Writing Poems in the #NetNarr Network

I’ve been trying to make sure I curate and collect some of the poems I have been writing each day for the Daily Arganee in the Networked Narratives space. I worry about poems getting lost. My intention with these particular poems with this particular project is to come to the prompt at a slant, so the poem may not always match up with the prompt. Instead, they are inspired by the prompts.

Peace (poetics),

Wandering the Map with Eyes Closed, Ears Open

My friend, Wendy, sent me a map from Australia. It is part of the CLMOOC Postcard Exchange, and last month, we were working on mapping as a theme in CLMOOC. Wendy’s map is a Soundscape — the drawn map connects to a playlist on Soundcloud that connects back to the map itself, all with an invitation from her to make a path on the map.


I was intrigued and wondered how best to honor her invitation. I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and let my imagination wander around her soundscape. Her mix was a collection of her own recording, and then chosen songs from within Soundcloud.


I realized that the listening was giving me a way into her map, which was a sort of story. So I decided to jot down some ideas as I listened, and then found a poem emerging, which later became a sort of free-verse rap of sorts, with stanzas connected to different points on her map that connected to different music in her soundscape.


I decided she probably needed to “hear” my poem response, and so did a version (listen above) and shared it out, hopeful that Wendy knows her map has kept me traveling forward. The words in parentheses connect to her tracks and her points on the map.

A Snail’s Pace: Soundscape Response

I am here
inside the sounds
of this map
that a friend
has drawn true,
a snail’s wandering,
slow, ambling motion
into the unknown blue —
this space is here
between me
and you —
I keep my pen
in its place…

(Sea Turtle)
… where echoes
bloom inside
the clicketyclack
of turtle shells,
the railroad track,
the path, it yells,
as it beckons me
forward …

… the sky’s filled with
fallen stars, of birds
from afar, their wings set
to the beat of
forever blue, forever
this line follows
magnetic north, true

… my feet are in motion,
dancing among the fallen
trees of
the forest,
all hallucination
and emotion,
all appreciation
and devotion,
for gravity has me
turned around,
upside down,
off the ground,
I’m always almost
there …

(North East)
… I hear the noise,
of the Northeast arrow,
the corridor calling my
name, I’m game
for the adventure,
I follow the sparrow …

(South East)
… of the Southeast
flow, something goes
in the direction of justice,
words folding
my heart into
bass lines and mad
rhymes and
a brave face
against these troubling times …

(South West)
… I am disappearing again
into the fingers
of the keyboard, the V
of the geese of the sky
of the distant shore,
where the poems
always flowing …

(North West)
… I’m going,
I’m still going,
you can’t stop me,
everyone is always knowing
this map is more
than the snail’s pace,
it’s the way we play to create
the world as a safe space and
you’ve drawn me out
with love
and peace
and filled us
with your grace.

Peace (off the map),

Slice of Life: The Unexpected Poem

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

You may not believe me on this but it’s true. I was at our local library, and I often kill time there by looking at the rack of “recently returned” books to see what other people are reading. Sort of a like a literary voyuer. I was scanning the far side of the rack when I saw a small book of poetry and art about the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, which is where I live.

I sat down, flipped through the pages, perusing some of the writing and enjoying the art of where I live when I landed on page 82. And I saw my own name and one of my poems. And that’s when I remembered — in one of those odd “oh yeah” moments — submitting a poem to a local anthology about ten years ago. Publication took time, and I guess I sort of forgot all about it. This book was published nearly four years ago, I see.

Ghost Train poem in Anthology

But there I was, a poet in the collection. Of course, I checked out the book from the library, and showed my family the poem with a mysterious ‘turn to page 82.’ (My middle son then flipped to the bios, and saw his own name referenced, which gave him some excitement). The piece is all about the train tracks that have been transformed into bike and hiking trails in our neighborhood, and the ghosts of the past that ride with the present.

Interesting, right? Serendipity. Or something.

