Normally, I try to have fun with the five days of poetry prompts with Open Write over at Ethical ELA but this week … somehow, I went serious on a few poems. That’s not a bad thing but I reached deep into the emotional well for two of the days and I wondered about the sharing of the words in other spaces.
But then I realized, the Open Write community of teacher/poets is warm, loving and giving, and I felt like it was a good place to share some of those ideas, even if I obscured much of the details beneath the blanket of verse (as poets do).
I was listening to two new tracks by Beyonce from her upcoming country-infused album and I couldn’t help but wonder at the cultural battles that will likely emerge from the country music scene as a result, and that sparked this poem.
My friend, Terry, wrote a poem entitled “Ideas Trapped By Words” and I borrowed a line and took it for a walk, into a new poem (as a sort of response).
His poem — about shredding paper and ideas as the mind wrestles with words — brought up similar for me something that comes from the act of writing a poem every single morning (which is what I do): there are ruts that one gets into with common topics, with form or formlessness, with dead ends that bring it all to a halt. Some days, I post something in the form of what someone might generously call “poetry” that belongs more naturally in the compost bin (but those are the poems, too, that sit in my mind for hours until I tighten them up with revision — so maybe my head is the compost bin?)
Anyway, here is my poem:
I wish more of my words
could become compost –
for when I’m fed up
with nothing to say
but still, in ink
and idea, saying it –
Just imagine the weeds
on the lawn, droopy at dawn
but strengthening by day,
as if discarded verse
took something worse,
and transformed it into
This poem originated from an inquiry research article by Wendy T and friends, which they presented at a conference. The inquiry had to do with using GenAI for playful explorations. (see research article – it’s worth your time for the way they reflected on how GenAI might be useful and not for making art).
I popped their article into ChatPDF this morning, and chatted with the GenAI about the piece about human agency, making art and GenAI, and ended with a request for phrases and terms that it could find that I could use in a poem on the theme of the article. (you can do the same, with this link.)
I then took those terms (there were about 20 or so) and whittled them into a poem, adding AI artwork from Adobe Firefly.
I joined in for this month’s Open Write at Ethical ELA (although I came a day late and stayed a day longer with my poetry writing). It was another interesting round of poetry prompts.
The open above is in the form of a Naani (Indian) poem, and a form I was not familiar with. It’s sort of like a Haiku in terms of character limitations, but a bit more open in structure. I wrote about waiting for the call on a wintry day (which came minutes after I finished writing the poem).
This next poem was prompted to rethink a person in your orbit. I had a student in mind.
A “why?” poem had me pondering why I write songs.
The prompt I missed and then returned to suggests using fictional characters from a book, put into some recent situation or technology theme. I used the main characters from Jake Burt’s The Right Hook Of Devin Velma, which we are reading in class, and it already has a social media theme to it.
And this was another school-related poem, retold of an incident that a colleague shared.
I look forward to next month’s five days of Open Write.
I revisited this poem last year with an art adventure with Simon, and now with Sarah and others thinking of launching a Rhizomatic Learning for 2024, I went back, and did another version. Why? The poem captures for me a moment in Rhizo14 that anchors me in that learning time, and makes me wonder at what we can do now, ten years later.
Peace (Digging Deep),
PS — hat nod to Dave Cormier’s long tail in helping many of us to learn in open spaces … or is it his long tale?