April 12, 2016

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Poetry Friday: 2014 Poetry Project Wrap-up

Happy Poetry Friday, Writerly Friends. We’re celebrating the end of our Pantone® Poetry Project today.

It’s Poetry Friday! Today’s host is
one of our Pantone
® Poets --
Margaret Simon. Join her at
Reflections on the Teche for all
of today's poetry links.

On January 31, I invited everyone to join me for a month-long project, writing in response to interior paint colors.

This is the second time I've celebrated my February birthday with a daily project that gives back to the writing community. (Read the original Pantone Poetry Project post here.)

Last year, I sent original postcard poems to 44 friends. This 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.

Photo of a Color Run from the Yale Herald.
During the 28 days of Pantone® poems, this is what we created:

115 original poems by
14 poets about
55 colors

The poems have covered such topics as love, memory, penguins, teddy bears, bad weather, longing for spring, and outer space. We've had haiku, free verse, diamantes, rhymed couplets -- a variety of forms and experiments.

Huge thanks to all my writing buddies, whether you contributed one poem, or wrote every day. I’ve got some prizes for you, but first, let’s see what we came up with for our final color.

Day 28 Tandori Spice
Pantone ®  18-1444

The poets knocked it out of the park today. I found these poems to be heartbreaking, warm, and funny (Patricia).

Today's poems are all portraits of one kind or another, each in response to this rich red. (The non-standard spelling of "Tandori" comes from Pantone®.)

Let’s start with Diane Mayr’s (Random Noodling) poem, in which the spice is a symbol of food and culture left behind.

by Diane Mayr

She now lives with
her son and his family
far, far from her home.

This world so different
insignificant things still
remind her she is not home.

Even the building taunts with
its bricks the color of the 
spicy chicken Mama made.

As she walks in the door
she remembers the smile
her mother always wore.

Someday soon, she
realizes, she will need to
unpack all of her luggage.

I'm amazed that a poet (Diane) can begin with one image -- bricks the color of Tandoori Spice -- and build a character like the mother in this poem.

Linda Baie of Teacher Dance is also looking at food and spices as a symbol of integration. When we share food, we share a whole culture.

Newlywed Complication
By Linda Baie 

Grandmother’s letter reads:
Rub the chicken with tandoori spice,
that bottle with the beautiful dark red color.
She sent it to me after I moved to the states,
reminds me of the color in the carpet,
in the dining room
at Grandmother’s.
Tears. My husband isn’t home to teach me
how to use the big black skillet,
his grandmother’s wedding gift to us,
the heavy iron one. She wrote on the card:
This is a special family heirloom,
been in the family for years. I hope it helps you cook
good things for my grandson.
He’s invited his parents for dinner and he wants,
he wants,
fried chicken.
I wanted to make something Indian for them,
to show that I did know how to cook.
The food I prepare with love and respect
is like going home to me, delicious tastes
and nutritious, prepared to honor those
who partake.
He says “no, we’ll give them ‘different’ another time,
when they’re more used to you."
For now, I pull the chicken parts
out of the refrigerator, rinse them,
and rub some of the spice into the skin.
A little won’t hurt, I can wash it off later.
I lean out the back door, observe the tandoor
sitting next to the gas grill,
given to us by my father-in-law.
One is my new husband;
one is me.
Both can feed us well if we only let them.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Margaret Simon's poem could be read as a continuation -- a later chapter? -- in the narrative begun with Diane and Linda's offerings.

Gita’s House
by Margaret Simon (with a line from Gita’s son, Tinka)

Gita’s house smells of tandoori spice.
Pungent ginger and paprika
Sprinkle my nose with tingly powder.
Her life in India is a memory now,
a treasure of traditions for us.
Gita gave my daughters her old saris,
long elegant silk wrapped around their tiny bodies,
an Indian Princess fashion show.
Scraps became a soft pillowcase
for Maggie to take to college.

Gita shows me her spice cabinet,
a collection of masala—cardamom for tea;
yellow curry for chicken and rice.
She cooks Indian dishes from all over the country,
goat curry from the north, dosas from the south.

There are no empty stomachs or strangers in Gita’s house.
Everyone is welcome. Everyone is fed.

Pillow made of sari fabrics from
love how Patricia VanAmburg uses hot flavors to create a rhyming portrait of Tandori Spice in human form.

Yes, She Was Hot
By Patricia VanAmburg

Tandoori was a dancer
Whose life was full of spice
She wasn’t really naughty
And she wasn’t really nice

With live coals in her belly
And fire on her breath
When she danced her hottest
She could burn a man to death

I’m going to throw a few snowballs at you so we can cool off after reading that poem. Below is my favorite painting by my husband's aunt, Barbara Kozell. We are lucky enough to live with this beautiful artwork.

My portrait isn't of a person, but of the bird in the painting. We see cardinals all winter long in Maryland, but this male seems displaced in his winter landscape.

Forsythia after Spring Snow
By Laura Shovan

Under the snow
the world
has caught fire.
A cardinal, red
as tandoori spice,
warms  himself
by the flames
of yellow blossoms.


