#14: Tonight

Okay, I didn’t write this. I transcribed it. These are words to a song my seven year old son improvised and sang over a piece of moody music he composed on the keyboard, also, I think, improvised. Listening to the thing, you can barely decipher what he’s singing, so I thought a lyric sheet mightContinue reading “#14: Tonight”

#13: The Walk

The Walk Wandering around in the yard looking up at these gigantic oaks, bare branches, April, too early for new leaves. It may rain. Neighbors getting their mow on, blowing the last vestiges of winter out of their driveways and flowerbeds. My own lawn, freshly mowed. If it were warmer and dry I might beContinue reading “#13: The Walk”

#12: The Shadows

What follows is called a blackout poem. A kind of found poem, it requires a text of some kind, not poetry, and a felt tip marker. Essentially, you carve an original poem out of this pre-existing text, highlighting your chosen words, phrases, sentences, and blacking out or otherwise obscuring the rest. It becomes both aContinue reading “#12: The Shadows”

#9: Some Performance Poets Are Not Very Good At Poetry

They’re often yelling, for starters, and even the good ones have a particular cadence and that annoying inflection that always goes up at the end as if they were, in the words of one performance poet, always asking a question. One wonders if the same poems, the ones shouted at audiences or delivered at break-neckContinue reading “#9: Some Performance Poets Are Not Very Good At Poetry”

#8: Ottava Rima Give Me Cake and Ale (and that is perfect iambic pentameter!)

The assignment for today’s poem from the NaPoWriMo website: write a poem using the ottava rima from Lord Byron’s Don Juan. It’s an Italian form consisting of an eight line stanza in iambic pentameter with this particular rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c.  It’s groovy, and I wanted to try it, but the prompt comes with no subject matter suggestion,Continue reading “#8: Ottava Rima Give Me Cake and Ale (and that is perfect iambic pentameter!)”

#7: Six Statements and a Question

Write a poem in which each line is a single declarative sentence until the last line.  The last line should be a question.  That was the prompt today on http://www.napowrimo.net and I took up the challenge.  I thought, that since today was the seventh day of the poetry writing extravaganza, that my poem would containContinue reading “#7: Six Statements and a Question”

#6: Drumsticks–A Valediction

Drumsticks: A Valediction Don’t worry; it’s only temporary. But because I’ve been drumming almost non-stop all weekend, I must now say farewell to you, my sticks, until next Friday, when I will take you up again and continue the drumming. Know, you must, that the drumming lately has been exceptional, in the way that fishingContinue reading “#6: Drumsticks–A Valediction”

#5: Friday Irony

I know I said I wanted to take a break from writing about teaching, but today was kind of a frustrating day and I couldn’t help myself. This is a poem called a cinquain, apparently, because the stanza or stanzas are all 5 lines long. The form also has to follow a specific syllabic countContinue reading “#5: Friday Irony”

#4: The American Teenager Reads the Ancient Chinese Masters

The American Teenager Reads the Ancient Chinese Masters Untitled (Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton) You just came from my old village so you know all about village affairs. When you left, outside my window, was it in bloom—that winter plum? What the hell? What village affairs? Who left? Why did he leave? Where’d heContinue reading “#4: The American Teenager Reads the Ancient Chinese Masters”

#3: Self Censorship and the Creative Writer (You Can’t Say That)

I hate it.  I wish it were not true, but whenever I have penned something delicious or exciting or in some way daring or brave, a series of questions begin nagging my monkey mind:  What will my students think of that? How will my mother react? Will my brother disown me? Will my wife want me reading thisContinue reading “#3: Self Censorship and the Creative Writer (You Can’t Say That)”