Following the Poetic Muse

Gallery of Poems

It may be the last gasp of April, and therefore the end of Poetry Month, but I’ll be writing poems long after April has waved farewell to us all. I hope you, too, won’t be shackled by the rather arbitrary calendar. Still, it’s nice to have a continued and vibrant focus on poetry.

For the last three Sundays, I’ve been sharing out the poems that I have written this April, using (for the most part) the prompts at Global Poetry Writing Month/National Poetry Writing Month each morning before I do much else. You can read my first week here, the second week here, and the third week here.

You’re here at the fourth week of writing. I’ve been composing my poems over at Notegraphy, and my gallery is here. I’ve enjoyed using Notegraphy instead of my blog because it allowed me to keep the poetry writing separate from other writing, at least until I curate the poems, like now. There’s also the interesting design element of Notegraphy.

It hasn’t felt much of a burden to write 30 poems, one each day, but maybe that is because of my system of writing early in the day, fueled by morning coffee, and just going with the flow of whatever the prompt has sparked. I always say this when I do a bunch of writing, but I hope to someday go back and edit/revise the poems and pull them together in a more cohesive fashion. Someday. Maybe.

Here are some opening lines from this past week’s writing, with links to the full poem, if you are interested, from the week behind us.

I can always fit
inside the twisting bell
of the saxophone,
the tenor’s long shape
as dark as some cavern
of sound.

read full poem

 

Rabbits running wild
along the edges
of the book,
a sinkhole of words
opens up, forcing
a closer look.

read full poem

 

They’ll discover it
three feet down,
covered in rock
and dust, a little white
tail sticking up
from a rabbit hole.

read full poem

 

Bitter ashes;
That’s what we remember.
Bitter ashes on the tongue.
When we were young,
building fires
without abandon ..

read full poem

 

It’s coffee, not tea,
that fuels me;
Night’s disappeared.
Now, I can hear
the sounds of you

read full poem

 

Sand spills out,
time running through
my fingers, collecting
at my feet.

read full poem

 

Every day
I watch these same words
fall onto the digital page,
constellation stars dipping in
from above, dancing
along my fingertips.

read full poem

I hope you wrote, and that you write, too.

Peace (and poetry make the world shine),
Kevin

 

 

My Sunday Morning Cup of Weekly Poems


poetry flickr photo by Felixe shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

The world’s still asleep (mostly) and I am writing poems in the dark of the morning, fueled by some coffee. Every day, I have been writing some form of poetry suggested by the fine folks at Global Poetry Writing Month/National Poetry Writing Month, and each Sunday, I have been curating the poems from the week. So you can read Week One’s poems here and Week Two’s poems here, and now we are into Week Three.

I have been sharing the first lines of the poems here, and then giving a link to the full poem over in Notegraphy, which has been my primary writing space for poetry this April.

The first poem’s theme was invented words, and working them into poetic form. I love wordplay, so this poem flowed rather quickly for me that morning.

I am staring off into
spaceytime, reaching for
vaikie fallenwords, the black hole
of wondering.

read more

The second poem was to be written in the form of a letter. I took the approach of a father to child, with some creative license. While it is inspired by my own family, some of the facts might not quite be true. Such is the freedom of the poet, right?

I am writing, dear child,
in hopes you’ll remember
the dishes, the clothes,
your mother’s birthday
in November

read more

This poem had the theme of a myth, so I imagined some God or Goddess reaching down to knit the Network.

Giant hands
knit
small nodes
for
strong connections

read more

A prompt about childhood games as a point for inspiration brought me back to a game we used to play on pavement called Skully. One summer, that’s all we did, as I remember it.

It happened one lone summer —
consumed us like crazy —
kids on the street with chalk
and wax-filled bottle caps,
sliding our pieces along the ragged board
on rough pavement.

read more

An overheard conversation became the focal point of this poem, as I tried to leave what was being discussed unsaid, and instead, I tried to show the verbal dance these two were doing.

“Did you ask her?” he asks her,
juggling books by the lockers
between writing and science.
“No,” she tells him, eyes down,
watching his feet dance on the floor,
a nervous two-step.

read more

An environmental theme emerged on Earth Day, and although the form of the poem was one I did not know — a georgic — I sort of ignored that and kept my eye on the soil.

Flowers bloom,
beckoning;
My knees are now soggy with dew,
knotted with the pressure of
of this winter-weary Earth

read more

And finally, this morning, there was a call for something known as an elevenie – a sort of cinquain variation with 11 words and four lines — so I combined three verses together, on the topic of creating and living an invented persona in Networked Narratives.

Hiding
Veiled existence
Wearing another’s voice
I slip inside their skin,
Wandering

read more

And one more week or so of poems every day, and then … I will miss it, no doubt.

