Friday, April 29, 2022

Poetry Friday - Poetry Sisters Write In the Style of Taylor Mali

This month the challenge was to write in the style of Taylor Mali. If you've ever seen the video What Do Teacher's Make, you know who he is. Mali is largely a spoken word poet. When you read his print poems, they are long and recursive. I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off a poem like this, so I went to his Writing Exercises page and found a poem on the Rhyme Time Lesson that I thought would be good to emulate. The directions were to use his poem as a model, and then write about "thoughts, memories, fears, joys, and mostly OBJECTS that generally fill your head each day." His model poem is really a list poem. I didn't follow his directions exactly, but I'm not too far off. 

Insomnia Brain Remembers
When I can’t sleep at night and my brain won’t shut down
I feel like a tourist in memory town
Remembering people, places, and more
Reliving the bits that will not be ignored
     My grandmother Stohr in her yellow housecoat
     The day I was published for something I wrote
     My father’s wry wit, my mother’s quick laugh
     The first time my son fed a captive giraffe
     The day that my sister packed up and moved out
     The first job after college that filled me with doubt
     The yellow VW owned by my brother
     The last day in June when I lost my mother
     The mountains, Tibet, and the glorious view
     Sundays in church on a hard wooden pew
     The first day of school when I started to teach
     The jar of treats grandma kept high out of reach
     The winter the dog was found caught in a trap
     Charting our trips on an unfolded map
Try too hard to rest and it all rushes back
But I’ve lived and been loved, so there’s nothing I lack
     (only sleep!)

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2022. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 

    Would you like to try the next challenge? Next month we are writing poems using the words or theme of string/thread/rope/chain. We hope you'll join us. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on May 27th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems! 

    In addition to today's Poetry Sister collaboration, I'm close to wrapping up my National Poetry Month where I'm writing poems in Japanese poetic forms to primary sources. Today's poem is written to a family photo. I'm also sharing these poems on my Instagram in case you want to see them all in one place. 

    I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jone MacCulloch. Happy poetry Friday friends. 


    1. Trisha, what a treat for us to get all those images of your loving, wonderful life! Thank you for this poem. I'm still working on mine and will post later.

    2. Way better than counting sheep! And I love your last line!

    3. This is utterly lovely. I want to write a poem in this style. It's as lyrical as Goodnight Moon, cataloging all the pictures of a life going by, but instead of saying good night to them, saying "This is where I've been. This is what I've loved. This is what I have," and honoring all of that without regret... Still lacking sleep but not self-knowledge. This is really beautiful.

    4. That parentheses at the end takes the cake. Love it. I think Mail is tough to style after. You did it!

    5. YES! Exactly what Tanita said! Super fun list and each line could be its own poem!

    6. Tricia, this is fabulous! I love the way the rhyme and rhythm starts speeding along, and it's like an out-of-control train of memories!

    7. Tricia, you present an interesting array of family memories. "I feel like a tourist in memory town." Not sleeping and thinking of all these remembrances is not so bad.