Tag Archives: daily poetry

#143: The Silent Note-Writing Game

The Silent Note-Writing Game

I don’t know how we landed on the idea.
Perhaps chaos of the 9 year old variety
inspired me to propose a game in which
we must be silent and can only communicate
through written notes to each other
back and forth on a shared
piece of paper or two. He loved it.
And in the last few days, months after
the first time we played, he’s saying,
Daddy, let’s play the silent note-writing game.
And so, tonight, sitting in a dark room
at his desk under a lamp, we take turns
writing and we have a silent conversation
on the page. There is talk tonight of
how fun this is, and questions about why
sometimes I don’t want to play, an agreement
about how anything, no matter how fun,
sometimes requires the right mood, the right space.
He asks me why I write like I do, all left-handed,
with improper pencil placement, upside-down like,
and I tell him that’s just the way I learned,
despite how my teachers tried to correct me.
We talk about his Skylander characters and
their various powers and skills, how some
of them are mommies or daddies and
sons and daughters. He farts, writes about that,
then erases it. I write about the view of oak trees
out his bedroom window. He turns on his microscope,
finally, and we look at some slides of leaves
and pollen and it’s too fascinating and so we
break the rules for awhile to ooh and aww over
the majestic microscopic, the immense
complexities beyond the power of the naked eye
after the inexplicable joy and intimacy
of speaking without voices. I say,
there’s a poem in here somewhere.


Filed under Parenting, Poetry

Embarking Yet Again on Another Forced Creativity Experiment: Year 3 of NAPOWRIMO


Happy National Poetry Month! Beginning on Wednesday, April 1 (this is no April Fool’s joke), I will attempt for the third year in a row to participate in the NaPoWriMo challenge of writing a poem a day for the entire month and publishing each poem here on the blog site. I promise, once again, not to cheat; I will not be publishing poems I have written earlier, but only those poems I write on each day of April, 2015–the good, the mediocre, the bad, and the mostly ugly.

I remember the last two years the challenge of squeezing out a poem every day, and squeezing out the time somewhere to get it done, and the rewards and pitfalls of writing fast, off the cuff, without time for revision, sometimes from prompts, sometimes from the mundane events of the day or the news, and often inspired by what I was doing in my classroom. Writing about the classroom was a challenge last year; in both of the classes I taught we were studying the same material as the year before, but with a different group of students: the Chinese poets of the T’ang Dynasty, and American Romanticism. So, I already had a whole series of poems about these things! Luckily, this year at this time I’m teaching different classes.  My freshmen, I’m sure, will provide lots of inspiration, as will my seniors, but for the opposite reasons, and my IB Juniors are studying Pablo Neruda this year, not the Chinese Ancients. It is a cool coincidence (I swear I didn’t plan it this way) that in my IB English class for Juniors  we are studying poetry during National Poetry Month. Last year I challenged my students to play along by writing their own 30 poems. I think I had exactly zero takers.  They want extra credit, but all I’m willing to offer them is the kind of credit that is infinitely more rewarding, but for which they always laugh at me: Extra Soul Credit.

If you would like to help with the cause, you can.  Feel free to send me suggestions for poems–subject matter, specific prompts, stylistic guidance, particular forms, special challenges, over-arching themes.  I’m up for almost anything, provided it’s not ridiculously hard, e.g. write an epic in 300 numbered quatrains about the Higgs boson particle entirely in iambic pentameter.  You could also help by reading, commenting, and following, which I appreciate immensely.  Otherwise, wish me luck.  I hope you can check it out, if not every day, every once in a while.

Meanwhile, here’s a couple of cool related items of interest:

A great resource for poetry:  http://www.poets.org

Another great resource for poetry: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180

A place to play for free books of poetry:  http://ofkells.blogspot.com

A place to learn about and play the poem a day for a month game:  http://www.napowrimo.net



Filed under Poetry, Writing and Reading