Friday, April 01, 2016

Watching TV in the Presence of Christ

This month my poetry sisters and I are experimenting with Ekphrastic poems. Laura Purdie Salas chose the image for us and we all went off in different directions, responding to the images as we were called. Ekphrasitc poems are written in response to visual art; an image, a painting or a sculpture. The images we are working with this month are photographs of the ceiling frescos of Mark Balma (markbalma.com), part of a 7-part ceiling fresco at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Balma studied the art of fresco painting with an expert in Italy. The unique thing about this type of painting is that the pigment is ingrained into the plaster while it is wet, so that it dries as a permanent surface. The series is called "The Seven Virtues". Here is the image I chose to write about:

I did some searching for information on allegorical representation of The Seven Virtues in Christian tradition, as represented by animals. I found a lot on animal imagery, but nothing about grasshoppers watching TV, which was the part of this image that really grabbed me. What is going on here?

Old skool technology, the "boob tube" as we used to call it, captivating grasshopper's attention while all the other wild and crazed creatures turn toward the LORD and bow, offering what-have-you (honest or not...). That spoke to me. I decided to revisit the Sedoka Japanese poetic form that we used last month, and explore that connection.

Watching TV in the Presence of Christ

Bug-eyed, she lounges,
reclined in Holy Presence;
eyes fixed on flickering screen.


Her LORD approaches
barefoot upon Holy Ground.
All worship; she surfs the screen.
   -Andromeda Jazmon   

Take a look at what the my Poetry Sisters have written this month at their blogs:

And don't forget to visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at The Poem Farm
April is National Poetry Month, and Jama is rounding up kidlitosphere bloggers who are doing special poetry projects. Enjoy!

 



Friday, March 04, 2016

Sedoka Poems to Bring in Spring


I just realized that March 9, 2016 is my 10 year blogoversary!!! Hard to believe how fast that has flown. Back then I was doing a lot of parent blogging and also reviewing children's books more, as I was an elementary school librarian. I haven't been blogging as much lately, what with a new job since last summer (Reference librarian in a small college close to home = YAY!), but I am still enjoying the ride. I am inordinately inspired and challenged by my Poetry Sisters and the poems we have written together over the past eight years. We started with a Crown of Sonnets in 2008. I am so honored and thrilled to be part of this sisterhood! And on it goes...
Here's another spring photo for you, just because.



As winter ends (we made it through another one!) and spring blows in (March in my part of the world is all about wind and unpredictability...) the Poetry Sisters are writing Sedoka. Sedoka is an ancient Japanese form going back to the 6th century. It consists of two three-line stanzas with a 5,7,7 syllable count, not rhymed. The trick is to present two contrasting views of the same subject, rather like the way good haiku contrasts two images to give a new insight. I've had some up and down days this past month, with sick children and snowy days mixed right in there with warm breezes, the first spring flowers, and seed catalogs arriving. They are calling for snow tomorrow, and 70 degrees on Monday.




I've tried to paint a picture of contrasts with these, and had fun doing it. I've always loved playing with haiku and squeezing images into short poems, so I'm sure I'll come back for more. Here's my first few attempts:


Lonely
 
An infant at night
on the pediatric ward;
watched where lights never go out.
His waking cry calls
a nurse; not mother’s crooning.
His voice tips toward blind outrage.

 - Andromeda Jazmon 2/29/16


Wind

Spring ruffles all things;
flocks of robins on the grass
flushed as tender swollen buds,
while scrims of ice hold
the pond; eyelashes freezing
still with winter’s tears.

 - Andromeda Jazmon 3/1/16

My Poetry Sisters have more to offer at their blogs: 

And don't forget to visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at Teacher Dance. Enjoy!

Friday, January 08, 2016

A Crown of Sonnets

For the past several months my Poetry Sisters have been working madly behind the scenes, creating a Crown of Sonnets. That's seven linked sonnets, each one starting with the ending line of the one that came before, the last one ending with the first line of the first, in a wonderful circle. Wow. We did it once before, several years ago, and were just crazy enough to try it again, after a full year of writing different forms together every month in 2015.

I am in a new job since July of this year, however, and this term has me racing just to keep my feet on the ground as I learn a new library, new campus, new faculty and new student body. So for this round of sonnet writing, I took a back seat. I'm in the cheering section this month, just promoting what my amazing poet sisters have done. Really, you need to sit back and take some time to explore this remarkable ensemble. You can read each sonnet individually at the blogs, and then re-read the whole crown in sequence at Trisha's blog.

