Friday, September 12, 2008

Poetry Tips: Did You Get the Memo?

September doesn’t have much to look forward to, Labor Day is at the beginning of the month and therefore all you have left to think about is work related items since all the holidays also seem far away, even Halloween. So why not pay tribute to your office by creating a poetic memo? Format the poem to look like a standard memo and create a poem about any topic you want, so long as it looks like it was supposed to be received in everyone’s in-boxes or office e-mail. Have fun fighting the work-a-day doldrums!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Haiku Competition Open Submissions

Did you notice Don Wentworth’s call for Haiku Poems at…

I have copy and pasted from his blog about the contest here (There’s a prize!):

“So, here's the deal: for the next four weeks, send along up to 5 haiku to lilliput review at gmail dot com (spelled out to fend off pesky bots) and the best haiku wins the review copy of Basho: The Complete Haiku. Minimally, I will need your name and email to contact you with the results. In the subject line of your email, please put "Basho Haiku Challenge" so I can easily differentiate it from the scads of other things that come my way. The final date for submissions will be October 2nd and the winner will be announced in either the October 9th or October 16th posting. My definition of haiku is about as liberal as you can get: I follow no one particular method, school or theory and there is no seasonal requirement. Your haiku can be 1, 2, or 3 lines (over 5 would be a bit much, folks, but I will keep an open mind for experimenters). The one restriction would be that it be in the spirit of haiku (I've always liked the definition of English haiku as lasting the length of one breath, in and out and pause, but that's just me - and, oh yeah, I'm the judge, but, again, it's the spirit of the thing that counts) and that the haiku be previously unpublished in either paper or electronic form (ok, that's two requirements).If I get only one haiku, we have a winner, so, what the hell, give it a go. I reserve the right to publish the haiku on the blog (or not), with possible publication in Lilliput Review.And, oh, yeah, spread the word ...To entice you a bit further here's a little something about Basho: The Complete Haiku. Like it says in the title, it's complete, which is significant in itself as all previous translations are just selections (according to the press release, this is the first complete Basho translation in English). That's 1012 haiku by the master. There are 164 pages of notes, one for each poem, which variously treat a haiku's origin, allusions, variations, and grammatical anomalies, the later being quite important and virtually untranslatable. Reichhold has provided an introduction and a short biography, with appendices on "Haiku Techniques", "A Selected Chronology", "A Glossary of Literary Terms", and a bibliography. I've just begun it and it is formidable; I'll be looking at it in more depth in a future post, probably sometime after the contest is over.”

Good luck to all of you who submit, and thanks for dropping by, please stop by tomorrow for more Poetry Tips….

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poems Found by Poet Hound
“The Legend of Good John Henry” by Dorothea Lasky
“Following An Electric Arc Between Two Luminous Points” by Alexis Orgera

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kristy Odelius' Bee Spit

I found Kristy Odelius’ chapbook Bee Spit at Dancing Girl Press and thoroughly enjoyed the read. This was published in 2007 and Kristy Odelius has her own web-site that conveniently features one of the poems I had “dog-eared.” Ms. Odelius is an Assistant Professor of English at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois and will soon have published a full length collection of poems at Shearsman Books titled Strange Trades in addition to being nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem “Vertigo to Eros.”

Now before I begin reviewing her poem “Third Grade,” please take a moment to read it using the link below:
I love this poem because it takes quite a few ideas that were still voiced when I was a small child, such as “sit stare drop/(don’t talk) your eyes/under the table” and pieces it all together into a girl’s life. Then of course, I love the odds and ends Ms. Odelius pulls together for the way girls play: “Learn to mix paint/from spit and berries, write/your name on the sidewalk…” for these are things most kids do growing up. What is interesting is that she goes from a sense of innocence and moves towards the end to darker notions for women’s lives and uses contradictory comparisons. In the beginning there is the vague comparison of “birthday parties and funerals” which piques your interest but is easily passed over to the next few lines. Then it becomes more abrupt, especially in the third stanza “Acquaint yourself with death’s low/whistle, know it better than the rules/of Chinese jump rope.” That line had me thinking for quite a while and I’m still not sure what to make of it. I love that the title of the poem increases the discomfort of the final ending. How can a girl in the third grade have a life described in such a way? From starting out young and told to be quiet, listen, observe, to experimenting with odds and ends in a girl’s while growing up and then finally ending with a sinister sound. The very last line concludes with a somber tone but also hopeful with the words “glory, glory.” What do you think of a poem like this? I think of a girl who loses her innocence but it is hard to pinpoint exactly how. This poem got me thinking, and I hope it does the same for you.

Another poem I enjoyed was “I Called You Darling 7 Ways.” It is the winding down of a relationship told from the perspective of the woman who doesn’t want to let go. I love the odd imagery used for describing the relationship in lines like “You bent the lost skyscraper over my knee./With a lap of glass, I called you darling.” I especially love the lines “I called you, on the phone./I called you darling./The phone warned me.” How many people in relationships that you know who regret the phone calls they make as a relationship is ending? I know I’m in that boat, along with many others who have made the mistake of calling the one they love and realizing that the one they love may not feel that way anymore. There are lots of snapshot-like images in this poem that bring about the feel of the relationship without many words based on human emotion. “I harbored paint-smudge behind my knee./You called me “sad.”/” The word “sad” is one of the only words that names an emotion. The rest of the poem focuses on moments between the two people. At the end, the woman tries to hold on and earns the response of “baby, don’t make it harder than it is.” A trite remark. To which she responds with “I mocked you a little.” Then finally it ends with the man leaving for good, and her last line ends with “I called you darling.” The ending line clinches the whole poem for me because break-ups often feel one-side. One person is done and leaves, the other is still holding on, holding out hope and still in love. This poem is a refreshing change to the majority of break-up poems out there and if you have a chance to read it in this chapbook then you absolutely should find a copy or buy one.

As always, there are many fine poems in the collection, I am only providing a small taste. I hope you enjoy Kristy Odelius’ poems at her web-site (just poke around using the link above) and will pick up a collection of her poems when you stumble upon them.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Dream Horse Press

Find full-length poetry collections and even their guidelines and open submissions dates at the site below:

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Edition 4 Answers

4th Edition answers:

1. Emily Dickinson
2. Rudyard Kipling
3. Li-Young Lee
4. Jubilat
5. Laurel Snyder

I’m not sure how many people were participating in the Sunday Search puzzles but I am going to call an end to it for now since I still have rather busy weekends. If you did enjoy it, let me know, and in the future I may try it again.

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