Prompt #13: January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Short on time while the holiday bells of family, friends and parties are still ringing, I have been writing snatches and snippets, but no real poems. Then! I stumbled upon a delightful little (and surprisingly powerful) form called the zip.

My friend Michael Dylan Welch, the current PL of Redmond, Washington, is a renowned poet, specializing in Japanese traditional forms. You can check out his work starting with his blog Graceguts. Michael shared the news earlier this week that the English poet, John Carley, passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. Michael challenged us, as a way to celebrate Carley’s life, to write a poem in the zip format he invented. Never having heard of a zip haiku, I was intrigued!

According to a 2001 article by Carley, a zip is “proposed as an analogue to the Japanese haiku, but uses a form more suited to the innate phonic and semantic qualities of English. The zip employs fifteen syllables, two weak pauses and one strong. The poem is centred on the caesura.

What could be better. Short poems for the crazy holiday season, or those crazy days in my PAD project when I am stuck at work late, exhausted, grumpy, etc. And a “real” form. So, I took up the challenge. I’ve written two in the past two days, and whether they are good or not, only time will tell. I love them. The first is a moment remembered from my daughter’s beach party and the second is a reflection on my mother’s upcoming birthday in Maine.

Write your own!!!


making faces     around the fire
beer bottles      marshmallow smoke

# 2

    January      glittering blue and white
the shape of     windows

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