The organizing subject for the crown was the Periodic Table of the Elements. Each sonnet takes a row and goes to town. And isn't it fitting that we have just heard they've completed filling in the seventh row with newly named elements! Are they on point, or what?

Here are the links:

Row 1: Laura Purdie Salas
Row 2:Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Row 3: Sara Lewis Holmes
Row 4: Kelly Fineman
Row 5: Liz Garton Scanlon
Row 6: Tanita Davis
Row 7: Tricia gives the whole Crown at once

Wowza!! After you catch your breath from that extravaganza, a little more fun: Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference has the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Edphrastic Poetry with the Seven Sisters

This month my Poetry Sisters and I decided to try Ekphrastic poetry, which is simple poetry written in response to an image or work of art. Tanita found this amazing image, and we all wrote about it in whatever form we chose. I reverted to blank verse, having defaulted to my old favorite. The image is taken from a tumblr blog linked here. The original blog posting (Carnival of Dogs) gave this information:

"Documentation of the installation
Susanne Ussing, I Drivhuset, installed at Ordrupgaardsamlingen 1980.
Galleri Tom Christoffersen



Dear Alice

Bricks laid
around her feet &
spiderwebs of steel
adorning her head; this
goddess of paper mache
looks with horror
at an arm of tin,
a leg of wood.
She wonders.
Made to be encased;
or sheltered after the fact?

             -Andromeda Jazmon 

Visit the blogs of my Poetry Sisters and see what they made for this image:

Sara
 Laura
Trisha
- Celebrating a 9th blog anniversary!
Kelly
Liz
Tanita

And be sure to check out the Friday Poetry round up hosted by Katya at

Friday, October 02, 2015

Etheree poems for October

This month the Poetry Sisters have been working on producing Etheree poems.
This form consists of ten lines; and the poems grow by add one syllable to each line. There are no rhymes. Trisha got us started early in the month by posting about the form on here Monday Poetry Stretch. I submitted my first poem there, and then later worked on a few others. You might be able to tell I am in the fall term in my college library; since both of these poems have academic subjects.




Print.
Ebooks.
Not the same
but somehow… yes.
A format question.
Encyclopedia
Britannica online claims
it updates daily and covers
the world. In print it fills a bookcase
back home in my father’s dusty study.
    -Andromeda Jazmon; submitted to Trisha’s Monday Poetry Stretch





I scribbled this one down while proctoring a test:


One
by one
in blue light
of laptop screens
students take the test
that measures their success
in connecting research skills
with their daily tasks as scholars;
eighty-nine freshman struggle as one
each in a faint glow from the same website.
                   -Andromeda Jazmon


Check out what the other Poetry Sisters have done at their websites linked below. I am really quite taken with the beauty of what they have done! 


Sara
Laura
Trisha
Kelly
Liz
Tanita 


And today's Friday Poetry roundup is hosted by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe. Enjoy!


Friday, September 04, 2015

Found Poem in The Scarlet Letter

Our poetry project for this month, cats and kittens, is to create a "Found Poem". This type of poem is drawn from text you find, or stumble over, in any context, that strikes you as rich in potential. Sometimes one can find irony, or humor, or surprising wisdom. Sometimes it's just fun.

I happened to run across an old copy of Norton's Anthology of American Literature, vol. 1 on the library Free Book Shelf, just in time for this project. It made me nostalgic for my undergrad days, with all those hours bent over onion skin pages, highlighter at the ready. I knew I would find something rich there.

The Scarlet Letter. A story I have always felt connection to, and always puzzled over. It's such a painful story, and one in which I want to find more beauty and grace. Perfect for re-working into a Found Poem! If you will pardon me, Mr. Hawthorne, for changing everything... Just imagine the story taken up and shaken hard, till all the judgement, condemnation, shame, and pain fall out...

- Andromeda Jazmon

My Poetry Sisters are also writing Found Poems this month, and you can find them at their blogs:

Sara
Laura
Trisha
Kelly
Liz
Tanita

The lovely Laura has created a Padlet  (a kind of online bulletin board free-for-all) for us as well, where we have posted our poems and where you, dear reader, can add your own if you like! Go ahead and try it out! Then don't forget to visit the Friday Poetry Round up at TeacherDance. Enjoy!

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


CURB ALERT:
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!