Thursday, March 5, 2015

What Are You Wearing for National Poetry Month?

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone!


Today's Poetry Friday host is
Robyn Campbell.
I've enjoyed taking a blogging break for a few days after our 2015 Sound Poetry project. It's time to put the blogging shoes back on and announce Author Amok's National Poetry Month theme.

If National Poetry Month were a party (it kind of is), what would you wear to the celebration? During the month of April, I'll be featuring poetry about clothes.

Why clothes?

Articles of clothing are symbolic. They represent choices people make about how they want to be viewed by others. But they can also represent a person's economic situation, relationship with gender, mood, and culture. A red jacket can be a metaphor for strength (just ask Hilary).




From popular song, we have Prince's "Raspberry Beret," Elvis' "Blue Suede Shoes," and Nancy Sinatra's walking boots. But what about poetry?

In April, I welcome you to sign up for a Monday or Wednesday post. On those days, I will feature guest bloggers. Guest posts will include a favorite clothing-related poem, with a paragraph or two of introduction. 

Every Friday in April, I'll post a round-up of original clothing poems. (Send those via email to laurashovan at gmail dot com).

Here is a sample of what a guest post might look like:

One of my favorite poems about clothing is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's irreverent, off-the-rails "Underwear." My own writing style tends to be controlled, which is part of why I smile every time I read "Underwear." From its subject matter to its jabs at religion, politics, gender inequality, and Shakespeare, every layer of this poem holds a surprise. I can imagine George Carlin reading "Underwear" to a crowd. It shares the cadence and humor of the comic's classic routines. Like the best modern odes, "Underwear" brings my attention to a garment that I usually take for granted.


Underwear

BY LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI
I didn’t get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider   
underwear in the abstract   
When you really dig into it
some shocking problems are raised   
Underwear is something   
we all have to deal with   
Everyone wears
some kind of underwear
The Pope wears underwear I hope
The Governor of Louisiana   
wears underwear
I saw him on TV
He must have had tight underwear
He squirmed a lot
Underwear can really get you in a bind
You have seen the underwear ads
for men and women
so alike but so different
Women’s underwear holds things up
Men’s underwear holds things down   
Underwear is one thing   
men and women have in common   
Underwear is all we have between us
You have seen the three-color pictures
with crotches encircled
to show the areas of extra strength
and three-way stretch
promising full freedom of action
Don’t be deceived
It’s all based on the two-party system
which doesn’t allow much freedom of choice   
the way things are set up   
America in its Underwear
struggles thru the night
Underwear controls everything in the end   
Take foundation garments for instance   
They are really fascist forms
of underground government
making people believe
something but the truth
telling you what you can or can’t do   
Did you ever try to get around a girdle   
Perhaps Non-Violent Action
is the only answer
Did Gandhi wear a girdle?
Did Lady Macbeth wear a girdle?
Was that why Macbeth murdered sleep?   
And that spot she was always rubbing—
Was it really in her underwear?
Modern anglosaxon ladies
must have huge guilt complexes
always washing and washing and washing   
Out damned spot
Underwear with spots very suspicious   
Underwear with bulges very shocking   
Underwear on clothesline a great flag of freedom   
Someone has escaped his Underwear   
May be naked somewhere
Help!
But don’t worry
Everybody’s still hung up in it
There won’t be no real revolution
And poetry still the underwear of the soul   

Read the rest (yes, there's more!) at The Poetry Foundation.

So take off your jackets, (keep your underwear on), loosen your ties, and buckle your blue suede shoes. April is almost here.



Guest bloggers, leave a comment to let me know which date and what poem you'd like to post.

Wednesday 4/1: Guest Post by J. C. Elkin

Friday 4/3: Poem round up

Monday 4/6: Guest Post

Wednesday 4/8: Guest Post by Robyn Hood Black

Friday 4/10: Poem round up

Monday 4/13: Guest Post

Wednesday 4/15: Guest Post

Friday 4/17: Poem round up

Monday 4/20: Guest Post by Robyn Campbell

Wednesday 4/22; Guest Post

Friday 4/24: Poem round up

Monday 4/27: Guest Post

Wednesday 4/29: Project wrap up

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Wrap-up

Happy March, everyone. We’re celebrating the end of our sound poem project today.


On January 29, I invited everyone to join me for a month-long project, writing in response to sounds (the original post is here). This is the third time I've celebrated my February birthday with a daily project that gives back to the writing community. 

