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Poem Generator Fun: Concrete Poems

Concrete poems often take the shape of the object being written about. These are some of the most visually inspiring poems, and kids often love these because they can connect the words to the object. These poems also do not have to rhyme.

I would love to see what kind of poems you generate with the poem generator — click the image of the cat above to access the generator. No major creativity required — just plug in some data and see the algorithm work.

Large, Grey Husky
A Concrete Poem
Presented as text

Poem: The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings. by Donika Kelly

Today, I thought I would direct you to read or listen to a poem by Donika Kelly.

The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.
by Donika Kelly (audio is available)

She is the author of the chapbook Aviarium (fivehundred places, 2017), and the full-length collection Bestiary (Graywolf Press, 2016), winner of the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for poetry, and the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.

 

 

 

 

Poetry: Beyond the Book

Poetry has reached beyond the page in a lot of cases, and many are aware of InstaPoets who read online in Instagram and create graphic posts of their poems. But were you aware of poets who are creating interactive collections using QR codes and turning to audio as a way to reach wider audiences?

Jessica Piazza’s recent poetry collection, This is Not a Sky, pairs her ekphrastic poems with QR codes to the paintings and artwork that inspired them.

I called the collection ” art unto itself and a must read for those who love painters and some of the most iconic artists of our time. Piazza will have you looking at the art on the museum walls in vastly different ways. She creates vignettes for the players and for those outside the frame.”

Check out your own copy.

Alan King, a local poet in the Washington, D.C. area, created his own audio version of Drift, relying on music and sound effects to set the stage for his very real poems. I’m listening to the audio now, and it is intriguing. I’ve enjoyed the first few poems on audio just as I did when I read the book.

The collection ” is musical, funny, and serious. It asks questions about identity and fitting it, particularly what it means to be a “brother.” But it’s also about growing up in an unforgiving urban landscape.”

Check out this sample below:

Let me know what kinds of unique poetry collections you’ve discovered. Which ones are breaking boundaries of the page?

National Poetry Month: Postcards from the Pandemic

Most everyone knows what a postcard is — a 4×6 inch piece of card stock with an image on the front and a place to write a note on the back that can be mailed with postage and an address sans envelope. I’m sure this has been done before, but with many of us sheltering place this year, I doubt we’ll be heading to poetry readings and other literary events with large groups of people. But I have noticed that letter writing and connecting with others far away has come back into fashion — at least for some.

I found this fascinating listing for Postcard Poems and Prose (feel free to submit one), and I thought it would be a fun activity to try with everyone. Let’s all share 1-4 lines of prose or poetry in a postcard format in the comments.

Of course, I’ll start us off — so glad you asked. 😉

Wish you were here
beside me on the couch
but six feet of distance
puts me on edge.

Now, it’s your turn — share something funny, something inspiring, whatever you like.

National Poetry Month 2020

National Poetry Month 2020 is around the corner.

Here are some possible ways to celebrate:

Share your favorite poems on your blog, with friends, on video chat, and let me know how you’ll be celebrating poetry this year.

I’d love to add more online gems to the list!

Search for a Poet Laureate in Montgomery County, Md.

Interested in having a

POET LAUREATE

in Montgomery County, MD?

 

Join us on Monday, May 20 at 7 pm

at The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda (see writer.org for directions)

A discussion of how we can establish a Poet Laureate position in Montgomery County.

Organized by an ad hoc committee of local poets

Discussion will include: Why do we need a Poet Laureate? What would the duties of the Poet Laureate be?  How would the Poet Laureate be selected?  Would there be compensation or would this be an honorary position?

Reservations for this meeting are not required, but we want to be sure we have enough seats .

Please RSVP to [email protected].  Thank you!

YouTube Poetry: Pablo Neruda

Beautiful Justice by Brooke Axtell

Source: Publisher
Paperback, 241 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

“Although approximately one in six women will be sexually assaulted, more than 90 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.” (pg. XI)

Beautiful Justice by Brooke Axtell will inspire those who have been abused, trafficked, and left feeling unworthy to rebuild their self-esteem, create their own sacred places, and heal from their abuse. Axtell’s memoir is more than a look at her life and recovery, it is a call to those with similar stories and experiences.

She asks nothing of them but to care for themselves, to rediscover their own worth, and to find a community that can support them in that endeavor. Throughout the memoir, she offers poems she wrote throughout her experiences as a way to speak about the suffering and long road of recovery.

“Beautiful Justice is the art of taking back our lives and reclaiming our worth after abuse. It is a form of Justice that does not depend on what happens to our perpetrators. It is centered on our recovery as a creative process.” (pg. X)

Axtell’s recovery from abuse and trafficking was a long one. But with the help of her parents after a tumultuous time, she had two champions for her self-worth. At one point, her father praises her and reaffirms her as an intelligent young woman, while her mother helps her find places to seek out the help she needs. Even as she succeeds in some areas of her life, she is still battling demons.

“I strive for perfection in every dimension of my life — my dance, my studies, my spiritual path. I want to shine so brightly the shadows cannot consume me.” (pg. 16)

Axtell does not dwell on the horrors she experienced, but on the emotional trauma, the PTSD, and the dark shadows that follow her. Her recovery also provides lessons in how you can fool yourself into believing that all is right with your own world, even when you have not resolved the darkness that follows you. She offers moments of joy, her struggles, and her poetry in an effort to demonstrate the hard road of recovery but also the hope that can be found around you, if you are willing to ask the right questions of yourself. What makes you happy? How can you reclaim your life? How can you rebuild your worth without connecting it to what happens to the perpetrators of your abuse?

We are the untamed.
We are the unashamed.
We are beautiful justice
Just watch us rise. (pg. 143)

In addition to her story, she offers journal prompts in the back to help other survivors get started on their own recoveries, she provides them poems of strength and hope, and she provides mantras they can use to reaffirm their own worth. While she speaks a lot about how her ties to Christianity helped in her recovery, she also cautioned readers on how some doctrine and those who offer it can lead you away from your recovery journey. Axtell says that you need to find your own touchstones and paths to recovery, and many of the answers are within yourself. Self-reflection, self-care, and creativity can help those in recovery blossom and rebuild their lives. Beautiful Justice by Brooke Axtell is a journey of reclaiming self-worth and identity, while manifesting the beauty inside in the form of art and celebrating the value we bury inside.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet and Author:

Brooke Axtell is the Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming gender violence and sex trafficking. Her work as a human rights activist led her to speak at The 2015 Grammy Awards, The United Nations and the U.S. Institute for Peace.

Her work as a writer, speaker, performing artist and activist has been featured in many media outlets, including the New York Times, LA Times, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNN and The Steve Harvey Show. Brooke is an award-winning poet, singer/songwriter and author of the new memoir, Beautiful Justice: How I Reclaimed My Worth After Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse.

A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim by Walt Whitman

A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim
by: Walt Whitman

A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step—and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you—I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.

Today’s Poetry Activity: Haiku

You knew it was coming. At least, you should have. I love writing haiku, so it seems fitting that we try to make our own today.

In short, haiku is a Japanese three-line poem that juxtaposes two images or ideas and “cutting word” between them — something that signals a moment of separation — as well as 17 syllables total in a 5-7-5 pattern spread out over three lines.

From Matsuo Basho:

The old pond-
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

Here’s one of my urban haiku published at Better Than Starbucks:

Black gloss screen holds tight,
Slack jawed stare, eyes wide open,
Empty sockets filled.

Please share your favorite haiku or write one of your own in the comments. Here’s a Haiku Generator if you want some help.

YouTube Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks

Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

Forgetfulness (listen here)
by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Via Poets.org