Friday, December 07, 2018

Poetry Friday - Poetry Sisters Write List Poems

When I was a cadet at the USCGA, I received demerits for whistling. I was called out by the company commander who told me whistling was for a boatswain's mate, not an officer in training. As someone who hummed, whistled, and sang to the fill the silences, it was a hard loss to swallow. More than 30 years later, I still think of that rebuke when I catch myself whistling. The only difference is that now I smile and keep right on going.

What does all this have to do with poetry? For some reason, that memory popped into my head when I read the words Liz provided as fodder for our list poems. Here is the list.
  • paper
  • stars
  • messages
  • promises
  • dirt
  • flour
  • rum
  • hope
There is nothing remotely related to whistling here, but the words sparked a number of long forgotten memories and made me think of things that make me happy, so I decided to run with that idea for today's poem.

How I Turned That Frown Upside Down
As a child often left to my own devices
mother admonished me not to sulk
Lost to introspection and loneliness
it was easy to succumb to unhappiness

When the doldrums of dark days
left me frowning and sad
joy came from simple pleasures
     hearing the rhythmic thumping of the dog's tail
        poring over the funny pages of the daily paper
     turning cartwheels across the lawn
        whistling to the music streaming from the kitchen
     gazing at the night sky and countless stars
        hanging upside down from the neighbor's cherry tree
     swinging as high as my pumping legs would take me
        walking barefoot in the creek
     biking to the Town Pump to buy penny candy
        sneaking into the pasture to pet the dairy cows
     chasing and catching all manner of little critters

I think back to these moments
when I need a smile or pick-me-up

I still whistle and read the funny pages
Still love a dog and walking barefoot
Just yesterday I stood on my head
I imagine a cartwheel isn't far behind

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Liz Steinglass. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, November 02, 2018

Poetry Sisters Write - Anaphora

This month's challenge was set by Tanita, who proposed we write in any form, but using anaphora. Anaphora is the repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of two or more successive clauses or sentences. The theme she set was gratitude and grace in loss.

I'm not sure I hit the mark exactly on the theme, but I've got the repetition down. Here's my offering this month.

First Tuesday After November 1

On this day I will rise and run
chasing dawn with every footfall
On this day I will marvel at the sunrise
grateful for its slow explosion
of color on the horizon
On this day I will appreciate the swiftness
of sparrows, lifting and reeling
towards the trees
On this day I will relish the wind
in my hair, the rain on my face
On this day I will embrace the stutter,
the loss for words, the inevitable
lapse in memory
On this day I will not lament
unfinished business, lost keys,
or broken promises
On this day I will appreciate
every breath, every heart beat
every bead of sweat
On this day I will stand
in line to cast my vote
grateful to be heard

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Sara is traveling, but may have something to share with us later.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, October 05, 2018

Short Poems with My Poetry Sisters

This month's challenge, set by Laura, was to write a short poem (6 lines or fewer) describing an animal of our choosing using three words: spike, roof, and shadow.

Ok. Hardest. Challenge. Ever. Seriously, I could not make these words fit together. I'm sure my sisters worked some serious magic, but not me. I started and discarded poems on turtles, spiked dinosaurs, hedgehogs, electric eels, and the cutest little Himalayan mouse-hare. I think my problem came because I had a hard time finding meaning beyond the literal for roof. While I could use spike and shadow relatively easily, I couldn't make roof fit, and ALL THREE WORDS were required.


So, while I'm still noodling over this challenge, I only have one measly little poem to share. My offering is about this handsome guy, the Himalayan Monal (or the danphe, as he's known in Nepal).

Photo © Tambako the Jaguar 

In the shadow of the Himalayas
near the roof of the world
the danphe sports a spike of
iridescent feathers on his head

surely he knows a colorful mohawk
attracts all sorts of ladies

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Writing Centos With My Poetry Sisters

The challenge this month, set by Sara, was to write a cento. Here are the directions we received.
I pick a line of poetry from a poet outside our culture (whatever that means!).  Then to diversify, we each build our centos by choosing a different word from that line. That way, we will have varied poems, but each poem will be unified by its own unique word. 
Say I choose this from the poet Agha Shahid Ali:
     I see Argentina and Paraguay
     under a curfew of glass, their colors
     breaking, like oil. The night in Uruguay 
Then each of us could pick a word from it:  "Argentina" or "Paraguay" (hard!) or "curfew" or "glass" or "colors" or "breaking" or even "see" or "under"  and collage a poem from there. Every subsequent line has to be taken from a different poem and has to have your chosen word somewhere in it, long or short.  Feel free to use as many poems and cultures as you like.  
This has been my favorite challenge so far this year. I collected more than 12 pages of poetry lines containing the word under. I cut the lines apart and moved them around, a lot like magnetic poetry. Here's the first poem I wrote. You can find the source of the lines (and title) below the poem.

