Friday, September 24, 2021

Tanka answers the Poetry Sisters

 It sounded fun when we first discussed it; find a poem published previously in one of our poetry challenges, and write a tanka in response. Tanka, you will remember, is a Japanese poetry form consisting of seven lines. In Japanese the syllable counts are in the pattern 5/7/5/7/7. It's like an extended haiku where the last two lines dig a little deeper or extend the emotional impact of the images contrasted in the first three lines. Amelia Fielden explains it well in her blog Tanka as Diary. Kelly has a great explanation of tanka on her blog here. I don't like the awkward constriction of forcing the images into those syllable counts, so I agree with her that it should really just be short/long/short/long/long, and keep it as brief as possible with really clear, crisp images that snap.

So, the Poetry Sister's poem, going back 13 years (REALLY. We've been writing together that long!) I spent some time relishing their blogs and admiring their gorgeous work.

Mary Lee joined us in our writing prompts this year, and has been sharing her delightful poems. She wrote this one about a day on the water, and it really struck me.

My kayak slides
skimming over the clouds
reflected on calm waters.
No answer for the loon
crying down the bay

Sara wrote about a beautiful tree with twisted limbs in this challenge. That tree has stayed with me.

Always seeking sun,
a tree's determined pursuit
twists toward light.
She bears vigorous pruning
having pushed aside old ghosts.

Kelly wrote a lovely triolet about the amber glow of sunlight in fall. My tanka:

Fall's first days still green -
sunlight emerald through the trees.
One brief chill shivers
and now autumn glow descends
making the cherry leaves gold.

Laura wrote brilliantly about Fall in the style of e. e. cummings. I grabbed her words because I love them so much, and twisted out a tanka.

Summer's abrupt end
drops golden from that blue sky -
a brittle scurry.
Our bright, waiting earth
pauses for snap and winter.

Liz wrote a pastoral poem in Fall of 2019, with sunflowers. That image captured me.

Fields of sunflowers
facing the way the sun shines;
a blaze of hope.
Even when the heads hang down
the seeds ripen, bent towards us.

Trisha wrote a tritina last year that was a revisiting of an older challenge. I was inspired by her words and the image she chose for it.

The plinth of Jackson
bears another; he's replaced
with empty air.
Hope rides a horse of blue breeze
and graffiti claims this space.

Tanita  wrote an etheree on the theme of her beloved California. I've only been there once, (I'm a Pennsylvania girl) and this is what I remember:

LA breakfasts were
a laugh; have a smoke or two
and Orange Juice picked
straight off your own tree,
but all the hills were burnt brown.

That was fun - responding to all my Poetry Sisters and looking back over their posts. Next month, for the last Friday Poetry in October we are going to meet the Challenge of writing Wordplay Poems, as invented by Nikki Grimes.Here is  a description she gives for the form, in an interview on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ lovely blog. (scroll down through the interview for the poem prompts). Give it a try, write your Wordplay Poem and post it on October 29th! Share it with #PoetryPals if you post to social media, too!

Take a look at what the Poetry Sisters have published on their blogs:

Trisha

Tanita

Sara

Liz

Laura

Kelly

Mary Lee

and enjoy all the Friday Poetry goodness at Laura's blog this weekend!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Zentangle Found Poem

This month the Poetry Sisters are messing around with found poems and Zentangle doodles. I discovered Zentangle after a workshop at my local nature center a couple years ago, and I am delighted to combine it with the fun of found poems, which in this style are sometimes called "blackout poems" or "erasure poems". Check out Kat Apel for her description of this combo of poem and Zentangle

For my poem today I took a page from an old reading primer and thought about light and shadow. 



Make sure you stop by the Poetry Sisters' blogs to see what they have done! (Liz is taking a break this month.) Also, several other poets have joined us this month and used the hashtag #PoetryPals. You can find them linked at the Friday Poetry roundup.

