Creativity Workshop: Igniting Your Writing!

sensory imagesI had so much fun on Tuesday at the Quinlan Center with a group of 3rd through 6th graders as we went through the first of the Igniting Your Writing workshops! In this first session, we focused on making our writing come alive with sensory imagery.

We began the session by listening to poetry and visualizing the imagery in them. We even attempted a drawing of Jack Prelutsky’s crazy dog from My Dog, He is an Ugly Dog! It was great fun. The kids then broke into groups and visited different sensory stations focusing on picking descriptive words based on sense sensations for sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Finally, we worked on crafting our own imagery poems based on sensory description. I’m very much looking forward to next week’s session on word choice!

Here is a sampling of their original work!

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Original Sensory Imagery Poems (Grades 3-6)

Multilingual Poetry & Prose Night!

Multilingual Poetry & Prose 5-10-18 Program-page-001Last Thursday (5/10/18), a group of over fifty people from the community came together to celebrate the power of poetry and prose in many languages at the first annual Multilingual Poetry & Prose Night. The Cupertino Poet Laureate Program joined with the United Chinese Alumni Associations (thanks to Jing Jing Yang!) to put together a transformative program. From our list of invited speakers to the brave souls who shared during the open mic portion of the evening, every syllable imparted a bit of the magic of language to those listening.

As I soaked up the sounds of the different languages, I was Multilingual Poetry & Prose 5-10-18 Program-page-002transported – across time and across the world to a different places and spaces until all that mattered was the beat of the language as it reverberated in me and in the bodies of those sitting in the audience. We were joined together to share in this powerful experience, and it is a memory I will carry with me for years to come.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a multilingual event, I encourage you to make space on your calendar to do so. I plan to host the second annual program through the Poet Laureate program next spring, and I hope to see you there! In the meantime, please enjoy these photos and video from the event! And if you were present and would like to see you photos / video posted, please send me the files via email to poetlaureate@cupertino.org.

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Photos courtesy of Alex McCormick (c) 2018 

VIDEOS:

Here is a clip of Flo Oy Wong reading in Cantonese.
Video courtesy of Mara Grimes (c) 2018

 

 

 

National Poetry Month: CONTEST!

creative peace symbolWith National Poetry Month drawing to a close in a few days and the turmoil going on in the world around us, I wanted to share with you this wonderful contest from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 organization based in Santa Barbara, California.

Please note that I am not affiliated with the organization or poetry awards in any way. If you have questions about the contest, please direct them to the email address in the information below.

Good luck!

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The 2018 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards

The Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards is an annual series of awards to encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2018.

The annual contest is open to people worldwide. Poems must be original, unpublished, and in English.

Deadline

All entries must be postmarked (or emailed) by July 1, 2018.

Awards

Adult Winner – $1,000
Youth (13 to 18) Winner – $200
Youth (12 and under) Winner – $200
We may award Honorable Mentions in each category.

Entry Fee

Adults – $15 for up to three poems
Youth (13 to 18) – $5
Youth (12 and under) – no fee
If submitting on paper, please make checks payable to Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Cash and money order are also accepted.

Procedures (to submit online)

Any entry that does not adhere to ALL of the contest rules will not be considered for a prize.

Adults
1. You may submit up to three unpublished poems. Maximum of 30 lines per poem.
2. Include name, “adult category,” address, email and telephone number in upper right-hand corner of each poem.
3. Title each poem.
4. Email your poem(s) in a Microsoft Word attachment (.doc or .docx) to cwarner@napf.org.
5. Please keep copies of your Word files.
6. Click here to pay your $15 entry fee online.
Youth (Ages 13-18)
1. You may submit up to three unpublished poems. Maximum of 30 lines per poem.
2. Include name, age, address, email and telephone number in upper right-hand corner of each poem.
3. Title each poem.
4. Email your poem(s) in a Microsoft Word attachment (.doc or .docx) to cwarner@napf.org.
5. Please keep copies of your Word files.
6. Click here to pay your $5 entry fee online.
Youth (12 and Under)
1. You may submit up to three unpublished poems. Maximum of 30 lines per poem.
2. Include name, age, address, email, telephone number, school name and teacher’s name in upper right-hand corner of each poem.
3. Title each poem.
4. Email your poem(s) in a Microsoft Word attachment (.doc or .docx) to cwarner@napf.org.
5. Please keep copies of your Word files.

Procedures (to submit on paper)

1. Send two copies of up to three typed unpublished poems. Maximum of 30 lines per poem.
2. Include name, address, email, telephone number, and age (if 18 or under) in upper right-hand corner of one copy of each poem. Adults, please write “adult category” in upper right-hand corner.
3. For the Youth (12 and under) category, in addition to the information in #2, please also include your school’s name and your teacher’s name.
4. Title each poem.
5. Do not staple individual poems together.
6. Please keep copies of all entries as we will be unable to return them.
7. Send entries to:
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1
Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2794

Any entry that does not adhere to ALL of the contest rules will not be considered for a prize.

Judging

Judging will be done by a committee of poets selected by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Copies of the winning poems from previous years are available here.