Peace (you never know),

On the Cartographer’s Map (A Digital Poem)

We’re diving into maps and mapping in CLMOOC this month for a Pop-Up Make Cycle, and I was remembering a poem I had written about mapping. I had to dig around for it, and then read my own reflections that I had written the poem after taking care of my son who was sick with fever, and watching him push and pull at his blankets. The blanket was a map, I had imagined, and this poem came from there. To be honest, I now have trouble connecting the poem to that memory. But I think the poem stands on its own, particularly in this digital format, with images and text and music.

Peace (beyond the lines),

A Poem Emerges from Collaboration

Emergent Poem Collaboration

One of my participatory ideas from my presentation last week on “Emergence: Expecting the Unexpected” for the 4T Virtual Conference on Digital Writing was to invite those in the presentation to write an acrostic poem with me. Over the course of a few days, I invited others, too, and the result is pretty nifty. I used an open source writing space called Board.Net (built off elements of the old Etherpad), and used the timelapse element to capture the poem being written.

Peace (in poetry),

PS — Terry Elliott is also using Board as an invitation to play with a poem.

Transmitting A Small Poem

In another media space (Mastodon), I have been writing “small poems” most days, little wanderings of tiny verse. Yesterday, this one — called Transmitting — stuck with me, so I decided to walk it out of that social media space and remake it as a digital poem with Lumen5.

This is the original (I have never tried the embed of Mastodon):

Meanwhile, my friend, Terry, shared with me two remixed of a small story I had written in that same space. The story was about watching a student overcome her fears and take on a high ropes course.

Terry re-interpreted the story as a video poem called Falling Up …

and then as a sound-ful Haiku Deck.

Falling Up – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Thanks, Terry.

Peace (in the mix),

Animating Text for Kinetic Poetry

I’ve long been fascinated by Kinetic Text or Kinetic Typography (I’m never quite sure what to call it) in which words and/or letters of words are animated. In the Connected Learning MOOC (CLMOOC) this week, we are exploring animation and GIFs, so animated text has come to mind for me.

You can read about my explorations a bit here, at the new National Writing Project/Educator Innovator site The Current (formerly Digital Is) and in there are some of my reflections on creating the following poem with Powerpoint and its animation features that are built within. (Note: the resource is a few years old now and not every link to resource might be working). You basically have to use a single slide, and make every word you want to animate a different “object” so you can move it independently from the rest.

A Warning: An Illuminated Poem from Mr. Hodgson on Vimeo.

And there is one, done in similar fashion in Keynote as part of another exploration of technology and poetry:

And last year, during CLMOOC, we kept an open document as a slow chat, and I took the comments in the margins to make this poem in Keynote:

Lately, I have been using an app that Terry Elliott showed me called Legend, which allows for short textural animations.

You can’t get as detailed as some of the above with individual words, so you lose some of the emphasis. But I like the app for what it is and how the limited text and features forces you to focus on the words.

By the way, in Flickr, the way you host and share out animated GIFS (which is not immediately obvious because the site seems to flatten the animated gifs) is to upload your file and then go into the Download/View All Sizes button, and find the “original” and that location will allow you to right-click and grab the link of the animated GIF (that might be another lesson learned from Terry).

Peace (moves in strange ways),

Digitally Interpreting Wendell Berry and Billy Collins

Thanks to posts at the always wonderfully illuminating Brain Pickings the other day, I read and enjoyed (again) a poem by Billy Collins about the art of writing and then discovered a Wendell Berry poem about writing poetry. (I then donated a small amount to support Brain Pickings, because if Maria inspires me, as she does, I should support her, right?)

I decided to close read the poems with the new Lumen5 tool,  which creates interesting digital pieces from found text on the web, choosing poetic lines from the larger poem (neither of my versions is the entire poem) and revamping them as a sort of digital story. I like the way each piece came out, and how I had to adapt the imagery of the poem to the imagery of the, well, images I chose to go with phrases of the poem.

Was I writing? Is this writing? Did the ants follow me home?

Peace (and advice),