Friday, April 29, 2022

In the Style of... Taylor Mali


This month my Poetry Sisters are writing Poems in the style of Taylor Mali,

 the spoken word poet. I enjoy his work so much, but I didn't think I could 

do anything like it. I normally write pretty short poems with just a few images. 

But then I saw Liz wrote something in response to a prompt on Mali's blog

where he suggests writing a poem in the style of Nikki Giovanni. He says, 

"write a short poem that begins with the word "once" and ends with the 

speaker ... suddenly realizing..." I gave it a shot. This is a true story 

about me and my little brother John, from when we were in elementary school.


In the style of Nikki Giovanni and Taylor Mali 

Once my little brother and I

could fly and we danced

through blissful air under the Maple

tree, frolicking amongst the

twirling, falling Maple seed keys

until we crashed into each other

and discovered gravity.

My little brother’s knees burst 

open in a flood of blood.

He was taken to the hospital for stitches

and I learned I had weight 

and a burden to carry.

-Andromeda Jazmon 


Please visit my Poetry Sister's blogs and read their fabulous poems:








Mary Lee


And stop by the Friday Poetry Roundup at Jone Rush Macculloch's blog.


Also! Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day, 2022. What's in your pocket? 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Ekphrasitc Dodistsu

This month we are working on learning a new-to-me poetic form from 19th c. Japan. It is called "dodoitsu", and consists of four lines with a syllable count of 7,7,7,5. They say it is reminiscent of haiku with a limerick flavor. Dodoitsu often speak of love, family, or work and can have a comical twist. We decided to combine these short poems with images we shared, to make ekphrasitc collaborations. The images were all taken by us or our family members.

I started with a beautiful image my late brother John took of the Delaware harbor at sunset. The harbor cranes remind me of huge ancient creatures on prowl.

"Harbor" by John M. Sibley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


 My second poem is written for an image taken by Mary Lee.

And I tried one more, written for Laura's image of a puzzle she enjoyed. What a surprise to find these bonus double pieces in the box!

Take a look at what all the Poetry Sisters shared this week:






Mary Lee



And be sure to visit the Friday Poetry host at Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's the Poem Farm 

for this week's round up. Enjoy! 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Exquisite Corpse Poem

 Our challenge this month is to write an Exquisite Corpse Poem. This form is a game played in a group, like the way we used to pass around slips of paper with lines in a made-up story in junior high; each person in the group adding one line and laughing at the way these outrageous novella developed. Only this is a bunch of poets passing a line around the circle, everyone adding one line without knowing what came before or after. The Poetry Sisters played this game in Slack, passing our lines along and then meeting up in zoom on Sunday afternoon to look at the whole thing and talk about what we had. We each then went off to edit and adapt those lines into our own poems. We gave each other license to keep or change as much as we wanted. We are sharing them here in our blogs for Friday Poetry, and we hope you enjoy the game!

Here are the lines as they came to us in the round robin:

This month, odd one out, running short on days and sleep,

This month, past meets pride, roots ripped from native soil still somehow grow.

The once-bright future dims. Shadows grow

But there, near canyon  rim, in  broken light

the yearling hawk shrieked in futile fury

and the steel-edged clouds looked away

trees bow and bend on a blustery day

that rattles old oak leaves down the street.

I wanted to have a narrative with a character, of course. The hardest part for me was not knowing if the poets before me had included a character and started a story. To get past that I made my line about a hawk, which could be a main character, a minor character, or just atmosphere and background noise.

I spent some time wondering what lives on the edge of a canyon. I did a quick internet search and found out that Bristlecone Pines live there, and they are the oldest living organism on the planet. I found a sharable image of a Bristlecone Pine and my poem went from there:

Bristlecone Pine by Annita Keck CC BY SA



She finds herself running short on days and sleep,

Wondering if roots ripped from native soil still somehow grow.

The once-bright future dims. Remembering what was left

in pieces near that canyon rim,

she sees today in broken light.