Peace (sounds like poems),
Kevin

Writing Before the Morning Begins

Half Awake from a Dream

I am an early morning writer, so all this month, as part of National Poetry Writing Month, I have been concentrating on using the prompts at the NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo site first thing (after walking the dog and brewing some coffee) to write a poem each day. I shared out the first week’s batch last weekend, and here is another round of poems. Given the nature of the quick writing, some are more refined and inspired than others.

Here are the first lines of the poems from the week (some have contextual elements for form and substance, as part of each day’s poetry prompt), and a link to read them over at Notegraphy, which is where I have been writing and hosting my poems this month, this year.

I’m awake
from a dream of
a poem …

more here

The camera dances in his hands;
the stories still unfolding ..

more here

The folded note in the cookie
promised good fortune …

more here

Perfect —
Another poem
about alliteration …

more here

13 Ways to Forget a Prompt

1. Don’t even look …

more here

Saxophonist John Coltrane
blew the world through his horn …

more here

I am writing, dear child,
in hopes you’ll remember

more here

I hope you’re getting to write some poems, too.

Peace (doesn’t have to rhyme),
Kevin

Five Voices in Search of a Poem: This is the Truth

This is the Truth in Soundtrap

Inspired by my friend, Sheri, and her Poem for Three Voices about a young writer that she, and I and Melvina recorded and shared last week, I wondered if I could expand that notion a bit and write a Poem for Five Voices, and get four other people from different geographic locations to use Soundtrap to record.

I did, and we did, and it sounds like this:

My aim in writing the poem was to offer up a critique of the media/news landscape, and try to discern some central point about the elusive nature of Truth. I am a former journalist, a writer of news, and an avid reader of news now. I am both disheartened by the declining State of Media, and heartened (in a very strange way) that Trump’s imperial presidency and Bannon-led attacks on Media have actually galvanized and strengthened the major news operations, and attracted readers.

The use of multiple voices in the poem is designed to show all of us, together, sorting out what is real and what is not, and what is spin and what is not, and calling out media and political leaders to account for the information flow. Yes, we all have a responsibility. That doesn’t mean we can’t do this together, and find a way to make the world a better place for all. THAT is the truth, from my perspective.

You can view my poem here and feel free to remix it, use it or ignore it. This screenshot is the first of two pages.

This is the Truth poem

Process Notes: We used the online site, Soundtrap, as a way to coordinate our voices. It would have been a whole long easier if we had been in the same room, same space, with poem in front of us. That wasn’t physically possible.

So, what you hear is some vocal dissonance, as our phrasing weaves in and out of each other. Recording a poem like this is complicated, we quickly found, and I edited audio tracks to fit as best as I could. We began with Melvina doing a master track, which we then worked off individually, and then I edited to make it sound like a whole.

Notice the different sounds of voices. Quality of microphones becomes a potentially technical hurdle, and I used compression and other effects to try to align them as best as I could. In the end, maybe that flattening didn’t matter. Maybe, in fact, the different sound qualities are part of the composition — showing different views through sound. I might be stretching here.

I want to warmly thank Sheri, Scott, Melvina and Terry for patiently following me on this collaborative adventure. We organized ourselves on Twitter, and then had our voices meet in Soundtrap. It was a grand adventure.

Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

Oh Poems, You Write Me

We’re into Day Nine of Global Poetry Writing Month/National Poetry Writing Month, and I have been very diligent each morning with my poetry writing. I’ve been using the prompts put up every day at the NaNoWriMo website, riffing off the suggestions. I have ten poems because I wrote the day-before-April poem, too. For the most part, I’ve been satisfied with the poetic results of my musings.

Here are the first lines to my first ten poems, and a link to my Notegraphy gallery where I am writing and curating the poems (and other writing) throughout April:

Twelve doors. Past; Present.
I stand on the precipice:
Mother Nature’s Clock

read more

 

His tail wags
when even the happy
has disappeared –
when the walk has gone on
too long, and the talk
has turned from whispers
to something gone wrong.

read more

 

There was a Wood
when I was a child
where we went
to escape our lives.

read more

 

There would always be Irish tea
for me, as she shuffled
around the cramped apartment,
filled with knick knacks.

read more

 

Add in:
One teaspoon of smoke-filled lights
Three cups of harmonic riffs at night
a hint of popular music songs

read more

 

The muse remains hidden,
playfully buried beneath notes,
breathing in tandem
with my pen.

read more

 

The eraser’s been bit and chewed,
the seat’s been shifted,
words scribbled on and off
and on again as the start
is as elusive as the end,
and the middle remains
a complete mystery.

read more

 

The folded note in the cookie
promised good fortune
and bad luck

read more

 

She dangled off the riff —
Minor chords
Major chords
Unexpected modulation —
all swirling around her,
their accompaniment, a blanket
meant for warmth.

read more

 

NINE LINES ABOUT
NOTHING

read more

I am going to my best to keep writing every day. How about you? Any poems brewing in you? If you want, you can join the rag-tag poetry group in this version of Diigo’s Paper (sort of like Google Docs) and toss some poems against the wall. We’ll see what sticks.

