PROMPT #358 – FREE

While watching the baseball game, I saw a promotion where you get a free taco if someone steals a base. What can you think of that’s free? We’re freeing up our muse and writing a “free” poem. It won’t cost you a thing.

MARIE’S FREE:





WALT’S FREE:

CANDY CANES ARE FREE

You stand in line
you’re looking fine
you haven’t had the chance to whine.

You can’t decide,
you want to hide
you’re shaking like a leaf inside.

You see me there,
you start to stare,
but this is more than you can bear.

Those canes of candy
they look dandy,
but you don’t have a nickel handy.

But soon there’s glee
for you can see
I’m giving them away for free.

You stop and pause,
but you come because
it’s me and I am Santa Claus.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

***

Tomorrow starts a new round of the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer. It is always an exercise of poetic endurance and indeed is a challenge. For those of you who plan on participating, good luck and stay the course.We look forward to reading where we can.

PUBLISHED? DO TELL, CAROLYN WILKER!

– What steps did you take to determine the length and style?

Since it was my first decent-sized compilation, I went through my published poems and decided which ones I’d like to use.

– How did you wade through your possibly thousands of poems?

I chose a theme and selected my poems that way. And that determined length. Since many of my poems are light-hearted, I chose that for a theme and used 70 poems, only three or four of which would see publication for the first time. If the poem didn’t fit the theme, it didn’t make it in the collection. And all the other initial publications were credited.

– What route did you take? Traditional? Indie? Self?

Self-publishing, though I did have some help with formatting. (I traded services with a publisher I’ve been working with for my other books.) I used the same press in our region that I had used for my family version of my first picture book. My artist friend, Deb Pryce, came up with the cover with collaboration. She’s amazing. We chose feathers to denote lightness for the cover art.

I wanted a less costly route so that I could sell the books more reasonably, given that I’m not well known and poetry, unfortunately, doesn’t make a person wealthy. But I do like to write it.

My book, Travelling Light, is available from me and hopefully soon I will have a store on my website. www.carolynwilker.ca

PROMPT #357 – FEATURED PRESENTATION

Halloween approaches and it conjures up associations with the horror films of Hollywood. There was “Attack of the Killer Tomatos,” “Frankenstein,” “The Exorcist.” Think of anything Hitchcock … “Psycho,” “The Birds,” “Vertigo.” Think of a title to use as the title of your poem and write it. Or make up your own Horror film title and be inspired by it … If you dare!

MARIE’S ATTEMPT:

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

Don’t like the night things that go bump,
or when bloodcurdling things make me jump.
But I do like to roar,
and since ’74,
I still do when I think of, “what hump?” 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S POEM:

FRANKENBEAN’S MONSTER

Make shift monsters come together nicely,
like grandma’s random recipes // bits of this,
handfuls of that. A brain from the guy down the lane.
Who needs a top hat and cane to dance?
Give a ghoul a whirl and he’ll surely prance.
Sometimes, even agile monsters tend to rip their pants.
They’ll even rip in their pants, if you must know.
And it goes to show, from generation
to regeneration, born-again monsters aren’t too mean
until you give them a belly full of beans.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2021

PROMPT #356 – LEFT OF CENTER, RIGHT?

Write one. A left poem, a center or middle poem or a right poem. Left Out to Dry. Stuck in the middle. Right Kind of Wrong. You know where to take it and make it sing.

MARIE’S POEM:

ALL I HAVE LEFT

To say I’m right-dominant’s right.
My left side is nowhere in sight.
It’s like it went missing.
I’m left reminiscing. 
I have nothing left.  It’s my plight.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S POEM:

PICKLED IN THE MIDDLE

Drinking to excess
is not considered a success
if you can still stand,
or still stand still.
The difference between
falling and staying erect,
is just failing at being erect.
In the middle you're suspended
until you're upended.
Then the drink's on you!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik 
Marie will be in the middle of nowhere this week as she and hubby Keith embark on their annual trek to their personal Mecca, the cabin in Hocking Hills. She may join us, internet connection permitting. Her escape is well deserved.

PROMPT #355 – HAVE CARD, WILL TRAVEL

Well, I will have hit the road to head up to the North country to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law and his family. Haven’t been up in over a year and a half. So the car will be loaded up and I’ll be traveling.

Think of a mode of transportation and write it into a poem. Planes, trains and automobiles. Snow shoes, roller blades. Covered wagon (if you’ve got one). Head to your destination and tell us about it poetically. Even a garden cart to the back yard is going somewhere. Give us a view!

MARIE’S MODE:

Remotely Interested in Travel

With suitcase in hand as she leaves,
the thought of it drives her to heaves.
Oh what joy it might bring
but it isn’t her thing,
so she now leaves it up to Rick Steves.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

WALT’S MOVE:

NORTH TO OTTAWA
Four-wheeling across the state,
the slate is clear. I am here
steering this starship, hip 
to the restrictions in place
to keep the world safe
from miniscule bacterium,
people staving I'm
with a smile hidden behind a mask.
The task not taken in 18 months.
Up to the Great White North
to spend Thanksgiving with
my daughter and her family.
Giving thanks for this gift!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

Published? Do tell, Barbara E. Young!

