Community Poetry Night: Inspired by Nature

Free community event TONIGHT!! 7pm, Cupertino Library.

Join us in celebrating nature-inspired poetry. The evening will begin with a tour of nature poetry through the ages. Twelve local poets will then read their nature-inspired work. Finally, it’s open mic time! Step up to share your poetry (or poetry you didn’t write but simply love) on any subject, or simply listen and enjoy.

For more information, email Kaecey at poetlaureate@cupertino.org.

See you there!

Poetry Prompt: Horoscope Poetry

Some people swear by the messages in the stars, some find them amusing and harmless, and others find them offensive. No matter your take on horoscopes, you can use the daily messages as a poetry prompt, either refuting the message, writing a narrative poem that explores the hidden story, or taking a word or two as a jumping-off point for further poetic explorations.

Here are today’s horoscopes from The Mercury News (September 25, 2018). Try your hand at writing a poem based on or in response to your horoscope, and if the stars are with you (or even if they’re not), send me what you write! I guarantee your poetry will serve me better than my horoscope! 🙂

HOROSCOPES – September 25, 2018 (The Mercury News)

    • Aries (March 21-April 19):
      Consider your options before letting your emotions take over. ★★★
    • Taurus (April 20-May 20):
      A change will do you good, but it may not please some of the people you work or live with. ★★★
    • Gemini (May 21-June 20):
      Get the facts before you help someone looking for a handout. ★★★★
    • Cancer (June 21-July 22):
      Stay focused on what you are doing. Let your creativity take over. ★★
    • Leo (July 23-Aug. 22):
      Travel, meetings and educational pursuits are highlighted. ★★★★★
    • Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
      Get out and try something new. A change to the way you live is favored. ★★★
    • Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
      Emotions can hold you back. You have to think clearly about what you should do next. ★★★
    • Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
      Don’t let anyone take advantage of you, and don’t 
      pay for someone else’s mistake. ★★★
    • Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
      A change you make to the way you earn your living or to your arrangement at home will be to your benefit. ★★★★★
    • Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
      Professionalism at work and diplomacy at home will be in your best interest. 
      ★★
    • Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) :
      Money matters should be handled smartly. Emotions and joint ventures can lead to loss. ★★★★
    • Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20):
      Concentrate on yourself and how to project your very best into whatever you take on. ★★★

14494858_1052448421529899_6375380712797709368_n

Kaecey signature

Speaking at Monument Unveiling: Celebrating Our Sister City – Toyokawa

toyokawa sister cityForty years ago, Cupertino joined into a partnership with a city 5,317 miles away – Toyokawa, Japan. Toyokawa become Cupertino’s second Sister City, and the partnership has blossomed over the past four decades. Perhaps the most widely celebrated aspect of the Cupertino-Toyokawa friendship is the annual Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival. And another integral piece is the annual student delegation exchange. “In September 1979 the first annual student delegation of six middle school students from Toyokawa visited Cupertino. The first delegation of eight Cupertino middle school students visited Toyokawa in 1983. Over the years, the size of delegations has grown. The delegations of today are typically 12-16 students plus chaperones. Each autumn, a delegation of middle school students from Toyokawa travel to Cupertino with their adult chaperones”  (Cupertino-Toyokawa Sister City website).

On the morning of July 11, 2018, this forty-year relationship was celebrated and commemorated with the unveiling of a new monument outside Cupertino City Hall after the recitation of a celebratory poem written and performed by the current Cupertino Poet Laureate, Kaecey McCormick. Representatives from both Cupertino City and Toyokawa City governments were in attendance, as was the Japanese General Consulate from San Francisco and numerous other delegates from Toyokawa who all shared remarks and commentary on the special occasion. A video recording of the hour-long ceremony can be watched here.

 

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!

14494858_1052448421529899_6375380712797709368_nKaecey signature

 

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!

14494858_1052448421529899_6375380712797709368_n Kaecey signature

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!

14494858_1052448421529899_6375380712797709368_nKaecey signature

 

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.

14494858_1052448421529899_6375380712797709368_nKaecey signature

“For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry”

Poems about cats. (We already talked about poems and dogs, discussing Mary Oliver and Billy Collins.) I love cats. I don’t know that there are as many poems about cats, many poets being dog people, but that’s okay. I know of a few.

Today on The Writer’s Almanac, Garrison Keillor read a poem called “The Cats” by Ann Iverson. It’s got the right attitude for a poem about cats, “To find yourself so remarkable /  all the day long.” That is what cats do. That’s what got me started thinking about cat poetry. I found on the Poetry Foundation’s website an entire page about Cat Poems. The list includes “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” which I lauded here earlier this week, several other children’s rhymes, some very funny stuff, including the concrete poem (poem in a shape) “Magnificat. Brave Cat At Snifter Fishbowl” by George Starbuck (see image below), and some fine work by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, that English couple with all the marriage troubles.

But by far my favorite cat poem, and a very famous one indeed, is the section from Jubilate Agno written by Christopher Smart that begins “For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.” You can read all about Mr. Smart at the Poetry Foundation, and many other places, but I encourage you, if you’re tired and need a lift, to read the poem about his cat. There is nowhere else in the English language a more beautiful hymn to a cat, and to their magical spiritual heavenly ordinary lives. The poem is too long to reproduce here, but you can find it here. And just a taste —

For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
Here is George Starbuck’s poem.  The cartoon (check out the awesome blog post of his life) of Christopher Smart and Jeoffry is by Paul Bommer.
 20601568-000

Local National Poetry Month Events

Cupertino Poet Laureate April Poetry Events

April 1 “Unsung Holidays: April Fool’s Day” Poetry Reading with Jennifer Swanton Brown and Guest poets: Stephanie Pressman & Amanda Williamsen, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino 7-9 pm

April 4 Mary Avenue Dog Park Dedication, 5-6:30 pm

April 17 Art and Poetry: 5th Annual SJMA Poetry Invitational, San Jose Museum of Art “Initial Public Offering” poetry and art, 7 pm

April 19 Erica Goss & Friends Poetry Reading, Friends Bookstore, 110 East Main Street, Los Gatos, 2-4 pm

April 26/27 Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival – Surprise poetry games and opportunities for the whole family! Memorial Park

Check out these local websites for all kinds of poetry month activities brought to you by my friends and colleagues.

Erica Goss: Los Gatos Poet Laureate
Starting with Book Launch Party for Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets, Come and meet Erica and the members of PushPen Press for a reading and book-signing, CB Hannegan’s Restaurant, 208 Bachman Ave., Los Gatos CA 95030, Wednesday, April 2 at 6:00 pm

David Perez, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate
“National Poetry Month is upon us, and here are my upcoming events! Also, as many have requested, here is the video of the speech I gave at my reception. If you have questions, email me at info@thedavidperez.com. If you want reminders as events get closer, follow my Twitter @dperezer. Enjoy your poetry month!”

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Caroline Goodwin
Including Tuesday, April 22 – 9:00 a.m., Poetry Reading at the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Meeting, Board Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City