Winners

Winners and Honorable Mentions will be announced by September 21, 2018 on the NAPF website. Winners will be notified by email and/or mail. Past years’ winning poems can be found here.

Book Offer

Please include an additional $10 if you would like to receive a copy of Never Enough Flowers: The Poetry of Peace II, a collection of first-place and honorable mention poems of the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards from 2003-2010.

National Poetry Month: Poem-a-Day

poets.orgNational Poetry Month ends on April 30th, but you can keep the feeling going strong by signing up to receive a poem by email from the American Academy of Poets, the folks responsible for starting National Poetry Month in 1996.

I signed up for Poem-a-Day back in 2014, which means I’ve read and received hundreds of poems over the years. Some days I skim the poem and smile, then move on with my day. Other days, the poem resonates deep within me and shifts my perspective for the rest of the day, following me like a shadow. Either way, receiving a new poem to read each day has been a wonderful way for me to grow my knowledge of the body of American poetry.

You can join thousands of others who have discovered the pleasures of a Poem-a-Day by visiting the Academy of American Poets page here. In the meantime, here’s a copy of today’s poem written by Mineapolis-based poet, Danez Smith.

 

say it with your whole black mouth

                                                                                                 by Danez Smith

say it with your whole black mouth: i am innocent

& if you are not innocent, say this: i am worthy of forgiveness,
of breath after breath

i tell you this: i let blue eyes dress me in guilt
walked around stores convinced the very skin of my palm was stolen

& what good has that brought me? days filled flinching
thinking the sirens were reaching for me

& when the sirens were for me
did i not make peace with god?

so many white people are alive because
we know how to control ourselves.

how many times have we died on a whim
wielded like gallows in their sun-shy hands?

here, standing in my own body, i say: the next time
they murder us for the crime of their imaginations

i don’t know what i’ll do.

i did not come to preach of peace
for that is not the hunted’s duty.

i came here to say what i can’t say
without my name being added to a list

what my mother fears i will say

                         what she wishes to say herself

i came here to say

i can’t bring myself to write it down

sometimes i dream of pulling a red apology
from a pig’s collared neck & wake up crackin up

              if i dream of setting fire to cul-de-sacs
              i wake chained to the bed

i don’t like thinking about doing to white folks
what white folks done to us

when i do
                      can’t say

         i don’t dance

 

o my people

          how long will we

reach for god

          instead of something sharper?

 

my lovely doe

with a taste for meat

         take

the hunter

         by his hand

Copyright (c) 2018 by Danez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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Earth Day Poetry: Upcycled Poetry Books

Upcycled Poetry Book picture I’m so excited about this program which is fast approaching! Next Thursday (4/26), I’m hosting an Upcycled Poetry Book workshop in honor of Earth Day and National Poetry Month.

This program is a little different from past workshops. It began months ago when I talked to local writer and artist Keiko O’Leary about doing a joint program. When Keiko and I got together to discuss possible programs, she mentioned Earth Day. I loved the idea, and we decided to go home and play around with different recycled books.

At home, I tried several types of book styles from recycled materials, but as soon as I saw this “blossom” style accordion book (thank you crafter Jen of Eve for the inspiration from her Smash Book series!) I knew it was the one!

I quickly made a prototype and couldn’t wait to share my discovery with Keiko. She loved it, too, and made this handy video that shows how it opens and closes (thanks, Keiko!) Here are some photos of the prototype I made! (The pages in the photos have yet to receive their poems.)

I hope you’ll join me at this free workshop! At the event, we’ll open with a quick poetry warm-up exercise, then Keiko will teach some hand lettering techniques so we can make our books even more beautiful. Finally, we’ll spend time constructing our books from recycled materials, then transcribe poetry onto the pages of the books.

Participants should bring their own poetry if they’d like to transcribe their own work OR a favorite poem (or two) by another writer. I will also have poetry on hand for those who would like to choose poems at the workshop. Additionally, all book-making materials will be provided, but participants may bring their own recycled papers, favorite magazines, etc., to use for making the cover if desired.

To register, simply email me! Hope to see you there!

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National Poetry Month: Poetry Postcards

During National Poetry Month, it’s fun to celebrate poetry in small, unexpected ways. The other day, I received this postcard in the mail:

It was delightful to catch this snippet of poetry in my hands, particularly because it was so unexpected and surprising. It made me think that sending a poetry postcard is the perfect way to celebrate creativity and create delight for someone else.

The rules are simple:

  • Write a poem (or part of a poem) on a postcard
  • Be sure to include the title and author (if you’re sending the card anonymously and including something you wrote, you may leave the author off the card – just be sure to credit someone else’s work)
  • Send to friend, acquaintance, small business, etc.

That’s it! Simple and easy, yet powerful.

If you send or receive a postcard, drop me a note in the comments section and let me know about the experience!

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Creativity Workshop: Word Collage!

try-something-newWhat a fantastic morning today at the Cupertino Senior Center with an amazing bunch of creative woman! I am grateful to have spent this time in community with each and every one of them. Here is a partial sampling of the creative work that resulted from today’s workshop on Word Collage. Amazing!