How I Built A Book (insert laugh track)

If you can create a poem, you can create a book of poems. Period.

I was looking for someone to republish a chapbook whose publisher had decided to retire right after putting my chap out. The first place I queried (they had published books for two people I know) replied [more or less] that yes they did republish, and they would be willing to read the chapbook, but did I have enough material for a book-length collection? They’d really prefer that.

I had done any number of gift booklets, samplers, and mock chapbooks, as well as two published chapbooks; and I certainly had poems. So: Sure.

Having a publisher willing to look at a manuscript—without paying some contest entry fee—was a massive piece of good luck, but the tradeoff was time. I did not have the luxury of months or even weeks to assemble, refine, and rewrite a target minimum of seventy-five poems. The chap had eighteen.

I tried to turn that into a single, unified “poem” of a book, and that was NOT working, when I noticed (duh) how many books of poems (research) were broken into sections, like chapters. Like chapbooks. hmmm. I had two chapbooks, both with extra, associated poems that hadn’t fit for space. That was the beginning.

It is easier to work with several smaller units than with one large one.

So I set aside the poems for those two sections and started in on a third, new one. And this is essentially my process for putting together a chapbook. Even if my memory were as good as it once was, I would have printed out almost everything resembling a usable poem. Waste paper. I have no guilt. Everything gets to be read again and again. Spelling, punctuation, lame words, better phrasing, etc.



First piles. (at this point there is no theme, no nothing)

Short poems and fragments (Enough for a section of their own? Punctuation?)
“Finished” poems
“Needs work.”
Potentially useful (a fuzzy category, but I can’t function without it)
No way, José (“Why did I print out a Christmas poem?”)

No Way—into a box
Shorts and Potentials—into open boxes


Second (and third, etc.) piles

Poems that MUST be in the collection
Other good poems
Favorites
This is interesting
Probably not
I don’t think so
No

The four “best” I laid out to begin and end the section, and I started looking for similarities. Tone, theme, sound, look. Don’t want any that are too similar—set one of them aside. Nothing jarringly different.

Eventually, every poem is like a line for a larger poem, and it is a matter of arranging them so that a reader can go from one poem to the next, not seamlessly, with a sense of rightness. Maybe a little surprise, because there are surprises within poems. I had to do some rewriting to make some poems fit.

And plenty of changing my mind about what constituted a good beginning/ending/middle. But the time came when I couldn’t take anything away or add even my favoritest favorite without damaging the integrity of the whole. Can’t explain that: it just happens.

Then back to the other two sets, repeat the above—adding some, taking some out, tinkering.

And finally back to the computer, and revised the individual poems’ files. Set up the compiled book both as .doc and pdf. Sent it to a couple of people, hoping they would catch any embarrassing mistakes. Tinkered some more.

Sent it to the publisher. From there, the pride-swallowing, comma-eating process.

If I were advising someone without that existing chapbook structure that simplified building Heirloom Language, I would suggest creating sections that serve the same function. Choose three or four, or five (if you have enough material) of the strongest pieces. Strong, because they will collect similar poems to them—magnets for light poems, or father poems, or poems with lots of trees, maybe something subtle like water flowing downhill in one poem and cars in another and in a third changing jobs. Let those be your anchors.

Barbara

Heirloom Language

Madville Publishing

Published? Do tell!

Good morning, everyone!

Have you published a book of poems? If so, may we pick your brain? If you are willing to share your process, we’d love to hear all about it. Here are some questions to get you rolling, but feel free to simply tell us anything you feel would be helpful for those who have never dipped a toe in the waters.

– What steps did you take to determine the length and style?

– How did you wade through your possibly thousands of poems?

– What route did you take? Traditional? Indie? Self?

If you would like to share your experience(s)/advice with us, please e-mail your submission to poeticbloomings@yahoo.com . We will gladly post your sage advice. If you wish to include the names of your published works and links to follow for purchases, you are welcome to do so.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

PROMPT #354 – EDWARD HOPPER

It seems the paintings and works of artist Edward Hopper are great fodder to inspire other artists in their endeavors. We as poets have come across this from time to time. Many an Ekphrastic poem has sprung from these offerings. Some show the desolation of the human condition, or the interaction of the same.

Today I offer three such works for your poetic interpretation:

“Room in New York”
by Edward Hopper
“Hotel By a Railroad”
by Edward Hopper
“Sunday”
by Edward Hopper

Each painting expresses something and it’s your job to relate what it says to you. Choose one and tell us what you see!

MARIE’S VISION:

Room in New York (An American Sentence)

Here she has a house, but longs to be there, even if in one small room. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

#seventeensyllables

WALT’S VIEW:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
The man had many hang ups,
and this one will have him hung over
all day. Another Sunday with nary 
a prayer on his lips, but plenty of
Jack Daniel’s on his breath.
He curses God for his lack of strength
in battling his demons, for they’ve
cost him his job and his family.
Responsibility was never his, 
and he wasn’t laying claim to this.
On any given Sunday you’ll find him
pissing his life away; he thinks
he’s keeping his demons at bay.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021