April 12, 2016

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Day 19: Stairwell

Happy Poetry Friday, sound poets!

It's almost time for cake!
Linda Baie of Teacher Dance
is hosting the Poetry Friday party today.
Stop by her blog for links and hijinks.

Yesterday was Day 19 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project. We are spending 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 19 as they come in. Thanks to everyone who has sent in poems so far.

Can I just take a moment to marvel at the fact that we have written over 100 new poems already this month. Wow, everyone.

Our Day 19 prompt is the sound of a stairwell.

Let's start with a portrait poem by Diane Mayr of Random Noodling. Can a stairwell be a portrait? Read on...

Charles Waters’ poem reminded me of the movie “Love, Actually.” I could picture all of the activity in the stairwell of Charles’ terminal, just the way the film captures all of the people coming and going in the airport.

Stair tapping,
Baby clapping,
Parent snapping,
Sibling pranking,
Dishes clanking,
Waitress thanking,
Ticket buying,
Shoelace tying,
All-day sighing

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

(I'm throwing a little extra Colin Firth in there for Jama Rattigan.)

Linda Baie and Karin Fisher-Golton focused on the setting for their stairwell poems. Today’s sound clip was recorded in a museum. I love the unexpected turn in Linda’s poem.

Museum Undercurrents

When people enter a museum,
they demonstrate nervous habits.
Being around all that old stuff
might show their ignorance of
the iconic items displayed, this ephemera
of the past. They may not know
anything at all of the gizmos,
the ridiculous (and splashed) color
on the wall of floor three,
or the collection of medieval
armor in the back of floor two.
They chatter, they drop their keys,
they wander. They keep moving.
And rarely do they stop to ponder
that which is in front of them,
that world to which they’ve not
been invited.
But they go, and view the exhibits,
then post on Facebook, writing
“wonderful day with wife and friends.”

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Karin’s poem focuses on the sounds on the stairwell. Notice how the echoes come from objects, as well as people.

Museum Stairwell

in the museum’s grand stairs there are echoes—
echoes of conversation, echoes of anticipation
conversation anticipation stairwell
echoes off metal, echoes off marble
metal marble stairwell
echoes of art, echoes of story
art story stairwell
stairwell echoes

The next three poems are written about specific places.

The stairwell reminded me of an episode of Ghost Hunters. At theCuban Club in Ybor City, Florida, there is – reportedly -- a spirit in a white dress and red heels who walks up and down the staircase. (Formalists, this is another triolet, to capture the repetitive nature of the ghostly steps.)

Ghost in High Heels
By Laura Shovan

A white dress and red shoes.
She came to the club to dance.
A partner, a little booze,
a white dress and red shoes.
Drifting up the stairs, the blues
put her in a melancholy trance.
A white dress and red shoes.
She came to the club to dance.

Mike Ratcliffe looked into the museum where the stairwell sounds were recorded.

Stairwell in the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna, Austria
By Mike Ratcliffe

Emperor Franz Joseph I commissioned the design and construction of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) in Vienna to house the imperial family’s vast collection of art and to make it accessible to the public. The museum opened in 1891. Less than 30 years later, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist.
Listen. Can you hear their voices
from the past as they slowly ascend
these stairs, hands gracing the balustrade,
gazing in awe at the grandeur,
marble on marble, gold leaf and inlays,
a building as immense and eternal
as the Empire itself, a fitting frame
for the Emperor’s art, offered now to the people.

Look. These stairs that have borne millions,
the collection of peoples
on which the empire once hung—
these stairs, this building,
relics of an era that was in descent
even as they were new.

Patricia VanAmburg also takes us to Kunsthistorisches, where the stairwell becomes a metaphor for the human condition.

Kunsthistorisches Staircase
By Patricia VanAmburg

Stumble and mumble
down your marble face

Last up today is Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche . The echoing sounds of the stairwell inspired Margaret to rhyme today.

The Rhythms of a Crowded Cafe'
By Margaret Simon

Clanking of silver taps a beat.
Bird from its cage adds a tweet.