Tanita

Kelly

Laura

Sara

Trisha

Check out all the Friday Poetry at Linda Mitchell's blog A Word Edgewise. Enjoy! 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Poetry Friday: In the style of "Innocence..."

My Poetry Sisters and I are working on writing poems in the style of another poet whose work we love. It's a fun challenge to take a serious look at the structure and elements of something lovely to try and figure out what makes it so. We chose to look at and work from Linda Hogan's poem "Innocence', found here at the Poetry Foundation.

After studying it and talking it over, we noticed the three stanzas focus on discovery, wonder, and growth. The lines of each stanza are 10, 6, and 4. It's a nice progression, don't you think?

I chose to stay with nature, and since I have a pink geranium in my office soaking up the sun, I went back to an experience I had visiting a cemetery and finding geraniums in the trash pile.


Hope

There is nothing more hopeful
than the cast-off geraniums
tossed in the cemetery trash
whose dry roots hold on stubbornly
to the slimmest jolt
of living juice.
Could be the grounds keeper's job
is to keep things tidy by
solemnly sweeping up spent blooms.

Once I dragged out a partially green shoot
from the twisted, wilting pile and
surreptitiously stuck it in my jacket
as I was leaving a funeral,
wondering if one grief
carries over to another

or if one more chance
at life... any life at all
testifies to hope
enough to keep us going.

    - Andromeda Jazmon

Take a look at the poems my Poetry Sisters have written: (Kelly and Laura are taking a break)


and then stop by the Friday Poetry roundup at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme.

Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Merriam Webster’s Time Traveler Poems

2021 and a fresh start to Friday Poetry with my Poetry Sisters! This year we are going to be doing monthly challenges and invite you to join in, if you would like. 

Here’s our plan for next month: To post on Feb 26 (and to share on Twitter as #PoetryPals): roll a set of metaphor dice and write a poem inspired by your metaphor. If you don’t have them, try the online one: https://perchance.org/ve4axzbkx4"


For January, we collected words at the Merriam Webster's Time Traveler site, where you can take a look at a list of the words first used in print during your birth year (or select any year!). I was thinking generational, since I've recently lost my mother and lost my oldest child three years ago. I wondered what progression in language I would parse from comparing our three birth years.


Merriam Webster's Tale of Three Generations


First Generation


Grandma was born

at the moment of truth.

She was no gal Friday.

She was a flat out,

filter tipped,

interfaith

supernova.

She passed on

the genetic markers

of wishful thinking.

She mixed culture shock 

with pablum

and a new deal,

tape recorded our boo boos

and pointed a zoom lens

at Silver Stars.


Second Generation


For instance,

it was happy hour

in the global village

when our virtual memory

reached the tipping point

and queen size

soul sisters

got zonked

on hard rock,

plain vanilla

amuse bouche

and open heart

munchies.

We were brown bagging

no load, nonself picholine

shrink wrapped in

soul music.


Next Generation


Welp.

The third generation

in this story

could be patient zero,

scripting language

and contact tracing

acid wash emoticons.

Their messenger bag

stuffed with off label

steampunk,

they take a deep dive 

into a thirtysomething

minitower.

The FAQ explains

how to gank

paintball GIFs

in virtual reality.

We are all ADHD now.

     - Andromeda Jazmon    2021


Welp, that was a hoot! Check out my Poetry Sister's poems:

Laura

Liz

Sara

Tanita

Tricia

Kelly

And please save some time this weekend to enjoy all the poetry at the round-up at Bookseedstudio!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Skinnys during "Stay At Home" orders

Spending so much time in my upper room, staring out the window musing over what work can be done from a distance, I have noticed a pair of crows hanging out in my weeping cherry tree. They are large, black birds, anyway, and I looked up all the different types of large black birds to try to distinguish between them. Pretty sure these are American Crows.

