Capturing snippets of life is best done by using the senses to the greatest extent possible in the observation of ordinary life. The writable about writing prompts today are about an ordinary object – a sofa. How far does your imagination take you when you look at your current couch or remember past couches? Enjoy Avery’s vision and Heaney’s lilt to expand your world view. National Poetry Month is almost half over. As you write today, think about your goals this month. How many pages did you want to write? How many useable fragments have you gathered? Are poems emerging?
Listen to Seamus Heaney read http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/4520#.U0pxaM-ONPA.twitter
Poetry – when it’s done really well – addresses all the senses. You can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch this thing that’s been given life.
Today, rain walked with me on my stroll around the neighborhood. Rain taught me wetness. She let me hear the shushing sound the drops make on approach–the rustle as she shakes the now-dying leaves of late summer. Rain lets me get a whiff of her as she tamped down the dust-laden air. I could taste her on my lips as she rinsed my face, dampened my flattening hair. And I could see her change the colors of everything she touched–see the drops strike the mottled grays and greens–watch objects gain respite from omnipresent dust.
Writing Exercise – Rain belongs to everyone. Write about the rain. Write by hand and let rain dampen the page. Or write about the lack of rain. What senses does she awaken in you – this rainfall? Dig for metaphors; personify the rain; let rain be the drizzle, the downpour for the rainfalls in your life.
Grab your umbrella and walk in showers. Learn to observe what you are sensing and write about these sensations and observations. Reflect upon reflections. Use waterstained papers to write your poetic thoughts. What do you think when you think of rain? Tell me. What does rain strike in you?
You probably know a die-hard poetry hater. It’s probably someone who couldn’t memorize the requisite number of lines from the prologue of “The Canterbury Tales. Perhaps there was a traumatic experience with the Norton Anthology of English Literature–a wrong assumption that all of it had to be read – every page – including poetry – in one semester.
Perhaps Marianne Moore’s poem that she too hated it reinforced this perception. Maybe The Iliad, The Odyssey, Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Beats held some appeal, but since peers shunned it, so would they. And worse by far, perhaps, poetry-fearing zealots may once have been aspiring poets until caught in the act of writing it by friends. For this and any myriad of reasons, they solemnly declared never to dabble in sentimentality again. Poetry – not now – not ever!
And then along came Billy.
Billy Collins, one of any number of not-too-difficult names to remember. He is a past poet laureate of the United States. As all my friends will attest, I love Billy. I love poetry. I love the arts. And now these two have merged into a new sort of poetry — beautiful to the ear and to the eye.
Today your challenge is to take 15 minutes of zen right now. Watch this video and behold the new power of poetry as you see the poems come alive by some very creative artists.
And if you like it, share it with someone who needs to rediscover poetry and the imagination it inspires. And if you are very brave, try your hand at poetry again if it’s been awhile. One of the purposes of this blog is to inspire handwritten poems by any means. Just remember the words of Billy’s student, “poetry is harder than writing,” so don’t be discouraged. Writing gives your thoughts tangible form. SEE what you have to say.
And if poetry still doesn’t seem to be working, follow Billy’s friend advice – “If at first you don’t succeed, hide all evidence that you tried.”
But don’t give up on poetry. I’ve always said you need to read 1,000 poems before you can write one good one. Just keep reading – maybe you will want to make videos with poems or open meetings with them as Billy suggests. Just keep open to the possibilities of poems and what you may find there.
What real toads live in the imaginary gardens just outside your window? Show us. Write it down.
You’re sitting somewhere. It could be anywhere. You’re on the Metro; you’re in your favorite cafe; you’re in line – a tedious, long line; you’re at the park. You could be anywhere. They could be anywhere. You overhear words that say it all. Seem to incapsulate an entire truth in a few words. Speak to some greater truth.
The journal entry I captured includes only the side of the conversation I could hear. The other person at the Bureau of Vital Statistics sat behind a walled-off area and only muffled rseponses could be heard from my vantage.
I scribbled the notes as fast as I could, capturing the short life of this small infant before he became entombed in this hall of records, forgotten in the maze of statistics that record the passing of our days. I transcribe the poem here in case you aren’t able to read my handwriting. Please feel free to share your comments and any found poems or snippets you might wish to share.
“What do I do
with this kid’s birth certificate
that was born and died on the same day?”
“Well, I’m doing the death certificate, too,
and he didn’t have a length of time that he lived–
number of days says zero.”
“Born 2:03. Died 2:18.”
“Fifteen minutes is all he lived.”
“They want his age but the birth certificate says zero.”
“What do I do?”
If you’re a writer, you write. You find what was dropped.
You pick it up, and you run with it.
ntaylorcollins © 2011, 2012
And now, it’s much too late to learn how to cook…
Every generation has a musical pulse, a beat that captures the mood, the beat of its generation–especially in matters of love and all its characteristics. Music gives me almost daily heart transplants as it seems I rarely meet a piece of music that I can’t figure out how to like. I thrive as I feed on the feast of notes circling about me. I savor snippets of inspiration to explain my life in lyrical often beat-inspired handwritten gasps.
Poetry needs to stand on its own musicality from words that carry a click or a clang or a whisper. Sometimes musical references creep into the poem, a concrete hint of its roots. Sometimes, like today, Meatloaf is singing my life to me and I feel like I’m trapped living in the chorus of his songs. Adagio is the musical word I want to use as he belts out songs.
And in the poets of Twitterdom, I find tweeters who pen their posts in every conceivable spin from formal to free to all points in between–their poetry in short often un-arranged, unedited bursts. Sometimes a relay ensues – one poet passes off a phrase to another – a banter begins. Recently, Steve @dreamersteve_99 wrote:
The song tasted the bitter and sweet notes of her…playing the subtle parts very lightly..where her truer lover lives. #museinlove #poems
Steve often uses the hashtag #museinlove. Be sure to look for his work and follow him if you are a #museinlove or need a #museinlove or if you’re just looking for one of the prolific poets of Twitter. When I retweeted Steve’s post, I didn’t have time to write a poem back. Working on some images for a collage today required me to write a piece to go with the collage and Steve’s post (with a little help from Meatloaf) inspired the following five lines:
He—the bitter-sweet notes
Lingering on her lips—
An interval savored–
the pause—ethereal pitch—
In adagio, always adagio.
Thanks to Steve, my draft was easier to incorporate the word “adagio” that I have wanted to use for a while. I’ll be sharing many favorite words, many poets from Twitter as well as other inspirations from the words of others. The world vibrates with song in verse, with song in prose, with song in song.
As I work on my daily creative brews, I find nourishment in the creative mix. And thanks to Meatloaf I won’t be sad– because one good draft out of three ain’t bad.
Now if I could just get my love life in order…
…..but I guess I just won’t do that.
Writing Tip – Pick a Twitter poet to respond to or use a song lyric as a beginning. Look down the list I follow in Twitter if you need some ideas. Or search #poet #poetry as a broader start. If you need more visual stimulation, use the collage, “you are,” to get you started.