Violin musician strums his tune
While patrons toast the rising moon.

Here are all of the sound prompts for the third week of February. I will post our final seven sound prompts on Saturday, 2/21.

Sunday, February 15

Video of Santa Fe's Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi by my Albuquerque friend, Jennifer Lewis.

Monday, February 16
Quaking aspen. Read more about this sound here.

Laughing child

The sounds of space
Museum stairwell

Friday, February 20
Follow the link to choose your reptile.
You'll need to turn the volume high to hear this one.

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 2 poems. You can find links to the week 1 poems on all of these posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mary Lee said...

These are all fabulous, but I love Karin's echoes most of all!

Diane Mayr said...

Love, Actually is my all-time favorite feel-good movie. And what a cast!

Donna Smith said...

I love this project! There are some really wonderful poems coming out of this! Can I try? I just looked up the one for today...a reptile. Because of the formatting, it might be better on my site. Maybe I can take a screen shot and send a picture sometime. I picked:
Common Garter Snake -- Thamnophis sirtalis
Let me know if this is how it works. I listened to the sound online and never heard anything. I've seen them but never heard them in real life either.

Linda B said...

Poetic responses to the stairwell noise seemed to bring out the best, or is it that we're in the groove of good listening? Thanks, Laura!

Amy LV said...

Wow...I just adore these poems. Such a wonderful project and cool idea, and one I will be coming back to. My room is full of echoes and humanity!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Love the variety and richness in this grouping... I'm with Mary Lee re. Karen's echoes:
"echoes of art, echoes of story
art story stairwell
stairwell echoes
LOVE that. And I really love your ghost in high heels, Laura - applause all around.
(I need to go find a reptile...)

Ruth said...

Wow, these are amazing!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Wow, all of you poets who are writing every single day (or nearly so) are seriously impressing the heck out of me! Today I was especially drawn to Linda and Karin's "setting" poems, though I must clink my glass in cheers to Margaret's rhyming ditty. (I know how uncomfortable it makes you, Margaret, but you've rhymed like a pro here!)

jama said...

Over 100 poems! What a great response. I like the variety of approaches here. The images and details in Mike's poem take me right there, I like Karin's Echos too, and Charles' stairwell of humanity. I'm intrigued by that ghost in high heels. :)

And thanks for the Colin fix!

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

That sound was so evoking for me, and I relate to all these poems. I am really touched that mine resonates (so to speak) with several of you. I like how Charles identifies the details in the cacophony but links them together too. I love how Linda contrasts the complexity of life with the simplicity of our summations of it. I love that Laura chose a triolet for this topic and makes it work beautifully--and how cool that there is stairwell lore! Mike shows the awe of these spaces with his beautiful language. I like that he puts our focus on those two senses. Patricia and Margaret capture big ideas of a big space in a few words. Patricia, I shared some of these poems with my 9-year-old, and he particularly liked yours.

Tara said...

I'm in awe - each poem gave me so much to delight in. Loved your ghost with white dress and red shoes, Laura - that's an arresting visual.

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

I missed saying how I related to Diane's too. I love how it's a chaos of people moving about and then one sticks out and becomes a story.

Carol Varsalona said...

These are all such quality pieces that I can hardly say which one stands out above the rest. The poem about echoes in a museum was well written with one echo leading to the next and being a lover of different time periods your poem on the ghost in heels. Thank you for sharing these pieces with readers like me.

Carol Varsalona said...

Laura, I tried the Day 21 sound poem challenge. I pushed myself to write a rhyming poem to tell a story. I am glad that my first draft is done and tweeted out to you. Thanks for offering an interesting challenge to all writers.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Laura, your project is going swimmingly!! (I'm inspired to do a March Poetry Project.) Internet is working better than on Friday, so here's a poem for the Child Laughing sound from Feb. 17:


that tickles it's
funny giggle funny guffaw
that tickles it's
funny giggle squeal guffaw
that tickles it's
funny giggle squawk guffaw
that hurts that hurts
gurgle squawl please STOP