Friday, May 29, 2020

Poetry Sisters Look Back Again

This month the challenge was to pick an old poem to revise or write a new poem in conversation with it. I chose to revisit a poem I wrote last year that has not been shared.

My sisters may not know this, but I carry a great deal of guilt for killing our last crown sonnet project. All the momentum and excitement that was built was crushed when I couldn't figure out what to write or where to take my sonnet. I'd pull it out, wrestle with it, then quietly step away, just a little bit defeated. I did this for months, then I put it off. And put it off again for more than a year (15 months, actually). Here's a not-so-brief history of this effort, with a bit of commentary interspersed throughout the email trail. (Scroll to the bottom if you just want to read the poem.)

Friday, February 23, 2018 at 2:24 PM
And did you guys get the invite to the doc I opened for our end-of-year Crown Sonnet? My sonnet #1 is up there and Laura, you're next!

***** Sonnet 2 came in about one month later, so 30 days to write a sonnet seemed doable.*****

Monday, March 26, 2018 
11:47 AM - I'm not sure who's up after me - I have a quick sonnet up, and I think the final couplet will also remain the same, or at least mostly the same -- so whomever is up next can carry on. 
2:08 PM - Oh my god -- Laura -- this is SO EXCITING!!! Tanita -- I think you're our third poet.  
5:06 PM  - Laura, thank you for that final line... I'm not sure if I'll be able to continue to Seven Sisters mythology in the same way in my sonnet with it, but it certainly gives me somewhere definite to go! I'll try to do this relatively quickly, but I make no promises!
9:12 PM - I'm not sure who's up after me - I have a quick sonnet up, and I think the final couplet will also remain the same, or at least mostly the same -- so whomever is up next can carry on. 
9:55 PM -  First, I think Tricia is in charge of our 4th sonnet. But more importantly -- TANITA -- HOW DID YOU DO THAT SO QUICKLY? 
10:00 PM - I'm sorry. WHAT?!
*****I've left out a few of the more interesting/choice comments, but you get the drift. Tanita is a poetry machine and just like that I was on the hook, though I don't remember even looking at the poems  at this point.*****

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 
6:39 PM - Tricia -- You're next in line on our Crown sonnet! The first three are up on the doc. 
6:46 PM - Yikes!  I did not know I was next. I will take a look and get moving. Thank you for the reminder.
8:36 PM  - No worries -- we're in good shape and have plenty of time!
Thursday, May 17, 2018 
10:55 AM  - I'm afraid to know where I fall in the rotation. 
11:24 AM  - Well, funny you should mention that! Only the first four sonnets have been claimed:
  • Liz
  • Laura
  • Tanita
  • Tricia
Who will Tricia hand hers off to?? That remains to be seen! :)
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 6:05 PM
I will take the slot after Tricia for the Crown sonnet!

Friday, September 14, 2018 at 10:50 AM
I have been trying, and failing, at my turn at the crown sonnet. Help! Everything I try is too damn close to Tanita’s, and beyond telling the story of the sisters, I’m stuck, stuck, stuck. Here is Tanita’s final couplet and my first stanza.
We, moon to manhood’s sun? A specious lie!
Star make their own light, whole worlds beautify.

Stars make their own light, worlds they beautify
light years away and brighter than our sun
condensed from gas and dust they fill the sky
the lore they spark from ancient stories spun
I’m coming up blank on writing anything else about the 7 sisters. Should I write about other myths in the constellations? Should I focus on the science of stars? With December as our deadline and others still to write, I don’t want to hold us up any longer. Thoughts?

Saturday, September 15, 2018
2:23 PM - Tricia -- what about bringing us back to earth for awhile? Talking about human women?  
7:15 PM - Or talking about something unrelated for a bit. Or the difficulty of sisterhood. Or the struggle of being stuck in place. Or or or 
10:26 PM - I like the idea of sharing a story of other famous female friendship or sisterhoods. Or other things beautified or enhanced by a simple thing. Think prisms making rainbows: a mere bend in the light... Catalysts. A tiny winged seed, a giant redwood; a flickering spark becoming a towering flame...
You've got this!
*****Nearly six months after the partial crown was handed off, I finally reached out for help and got great advice, most of which I tried, and none of which helped me get over the hump.*****

Monday, October 8, 2018 
3:41 PM - And we know how I’m floundering with my part of the crown. I’ll see what I can get out by week’s end. I’m heading to a conference, so I’m hoping for some time to write. It’s actually what I do when the sessions are less than helpful.

4:09 PM - We all need something to do at conferences when sessions are "less than helpful." God knows. 
4:12 PM - This is what I used to do in boring high school classes.  I wrote more there than at home. Sometimes I think we should teach poetry as a rebel act, yes?
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 
7:32 PM - Hello friends... I fear we may have run out of time on our crown sonnet. The first Friday of the month is the 7th. Any chance, or no way? 
8:00 PM - I feel terrible that I’ve let you all down here.
Can we add this to next year’s list for February or March? (Assuming we want to continue this crazy, lovely, fun writing together.) 
8:08 PM - I don't feel let down AT ALL!! Yes, let's bump it a few months.  
9:09 PM - I second not feeling let down. No way I could pick up whatever Tricia puts down by the 7th, so yes, let's push it to next year!
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 12:19 PM
As always, I wake up and the Mid/East Coast contingent has worked it all out. Well done, the lot of you. And I add myself to the not disappointed and gleeful we have an excuse to continue next year group!

Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 9:19 PM
Because I don't want anyone stuck or unawares, we've rescheduled the crown for March. If that feels way too soon, I'm happy to swap my two months and we could share the crown in July. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 3:40 PM
ALSO, I've bumped the Crown Sonnet down to April -- March seemed unrealistic -- so we need someone to assign us something for March now.

Friday, February 22, 2019 at 12:43 PM
Also, not to be bossy but, how's the Crown Sonnet coming? Do we need to scratch it and start something new? I understand if that's the case!!!

Friday, March 1, 2019 
6:47 PM - And this is your friendly reminder that the crown will post in August. 
7:13 PM - I'll admit to moving it to August. I'm still struggling.
Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 7:49 AM
Ha ha ha -- I LOVE that you moved the crown! 
I thought we'd had it in April and then I was like, maybe I moved it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 4:15 PM
...BTW, how is the Crown coming? Just a gentle reminder that August Is Coming (Winter having come/gone.)

Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 11:12 PM
Okay, I’ve written 4 skinny poems. This means that during tomorrow’s car ride I WILL finish my part of the crown. Perhaps we can back it up another month??????

*****I was still full of big promises at this point, but still couldn't get it done.*****

Friday, June 28, 2019 
3:36 PM - Meanwhile, August's crown sonnet is coming! Are we going to need to just move that to December and be done with it?  
4:12 PM - I fear I may have railroaded folks into the Crown this time around. Shall we ditch it and just come up with something new? I'm FINE with that -- I don't want anyone feeling horrible pressure because what's the point??? 
10:40 PM - Thanks for these reminders. I’m fine if we drop the crown sonnet, if it provides relief to others. No way we get there by August since I haven’t even gotten it yet, and I think there are one or two people after me...
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 
8:38 AM - Alas, Tanita called it the poem that would not be written. I still only have 4 lines on my part of the crown. I hate to give up entirely for the year, so perhaps shuffle it off again, or maybe post in January?
1:58 PM - I'm fine for pushing the Crown till Nov, Dec, Jan -- UNLESS you all would rather ditch it! Honestly, I'd understand! 
2:30 PM - I'm fine to ditch or to not ditch the Crown - I'm entirely at the group's disposal. 
6:05 PM - I am going to jump in and say that I think we should drop the crown. I think it’s not wanting to be done. Just my two cents and I will happily change my mind if need be.
Monday, July 8, 2019 at 12:36 PM
Subject: The Sonnet that will not be written - IS WRITTEN!
Well, it appears all I needed was fresh mountain air and time to write to finally, finally write a sonnet. PHEW! I don’t know who’s next, but here’s my final couplet:

As galaxies and stars are formed anew
Will gazing at the sky change our world view?

Just a thought, since our last crown debuted in January, should we shoot for that? I don’t want to pressure anyone into a timeline. Lord knows I took forever.

Monday, July 8, 2019 
10:12 PM - Next up is me. Not sure who comes after. 
11:01 PM - Oh my goodness! This actually thrilled me more than I expected it to! OK, so....
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 
8:45 AM   - We need to arrange the next several months. Can we bump up Sept, Oct, and Nov? And then shall we do the Crown in December? You all tell me!
9:56 AM - I haven't been weighing in, since my part is finished. But I'm so pleased to see it rolling along again :>)
Monday, October 14, 2019 at 1:39 PM
And then it's the crown sonnet next! Where is that, anyway? If it's more than two people away from being completed, maybe we should kick it to 1/2020 and do a December ekphrastic? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 
1:01 PM - I feel like we should probably put that Crown Sonnet to bed -- it doesn't seem to have ever really caught fire, right?  
2:43 PM  - If even one of us is breathing a sigh of relief at the idea of not doing a crown, then maybe we shouldn't. This wasn't ever meant to be an un-fun challenge.
*****And so, after keeping everyone on tenterhooks for months on end, we finally gave it up.*****

Who among us would have imagined that writing about stars and mythology would be harder than the writing about the periodic table? Needless to say, I've been angst-ing (that's a word, right?) about my failure to hold up my part of this project for ages. Since this poem hasn't seen the light of day (I'm not even sure my sisters have read it), I thought I'd revisit the draft and fine tune it a bit. The first line of the poem comes from the last line of the poem Tanita wrote.

Untitled Sonnet, 4th in a Never-Was Crown on the Pleiades

     Stars make their own light, worlds they beautify
     through space and time their photons reach the Earth
     but more than this connects us to the sky
     star dust the stuff of everything that’s birthed

     Each atom, every molecule comes from
     the residue of an exploding star
     that violence should kindle this outcome
     ignites our quest to know just who we are

     Star watchers look to constellations old
     seek truth in myth and ancient stories spun
     find clues to grand design and truths foretold
     in times of love and loss, we come undone

     As galaxies and stars are formed anew
     will gazing at the sky change our world view?

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2020. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 
Before I send you off to our Poetry Friday host, I do have one more thing to share with all the poetry friends who have seen our Poetry Sisters posts for so many years. After more than a decade of writing together and several years of monthly assignments, we wondered if any of you might like to play along? Here's what we propose: 

Once we agree to our poetic prompts and calendar, we'll share them with you and invite you to write and share, too. We'll remind you once a month or so (via our various social media megaphones) and you're welcome to tag us (or not) when you post.

Now, to that end, here's what's cooking for June, posting on the last Friday of the month: theme is susurrus, or an image of thick woods, whatever form we wish! Will you join us? We'd love to have you.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading. Happy poetry Friday friends!