Poet Michael C. Davis is joining the party -- a little late, but always welcome.

by Michael C. Davis

I like my meat red.
You could always order the lamb.
But look at that chicken
as red as a fire engine
abandoned in a field.
The bird’s flesh
skinned and rubbed
raw with garlic cumin coriander paprika cayenne onion.
The juice of a lemon
to cool it; a dahi balm
before roasting.
Pick it from the bone,
red nailed one.
Dip the tidbit in raita if need be.
Press the meat between
your ruby lips, Gopi.
Blue-fleshed Krishna needs a little tandoori spice

Delicious, Michael. I'll be dreaming of Indian food tonight. But first, it's time for PRIZES!

As promised, I am sending Pantone postcards for further inspiration to the five poets who wrote most often. They are:

Michael Ratcliffe (3 poems)
Margaret Simon (13 poems)
Patricia VanAmburg (16 poems)
Linda Baie (21 poems)
Diane Mayr (26 poems)

That makes Diane Mayr our most frequent contributor. Her prize? A Pantone® writing notebook of her very own.

Thanks also to Michelle H. Barnes, Michael C. Davis, J. C. Elkin, Stephanie Lemghari, Heidi Mordhorst, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, and Tabatha Yeatts. Each of these fine poets shared a poem or two this month.

Would you like to go back and revisit all of the colors in our project? Here they are. Click on the links to read the poems. I hope you find something to inspire your own writing.

Day 7: Jazzy
Day 11: Tarmac
Day 14: Oxblood Red
Day 28: Tandori Spice and project wrap-up

What’s next for Author Amok? During March, Michael Ratcliffe will stop by with a poetic form from Wales and Margarita Engle will visit to tell us about her latest novel-in-verse, Silver People.

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 next Friday. Meanwhile, enjoy the 2014 NPM poster:

2014 Poster, designed by Chip Kidd


Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I'm sorry to see this project go, it's been so rich and vibrant! And you're right, it ended with fireworks! Thanks to you and all of your regular participants who shared so much of yourselves this past month.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Michelle. I appreciate all of your feedback and the poems you shared. It's been a great month of poetry and community.

Margaret Simon said...

Once again, a masterful set of poems. I will miss this project. Let's get together again sometime soon. I am having hot flashes over Patricia's poem and love the .ekphrasis about the snow on forsythia. Congrats, Diane!

Linda B said...

It's been a pleasure to write with everyone. Your poems today are beautiful connections. I love the painting by your husband's aunt, Laura, and the idea of the cardinal warming itself by the yellow blossoms. I miss cardinals; they don't come this far west. One more time, thank you.

Diane Mayr said...

Laura, thank you so much for the inspiration and the gift. I needed a push this long, cold, winter and the project got me rolling!

Tabatha said...

Those are a hot crop of poems, Laura! Your prize for Diane is great. She certainly deserves it :-) You really flexed your poetic muscles. Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for National Poetry Month!

Irene Latham said...

What amazing work this month! Patricia's today reminds me of the end of Lucille Clifton's "Homage to my Hips." :) Congrats and thanks to all the participating poets - and woohoo Laura-- for painting the world vibrant these past weeks. xo

Patricia said...

Congratulations to Diane. I think the best prize was to be included in the Pantone Party--thank you everyone for the pleasure of your company.

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Irene, I hadn't thought of "Homage to my Hips," but you're right! Patricia's poem has that no-apologies for being a powerful woman voice.

jama said...

Love all of today's poems -- such a sensory delight.

Thanks for hosting another great project, Laura. Enjoyed following along.

Patricia said...

I like Clifton's homage to her hips very much, Irene, and especially enjoyed it when Clifton read it herself--rolling both hips and eyes. The roots of the word tandoor(oven) was my inspiration when I found they might be traceable all the way back to Akkadia where Tanuru (mud oven) is mentioned in the epic of Gilgamesh--and that reminded me of the Harlot of Uruk. Though I admit that Rilke's kitchen match dancer also went through my mind.

Patricia said...

The poetry month poster is very reminiscent of the Maryland Writers' poetry anthology?

Lisa said...

I read about your Pantone Poetry project on Mary Lee's blog. Did you know the author Amy Krouse Rosenthal did a similar project with pictures and writing? You can find the info. here: Maybe some of your poets have written about a color she posted and they could share there, too?

Fun idea--thanks for sharing!

Bridget Magee said...

Amazing project and amazing poems, Laura! Thanks for sharing your birthday gift to us all. = )

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Lisa. I will check that out.

Author Amok said...

Wow, Patricia. I hadn't thought about the Life in Me cover -- you're right!

GatheringBooks said...

Such a meaningful way to celebrate your birthday, and such great poems too! What a lovely collection you have here, all inspired by colours, written by equally lovely people. Thank you for spearheading this and sharing all these tandoori spicy goodness.

Mary Lee said...

I shared one of my hoarded Pantone poems today with thoughts about why I changed my mind about publishing poems on our/others' blogs. I wish I would have read Kleon's book BEFORE your project. Oh, well.

In my comments, a reader pointed me here:

Maybe you and some of your other Pantoners will join me in adding work to Amy Krouse Rosenthal's project?!?!