A yearling hawk soars and shrieks in futile fury

as steel-edged clouds drift away. And

older than dirt, the oldest of old, the 4000 year old

Bristlecone pines bow and bend in the bluster

that rattles old oak leaves down the street.

                    -Andromeda Jazmon 


Take a look at what the other Poetry Sisters wrote:


Trisha - hosting Friday Poetry this week!





Mary Lee



In March we are challenging ourselves to write Ekphrastic Dodoitsu poems.

Writer's Digest says, "This 4-line poem has seven syllables in the first three lines 

and five syllables in the fourth--and final--line.The Dodoitsu often focuses on love 

or work with a comical twist." We are writing in response to photos that in some

 way indicate either love or work themes. We will post on March 25 for

 Friday Poetry. Please join us if you want to play!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Found poem for my brother

 This month the Poetry Sisters have been listening for poetry in the air. We agreed to create "found" poems from something overheard. It's harder than you might think in these pandemic days! I am afraid the most important thing I heard this past month was at the memorial service for my brother John, who sadly passed away at the end of the year. I couldn't get anything else out of my head, thinking about him and his life and all he gave us. I was able to listen to the recording of his memorial service, and I pulled out the lines quoted and comments offered that had tremendous impact on me. I put the text on top of a photograph of John in the mountains, where he loved to be.

My found poem is for two voices. The left column of quotes from service readings and music alternates with the right column of family and friends' comments in a call and response style. Click to enlarge the image for easier reading.

I wrote another poem for John back in 2015, a sestina based on memories of fishing with my brother in childhood. I shared it here.

I hope you will go to the blogs of my Poetry Sisters and read their poems too:







Mary Lee

In February, we're going to try one or more Exquisite Corpse poems. We're not sure exactly how we're going to do them, and there's a lot of wiggle room. Read about them, and then figure out how YOU'd like to use or be inspired by the game. We'll share our poems on Feb. 25th, and you can, too! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #PoetryPals. We can't wait to see what you (and we?) do with this! Have fun!The Poetry Friday Roundup this week is with Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. She always has so much inspiration to share!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Word Play poems with the Poetry Sisters


This month we are doing Word Play poems. 

Laura shared this form with us after she enjoyed it on Today's Little Ditty last spring. 

Check out Nikki Grimes' description here.   


The idea is to explore a word: what it sounds like, what it means to you, what it implies. 

This was a fun one for me once I started thinking about my kitchen.




Kitchen is a  Choppy Word

Kitchen is a choppy word.

Hard “K” to start us off eager and excited,

a voiceless stop consonant middle, then

no nonsense end, a closed syllable schwa blend.

My kitchen is all that -

a room enclosed in warmth,

bright with humming and dancing,

or hungry childish crying.

When the only phone hung

by the kitchen door

we scribbled phone numbers

in pencil on cheerful yellow walls.

My kitchen is full of ghosts I love.

It has wrung with curses, been

bright red with blood splatter, and often

smelt of burning bacon.

My kitchen is a small square space;

a triangle of hot, cold, and sharp. 

Gushing water, cracking ice, boiling pots,

flowing or frozen or forgotten.

Favorite coffee mugs mix and match with

tea cups bought in tourist shops.

Hope chest flatware shuffle with discount spoons;

mom’s china and thrift store plates.

There are rainbow prisms in the window,

dog dishes by the door,

tripping hazard cats curled up on the rag rug,

and a light left on all night.

                                    - Andromeda Jazmon


Visit my Poetry Sisters' blogs to read their poems:








Mary Lee


And make sure to find time to visit the Friday Poetry Round up by Linda at TeacherDance. Enjoy!

Poetry Peeps! You're invited to join our challenge for the month of November! Here's the scoop: We're writing an Ode to Autumn. An ode is a lyrical poem, and like the ancient Greeks, modern humans also enjoy marking an occasion with a song. Whether you choose an irregular ode with no set pattern or rhyme, or the ten-line, three-to-five stanza famed by Homer himself, we hope you'll join us in singing in the season of leaf-fall and pie. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on November 26th (the Friday after Thanksgiving, so plan ahead) in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

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:







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.






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