Why is April Poetry? A collaborative space

Peace (writes like the wind),
Kevin

Tinkering with Voices/Playing with Poems

Soundtrap Poetry Collab

The other day, my friend, Sheri, posted a blog piece that included a Poem for Three Voices about the struggle to start a piece of writing, from the viewpoint of a student writer.

I immediately thought: that poem should be recorded and heard, with three voices. Over the following days, Sheri recruited Melvina, and the three of us used Soundtrap, an online recording platform, to make a version of Sheri’s poem.

It was sort of a recording experiment, and I am now myself working on writing a Poem for Five Voices, with Sheri, Melvina and hopefully two others. Now that I know for certain that Soundtrap works well for this poetry collaboration (as I thought it might), it opens up some doors.

The difficulty with performing these multiple voice poems is the logistics, of leaving space in the tracks for other voices to fill. But Soundtrap at least solves one main and significant issue: we don’t have to be in the same room at the same time, and we don’t need to be sending audio files back and forth.

I’ve done these Poems for Multiple Voices in the classroom with students (last year, we did math poems), using Garageband and other recording platforms, and they really enjoyed the ways in which the voices come and go, and how words weave in and out of each other. It’s challenging to write and construct these poems, and they are challenging to read.

More to come in the days ahead …

Peace (like poems),
Kevin

PS — I once wrote this poem for my math colleague and I to read to the whole school over morning announcements. I still like it for the way it merges math and writing. We need to record it again, I think (our old version was at an old site that is now defunct).

TheWriter and the Mathematician- A Poem for 2 Voices by KevinHodgson on Scribd

#GloPoWriMo: Waiting on the Flowers

Day Before Poem

My friend, Sheri, was sharing about writing poems this month for Global Poetry Writing Month  — #GloPoWriMo — (also, still known as National Poetry Writing Month in some circles, I guess), and so I am tagging along with Sheri, as best as I can.

This is a poem from the day before April, and is known as a haibun, which combines haiku and prose poem together. I wrote it at Notegraphy, which is a design platform that I will likely be using this month on a regular basis.

Still waiting on the flowers ….

Peace (poems),
Kevin

Slice of Life (Day 27): Lifting Lines and Making Poems

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

I’ve been know to lift lines, to steal words from other people’s blog posts and write poems as comments, and leave the poem as a gift from a reader. I admit it. I am thief.

That’s what I was doing yesterday morning – lifting lines. I do it as an act of close reading, of paying attention, of remix. I do it to honor the writers, whom I hope won’t be offended when I wrangle a thought and remove it from context, in order to spin something new from their writing.  I do it, for myself, to write.

Yesterday’s line-lifted poems have now become today’s Slice. I hope you follow the links back to the original posts. Thank you to all the Slice of Life bloggers who didn’t know they were giving me paths to poems. Your thoughts became inadvertent inspiration for me as I rambled around the Slice of Life sharing.

(Note: see below for a podcast reading of the poems. The audio is part of an exploration of voice with another adventure altogether known as Networked Narratives.)

Slices aren’t always eaten,
they are nibbled,
chewed, discussed,
enjoyed, often with a side
of surprise, joy, and possibly
sadness and surely, compassion.
We train our microscope towards
a single small moment
in hopes it transforms into
a telescope of the larger human experience.
Go on, then.
Nibble away.

from http://www.teacherdance.org/2017/03/solc17-2631-slicing.html

You act out the poem,
as if you were dancing
inside the lines, as if
the iambic pentameter
was a rhythmic beat
for your feet, as if
the seats in the hall were all full
with an audience, instead
of just me, as I read, to you,
with your eyes closed,
watching the ghosts
of the past come alive
on the stage, too.

from http://tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com/2017/03/slice-26-0f-31-sol17-finally-ten.html

I hear the smile on your face,
a million soft melodies
of love, and as I tune myself
into harmony, we sit here, quiet,
the silence merely a resting point
between
the notes.

from — https://wheresthejoy.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/sisters/

She dug in her heels,
carved indentations in the dirt,
hands clenched on the rodeo rope
and no room for give,
while on the other side of the arena,
me, the bull, refused to be slack,
my horns pointed upward in exasperation
as she danced around me,
the crowd, holding its applause,
wondering how the standoff might end.

from — https://raisealithuman.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/let-me-count-the-reasons/

The real work lies in the weeks,
months and
years ahead;
It won’t be enough to stand
and watch,
to complain
and shout.
Armchair pundits can’t call the shots
on Monday morning.
Change happens between neighbors:
handshakes and discussions
on porches, shopping lines and
at mailboxes.
Change, happens, but slowly.