The idea behind Word Collage Poetry is to focus on connections and patterns and create meaning from the juxtaposition of language and images. The poet can then let the work stand or can continue to explore the connection and revise. Thank you, all, for a phenomenal Thursday!

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National Poetry Month: PLAYING WITH FORM!

national poetry month 2It’s April and that means it is National Poetry Month! Even though I love a good celebration as much as the next person, I can’t help but wonder what does it really mean to have a National Poetry Month?

On one level, it means there’s an increase each April (since 1966 when NPM began) in poetry awareness and appreciation, which means it can be easier to find a poetry-related event in our community or a book about poetry at the library. This is exciting and fun to see because poetry often gets overlooked amidst the prose. And during April, most schools teach poetry-related lessons, which is phenomenal because I love thinking about kids having fun with poetry.

But still I wondered, What does it mean for me, the aspiring poet, at the most basic and personal level?

I’ve decided that beyond the sense of belonging a month of national celebration evokes, NPM meant for me, personally, it is time to try new things, new forms, new language, new ideas. A time to be a bit reckless and whimsical. A time to truly embrace poetry as a means of capturing the abstract, of painting with language, of experimenting with sound. A time to be brave with words.

Hand-drawn light bulb over bright colorful blots of paint, on wh

In the UK, they celebrate National Poetry Day in October, and it just so happened one October a few years ago in honor of the UK NPD I was flipping through The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop and learned about a form of poetry previously unknown to me – the sonnenizio. It was a moment of pure joy – a new form, a sparkly name… time to play!

Poet Kim Addonizio made up the form by playing with a sonnet. Thus the name, sonnenizio (sonnet + Addonizio) was born.  The rules are simple:

  • Borrow a line from someone else’s sonnet
  • Take a word from that line and repeat it in every other line (in some form – homonyms work!) in the poem
  • In true sonnet form, the poem should be 14 lines and the last two should rhyme 

try-something-newIn honor of National Poetry Month, I encourage you to play with the form. Even if you don’t consider yourself a poet, stretching yourself with a little poetry will work wonders for the rest of your creative life.

And if you do write something, let me know! I’m collecting poems inspired by Cupertino Poet Laureate events for publication in a community anthology. So email me with “Anthology” in the subject line with your sonnenizio (or poem in any other form!) or use the contact form on this website if you’d like to see your work included!

For inspiration, here’s an example by the inventor of the sonnenizio, Kim Addonizio, I found on Genius.com:

Sonnenizio on a Line from Drayton
by Kim Addonizio

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;
or kiss anyway, let’s start with that, with the kissing part,
because it’s better than the parting part, isn’t it –
we’re good at kissing, we like how that part goes:
we part our lips, our mouths get near and nearer,
then we’re close, my breasts, your chest, our bodies partway
to making love, so we might as well, part of me thinks –
the wrong part, I know, the bad part, but still
let’s pretend we’re at that party where we met
and scandalized everyone, remember that part? Hold me
like that again, unbutton my shirt, part of you
wants to I can tell, I’m touching that part and it says
yes, the ardent partisan, let it win you over,
it’s hopeless, come, we’ll kiss and part forever.

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Lunch Hour Poetry!

The Modern Sonnet ShakespeareI’ve been having a blast running the Lunch Hour Language Artists workshops. Last week, we met for Session 1: Workshop 3 – The Modern Sonnet. I continue to be humbled by the amazing work that participants generate every session, and The Modern Sonnet was no exception.

The sonnet can be a daunting form, so to kick things off and get us in the spirit we broke into four groups and completed a group sonnet. The first three groups each wrote four lines in A-B-A-B rhyming pattern, and the fourth group wrote two stand-alone couplets. We then combined each groups’ work to form an English (or Shakespearean) sonnet. The couplet group listened to the first three sets of lines before choosing which couplet they felt best fit the poem.

It was a fun experience to watch unfold, and it helped the workshop participants loosen up and get into the mindset of sonnet writing (I hope!). If you haven’t joined us for an LHLA workshop, next week is your chance – we’ll be diving into our final form, cinquain!

Lunch-Hour-Language-Artists Sonnet #1

The flickering warmth of a candle light,
a beacon shining through the dark.
The warmth of your hug is my delight
enveloping my heart with your loving bark.
A Valentine, a lacy, red, dripping heart;
I give to you. What will you give to me?
My heart and gifts fill an every-growing cart
that overflows until we make our love into three.
Love is surprising, catches us off guard;
pulls me in undiscovered directions,
blurs my senses, stumbles into my backyard;
hijacks my unrelented affection –
but since I don’t possess a Shakespearean wit
I was not able to finish it.

15 March 2018

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Lunch Hour Language Artists – Workshop 2!

Write a Blackout PoemI had so much fun at the first Lunch Hour Language Artists workshop on Golden Shovel poetry, that I have been bursting at the seams thinking about the second workshop in the series on erasure (or blackout) poetry! We are going to have a great time learning about this unique form and try our hand a crafting a new poem or two. If you’re interested in attending, simply email me for more information or to be put on the reservation list! We will meet this Thursday (3/1) from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at the Cupertino Library.
Hope to see you there! 

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