words under pressure bleed original sense1

answer, if you hear the words under the words2
under the edge of february3
under the holsteins’ steaming noses4
days below days like a river running under the stars5

remember the sky that you were born under6
under eclipse and the day blotted out7
under a curfew of glass8
crying under the alder9

without trousers and without underpants10
a stranger is peeing ecstatic under the moon11
under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs12

under awnings, under stars13
have sex under the giant philodendron14
and in the ooze under15
no gods remember it, no understanding16

I want to be whole again, so I begin living truthfully under17
every night, under the millions of stars18
heart expanding under the ice19
  1. words under pressure bleed original sense by George Quasha
  2. The Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye
  3. Under the Edge of February by Jayne Cortez
  4. A Family History by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
  5. The Forgotten Madmen of Ménilmontant by Frank Stanford
  6. Remember by Joy Harjo
  7. The Tower by W. B. Yeats
  8. I See Chile in My Rearview Mirror by Agha Shahid Ali
  9. What the Horses See at Night by Robin Robertson
  10. Lives of the Dead: An Epic: Chapter One by Hanoch Levin, translated by Ata Hadari
  11. Under a Full Moon at Midnight by Merrill Leffler
  12. Chicago by Carl Sandburg
  13. The Shooting of John Dillinger Outside the Biograph Theater, July 22, 1934 by David Wagoner
  14. Dispatches from Devereux Slough by Mark Jarman
  15. Canto XIV by Ezra Pound
  16. Twilights, V by Conrad Aiken
  17. Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances by Elizabeth A.I. Powell
  18. Ruins Under the Stars by Galway Kinnell
  19. Phases by Michael Redhill
I had so much fun writing the first poem that I decided to try a second. I like this one even better than the first. And yes, my dreams are this weird.

Where Dreams Take Me After Reading at Bedtime

our little apartment under the freeway overpass1
under chenille bedspreads2
watching the garden winter under the moon3

under the hooves of a horse4
trampled underfoot5
tossed, knotted and torn under6

by the sea under the yellow and sagging moon7
a beaked ship under sail8
under the arching heavens9

circling a railway underpass10
where badgers undermine the tarred road11
on the underside of the world12

under the gas lamps luring the farm boys13
to have sex under the giant philodendron14
in worn underpants and plastic sandals15

playing in the dirt under a porch16
crawling under the stairs17
under the brown fog of a winter noon18

under the triumphal arch19
the hard sidewalk under my shoes20
a heap of ruins trodden underfoot21

in your “office” under the lean-to22
under the racket of this day’s distractions23
reading the Greeks under a blanket of blue24

screaming under the stairways25
under Grand Central’s tattered vault26
under a curfew of glass27

wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs28
under the bedroom floor29
  1. At the Grave of My Guardian Angel: St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans by Larry Levis
  2. Falling by James Dickey
  3. Phases by Michael Redhill
  4. The Forgotten Madmen of Ménilmontant by Frank Stanford
  5. Your Shakespeare by Marvin Bell
  6. Enter the Void by Juan Felipe Herrera
  7. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Walt Whitman
  8. The Swan by John Gould Fletcher
  9. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d by Walt Whitman
  10. How to Draw a Perfect Circle by Terrance Hayes
  11. Over the Dead Flatness of the Fens by William Logan
  12.  [I pinch myself hard on the inner arm] by Susan Hampton
  13. Chicago by Carl Sandburg
  14. Dispatches from Devereux Slough by Mark Jarman
  15. Painted Eyes by Henri Cole
  16. The Great Migration by Minnie Bruce Pratt
  17. The Shark’s Parlor by James Dickey
  18. The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
  19. The Cafe Underground by John Malcolm Brinnin
  20. CXIV by Sonnet L’Abeé 
  21. 1851: A Message to Denmark Hill by Richard Howard
  22. Vertumnal by Stephen Yenser
  23. Morning Voices by Ed Falco
  24. Reading the Greeks Under a Blanket of Blue by William Coleman
  25. Howl, Parts I & II by Allen Ginsberg
  26. Broadway by Mark Doty
  27. I See Chile in My Rearview Mirror by Agha Shahid Ali 
  28. Song of Myself (1892 version) by Walt Whitman
  29. The Shark’s Parlor by James Dickey
Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Life has called some sisters away this month, but they'll be back.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, August 10, 2018

#pb10for10 - Encouraging the Skill of Observation

I've spent the last two weeks cleaning my office and weeding my bookshelves. That means I've put my hands on every book and have had some time to think about my offering for the Picture Book 10for10 event.

