Tag Archives: poetry class

Election day poetry

I’m taking a poetry class this fall, and one of our assignments was to write a praise poem making use of anaphora. One family member recently said he’ll be relieved when the election is over and soul-sucking campaign ads go away. Another family member reminded him that the campaign for next year’s gubernatorial contest has already begun here in the Bluegrass State, and that even national figures are positioning themselves for the 2020 presidential campaign.

It’s always election season somewhere

Praise for the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
Praise for lies and slander, attack ads and smear
campaigns, for fake news and media hype, fearmongering
and fact checkers, for dark money and tracking polls,
backbiting and mudslinging, for chants and slogans, bumper
stickers and yard signs, for phone calls and leaflets, billboards
and rallies. Praise for turning out the base and turning off the electorate.
Praise for public service announcements and voter registration drives, fiery
oratory and nonviolent protest, for town hall meetings and candidate forums,
viral videos and op ed columns, for endorsements and letters
to the editor, electronic voting machines and paper ballots.
For the First Amendment and freedom of speech, we give praise.

Shape and color

leaf 26oct17Another week, another poetry class. Here’s the poem I brought to class and a beautiful red leaf I saw while walking the dog today. The shape is almost more amazing than the color.


How silently this clay sinks
into the soft arms of the earth.
How easily these ashes dissolve
on the spade-turned soil.

Without fanfare, without effort
we return, as a leaf settles
into trembling grass, as snow
vanishes on the drifted bank.

That ain’t workin’

leaf 17oct17I’m really loving this poetry class; each meeting is like sinking up to my neck in a claw-footed bathtub of hot water and bubbles. I emerge relaxed and refreshed, my mind cleared of all the mundane things that drag me away from writing.

Bad news: my life and the world in general have not cooperated with my expressed wish to do nothing but write poetry. Good news: I’ve managed to keep up with my assignments anyway and do some work that feels valuable both as process and product. This week’s assignment was to express an abstract idea by means of a place, objects, and sensory details, ten lines long, no more than five sentences of varied length and structure.

(This lovely little leaf was waiting on my windshield when I came out of class.)


She drives on fumes to her studio
apartment, where she opens the refrigerator
to confirm there’s nothing in it
but bottled water. She drinks
by dancing television light and the naked
walls echo waltz and tango as she watches
beautiful couples twirl and dip
alone from the bed. Her stomach rumbles,
empty as her wallet and the third
finger on her left hand.

Day 17, NaPoWriMo 2017

During discussion in a poetry class last week, someone posed the question, “Is ice cream a decision?” Rather than allow us to become completely sidetracked, the instructor wisely turned the question into a writing assignment. If you feel inspired to join the fun, please post your poem in the comments or link back to this post from your own blog so I can read it. 🙂

Is ice cream a decision?

It is an imperative, a command
that cannot be ignored, force
powerful beyond the imagination
of resistance, second
only perhaps to air.

Flavor is the only true decision.