Playing Catch Up

In the frenzy that is National Poetry Month, I am attempting two poetry challenges (plus responding to a smattering of other prompts that appeal to me). My NaHaiWriMo is going strong, and I’ve decided (at least for now) to keep my haiku on Facebook only, thereby making them eligible to submit to Frogpond, which considers blog posts published, but is okay with FB posts. They can all be read on the NaHaiWriMo page.

As for Poetic Asides, I am plugging away at the prompts in my notebook, and am a few days behind in my efforts. I will post them as I complete them…

2010 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge- Update

Last month, after seeing my comment that I had not yet re-read any of the poems I wrote for the 2011 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge, Carolee Sherwood suggested that I should do a blog post when I finally did, with what I discovered. Here, belatedly, is that post. I was so immersed in real life this past month, with “the kids” visiting, puppy troubles, holiday hoopla, and whatnot, that I didn’t do all that much poetry-wise. Imagine!

And then yesterday as I glanced at my new engagement calendar sitting so nicely on my desk, I realized with horror that Wednesday is the deadline for chapbook submissions, and here I hadn’t even looked at the poems yet, let alone selected, edited and compiled them into a chapbook. However, I’m not as worried as I could be, since: 1) This is a strictly optional activity anyway, and 2) I know I work best under pressure.

What did I discover? Well, as always, after a challenge, I realized that it is truly amazing that I actually completed the challenge, notwithstanding that some of my efforts were less than stellar. I discovered a handful of gems, a much larger number that I’m reasonably satisfied with, and others that were “of the moment” and I’m ready to let them go. I am also particularly proud that I experimented with many new forms: pantoums, triolets, cascades, blitzes, and Fibonaccis, just to name a few. Some new forms I found awkward, while others (like the triolet) have become firmly entrenched in my arsenal of new tricks.

I am reminded yet again of why I do these challenges, even when they sometimes threaten to gobble up what little discretionary time I have. By focusing on the process, rather than the product, I stretch myself as a writer, keep company with a fine group of poets, and produce a growing number of “keepers”. What more could any poet ask for?

On to the sorting phase, where my poems will be place in three (virtual) hoppers: “definitely in”, “maybe in”, and “definitely out”. Should be fun!

2010 November PAD Wrap Up

Another PAD Challenge completed. If there was a theme to it at all for me, it was to try new forms. And I did! Here’s my stats:

I wrote 33 poems in all, including:

  • 4  haiku
  • 1  tanka
  • 4  triolets
  • 1 rondeau
  • 2 limericks
  • 1 blitz poem
  • 1 pantoum
  • 2  skeltonic verses
  • 1 shadorma
  • 1 hay(na)ku
  • 2 bell curve Fibonaccis
  • 13 free form poems

And I wrote about: resolutions, dawn, yoga, matryoshkas, cancer, glasses, rain, frogs and crickets, time, love, greetings, adages, daylight savings, crossroads, the big bad wolf, triolets, teens, memories, the universe, snow, shopping, yoga (again), snow (again), hay(na)ku, still more snow, ice, chutes and ladders, turkey, more turkey, more shopping, Goldilocks, writing poetry, and poetry titles!


It was fun, it was exhausting, and given the chance, I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Just not immediately…


I think my next poem-a-day challenge will be in February, when I will try my hand at NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month). I probably already write a haiku a day anyway!

Falling Back (Asleep)

This is the last Wednesday Poetic Asides prompt for awhile. Starting Monday, and for the whole month of November, every day will be prompt day! Join me here for the 2010 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Or better yet, participate too! The rules are here.

Falling Back (Asleep)

What I like about this time of year
is that when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m.
and I blink my bleary eyes trying
to read the friendly green numbers
off the face of my clock radio
to make sure this is no dream, and
I look though my curtained window
at darkness so complete I find myself
thinking that it could be the middle
of the night, or even the beginning
of the night, then I reach on over
and hit the snooze bar on my clock radio,
pull the covers up over my head, pretend
it is the middle of the night, roll over,
and go back to sleep, just like that.


I know better than anyone that life isn’t a competition, and I don’t need contest wins or publications to validate me… BUT, it sure is nice to get a little recognition once in a while. So it was with great pleasure when I saw that my poem “Paris” made the Top 50 list, in the 2010 Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge.

Here then, is the poem reprinted:


We bow our heads
at la Tombe du Soldat Inconnu,
collect postcards at le Louvre
and stroll along la Rive Gauche
in the footsteps of Hemingway.
April, I say, isn’t the best time
to be in Paris,
as inconsistent skies
pelt rain on us one moment
and smile upon us
with all the good will
of a benevolent parent the next.
But Paris, he murmurs,
isn’t the worst place
to be in April.

2010 napowrimo #29

Fun prompt today on Read Write Poem. We were to take ten newspaper headlines and select elements from them to create our own event to write a poem about. I couldn’t resist. I took the headline “Better without the bigger?” (actual article is about Portland Public Schools), combined it with “My little, possibly record-setting pony” (which really is about a miniature 14″ pony) and came up with the following:

Better, Not Bigger

Scientists today have been successful
in crossing a Polly Pocket
with a My Little Pony,
resulting in a new breed
they are calling My Pocket Pony.

At only ¼ inch high,
scientists are hailing this new breed
as a tremendous breakthrough
adding that the goal of
“a pony in every pocket”
is now within reach in our lifetime.

When asked “Why this new breed?”
a spokesperson simply replied,
“Because we can”.

2010 PAD- Day 28

Fitting that this Poetic Asides prompt should come today.

The End of the Line

He asked me once
if this was the end of the line.
I don’t recall my reply.
Perhaps I mumbled something
about there always being hope
perhaps I sighed,
and reached for his hand,
or perhaps I said nothing at all
and he read his answer in my silence.
Now he lives on in my heart,
and in the rich legacy he left behind.
Rest in peace, Dad.

Stanton Cohn
August 25, 1920- April 28, 2008

2010 napowrimo #28

I lost my beloved father two years ago today. It is these anniversaries that are the most difficult– they catch you by the throat and force you to take notice. Two years  have come and gone. Time has softened the edges of my grief, but the sorrow is always there, just beneath the surface. Perhaps my poem is a little sad today, reflecting the wistfulness I am feeling. I can’t quite tell.

C’est la Vie

For three days now, a little songbird—
perhaps a wren—has been banging his head
against my window. Something elusive
is drawing him to it, either a misguided
sense of direction, or an intense desire
to want what he can’t have. My heart
goes out to him, this little bird, yet
I’m powerless to intervene. The way
I see it, either he will eventually
knock himself senseless, or finally
realize the futility of his efforts,
and redirect his flight pattern.
Such is life.

I wrote the blog post In Memoriam to dad, last year on this date.