Embellish Your Poetry with the Web

This poem, the genesis of which I described in an earlier post, is an example of how to embellish your poetry with “junk and stuff” you can easily find on the internet. Hyperlinks are easy, and while they might take your reader away from your poem temporarily, they might also provide context or audience to a poem that might enjoy a little of both.

Ode to an Oddball Winter

A giant runaway snowball
crashed into a college dorm.
Nothing about this winter
fits the norm.

Floodwaters rise in England
taking lives and homes –
Eliot’s strong brown god
groans.

Drought in California!
Farmers and ranchers fear,
gardeners, fishermen, skiers
stow their gear.

Brutal ice in Georgia
cancels Valentine’s Day.
Power’s out, trees are lost,
skies are gray.

Winter comes to all;
none are spared its pain.
Some will find its beauty
and love again.

Darkness threatens the spirit,
but shivering warms the blood.
Daily the light shines longer on
first bud.

Let’s write a poem for pleasure,
tell a story to coax a smile,
sing a song to offer solace,
survive in style.

If you’re writing a poem to enter in the Cupertino Library’s Silicon Valley Reads Poetry Contest, this is one way to get your poem to speak both on the page and in the techno-sphere.

Another place to explore, if you want ideas for how to combine poetry and other media, I suggest you visit The Poetry Storehouse. They have a host of videos that use poetry and I encourage browsing there. A “remix” I did of Erica Goss’s poem “Afternoon in the Shape of a Pear” is another type of poem + technology fun. I am still drawn more to collage than to video, but the field is wide open. Go for it!

Prompt # 19 Ode For An Odball Winter

Hello poetry friends! Today’s prompt will serve double duty: I want to tempt you to write in one of my favorite forms, the ode, but also I want to create a sample poem on one of the themes for the Silicon Valley Reads Poetry Contest, sponsored by the Cupertino Library. Here goes!

An ode is one of the oldest poetic forms in Western culture. As my friends at the Academy of American Poets describe:

“‘Ode’ comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and belongs to the long and varied tradition of lyric poetry. Originally accompanied by music and dance, and later reserved by the Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments, the ode can be generalized as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present.”
I love to teach odes, because kids get the idea quickly. We talk about Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” which many of them have learned to play on their recorders if they are lucky enough to have music in school, and they readily understand praising and celebrating something or somebody. Read a couple of student odes at the CPitS website, in the Youth Poetry section.
Pablo Neruda, one of my favorite poets, wrote many odes (collected in translation and the original Spanish) in Odes to Common Things, common things like onions and chairs. He’s great to teach, too, especially if you have kids in class whose first language is Spanish. Neruda’s odes help dispel the silly idea some of us picked up in English Lit class that odes have to be about urns and dead athletes and other things we don’t care much about anymore. This one, “Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” will give you a flavor.
pabloneruda
Today I wrote an ode to the oddball winter that is 2013-2014. The idea started when I read a news story about kids at Reed College who crashed a huge snowball (800 lbs) into a dorm wall, damaging it and setting of a viral news story. I didn’t really mean to write a poem with rhyming metered stanzas, but it happened, so I went with it.  (Use a web-based site like RhymeZone if you don’t have a rhyming dictionary.)
My poem (which I’ll publish in a separate post) is also an example of how you can hyperlink images, music, and other information to your poem, if you want to experiment. One of the prompts for the Silicon Valley Reads poetry contest is to “write a poem using technology as part of the process. Use hyperlinks, video, photos or music as part of the poem’s form.” This poem of mine, “Ode to An Oddball Winter” is just such a conglomerate mishmash kind of poem.
Enjoy!