In 2013, I sent original postcard poems to 44 friends. Last year, Author Amok turned into a poetic version of a Color Run, with poets doused in all the shades of the rainbow for writing inspiration.

And for 2015, we wrote to the sounds of music, bird calls, reptiles, theremins, outer space, trains, even a stairwell. I know some of you were skeptical about writing in response to a non-visual prompt, but this month's poems  have been amazing.

Let's talk statistics.

During the 28 days of sound poems, this is what we created:

177 original poems by

14 poets about

28 sounds

The poems have covered such topics as mythology, history, war, childhood, rock concerts and reptiles. We've had a huge variety of forms and experiments, from pantoums to illustrated poems.

The most-written-about sounds were:

Stairwell (Day 19, 8 poems)
Reptiles (Day 20, 9 Poems)
Chinese Music (Day 21, 9 poems)
Heavy Metal (Day 23, 9 poems)

Least popular were:

Bubbling Cauldron (Day 9, 4 poems)
Fireworks (Day 10, 3 poems)

It's interesting to me that my two favorite days -- because of the rich responses sent in -- were Stairwell and Chinese Music. Why is that interesting? Both sounds evoked places. (P.S. I am a geek, so the Outer Space poems were my third favorite.)

Huge thanks to this whole community, whether you contributed one poem, wrote every day, or cheered the poets on with your comments. I’ve got some prizes for you...

As promised, I am a Gargoyle literary journal spoken word CD to the top contributor. And that is...

**Charles Waters, who sent in 31 poems!**

And (surprise!) I have a second Gargoyle CD for our other high-flyer...

**Patricia VanAmburg, with 24 poems!**

Congratulations to both of you on a great month of writing.

Once again, I'm sending vintage postcards -- they make great writing prompts -- to our other frequent contributors: 


Thanks also to Matt Forrest Esenwine, Buffy Silverman, Karin Fisher-Golton, Heidi Mordhorst, Michelle H. Barnes, Carol Varsalona, Donna Smith, and Robyn Hood Black. Each of these fine poets shared a poem or two this month. And to everyone who wrote alongside and posted on his or her own blog, or in the privacy of a notebook -- I'm glad you joined us.

Would you like to go back and revisit all the sounds of our project? 

Click on the day to hear the sound prompt.

Click on the description of the sound to read the poems.

I hope you find something to inspire your own writing.


Read Water Wheel Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters.

Read Angel Chimes Poems by Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters. 

Read Knife Sharpening Poems by Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Patricia VanAmburg.

Read Thunderstorm Poems by Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.

Read Ballet poems by Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters.

Read Theremin Poems by Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Waters, Patricia VanAmburg, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, and Buffy Silverman.

Read Endangered Sounds poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, and Charles Waters.

Read Sound of Waves Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, and Charles Waters.

Read Bubbling Cauldron Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, and Buffy Silverman.

Read Fireworks Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, and Laura Shovan.

Read Classic Typewriter Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, and Laura Shovan.

Read Mockingbird Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.

Read Cape Eagle Owl Call Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, and Diane Mayr.

Male Woodcock Mating Call Poems by Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.

Read Santa Fe Church Bells Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, and Charles Waters.

Read Quaking Aspen Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, Linda Baie, and Karin Fisher-Golton.

Tuesday, February 17 -- new poem!
Read Laughing Child Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, Michael Ratcliffe, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, and Heidi Mordhorst.

Read Mysterious Space Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, and Margaret Simon.

Read Museum Stairwell Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, and Karin Fisher-Golton.

Friday, February 20 -- new poems!
Read Reptile Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Mike Ratcliffe, Donna Smith, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, and Charles Waters.

Read Traditional Chinese Music Poems by Diane Mayr, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Robyn Hood Black, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.

Read Footsteps in Snow Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Mike Ratcliffe.

Read Heavy Metal Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, Heidi Mordhorst, and Carol Varsalona.

Read Sea Turtle Poems by Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Karin Fisher-Golton.

Read Ugandan Panpipe Poems by Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Mike Ratcliffe.

Read Train Sound Poems by Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, and Karin Fisher-Golton

Read Cracking Lava Poems by  Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Mike Ratcliffe.

Read Fox Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Mike Ratcliffe.

Before you know it, National Poetry Month will be here. Time for another project. I’ll announce the project and put out a call for guest bloggers soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the 2015 NPM poster:


2015 Sound Poem Project Day 28: Fox

Yesterday was Day 28 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project. We spent February writing in response to sounds.  

For a full description of the project and how to participate, please read this post. I hope you'll join us. I'll continue posting poems from Day 28 and the rest of the project as they come in. Thanks to everyone who wrote with us.

