Saturday, March 31, 2012

APRIL! Let the poetry binge begin

 April is almost here and with it National Poetry Month. I must say, I get more than a little excited anticipating April. For the last few years the month has seen me on a poetry-writing binge. This year won't be much different, although I've given myself permission to take weekends off. Other Aprils I have discovered that the push to write something new every day leads, toward the end of the month, to burnout. So I rarely make my target of 30 new poems anyway. Thus my goal this year will be to write 21 new poems (one for each weekday of April). We'll see if that works.

Whether you're a poetry enthusiast or someone who enjoys just the odd nibble, you can celebrate National Poetry month too. Below are some suggestions for how:

1. Write some poetry

For writers there are lots of sites offering regular prompts.





  • Laura Purdie Salas - a weekly photo prompt with a challenge to write a poem of 15 words or less.


Margo Ruby - Wordgathering  - the weekly Friday post is a smorgasbord of  poetry-related links of interest.


Every day during April:

Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides

List of prompts:

2. Explore poetry blogs.

Some poetry blogs you might enjoy:

Interested in children's poetry? The poetic branch of the Kidlitosphere has a ton of things going on. Among them:
  • Gotta Book (Greg Pincus) is featuring 30 children's poets posting poems every day of April.
  • Jama's Alphabet Soup (Jama Rattigan) is serving up a poetry potluck with poems by a slew of visiting poets and giveaways for those who leave comments.

3. Get a poem  delivered to your in-box daily. 

Here are some sites to check out for that:
  • Your Daily Poem 
  • The Writer's Almanac: a daily poem along with the audio file of Garrison Keillor reading it 
  • Every Day Poems - from TS Poetry Press: For a modest 2.99/year, get a fresh poem delivered by email five days a week (eclectic, many poems by rising new poets,  always interesting.)

4. Attend a poetry reading

Check out the local media for poetry readings in your area. If you live near me (B.C.'s Fraser Valley) our MSA Poets Potpourri Society has a reading night with an open mic planned for April 16th (6:30-8:30 at the Clearbrook Library). New poets are always welcome. Also check the Poetry Around Town tab on our website for more poetry events in the area.

5. Read poems

Don't have any poetry around? Buy some. You don't even have to leave the house if you make your purchase an e-book. A couple of books I've enjoyed lately:
  • Twelve for the Record by Diane Lockward - luscious, fun, clever poems. Some of her most well known are included in this 12-poem collection.
  • Undone by Sue Goyette. Not an ebook and not new, but wonderful, sad poems. (I need to raid my own poetry bookshelf more often!)

6. Start a poetry blog

If till now you've been a closet poet, consider opening your own blog and joining in the vibrant community of poets on the internet.
Two sites from which you can set up a blog for free:

Let the feast begin!

"...wait on the wind,
catch a scent of salt,
call it our life.
- from "Our Valley" by Philip Levine

U.S. 2012 National Poetry Month poster design
Chin-Yee Lai

Download pdf of Canadian 2012 National Poetry Month poster here.
Download pdf of U.S. 2012 National Poetry Month poster here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Penny blues

Yesterday's budget gave the Canadian penny the pink slip (sniff, sniff).  Of course it will take a while before the penny disappears.  They will be phased out of circulation. However no more will be minted after this April, bringing an end to 104 years of pennydom.

I guess since it now costs 1.6¢ to make a penny it just makes sense (cents). After all don't they say, "If you look after the pennies, the nickels will look after themselves"? (And how can we expect the nickels to behave if we let the pennies get away with such daylight robbery?)

The end of pennies brings to mind some of the verses and rhymes with pennies in them. For example the one we'll be heartily singing next weekend:

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons.
One ha' penny, two ha' penny
Hot cross buns!

Or the one we sing at Christmas:

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do
If you haven't got a ha' penny, then God bless you!

Then there's poor Jenny:
See saw, Margery Daw,
Jenny shall have a new master;
She shall have but a penny a day
Because she can't work any faster.
Finally, this one seems to fit the spirit of the times perfectly, at least for some folks:

Jingle, jingle jack
A copper down a crack
Twenty men and all their wives
With sticks and picks and pocket knives
Digging for their very lives
To get the copper back.
- Leroy F. Jackson

This post is submitted to Poetry Friday, hosted this week at my juicy little universe.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Poetry's clout

Could poetry be a dangerous profession? That hardly seems possible in our culture, where a poet's clout is one step up from irrelevance.

That's not the case in China. In February the National Post ran the story of Chinese poet  Zhu Yufu and how publishing his poem "It's Time"  contributed to a seven-year prison sentence.

"Mr. Zhu was detained last year as part of a widespread crackdown on dissent. As evidence of the “subversion of power” charge, prosecutors cited the poem as well as messages he sent on the Internet..."
Read all of "This is the poem that got a Chinese activist seven years in jail"

::Thanks to Brayden Sawatzky for bringing this article to our attention at our last MSA PPS Blue Moon Reading.::