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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Before I Die I Want To . . .

Have you ever thought of writing your New Years resolutions, wishes, dreams, plans, goals — as a poem? I’m going to try to get mine into rhyme. Wouldn’t that be fun. To live life in rhyme.

Before I die I want to sing
Before I die I want to walk
Before I die I want to blink
Before I die I want to wing

Here’s a list of New Year’s Poems from the Poetry Foundation. I snagged this photo from their site, too, (by Derek Keats).

nyfirework

If you click through to read Robert Haas’ “After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa” you will encounter this haiku.

New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!
   I feel about average.
I think this will be my New Year’s resolution, goal. To feel about average every day. On days when I feel good, I’ll be slightly ahead, and on days when I don’t, I won’t be too disappointed. And if you’re not worried about how you’re feeling, you can enjoy the view of everything in blossom. Everything.
Happy New Year poetry people.

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!