In February for the Nonfiction 10for10 event, I shared a list of books to inspire future scientists. I'm still thinking about science as I prepare for the upcoming semester and am already selecting the books I will use in those early weeks. This time around I'm focusing on the books I share to teach and encourage the skill of observation.
written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

written and illustrated by Ed Young

written by Maranke Rinck and illustrated by Martijn Van Der Linden

written and illustrated by Olivier Tallec
(Definitely check out the companions to this title: Who What Where? and Who Was That?)

written and illustrated by Britta Tekentrup
(Tekentrup has SO MANY amazing books in this same format. Don't miss The Odd One Out, One Is Not a PairWhere Did They Go?, and Where's the Baby?)

written by Bob Raczka

written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

written and illustrated by Henry Cole
(Also check out I Took a Walk.)

written and photographed by Walter Wick
(Wick photographed the I Spy books and eventually developed this series of his own, which contains numerous titles.)

with riddles by Jean Marzollo and photographs by Walter Wick
(As you know, there are also many books in this series.)

written and photographed by Frank Serafini
(This is part of a series that also includes books for pond, shore, rainforest, forest, and desert.)

I know this is 11 books, and I suppose I cheated a bit by mentioning other related books, but it's so hard to stop at just 10! You can read the lists others have put together at Picture Book 10 for 10.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Writing Sestinas with the Poetry Sisters

This month the challenge we undertook was to write a sestina. It's been 3 years, so it seemed like time. Yeah, not so much!

A sestina is composed of 33 lines in five stanzas of six lines each, with a envoi of three lines for the final stanza. The form is created by the repetition of the six end-words of the first stanza. The final tercet is called the envoi and contains all of the end-words. Here is what the form looks like.

Stanza 1: ABCDEF
Stanza 2: FAEBDC
Stanza 3: FDABE
Stanza 4: ECBFAD
Stanza 5: DEACFB
Stanza 6: BDFECA
Envoi: BE / DC / FA

Each of us offered up two words to create a list of words to choose from. Those words were: face, down, mirror, ground, prism, prison, block, bend, wishes, beam, string, and blade.
I found the word pool hard to work with. The six words I chose were face, mirror, blade, down, prison, and wishes. After several false starts, I decided telling a story might help me make this form work. Here's what I came up with.

Madwoman in the Attic
She cannot see her own face
but remembers its reflection in the mirror
too dangerous, they say, shards too like a blade
he believes he can keep her down
locked inside this third floor prison
she won’t be honoring his wishes

She longs for freedom and she wishes
to confront him face-to-face
he’s the one deserving prison
yet he smiles at himself in the mirror
one day his world will tumble down
he’ll feel it as the sharpest blade

She’d like to wander in the grass, relish every blade
run to the well that’s made for wishes
toss a coin and follow it down
imagine the shock upon his face
her’s will be his mirror
guilt soon will be his prison

but the attic’s not her prison
it’s her mind that is the blade
she’s chopped up in the mirror
sharp edges, blurry lines, and wishes
all wrapped inside a fractured face
she’s keeping up appearances, but it will all come crashing down

Her nursemaid says, “Calm down.
Thornfield is not your prison.”
But the lie shows on her face
Grace has cut her like a blade
no one answers to her wishes
so untruth is what she’ll mirror

“Who’s the fairest, magic mirror?”
she asks while sitting down
she has nothing left but wishes
so she plots escape from prison
she stabbed one with a blade
burned another, marred his face

Amidst the flames she mirrors his pain while breaking from this prison.
She jumps and tumbles down, pain slicing deeper than a blade.
It’s insanity that wishes, one last look upon his face.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

I started a second poem, but after the third stanza I didn't know where to go with it. Instead of a story, I thought perhaps disconnected stanzas mights be easier to write. The six words I chose were ground, beam, face, down, string, and bend. Here's the rough draft I have so far. I hope to return to this one, perhaps as a tritina or some other form.

