Friday, August 07, 2015

WANTED: Haiku or Senryu. Must take me there. Mindful reward.

Mid-August. When the crickets sing all day in the long grass and the sky invents blue every morning. A lovely time to savor the moments with small bites of haiku, no? That's what I was thinking when we made the proposed schedule for a year of playing with poetic forms, my Poetry Sisters and I. Then someone threw a wrench in it last month, and suggested we try writing haiku in the form of Classified Ads. Because haiku are so easy and all. HA!

Haiku traditionally is meant to be very in-the-moment and visual. Ideally it's one/two clear images that put the reader directly into an experience that is lived. I've seen it described as "one breath poetry", because it's short enough to say in just one breath. Forget the 17 syllables, that's not what's important. Two images, contrasted with a twist, that makes you say "AH!" and opens up a new perspective on a familiar experience. That's what I aim for in writing haiku.  Really, what we did could be considered more Senryu. Trisha explains it so well on her blog post here. Webster defines Senryu as " 3-line unrhymed Japanese poem structurally similar to haiku but treating human nature, usually in an ironic or satiric vein."

But put it into a Classified Ad? I didn't think I could do it. Then I started reading what my Poetry Sisters have done, and I was amazed. They are brilliant, really. I just had to throw a couple of my attempts up at the wall to see what would stick. Here you go:

WANTED: iPhone
given by my real mom
in her home

slug bait, deer baffle, bean poles
busted hose

ISO meals;
low cholesterol
in cheese sauce

            -all haiku by Andromeda Jazmon

Be sure to find time today to visit the other Classified Haiku poets: Liz, Sara, Tanita, Trisha, Kelly, & Laura. and visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at Tabitha Yeats' blog. Grab a Moment and Enjoy!

Friday, July 10, 2015

poems written in the style of e. e. cummings

For the past month my Poetry Sisters and I have been working on writing poems modeled after poems written by e. e. cummings. He is one of my favorite poets, so when we were throwing around names trying to chose a focus for our work I was delighted when everyone jumped on his. Something about his mix of irreverent, unconventional diction and grammar built on top of an exceptionally sharp wit and keen insight just floors me.

Each of us have chosen a poem to echo, or riff off of in writing our own versions. We've played with his signature style features like making up words, throwing punctuation and capitalization around like mad geniuses, and touching painful topics with the delicacy of a surgeon's knife. It's been exhausting and exhilarating work! Just to make it more frightening we decided to go ahead and record ourselves reading our poems, and post that along with the text. Someone (I can't remember who...) mentioned that she enjoyed hearing e. e. read his own works, and things went on from there. But oh! it is so cool to hear my Poetry Sister's voices reading their own work! We even made a little group on Soundcloud so we can follow each other and continue to share... if we like, of course. No pressure. You could do it too, with your poems!

So, the poems. I chose one of my favorite poems to work from, which you can read here, and also enjoy here how Kelly R. Fineman enlightens us about the structure and beauty of how it's put together. I didn't realize it when I chose it, but it's actually a sonnet with broken lines and some half rhymes. I'll just give you the first stanza here so you see how it begins...

a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand.  I think i too have known
autumn too long
                  (and what have you to say,...
..........................................-e. e. cummings

It was first published in 1923 in the volume Tulips and Chimneys, in the section subtitled "sonnets - unrealities".

Here is my poem, echoing that style:

a wind has blown the flag away and blown
the sky away and all the words away,
and the pole stands. I think we too have known
autumn too long
                (and what have you to say,
talking, texting, sharing,
liking, liking, liking -   did you love somebody
and have you a bullet somewhere in your heart
shot from some dumb winter?
                                          Oh crazy daddy
of death dance cruelly for us or start

the last flag flying in the world brain
of net!) Let us as we have seen see
doom’s deliverance ………...a wind has blown the stain
away and the sky away and the
pole stands:
                      the pole stands. The pole
suddenly waits, flying an empty soul.
                -Andromeda Jazmon

Listen to it read by me, recorded on Soundcloud:

And here are links to my Poetry Sister's poems:

Sara Lewis Holmes writing in the style of "in just spring"
Trisha Stohr Hunt writing in the style of "silence"
Liz Garton Scanlon writing in the style of "i like my body when it is with your"
Tanita S. Davis writing in the style of "The Cambridge Ladies Who Live In Furnished Souls"
Kelly R. Fineman writing in the style of "maggie and milly and molly and may"
Laura Purdie Salas writing in the style of "Spring is like a perhaps hand"

Listen to all of us reading our poems at the Soundcloud group "Poetry Sisters".

Also make sure you go visit the Friday Poetry roundup at The Logonauts!

Friday, June 05, 2015

Writing Odes this past month

My Poetry Sisters and I have been scribbling down Odes all through the past month. Every month this year we are working on writing different forms of poetry in a group challenge. It's been both fun and frustrating at times! But Odes are pure fun. We agreed to take a light-hearted look at things this month, and some of these are downright funny! Check out my compatriot's Odes at these links:

Tricia Storh Hunt
Liz Garton Scanlon
Tanita S. Davis
Laura Purdie Salas
Kelly R. Fineman
Sara Lewis Holmes

Here is my contribution; one of a series of Odes to Knitting that I've been playing with this month.


In knitting
the frog is
not the cool
green fellow
sitting on lily pads
croaking in afternoon sun.
No - it’s much
more tragic
than that idyll.
Frogging it
in knitting
is ripping out
all of yesterday
or last week’s
work in dismay.
The pattern went wrong,
stitch count is off.
Hours erased
from the life
of my fingers.
Seeking the right path.
RRRiiiiiiiipppp it out -
try again


Don't miss the Friday Poetry roundup hosted at Buffy's Blog. Cheers!

