Are you ready to join me for Poetry Month?
I admit – I’m a little nervous
I spilled out all my excitement before thinking all this through
But that is okay
Right? Because … poetry.
Poetry is what happens when I let slip the usual confines of prose, when I shake out the words and look at them anew/ askance/ askew
Tricksy words – all blacks and whites on a page, so strictly spelled out or so I was told but
look more closely — notice how the structures of language pins words down to keep them under … thumb, under ….ground, under … pressure
and those sneaking slipping words leak out, seep into our psyche
despite grammar and rule and punctuation
words remain wild– adapting … all willy-nilly and such. Suddenly speaking new meaning, new feeling … making poetry … happen
So although I will be seeking direction from some inspirational books and poets and sites … I will be following my way through this experiment with arms wide and jaunty and all akimbo because I want to amble along and listen and learn and lean into the way words lead, grow, and sneak out
If you are willing, and if you don’t mind such a fumbling journey led by this person then I have your
Yup, that is it. For the next few days your task is to pick up words and lay them in your basket – any words – for whatever reason –
listen for them,
pull them off the pages you read,
out of magazines, off cereal boxes,
or out of the mouths of those around you …
look high, look low.
And write them down – together in a big messy mess on a page or four – I challenge you to let your children write them down … let them misspell them … this isn’t spelling class – this is word hunting, word scavenging, word hoarding … no minimalism allowed here.
(Jazz and I collecting words … and absorbing sunshine.)
This assignment comes from Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge
She recommends reading through identification books – birds, bugs, places, plants, persons … write down the words which capture your attention.
No word is wrong … (perhaps inappropriate depending on who is participating)
Be silly – be serious – pick words you like to say – feel how they move in your mouth. Keep going … sensory words, onomatopoeia words (drip, splash, oink), long words, short words, action verbs, interesting nouns, everyday words …
(click the link above for a PDF of my wordlist)
Here is my collection … my wordpool as Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, (whose name needs to be said all together as one long poem itself), names it. I include it to inspire you but also as a crutch if you are feeling unsure … go ahead and print a page or all 9 … there are 600+ words to get you off the ground … and a page full of blank spaces for you fill in.
(p.s. Poiema is the greek word used in the bible to describe God’s workmanship … as in “You are God’s Poiema” Ephesians 2:10…. I love that! Also, I misspelled it in my list …it is Poiema not Poeima)
Optional task #2
Write your words out on bits of paper – or print some of mine and cut them out. Collect up the words and leave them in a bowl or jar or basket … or write them out in coloured pens … or on painted watercolour paper like I did … and watch it grow …literally …
Jazz “helping” again
I am very curious about your word collections … will you share some words with me? I want to grow my wordpool too … and I know you have some fantastic words…
Were there words you didn’t like when you found them … words you put back, left where they were? …yah, me too … leave them behind.
Were there words you repeated … me too! Like love, swell, joy, abandon, and tapioca (I don’t even like tapioca) … I did leave the word love on my list twice … we could all use a double portion.
And that is it … for now. I will be back with further assignments and adventures in poetry.
But also poems are important so here are two great poems about poetry …
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
~ Billy Collins
A Poem is a Little Path
A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.
Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.
~ Charles Ghigna