring 2021
Object Lesson
dig
over
enslaved
pieces
a tea bowl
lives
on

This week I received a wonderful summer poem swap gift from Michelle Kogan. Michelle is a watercolor artist in Chicago. She saw posts from me about our wood duck nest boxes and “Jump Day.” I admit to teary eyes when I saw her painting and poem. So special. She sent me a print as well as a homemade notebook with the painting on the cover and poem on the back. I have been writing poems about the wood duck experience and now I have a special place to write them. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks!

I love how Michelle’s poem captures the essence of Joy we feel when we see the ducks jump from their nest box.

Summer Poem Swap is organized by Tabatha Yeatts

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

As I prepared this PF post, I had to go through new steps in WordPress that annoyed me. It seems once you get a sense of comfort with a platform, someone thinks it’s a good idea to change it up. Is anyone else struggling with the new way to insert an image? What a rigamarole!

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. On June 4th, the WOD was Rigmarole, not rigamarole as I had always used. My curiosity got hold as well as my inner poet. I turned to a form that my Swagger partner, poet-teacher friend, Heidi Mordhorst invented–the definito.

The rules are a free verse poem of 8-12 lines that ends in the word being defined. Heidi being Heidi usually includes word play aspects as well.

A list of verse, ragman roll
persisted
to mean foolish roll of tongue,
rattling-on-confusing set of directions,
steps here
then there
rambling forward to a destination,
required mouse-trap of a rat-race
ending in the achievement of a goal–
Rigmarole.

Margaret Simon, definito draft
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Challenge: Today’s word is poignant. Want to try a definito? Post in the comments.

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Poetry Friday round-up is here! Scroll to the bottom to add your link.

Last month I participated in two challenges: Spark and Sunday Swaggers. Spark is an exchange between writer and artist led by Amy Souza. I partnered with Jone MacCulloch. I sent her a poem. She sent me this amazing photograph.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove by Jone Rush MacCulloch

How Do We Stand?  


I go to Lady Bird Johnson Grove
to be among these giant trees.

Fenced forest of ten thousand branches
diffuses blue sky radiation
illuminating tunnels in the midst

of roots ungrounded–a path
to the great unknown.

Moved by stillness,
we pass ancient ruins, 
an army of roots intertwined.
I’ll lock arms with you 

through dark spaces
where rays of light
are swallowed
and breathe in blue forever. 

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Molly Hogan challenged our Sunday Swagger poetry group to write after Cheryl Dumesnil’s Today’s Sermon. I created a collage. Sometimes doing this helps me focus and inspires creative juices. After playing with collage and word collecting, I pulled together a poem using the anaphora of Today’s Poem.

Magazine collage by Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle at More Art 4 All.

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

Jane Kenyon, Writer’s Almanac May 23, 2021

I’m keeping Jane Kenyon’s quote as a summer goal.

I read a prompt on Denise Krebs’ blog, Dare to Care, about taking a mentor text and writing its opposite. I think the prompt originated with Jericho Brown. I had saved a Jane Kenyon poem because I wanted to use it as a mentor text.

Inertia

by Jane Kenyon

My head was heavy, heavy;
so was the atmosphere.
I had to ask two times
before my hand would scratch my ear.
I thought I should be out
and doing! The grass, for one thing,
needed mowing.


Just then a centipede
reared from the spine
of my open dictionary. lt tried
the air with enterprising feelers,
then made its way along the gorge
between 202 and 203. The valley of the shadow
of death came to mind
inexorably.

Read the rest of the poem here.

I enjoyed playing this game, using a thesaurus to find antonyms. You should give it a try sometime.

Energy

Mirror Poem

My toes were light, light;
so was the earth.
I had to half question
why my finger scratched my nose.
I didn’t think I should be inside
and lazy! The sky, for one thing,
needed viewing. 

After a while, a mosquito
flew over the belly
of my open notebook. It tried
the air with indolent wings,
then made its way along the nibble
between scar and creativity. A Cricket
in Times Square
came to mind
doubtfully. 

It must be easy for the right wing
to know what the left is doing.
and how, on such an afternoon,
when the earth is bright and attentive,
how does it end with feeling
orderly and lighthearted? 

Well, it had its fill of poetry.
I watched it pull its body
under the crease of the page, and appear
in a stain on my finger. 

Margaret Simon, after Jane Kenyon

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