Monday 25 April 2011

In that kitchen, a writing exercise (NaPoWriMo, day 25)

Three days of NaPoWriMo, I've begun anew an exercise I came across in a listserv's archives: Begin with "In that kitchen," continuing writing until you're stuck, and when you reach that wall, write "In that kitchen" again and continue accordingly for 10-15 minutes; this becomes the first draft of a prose poem. In my three pieces, the kitchen is always the kitchen at 220 Arlington Drive, Normal, Illinois, the kitchen I knew as my family's from the age of five, the kitchen I may not see again if the house is sold soon. I was surprised to feel how much a kitchen can be the axis of a family; I suppose ours especially, as it was connected to the garage on one side and was open to the dining room on the other. For those struggling with coming up with a poem a day, I strongly recommend the exercise and urge people to try it with the kitchen they knew in childhood: it's amazing what strands of relationships, family, place, and development arise and mingle.

Monday 18 April 2011

NaPoWriMo, day 18

It's the eighteenth day. Some days I haven't even tried to write poetry (I just moved house), but always tried to make up for it on days I have more time, and with the help of some haiku, I'm more or less on top of it.

But tonight something interesting happened, the kind of thing I only knew I was waiting for after it occurred. An opening line arose in my mind, I said, "Oh, no, that won't work," and it became a challenge then, to make it work, to follow this very strange line. It's turned out to be quite a short poem, but the thrill of departure, of invention, excites me and makes me hope for more tomorrow.

How are others getting on? Please share your experiences, whether you've been successful at a poem a day or not. After all, the last three years I've never made it to 30 poems in 30 days.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Divining for Starters' first review,

by Martin Stannard, is now up at Stride Magazine, and I'm pleased to say it's very appreciative. Here's a passage from the opening paragraph: "Etter has gaps, spaces and unfinished sentences and you know immediately why they're there and what they're doing. This is a poetry of elegance and grace, of things spoken and unspoken, the known and almost known and the intuited, and it's quite stunning."

Wednesday 13 April 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 13

It's day 13, and I have 11 poems. I didn't write a poem yesterday because I wrote several short poems the day before, and today so far has been consumed by teaching; I'm hopeful, though, of doing a little writing this evening. How are others doing?

Monday 11 April 2011

Another Country: Haiku Poetry from Wales

I've just begun reading from this well produced anthology edited by Nigel Jenkins, Ken Jones and Lynne Rees and published by Gomer, and I'm enjoying the range of haiku, senyru, and haibun. Here's a haiku by a friend of mine:

early dark
the cathedral visible
only as windows

Karen Hoy

The anthology is available for £9.99/$14.99 direct from the publisher.

Thursday 7 April 2011

NaPoWriMo writing prompts

In response to Zara's request for exercises and ideas to help keep the poems coming, I've found a couple good sites for poetry writing prompts online, specifically for NaPoWriMo. American poet Kelli Russell Agodon has posted 30 new prompts for 2011 here, and here's a site devoted to NaPoWriMo. I'd be glad to hear of other good sites.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 5

It's day 5, folks--how are you doing? I've written four poems so far (I haven't tried my one for today yet) and am already feeling good with the pleasures of creation and revision. Others?

Sunday 3 April 2011

Poets on Adoption

Eileen Tabios has begun a blogzine, Poets on Adoption, in which poets affected by adoption in some way talk about their adoption experience and its influence on their poetry. I'll be contributing soon, talking about the curious position of being both adoptee and birthmother and presumably also about Imagined Sons, my manuscript that explores my consciousness as a birthmother.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Judging a competition

I'm judging a competition for the first time in Britain, for Poetry Society Stanza members. The theme is "breaking the rules," and members can submit up to two poems, each no more than 40 lines. I suggested not including a poem of mine on the website so that people wouldn't think I was looking for any one thing, so here's hoping for a real range of approaches--I'm curious to see what I'll receive. If you want to know more, full details are on the Poetry Society's website.

Friday 1 April 2011

April Fool's poetry anthology

In honour of the day, Rob A. Mackenzie has posted a sparky satirical piece on his blog, titled "New Poetry Anthology." It begins "Breaking News. The Government have announced that, as part of their ongoing commitment to literature and the arts, a new anthology called 'Undersize Sock Poems' has been produced"--and gets better and better as it continues.

Kurt Schwitters

In today's New York Times, there's a thoughtful review article on Kurt Schwitters, artist and sound poet.

Tonight on The Verb

Tonight's edition of The Verb with Ian McMillan (BBC Radio 3, 9:15 p.m.) includes Infinite Difference contributors Harriet Tarlo and Carol Watts, as well as poet Ira Lightman. Listen in!