Posts Tagged ‘Sound poetry’

SOL #4

SOL #4

I have met many wonderful and creative people through blogging.  A few years ago I joined the Poetry Friday round up.  Poetry is a passion of mine.  I use poetry often in my classroom, and I enjoy writing it.  And who doesn’t love a good challenge?  So when Laura Shovan posted her February Birthday Challenge, I took part.  She posted sounds as poetry prompts.  Turns out 14 of us wrote 177 poems to 28 sounds.  Pretty impressive.

One of the sounds we wrote about was an electric guitar which reminded me of playing Guitar Hero with my nephew and getting beaten badly.  Apparently, Jack has impeccable rhythm.  Last summer, he started taking drumming lessons.  He got a djembe for Christmas.  I didn’t really know about his djembe playing until my sister posted a video of him from their California vacation.  (My talented trumpet playing niece was marching with her band in the Rose Bowl parade.)

Musical talent runs in my family.  In the dining room of my parents’ home is a life-sized portrait of my grandmother with her violin.  My mother has her masters in piano and taught lessons in our home for many years.  My brother has the gene, too. (We say it’s in the left hand as they are all left-handed.) Hunter is a professional musician.  He plays keyboard and sings solo or with a band most nights of the week.  So it was inevitable that someone would inherit the talent.

My sister says Jack’s rhythm is innate.  He danced to the beat of her tapping a cinnamon container at 18 months.  She remembers Mom telling a similar story about our brother who danced to the rhythm of her stirring cake batter.

Laura’s challenge pushed me to add a poem to the video.  Here is Jack playing the djembe wowing the crowds at Santa Monica pier.  My poem runs in the ticker tape at the bottom.



When I played Guitar Hero,

beat on a fake guitar

sent light waves to a TV screen,

the cartoon me danced in time,

but I missed the beat.

Not Jack

He is the guitar hero.

A natural born rock star

The beat is in the palms of his hands

drumming the djembe–

a ten-year-old marvel.

–Margaret Simon



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Join the roundup with Liz and all her wisdom.

Join the roundup with Liz and all her wisdom.

I can’t help it. I try to write poems, but my emotions get in the way. My self and all her flaws permeate every word. You may think I am missing self-confidence. Maybe I am fishing for compliments. That’s not it at all.

Laura Shovan has done this to me again. Like last year, I am taking her challenge to write a poem every day in the month of February. Unlike last year, the words are flowing. Does this come from practice? self-confidence? wisdom? Not really. It comes from the heart. I am pouring it out on my sleeve and sending it to her to publish on her blog. Bleeding on the page as some wise writer said. Was it Hemmingway?

I want to thank Laura for allowing, no, encouraging me to write like this. Please visit her site and listen to some of the sounds for this project. I guarantee they will open a vein for you.

My submissions for Thursday and Friday are below. Thursday we listened to the sound of a ballet dancer practicing. On Friday, the sound was a theremin. I had never heard of this instrument before, so I spent some time on YouTube listening. One of my favorites was this rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Ballet Practice

Body of intense beauty
strength of muscles flexed
arabesque held still

Life ends.
We know it must.

Beauty dissolves
into a limp plie’
held en pointe
by loving hands.

–Margaret Simon, for Suzy

Revealing Energy

The director’s hands
stir the air like a scientist.
Vibrating fingers
tune an invisible voice;
sound becomes color—a rainbow
of intonations exploring
the foreign frontier
of our ears.

–Margaret Simon

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Laura Shovan creates a writing challenge every year for her birthday month of February. Last year she posted different Pantone colors as prompts. This year she is posting sounds. On Feb. 1st, she featured my poem along with some of my favorite Poetry Friday friends’. Click here. I am enjoying the path of discovery this writing challenge is taking me on.

The sound for today is angel chimes. You can listen to them here.

I went to Haiku Deck to write a haiku about Spanish moss. The tinkling of the chimes made me think of the rhythm of the moss blowing. I recently took pictures of the moss, not knowing that it would lead to this poem.

When I wrote the line, “Spanish moss two-step,” I liked it so much that I wanted to re-write the other lines to make them fit. So I Googled Cajun triangle. What came up was a 2012 NPR story about Christine Balfa. In the feature, she is heard playing solo triangle which sounds a lot like the Swedish angel chimes. So Christine made it into the poem.

Christine has recently been nominated for a grammy with a group of women musicians called Bonsoir, Catin which means “Goodnight, Darling.” . I am excited that my quest for a line of poetry led me to her music and memories of two-stepping to Bonsoir, Catin.

Angel slide 2

Angel slide 3


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