from — https://barbarasut.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/back-in-the-political-arena-today/

This slack-jawed teen,
stretched out with his headphones
and eyes closed,
ponders the world from above,
strapped into his seat, secure and safe,
never knowing that, for now,
the earth is forever in motion,
and not just spinning for him,
for gravity will yet pull him closer to us,
eventually, perhaps not without a fight,
even as his soundtrack plays to the audience
of one.

from — https://vanessaw2007.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/sounds-in-the-airplane/

Then came the retainer.
So I empty my pockets
and hand you my coins,
the last remains of a life’s fortune,
as you pull me in close,
and whisper a fortune’s worth
of words.

from https://schoolinspirations.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/metal-mouth-milestones-solc-26-of-31/

Here we are, living the writerly life,
building homes out of poems;
shacks, out of words;
fires, out of feelings.

Each day, every day,
we sharpen our thoughts,
pencil into the machine, the soft hum of gears
set in motion as we wander our imagination.

We live the writerly life,
for without these stories,
the walls would be barren,
and life, more lonely.

from http://couragedoesnotroar.blogspot.com/2017/03/day-26-first-rate-teachers-sol17.html?m=1

Finally, since we have been talking about Voice and Audio in the Networked Narratives course, I decided to record myself, reading the poems.  Nothing fancy here. Just me, reading.

Peace (in poems),
Kevin

#NetNarr: The Magical Alchemy of Uncovered Lines

Blackout Poem of a Folded Story

I will be hard-pressed to explain this (go here and read more if you are interested) but one of the Networked Narrative assignments this week is the result of a blackout poem exercise the folks in the real course did and tweeted out. We are asked to find three “lines” from those blackouts and create a “story spine” without the words — only images and sound.

Interesting … just so you know, I borrowed lines from Mia, Quanesha and Hailey, and then added one of mine. BUT, they used a common text (I think) and I used something else completely — I did my blackout poem from the Folded Story project.

NOTE: I may even be doing this assignment completely wrong  .. but what the heck … there ain’t no wrong out here in the land of open learning ….

Here goes .. my visual story as image pulled from invisible text borrowed from other’s poems that you can’t see …


Miracle flickr photo by kiki follettosa shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license


You lost me in your dreams series flickr photo by Nick Kenrick.. back from Incredible India shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license


<=unravel flickr photo by Yersinia shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license


Assembly I flickr photo by liquidnight shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Meta-Analysis: Well, finding the right keywords that captured the essence of the borrowed sentences was tricky, and also, I had a tough time thinking about which images in my search worked on its own, and which images worked as one piece the whole. I’m not convinced I accomplished what I wanted, although I’m not too terribly disappointed either.

Does this sequence of imagery even hint at a story? Maybe that’s why we are just creating the “spine” of the story here.  Does this soundtrack help set the stage? The mood? Is its suitably mysterious and creepy?

If you want to cheat, you can also see the Zeega I created in which I inserted the images, and the sound file, and the lines from the texts. But, hey, it’s up to you.

Peace (beyond the words),
Kevin

 

#NetNarr: Mapping the Field of Possibilities (a poem response)

Mapping Out a Field of Possibilities

Earlier today, I shared out an invitation to annotate a video by Leonardo Flores and the Networked Narratives folks who hung out with him. (You can still annotate the video). It helped that we have a two-hour winter weather delay this morning, so I immersed myself in the NetNarr experience. As I was thinking about how best to reflect on what I learned and heard, I wondered if (given Flores’ interest in digital poetry) I could use my own comments to create a poem about the theme of the Studio Visit, as I knew it, from afar.

I did create a poem. You can read it — Mapping Out a Field of Possibilities —  over at Notegraphy. What I think, for me is interesting, is that the discussion about the use of “twitter bots” to “scrape” text from tweets and create something new raises all sorts of questions about what is writing when algorithms are in place, and who owns the writing (and does that even matter on a digital canvas?).

Here, I made myself into a sort of “human bot,” scraping through my own annotations and musings (along with quotes from others in the session that I had pulled out into the margins) to make a poem. I am not a bot. I just played one here sometimes. So, would the poem be any different if I had been a programmed Twitter bot and had done the same thing? Such interesting things to wonder about, right?

Another point: I would have liked to have had more time to add other layers to the writing — to create audio linked on top of the words, perhaps, or maybe, shifting the poem’s stanzas into Zeega for a multimedia compositional experience or maybe layering links to the people whose words I, eh, remixed for the poem, an associative anchor to people from the poem. I might still do something.

As it is now, the poem is experientially flat, even as it is read on the screens. The poem is merely words on the “page.” I’m not suggesting that this kind of writing is not exciting or interesting or valuable (certainly, it is) but I continue to be curious about how to push writing into new directions.

How about you?

Peace (it’s a poem),
Kevin