Our Day 28 prompt is the sound of a fox.

Many years ago, I was at a local friend's house for critique group. As I walked to my car, I heard what I could have sworn was a woman screaming. I froze. Was that what I thought it was? I returned to the house, but the host hadn't heard anything. It was probably an animal, she said. After hearing the opening sound of today's clip, I know she was right.

Here's a helpful video that breaks down the types of fox calls.


What does the fox say? Let's find out what our poets have to say about that.

Our friend Patricia VanAmburg was a longtime professor of world languages, literature, and fine arts at Howard Community College. Her great area of interest is mythology, and there is plenty of mythology surrounding the fox.

VIXEN
by Patricia VanAmburg

Voiceprint of the Mother Goddess
Ishtar moaning at the Fertile Crescent
Xenociea cursing Hercules
Echo howling for lost expression
Naiobe bewailing her dead 

I like the way Linda Baie wove words we usually associate with religion into her fox poem.


The Forest As Church

Red fox’s barks and bays
serve as vigils for the forest,
matins celebrating the morning feast
before sleep.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

The fox in Charles' Waters poem is a male fox, known as a reynard. I picture him wearing a fedora.

DOO WOP GROUP
Foxes, festooned in rusty fur,
Settle on low hanging branches
Lift muzzles, jaw out
Multisyllabic trills for the ladies.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

I've been trying to write about this long-ago fox encounter for several years. A tanka seemed to be the right form for this conversation which, admittedly, happened in silence.

Fox Tanka
by Laura Shovan

Early morning walk,
the dog halts. Edge of the woods,
a fox in mist.
He watches us, pondering
the choices his cousin made.

Diane Mayr of Random Noodling is also considering the fox and the dog.

Fox at the Edge of Suburbia 
by Diane Mayr

This is no goofy red dog
who has outsmarted
mistress or master,
escaped a collar,
and is now out enjoying
a half-hour of freedom.

The slight tilt of the
slender red head suggests
a constant awareness
of its surroundings.
The loose-limbed
ease in its gait
suggests it has walked
this corner of field
before before before.

Before the farmers
stripped the woods
and plowed the field.

Before we came to this
edge of Suburbia.

Before offers of a treat
bring the goofy red
dog home with tail
between his legs.

Before before before.

And Margaret Simon observes how her dog reacts to the wild cousin outside.

Vulpes, red fox cry
upsets the dog
who whimpers at the window
watching for danger.
The red fox sounds
too much like a lost child.


Our last poem for today is from Mike Ratcliffe of the Skimino Cycle. Mike has some big news -- a poetry chapbook coming out from Finishing Line Press! Congratulations, Mike.

This poem tells a story, but also captures fox's personality and energy.

Red Fox
by Mike Ratcliffe

Run, red fox, run.
The chase is on.
Riders in red pursue,
but cannot hear your cries
over blaring horns
and galloping hooves.
Go to ground, sly fox,
go to ground.
The hounds will clamor
at the entrance to your den,
while you, ever the clever one,
slip quietly out the back.

I can't end today's post without this...

That crazy song we couldn't stop singing last year,
it's now a children's book.
Find it at IndieBound.

That's all, folks! If you've enjoyed writing in response to a daily prompt, stop by Heidi Mordhorst's blog, My Juicy Little Universe, for a March poem-a-day project.

Here are all of the sound prompts for the last week of February. I am working on a list of participants, getting ready to award a prize for our most prolific poet.

Footsteps in snow

Smoke on the Water
Sea Turtle

Ugandan Music

Train

Lava

Fox

Sunday, March 1: Project Wrap-up

If you'd like some poem-starters to wake up your muse, you'll find them at the bottom of this post. Drop in any time with a poem. I’ll continue to post your work throughout the month, no matter which sound you are writing in response to.

Would you like to read what we’ve written so far? Here are links to the week 3 poems. Each of these posts links to the week 1 and 2 poems.

Santa Fe Church Bells Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, and Charles Waters.

Quaking Aspen Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, and Karin Fisher-Golton.

Tuesday, February 17 -- new poem!
Laughing Child Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, Michael Ratcliffe, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, and Heidi Mordhorst.

Mysterious Space Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, and Margaret Simon.

Museum Stairwell Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, and Karin Fisher-Golton.

Friday, February 20 -- new poems!
Reptile Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Mike Ratcliffe, Donna Smith, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, and Charles Waters.

Traditional Chinese Music Poems by Diane Mayr, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Robyn Hood Black, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.