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Poem Generator Fun: Limerick

I just love a good limerick. This is usually another five line poem, but there’s always a bit of humor — some of the best are bawdy.  All have vivid imagery.

Here’s one from Ogden Nash:

The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

I also like this from Edward Lear:

There was a Young Lady whose chin
Resembled the point of a pin:
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

Here’s mine from the poem generator:

There once was a man called danny.
He said, “See the lovely hanney!”
It was rather last,
But not enthusiast,
He couldn’t say no to the manni.

Let’s create some limericks! Share what poem you created in the comments.

Book Spine Poetry

Many book bloggers have participated in online memes where we’ve taken photos of our book stacks and our bookshelves. But have you ever wondered if you took some extra care, you could arrange those books’ titles to create your very own poem?

I’d love to see your book spine poems, feel free to tag @SavvyVerseWit on Twitter and use the #bookspinepoetry

Here’s what I came up with:

Girls like us
partial genius
Other voices, other lives
said through glass

What poem did you create?

Erasure Poetry

I’ve always loved blackout poetry, taking an existing text and erasing parts of it to create something new. Erasure poetry enables not only the poet but the reader to see an older work in a new way.

According to the Academy of American Poets, one famous erasure poet, Ronald Johnson, took the form to a new level when he revised the first four books of John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

One of my favorite collections of this type of poetry is from Heather Aimee O’Neill and Jessica Piazza, Obliterations. You can check out my review of that book from 2016.

Here’s Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay (with my erasures):

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Here’s the clean version:

Nature's first green
hardest to hold
early flower
subsides to leaf.
grief,
goes down
Nothing can stay.

Give it a try and see what you can come up with.

Poem: won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

Today’s poem I share is from Lucille Clifton and is a poem about hope and perseverance in times of adversity. You can listen to the poem, here.

won’t you celebrate with me

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

What poems have you found during our pandemic lockdown?

I Shimmer Sometimes, Too by Porsha Olayiwola

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 96 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

I Shimmer Sometimes, Too by Porsha Olayiwola, who is Boston’s poet laureate, is a collection of hard truths. I first heard about her from this interview, which is a must listen. Her poems are raw and pull no punches, and they shouldn’t. She’s speaking for a very marginalized group of people in our society – queer black women.

Her opening poem brings to the forefront the rawness of our immigration policies in this country and the damage left behind when her father was sent to his homeland and her mother was left in the United States to raise their children. Olayiwola imagines what life would have been like had her father been able to stay in “Had My Parents Not Been Separated After My Father’s Traffic Stop, Arrest, and Deportation From the United States of America.” This serves as a lens through which her life has unfolded – the discrimination that follows her as a black woman who is queer — and her light amidst all of it. Even in the darkest moments of arrest, her poems shimmer with hope and light.

From "Interlude at a Neighborhood Gas Station: 2001"

the music peeled back the air
as the ivory chrysler swerved and jolted
into a spot behind our parked toyota

From modern subjects of finding and losing love, struggling with mental illness, dealing with discrimination at every turn, Olayiwola has a keen eye and slices through the malarkey of our society and reveals the whole truth of life in America. She tackles history and the present with aplomb. My favorite poem is “Unnamed.” Take a listen as she performs the piece in the video below:

Buy this collection today. I Shimmer Sometimes, Too by Porsha Olayiwola will challenge you, force you to look twice at your own behavior and comments, and move into a future where there is a bit more understanding and empathy for others. In a world where compassion is minimal at best, these are the collections that will have use recollecting our humanity.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston

Poem Generator Fun: Haiku

Haiku is one of those poetic forms that many teachers use to teach kids about rhythm and cadence. The form requires a first line of five syllables, a second line of seven syllables, and a third line of five syllables in its simplest form. There are other aspects of the haiku that bring the short poem a certain level of unexpected nuance, like its juxtaposition between two images — one appearing at the start of the poem and one at the end.

I want to share one of my haiku that was published in LYNX:

white skin, concrete head
red nose chilled with wind
stubborn, glued to you.

Let’s create some haiku! Share what poem you created in the comments.

Poem: Hope is the thing with feathers (254) by Emily Dickinson

I wanted to share a poem about hope today, and I’ve reached back to one of my favorite classic poems.

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)
By: Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

What brings you hope?

Visual Poetry

Visual poems are more than just concrete poems that take shapes of animals, etc. Check out the video for inspiration, a little bit of history, and take a moment to create your own visual poem.

You could take it a step further and incorporate some collage or photography or even some painting/drawing art with your poem.

Feel free to share them on Twitter or Facebook at tag me. I’d love to see them.

Happy National Poetry Month!

The Floating Door by M. E. Silverman

Source: the poet
Paperback, 92 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Floating Door by M.E. Silverman is a collection of poems that explores several schoolyard rhymes — “Step on a Crack” — and the experience of growing up in America, alongside the feeling of being an outsider in “The Last Jew” in Afghanistan. Silverman’s poems are a spiritual journey that is at times disconcerting, but also comforting. His poems look at American consumerism in a way that causes the reader to look at the life they imagine — the clean lines and everything in its place — and the life they lead, full of chaos and love.

