Tag Archives: poetry practice

September successes

I did it! I wrote a poem every day during the month of September!

You’ll notice I didn’t post a poem for each day; in fact, I stopped posting after September 10. This was another success in that it led directly to the above-mentioned success. By letting go of posting, I freed myself from the double tyrannies of time and quality. More than once I crawled into bed and realized I hadn’t written that day, so I took a few moments to scrawl something in the back of my crossword book. This worked surprisingly well, because I found myself revising when I later transcribed those notes into my writing journal.

I didn’t produce much of great merit, but I learned valuable things about process. Many end-of-the-day scribbles captured poems that had formed in mind earlier and might otherwise have been lost. And because I periodically comb through my writing journal for inspiration, some of those phrases or ideas might yield something better down the road.

All in all, it was a good experience and one I plan to leverage come November, when I’ll piggy-back on the energy of NaNoWriMo to propel my own writing.

Happy October!

A ghost leaf (that’s what I call them) from the neighbor’s sweetgum tree.

The one-third mark

We’re a third of the way through September and I’ve managed to compose a poem every day so far. Those short poems have done a good job of keeping my head in the game when I don’t have much time to write.

(Sep 9)

Willow is the emo child
of the Deciduous family,
bangs forever hanging
across her face.

(Sep 10)

This was inspired by an event in early April and a post at Formidable Woman Sanctuary: https://formidablewoman.org/2020/07/14/wardrobe-escapee-what-happened/

The pandemic in two small items of clothing

While walking on my street –
a street that goes nowhere
and leads to nothing, just circles
around the neighborhood
and back on itself – I saw
a pair of crew socks in the road
like they’d fallen off the roof
of a car or been dropped.

Separated, slumped, bedraggled,
abandoned – I felt as lost
as they appeared and as full
of unanswered questions.

It really is September…

Days 7 and 8, NaPoWriMo 2020

This is a derangement. ‘Nuff said.

Ox-eyed Does and a Pair of Morons
after John Ashbery

You is poem, the you beside down softly me set. Has poem the attitude
different or adopted, have there aren’t you then and level?
Your one eye doing into me, tease to only exist, you think. I more
than once played have been. Typewriters of chatter and steam

get to know you before, and ended open proof without days. August-long,
these greys of division. Thin as patterned rolls, dream a thing
outside, deeper, able to play. Consider I but said yes actually, we’ll play
into them a system, bringing things together. What is a level plain

that cannot, and yours be toward it? Because sad is poem, other: each miss
you miss it miss. You have, don’t you – but it has you fidget to pretend
or window a look. You taking it at look-level, planned variation
on language with a concerned poem, this.


This one speaks for itself.


Today I need a lot of help
writing. With other things
as well – lots of other things
— but today the writing has me
stymied  stumped  stupefied
stonewalled  stalled  stultified
flustered  filibustered  flummoxed
baffled  bewildered befuddled
bedeviled  blockaded  bamboozled
dizzy  dumbfounded  discombobulated
in other words,
I got nuthin’.

2020 National Poetry Month Poster-50

Days 5 and 6, NaPoWriMo 2020

The tricky thing about writing a poem every day is that you’re not able to devote the same amount of time each day to the task. This is all the more true during a pandemic.

When I Heard the Publish’d Poet
(after Walt Whitman)

When I heard the publish’d poet,
when the degrees and publication credits were listed in her bio,
when I saw the programs and credentials that proved her accomplishments,
when I listening heard the poet interviewed where she spoke with much authority,
how soon I felt weary and small,
till later in my room I pulled out my notebook,
in the mystic quiet of the night, and began to write,
my own voice alone without qualification.


On those days, you have to be able to let go of your expectations, especially of yourself. Imitation is both the sincerest form of flattery and a time-honored form of practice.

I read
(after Adrienne Rich)

because I am the last to leave the office
building, having emptied all the rubbish
bins and hoovered and mopped
the floors…because the customer is always
right and my break isn’t long enough
to leave the store…because the dryer
hasn’t finished so I can’t yet fold
towels and empty the washer and begin
the next load…because it’s a short
distance between stops…because the news
is never good, on television or in examination
rooms…because it has not been assigned…

because the necessary alphabet looms
thick…because I am short and life is too thirsty…
because you want to know what keeps me
reading…because I am torn and returned
and refused…because nothing is left
on this strip of ready land


2020 National Poetry Month Poster-50


I’ve not written in weeks nor posted in months, but the frenzy of summer is giving way to the winding down of autumn, thank goodness. This poem was inspired by a lovely post from Michele Bledsoe at The Secret Kingdom: https://secretkingdombook.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/42-dogs-and-the-art-of-repetition/

Imperfect analogy

an artist titles her painting “42 Dogs”
and I think about dogs like snowflakes

unique and beautiful, infinite
in variation: size, shape, color

and then I realize dogs are nothing
like snowflakes, which are more

or less uniform in size and color
and pile up by the millions

on the lawn and front walk, and blow
into drifts against the house

and I am so grateful
that dogs are warm and soft

eyed and that snowflakes are not
in the least bit like dogs



Volunteer ironweed (Vernonia sp.) that appeared in my yard

Day 2, NaPoWriMo 2019

This sprang from today’s 30/30 Poetry Facebook group prompt (up in the air) and a phone conversation with a friend.

Priorities on a breezy spring day

My friend’s pre-school grandson leaves
detailed lists of all the things he wants

for his birthday in voice messages
on her phone. Each recording begins

with him saying, “Beep!” because he knows
you leave your message after the beep

and he’s taking no chances. Today he gave
an exhaustive inventory of Pokemon

accessories, complete with color options
ranked by availability and preference, followed

by a coda request for a Charmander kite
that was so important it merited a separate

phone call and message all its own.


More found poetry from Carrot Ranch

Still catching up (with work, this time) and still finding inspiration at Carrot Ranch.


memory is not exact
but combined
with time
rather than being
recent brain activity

it is possible
even if it is not true
remembering creates fiction
a part told truthfully
our life story

identity is not researchable
through our actions, our parents, our name
labelled, repeated, assumed
selective stories keep
who we are over time

(from Irene Waters’ post at Carrot Ranch: https://carrotranch.com/2018/07/13/life-is-a-memoir-what-is-fiction/)

And here’s what’s blooming in the garden this week: Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Lord Baltimore’

Lord Baltimore1

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.

Back to poetry

leaf 10oct17I did it! I successfully completed the writing challenge I posed myself during the month of September, writing and posting a poem each day. Thank you for reading!

Knowing that I was registered for a poetry class to begin October 10, I took some time off to catch up on things (such as housework and bookkeeping) I had neglected during the challenge. It’s a good thing, because I wrote four poems during the first class meeting yesterday and have so many ideas for more that I don’t want to cook or clean or leave the house again, ever.

This is the best of yesterday’s drafting, after a poem by Jan Beatty (“My Father Teaches Me to Dream“) and prompted by a painting by Samantha Gee (“Portrait of a Kitchen“). I photographed the leaf while walking the dog.

My Mother Teaches Me to Sing

You want to know what blue is?
Blue is an empty vase on the shelf.
It’s a ribbon tied to a basket.
It’s a glass you put in the dishwasher,
then in the cupboard, then on the table,
then in the dishwasher again.
It’s a towel hanging from the door.
It’s a fire that traces the kitchen windows,
billowing in from the deep
blue night.