My Poetry Sisters and I are tackling Skinny Poems once again this month, since we enjoyed it so much last year. Skinny form was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University. The Skinny Blog explains the form this way:

"A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject, although the form generally reflects more serious concerns facing humankind. Also, Skinnys can be linked, much like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. (Note: As a matter of aesthetics, the plural form of the Skinny should be “Skinnys.”)"

 I really like short poems, so I had fun with this one. I just happened to look out the window last week when the crescent moon was high in a brilliant blue sky and the crows were busy. In these days of social distancing, work from home, and "Stay At Home" orders, inside and outside contrasts are sharp. A poem came from that.

Quarantine Rooms

Inside, the room is dark.
Outside,
moon
sails
blue.
Outside,
crow
claims
territory.
Outside
a dark room.
 
   -Andromeda Jazmon
                   @2020



Please also enjoy the Skinnys at my Poetry Sisters' blogs:

Trisha
Tanita
Sara
Liz
Laura
Kelly
Rebecca

And then make sure you visit the Friday Poetry Roundup at Wondering & Wandering. Happy Friday!

Friday, January 31, 2020

January Haiku

I've been writing monthly poetry with my Poetry Sisters for over ten years now. Missed quite a few monthly posts, it's true, but I'm not giving up yet. Every year we look ahead to make plans for the year, and this year we have all agreed to take some time to look back and revise some of those older poems that still could use some work. I'm glad of that because I have to admit I have often scribbled something off in a rush and never looked back. They could all be a bit better, in fact!

We are going to balance that by writing a few other short poems, often haiku, in a balance of foresight and hindsight. Sounds about right for the cusp of the decade. We are ending this month with a haiku on a theme of the new year of foresight.

I know from Chinese cooking that pears are therapeutic. Poached pears in a honey sauce are so soothing and comforting. Just what we need on a dreary day at the end of January. Another thing about pears; they ripen slowly and get sweeter with a few scars. My kind of fruit.


Start of the week;
green pear on the windowsill,
sweet by Friday.

-Andromeda Jazmon


Check out the wonderful haiku by my Poetry Sisters here:

Kelly Ramsdell

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

Friday, October 04, 2019

Pastorals with the Poetry Sisters

The Poetry Sisters have been challenged by Sara's daughter Rebecca to write a Pastoral poem this month. Pastoral poetry focuses on the joys and delights of country life and nature's bounty, while at the same time contrasting human endeavors and occupations, or the harmony and disharmony of humans in nature. Serendipitously, I have been studying William Blake lately, and found a wealth of examples to follow. I particularly love this little one: "Ah! Sunflower!"

I am a college librarian on a beautiful suburban campus right next to a large natural area. We have a lot of birds in residence and migrating through. This week some students found a hummingbird that had fallen on the sidewalk after hitting the windows of the classroom building. We tried to nurse it but it never was able to fly away. We passed it onto the professor who does a lot with birds and haven’t heard back if it survived. It was drinking sugar water and getting sleepy, sinking into torpor when I last saw it… (Link to Facts about Hummingbirds webpage).





To a Hummingbird Injured on Migration

Bright heart beating, slightly thrumming!
Cradled by my pulse, broken by this
school of glass and steel. Impact numbing,
zing of feathers, crumpled on the ground.

Who can splint such tiny, trembling bones?
Blessed hummer, you remembered every flower
till you fell in love with window tombstones.
Yet we offer sugar water, crooning low and sweet.

Defending warrior, rest your sword,
Torpor takes your warmth and light.
Meant to fly long miles to seaboard;
tiny toes were never made to stand.

Frail bones broken, wee wings warped
on the temple of our pride; how we
echo your distress! Brief hope corked
at your demise, here our wishes flounder.

                         -Andromeda Jazmon


Please take some time to visit my Poetry Sister's blogs and enjoy their poems too!
Sara
Laura
Tanita
Kelly
Liz
Trisha
Rebecca

And save some time this weekend to explore the Friday Poetry Roundup at the Library Matters blog. Happy Fall!