In the News (2018)
Young boys trapped underground
no light, no single beam
such fears they had to face
through water they dove down
the path to freedom marked by a string
they didn't break but had to bend

Staunch politicians will not bend
standing firm on 2nd amendment ground
we cannot pluck their heart strings
Undecideds walk the beam
"Can't let constituents down!"
but it's survivors (children) they must face

You can see acceptance on their faces
to Mother Nature they must bend
seems the world is falling down
cracking roads and shaking ground
lava burns houses to their beams
life holding to a string

Draft ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Life has called some sisters away this month, but they'll be back.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Mary Lee at A Year of Reading. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Friday, July 06, 2018

Poetry Friday is Here!

Welcome! I'm happy you are here to celebrate all things poetry today.

The first Friday of the month is always one of my favorite days because I get to share writing that I've engaged in with my poetry sisters. This month the challenge Kelly presented us was to write in the style of Aphra Behn, "one of the most influential dramatists of the late seventeenth century, was also a celebrated poet and novelist." (Or so says the Poetry Foundation. I had not heard of her until this challenge.) You can learn more about her at the Poetry Foundation site.

I ditched my original poem because it sucked. Since I spent all day yesterday at Busch Gardens, I decided that's what I needed to write about instead. I'll admit that I find iambic tetrameter hard. It seems incomplete, so some of my lines are actually 9 syllables long. Here's my offering for this month's challenge, along with a video of my favorite ride from the day.

Roller Coasters After Fifty
I can’t contain the scream that falls
or squelch the laugh from deep within
from high to low my world a spin,
"Again!" the roller coaster calls.
Hard and fast my heart pounds out a beat
surely you can hear it thumping
holding to the bar feels like a cheat
loud and bumpy, cars are jumping.
Fifty-something's not too old to ride.
Live a little on the wild side.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written written by my poetry sisters at the links below.
I'm thrilled to hosting this shindig today. I'm rounding this up old-school style, so leave a link and I'll get you listed. Happy poetry Friday friends!

Original Poetry
Kay McGriff is offering up a poem entitled Sunflowers.

At Random Noodling, Diane Mayr is sharing an ekphrastic poem entitled Iconography.

Over at A Word Edgewise, Mitchell Linda has a series of haiku that tell the story of a Flamingo named Bob.

Over at Nix the Comfort Zone, Molly is sharing some light-hearted verse.

Catherine Flynn of Reading to the Core is sharing a poem that begins with the line "All is in flux."

JoAnn Early Macken is sharing a bevy of haiku.

Heidi Mordhosrt of my juicy little universe is sharing a metaphor poem and thoughts about using metaphor dice to generate ideas.

Over at Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro is sharing some poems on beetles.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is sharing a poem on Monarchs, some lovely photos, and writing advice.

Matt Forrest Esenwine of Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme shares a poem entitled Standing at the Door, Mid-Summer.

Carol Varsalona of Beyond Literacy Link is sharing a gardening poem inspired by a Twitter chat.

Irene Latham of Live Your Poem shares some thoughts about The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. That book inspired an original poem, Skunk, written in the form used in the book.

Mandy of Enjoy and Embrace Writing shares a poem entitled Inside and Out.

Over at Mainely Write, Donna is sharing some acrostics and other poems on the theme of looking back/looking forward.

Poetry of Others
Mary Lee Hahn of A Year of Reading is sharing a haiku by Issa.

Over at Bildungsroman, Little Willow is sharing A Song on the End of the World by Czeslaw Milosz.

Tara Smith is swinging open the doors on a new blog, a new phase in life, a new adventure, and sharing Mary Oliver's poem Going to Walden.

Ruth from There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town is sharing thoughts of home and a bit of poetry by Wislawa Szymborska.

Over at Carol's Corner, Carol is sharing a trio of Naomi Shihab Nye poems.

Ramona of Pleasures From the Page is sharing the poem Moments of Summer by Racael Hadas.

Poetry Swap Goodies
Linda B. of Teacher Dance is sharing her latest poetry swap surprise.

Tabatha Yeatts is sharing her poetry swap swag, origami with poems!

Michelle Kogan a poem about the Plein Air event she's participating in, as well as sharing some poetry swap goodness.

Over at Wondering and Wandering, Christie is sharing her poetry sway swag.

Other Poetic Tidbits
Over at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet, Diane Mayr is sharing some spider poetry.

Kimberly Hutmacher continues the Bayou Song blog tour.

That's a wrap! Happy poetry Friday all.