One of the best looks at this is “Sitting in a Simulated Space at the Atlantic Station IKEA in Atlanta, Georgia,” in which the speaker is comfortably sitting in one of those staged rooms that the store is famous for, takes a book of poems from the shelf and begins to read. In this moment the speaker becomes part of the simulated room. But the illusion is broken when he decides to save the pages and rips them from the book and is caught by the eyes of a child in the store with her family. Silverman’s poems have children or child-like reactions in them to call attention to how discerning kids are to social cues and the visual moments around them, even if they don’t necessarily understand the words. In “‘I Don’t Believe,’ She Said, ‘In You.'” the narrator says, “He listened the way a/child presses an ear to a keyhole,” and readers can see the intensity of that moment — a spying on an adult conversation when one adult is exasperated with the other. The whole of the poem calls attention to a lack of attention we all have in arguments and moments of frustration — when we take less care in choosing our words and how those words can be interpreted by the listener a different way than what they were intended.

Silverman’s imagination is on full display in his descriptions, like this from “Response to: I Can’t Get Off the Couch”: “Look, the couch/would love nothing more than to waste the day caped with a shawl, laying/ burdened on someone’s back like Atlas, but honestly the couch is waiting for/the right cover to turn it almost youthful & beautiful, waiting for the vibrating/wonder of the vacuum so it can come clean, eyeing the shapely Victorian/curves of the love-seat, waiting & waiting for it to make the first move.” Oh, this unrequited love, the longing from across the room. Just beautiful.

Many of these poems offer surprise reactions in them: sensuality, families that have grown distant except for the love of a child that appears constant, and mirror images of suffering and displacement. There is a disconnect that is explored between being American and the Jewish religion, but within that feeling of disconnect, the narrator of the poems takes a journey to reconnect. The Floating Door by M.E. Silverman is a collection that moves the reader in and out of detachment in an effort to demonstrate that the feeling is fleeting and there is more to connect us with others than first appears to the eye.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Poet:

M. E. Silverman is the author of The Floating Door (Glass Lyre Press, 2018), The Breath Before Birds Fly (ELJ Press, 2013). The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary American Jewish Poetry (2013), which he co-edited with Deborah Ager, The Plume Anthology of Long-ish Poems (Madhat Press, 2018), which he co-edited with Andrew McFayden-Ketchum, and a forthcoming Holocaust anthology co-edited with Howard Debs. His work has appeared in over 90 journals including: Crab Orchard Review, Blood Orange Review, December, Town Creek Poetry, Chicago Quarterly Review, North Chicago Review, Battersea Review, The Naugatuck River Review, Many Mountains Moving, Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Los Angeles Review, Pacific Review, StorySouth, I-70 Review, UCity Review, Tupelo Quarterly Review. You can also check out his journal, Blue Lyra Review, and his press, Blue Lyra Press.

Poem Activity: Cento Poem

Hello again. We’re all staying home and safe these days, grateful for essential workers, and looking to make it through financially, mentally, and physically now.

For today’s activity, which won’t take much brain power, we’re going to make a cento poem. Cento poems are patchworks created from various lines taken from different poems.

There’s a really interesting spin on this in which a poem is constructed from emails, check that out here.

I’ll begin today’s patchwork poem with this Emily Dickinson line from poem 561 (I measure every Grief I meet):

I wonder if it hurts to live –

Please add your poetic line and let me know which poem and poet it is from in the comments.

Poem Generator Fun: Love Poems

Love poems could provide a balm in these times of lockdown, especially as couples are spending even more time together in the same household for extended periods of time. The stress of educating kids at home, working at home and from home, and those who have lost their jobs are facing extreme stress.

Take a moment and write a love poem for your spouse or even your kids or even your other family members.

This Love Poem Generator can help.

Here’s my love poem to my family:

A Love Poem

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Assistance is supportive,
And so are you.

Orchids are white,
Ghost ones are rare,
Your cloth is silken,
And so is your hair.

Magnolia grows,
With buds like eggs,
The position is strong,
And so are your legs.

Sunflowers reach,
Up to the skies,
The sigh is deep,
And so are your eyes.

Foxgloves in hedges,
Surround the farms,
Weather is warm,
And so are your arms.

Daisies are pretty,
Daffies have style,
Colors are bright,
And so is your smile.

A sunset is beautiful,
Just like you.

What poem did you generate?

Poem: Words for Departure by Louise Bogan

Another poem to read and listen to today!

From Louise Bogan in 1923, Words for Departure. You can also listen to the audio reading of the poem.

Louise Bogan was born in Livermore Falls, Maine, in 1897. She is the author of several books of prose and poetry, and was the first woman to hold the position of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. The recipient of a 1968 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bogan died in 1970. The majority of her poetry was written in the earlier half of her life when she published Body of This Death (McBride & Company, 1923), Dark Summer (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929), and The Sleeping Fury (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937). She subsequently published volumes of her collected verse, and The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968)