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Flight of Sons; a pantoum

This month my Poetry Sisters and I are working on writing Pantoums. Pantoums are an old form of poetry with four line stanzas, where the second and fourth line of each stanza is repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza. They can be any length, and don't have a set rhyme scheme. The last stanza reapeats the third and first lines of the first as the second and fourth lines. The repetition allows a spiraling of meaning, revealing complexity the way a stitch pattern enriches the beauty of a knitted item.

Our thematic words for this exercise were either "flight" or "certainty". Here's mine:

The Flight of Sons

He grew up on Star Wars -
read all the novels, built the Legos,
hanging at the bookstore &
dreaming of living in the stars.

Yes, he read Star Wars novels, but
I didn’t want him to join the academy.
Only just to dream of living in the stars.
I didn’t have more in mind.

To actually join the academy?
Yes, we got Legos to play it out;
I didn’t have more in mind.
Sons - they want to fly.

We bought all the Legos;
I dreamed of stars.
He learned to fly.
After all, Star Wars.
        -Andromeda Jazmon

Please visit the blogs of my Poetry Sisters to read their Pantoums:

Liz Garton Scanlon
Trisha Stohr Hunt
Kelly R. Fineman
Sara Lewis Holms
Laura Purdie Salas
Tanita S. Davis 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Raccontino with the Poetry Sisters

My online poetry group is working our way through the year by exploring a new poetic form each month. In April we are posting a form called "Raccontino". My friend Trisha explains:
Here are the requirements of the form.

  • composed of couplets (any number)
  • even number lines share the same end rhyme
  • the title and last words of the odd numbered lines tell a story
 I love a poem that tells a story, so I started by creating the brief phrase that would be the core of the story. Kind of like a six word memoir of sorts. Then I tried to fill in the back story in the rhyming couplets. I wrote a couple and will share one here. I like this form a lot and I am planning on writing more and finding a place to submit them for print publication. It's a challenge I am giving myself for April's National Poetry Month.

Family Secrets:

All of my siblings, who
love to travel, but

rarely get together, do
not talk much. One day we did. We cut

through the silence. Tentatively, we
discovered a communal pain med glut.

My shoulder, everyone said, or my knee. Tell
me what happened, said the circle, until we shut

that door. I was stunned to realize our
common life of pain. We went back to the rut

of silence. To just one day hear those hurts?
Gave me a metaphysical kick in the butt.

When you read this form it's fun to first read down the end words in the first line of each couplet, then go back and read the whole thing through.  With the contrast in  horizontal/vertical reading, there is something about it that reminds me of the "Aha!" moments of haiku. My Poetry Sisters have published their Raccontinos here:

Liz Garton Scanlon
Trisha Stohr Hunt
Kelly R. Fineman
Sara Lewis Holms
Laura Purdie Salas
Tanita S. Davis

And don't forget to visit the Friday Poetry Roundup with Amy at The Poem Farm and read some lovely poems! Also, you can check out Jama's blog to learn about other exciting NPM fun going on all month. Cheers!

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Poetry Seven Attempt Sestinas

This month my poetry sisters and I are working on writing Sestinas. It's a very difficult form to get the knack for, partly because the end words are extremely restricted. Each of the six-line stanzas use the same words in a spiral repetition. The best sestinas, IMO, tell a story. My favorite one is this by Elizabeth Bishop. Kelly has a wonderful explanation with tips on how to write one here.

For our sestinas we chose twelve words in common, each of us picking the six we wanted to use. We then got down to business with only a little moaning and complaining about the struggle to wrangle those six words into something making sense and beauty. I pulled up a memory of a fishing trip from my childhood and twisted it into shape with the end words "here, wind, turn, break, wave, up". My poem has gone through many revisions, and I'm not sure it's done yet. Here it is:


Good fishing here.
From the canoe our lines wound
across the creek, turning
slowly under the water, breaking
the line of waves.
Gradually the breeze picked up.

Drifting downstream, you never think of up.
How it’s a long fight back. Hearing
the gentle slap of larger waves,
we still didn’t notice the wind
until a bird broke
the silence and the day turned.

Years later and still stung, we will turn,
look at each other and wonder, what was up?
What was it that broke?
If only we could have heard
then the warning in the rising wind
or seen the trout slip away under the waves.

We thought we knew those waves.
We knew how fish calmly turn
away from the hook, but not how the cool wind
easily tosses the line up
clear into the trees. Here
we were, tangled in line that wouldn’t break.

To get that tackle we had to break
a hornet’’s nest and beat their wave
of fury. This bend in the creek here
they thought to own, to turn
into a paper castle up
in trees rocked by wind.

Hornets are at home in wind.
One cast is all it took to break
the peace. One hook tossed up;
flicked quickly over the waves
where hornets, trout, and children turn
thinking it’s always their own HERE.

Now one fights the wind, and we all ride the wave.
We wait for the break when everything turns.
Every morning we look up and we are all still here.

  -Andromeda Jazmon

Please visit the blogs of my Poetry Sisters to read their sestinas:

Next month we are working writing the form Raccontino, which I have never done before. I've never been fond of rhymed couplets, so...  should be interesting. For today you can hop right over to Robyn Campbell's blog, where she is hosting Friday Poetry!

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Small Child's Book of Verses

found this lovely old gem on my shelf today. Here are a few pages in honor of Valentine's Day:

Is t that delightful?  Now be sure to visit Merely Day by Day today for the Friday Poetry Roundup!