April 12, 2016

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.


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
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 AVAILABLE!

Wednesday 4/8: Guest Post by Robyn Hood Black

Friday 4/10: Poem round up

Monday 4/13: Guest Post AVAILABLE!

Wednesday 4/15: Guest Post by Linda Baie

Friday 4/17: Poem round up

Monday 4/20: Guest Post by Robyn Campbell

Wednesday 4/22; Guest Post AVAILABLE!

Friday 4/24: Poem round up

Monday 4/27: Guest Post AVAILABLE!

Wednesday 4/29: Project wrap up


Diane Mayr said...

This sounds like fun, Laura! I can't recall even one poem about clothes, so I won't be volunteering to guest post! Maybe, I'll write something original--I've got nearly a month to ponder it!

Robyn Campbell said...

What fun. Would love to join in the clothing fun. 4/20 and I'll do Mary Ann Hoberman's I Like Old Clothes.:-)

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hi, Laura - You have the MOST FUN ideas. Well, I'd be happy to take April 8. I'd like to feature Alice Schertle's "Hand-Me-Down Sweatshirt" from BUTTON UP, though I need to ask permission. If that slot's open, I'll work on it! :0)

Author Amok said...

You've got it, Robyn and Robyn. Thank you for volunteering!

Linda said...

Hi,Laura- What a great idea! If April 27 is still open, I'd like to take that one and feature a poem I use with my students "Pablo's Tennis Shoes". Does that work?

Author Amok said...

Hi, Linda. I use that poem too! Great choice. 4/27 is yours.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Linda. I use that poem too! Great choice. 4/27 is yours.

Linda B said...

Hi Laura, may I do April 15th? Or do I need to have a poem now before I choose a date? This is a terrific idea. I've had my students write a lot about clothes in the past. I have several in mind, but will have to look.

jan godown annino said...

Dear Laura,
Would you chance April 27th on me? Hope so!
And thanks for having us think about toppers, tops, bottoms shoes & all the other outerwear. This is a fun post.

Today I'm reading THE MAGIC HAT by Mem Fox when I visit three kindergarten classes (other titles too) but it seems like picture books which are lyrical about clothes are the ticket for young listeners.

Hope it's a yes?

jama said...

Have always loved Ferlinghetti's poem. Sounds like another wonderful PM celebration here at Author Amok! Will add this to my PM Roundup.

Author Amok said...

Linda -- April 15th is yours. Clothing poems are a great way to teach symbolism. Looking forward to your post.

Author Amok said...

Jan -- April 27th has already been claimed, but I'd love to have you guest post. Is there another date that might work for you?

Author Amok said...

Jama -- thanks! That would be great.

Tara said...

I don't think I've ever read so many interesting words about underwear! You really are full of poetic creativity these days,Laura,still so enjoying reading the sound poems.

Margaret Simon said...

Is April 6 still open? Surely I can find a poem about clothing by then. Are we to include our own or just others?
I wonder what Louisiana governor was squirming in his underwear? I have an idea.

Donna Smith said...

Could I possibly do April 22?

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Oh my gosh Lauraaaaaaa! Someday I'll tell you why this is embarrassingly exciting for me. Are there any days left? I'd love a spring break day between April 3-12, if there's one available.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

I could do April 13--that looks available...if you'll have me.

Catherine Johnson said...

Wow that's some underwear poem! And great idea for Month of Poetry. I'll get thinking if there's any room left.

Tabatha said...

Hi Laura, what a startling underwear poem! Leaves me breathless as I read it. I would sign up for a date, but I don't think there are any left. Great idea!

Mary Lee said...

What a fun project! (And what a fun underwear poem!)

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hi, Laura, thanks for hosting his week and what a fun theme for upcoming poetry month-- clothes! My post today features a "Poet to Poet" interview between Allan Wolf and Leslie Bulion. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

If there's room I would love to host. And write a poem for the occasion.

Carol Varsalona said...

Fun times at Author Amok's site for Poetry Month. I might try to write a poem on underwear from the past. I might even have a pair of turn of the 20th century pantaloons. Must find those. You got me thinking Laura. Sounds like fun but for the time being I have to get the Gallery of Winter Whisperings ready. A bit slow these days with a new rotator cuff injury.

Carol Varsalona said...

I looked back on this post and realized that I never responded. Your ingenuity at finding the just right topics is amazing. I was hoping to offer more poems based on the costume trunk of vintage clothing but just thought-where has the time gone.