CLMOOC: A Poem, Reconsidered

Annotated SmallPoemI had this idea of going back to a poem that I wrote, rather quickly, for the theme of Memories for CLMOOC’s month of poetry, and think a bit deeper on why I wrote what I wrote. To be honest, the comment annotations are small — you can get a closer look here, if you want.

My hope was to uncover some of my intentions with the small poem, to surface some of my moves. I would not call this poem anything extraordinary or special or even one of my best poems this month, but there are elements of personal story and intentional rhyming, as well as regrets about the ending, that made this poem worth a second look. For me, anyway.

Read more about what we’re up to this month with CLMOOC’s Poetry Port.

Peace (dig in),
Kevin

CLMOOC: Gifting Poems to Friends

Greg Poem LinesI spent some time yesterday, writing poems for friends. They were unexpected, I should think — for me, who wrote them on a spur of moment as part of our work this month via CLMOOC, and for my friends, who were probably surprised by the poems. (Learn more about what we’re up to and how you can submit words and get a free poem in return)

First, above, is a small poem that is less me than Greg. I grabbed a few lines from a poem that Greg had posted yesterday on the daily theme of “simplicity,” and the only thing I added was a comma, after moments. In doing so, though, his lines became its own separate poem, a sort of koan.

Second, this poem is for Ron, whose work as an artist is always interesting to me. He makes picture books and does daily artwork and sketches, and is always up for another connected adventure.

CLMOOC Poem for Ron

Ron and I know each other through CLMOOC and DS106 and other adventures. His poem began in digital format, but then I wanted a more static version, too.

Finally, this poem is for Raymond.

Poem for Raymond CLMOOC

Our paths crossed years ago in CLMOOC, and I bought his small book of poems, a book that inspired the poem. We still interact now and then, and although I think our political views are quite different, I enjoy understanding Raymond’s perspective and reading his poetry.

Peace (gift it forward),
Kevin

CLMOOC: Poems from the Days Before

Each morning in February, I have been turning to the above calendar of prompts for poetry as part of a month-long CLMOOC connected writing project. (See more about what we’re up to here, and add a few words to a Poem Request form and get yourself a poem.)

Not every day’s poem is a keeper, although I do have a site where I write the poems every morning, and I post them over at Mastodon and on Twitter, this month. Here are five recent poems that I think are worth a second look.

Theme: Negotiate

A writer
always negotiates
the correct word
the right phrase
the perfect order
of story, set into motion,
though such terms
never fully placates
the mind, which demands
devotion to craft,
an unending ocean
of revision and draft

Theme: Kindness

Sometimes
it is a bit like
flying blind;
this being kind

Theme: Love

For, despite
the commercial
value of such an
over-sold,
red-hearted,
designated day
of purchase power,
remember, too,
that

love becomes us

Long after
the shelves clear,
we’ll still be
holding hands
and whispering
secrets together

Theme: Friendship

The bracelet snaps
my attention; she points
and explains that she’s
the purple, and her companion,
the pink, the two of them
twined forever on her wrist,
twisted forever together
with fingers, in friendship;
all while she’s reminding me
of this in her quiet voice,
as if I had forgotten, but
I had not

Theme:  Peace

Meet me where
the river releases
eddies, small clusters
of currents over
roots and rocks,
where we’ll race our
fingers over water
of mountain glacial melt
and time’s perpetual tears,
where we’ll glide our fingers
over the swirling surface,
until the tension becomes
calm; the circles, smooth;
the place where
we practice peace

I hope you find time to write some poems, too.

Peace (left all around us),
Kevin

Braiding a Poem by Breaking It Apart

Poem Braid fo Greg

I saw a post from my CLMOOC friend, Greg, about the writing of a poem for our month of writing poems. The poem is called Inertia of Art (Create) and in his reflection at his blog, he talks about his process of writing poetry — which is very different from mine. His process involves a lot of internal wrestling and frustration. Mine, just sort of flows. I can’t explain or understand it, most of the time. Often, I don’t even know what I have until I’m done (and it may be that what I have when I am done is badly-written poem).

As I was reading Greg’s reflection, and then his poem (somehow, I did this in revere), some of his phrases began to jump out at me, and I began a new poem – braided with the threads of his, so that his lines — now removed and isolated from his writing — began to inform my own new poem, braided within his. See the image above for how it turned out.

This morning, I thought about Greg’s regular recording of him, reading his poems in his voice, which he does for both accessibility of text and to connect with the poet’s voice. I decided that the poetic braid needed another dimension — audio  — his voice and mine, reading this new poem together.

I had to go deep into the Source Code of Greg’s blog to find his embedded audio file. I then downloaded it and spliced his words apart in Soundtrap (but any audio editor would have sufficed), then recorded my lines, in-between his. The result is a two-speaker poem, braided together.

Peace (in poems and partnerships),
Kevin

 

Three Gifted Poems for #CLMOOC

Wide Arcs of MadnessThrough the course of the day yesterday, I wrote three different poems as gifts, inspired by our month-long Poetry Port adventure in the CLMOOC community, where folks are writing poems to daily themes, composing words as gifts to others, and requesting poems be written for them. (learn more)

The first poem, above, was written as a gift for the collective students in the Networked Narratives class, which I dip in and out of as an open participant. I went through and read a bunch of blog posts, in which they were examining Langston Hughe’s poem of Let America Be America Again, and thinking of its message in the modern day. The short poem is a reflection of what I read, and what I was thinking as I was reading, and leaving a trail of comments across the blogs.

Poem for Karen Y

Next, my CLMOOC friend Karen Young, who has been traveling, wrote that she had written a poem for CLMOOC the day before, but it had somehow never got posted on her travels, and the poem was now lost in transit. The poem was a gift for her.

Finally, as preparation for an upcoming inquiry group with the National Writing Project called Grapple, with a focus on algorithms and learning, we were asked to do some pre-reading and some pre-viewing, and this video about having “blind faith” in neutral technology struck a nerve with me on the conflicted concepts of clear human bias in computer code, so I wrote this small poem for the facilitators of the inquiry, with the screenshot as reference point.

Meanwhile, I continue writing poems each day, using the CLMOOC calendar themes to inspire me.

Yesterday, the theme was Peace:

Meet me where
the river releases
eddies, small clusters
of currents over
roots and rocks,
where we’ll race our
fingers over water
of mountain glacial melt
and time’s perpetual tears,
where we’ll glide our fingers
over the swirling surface,
until the tension becomes
calm; the circles, smooth;
the place where
we practice peace

Today, the theme is Friendship:

The bracelet snaps
my attention; she points
and explains that she’s
the purple, and her companion,
the pink, the two of them
twined forever on her wrist,
twisted forever together
with fingers, in friendship;
all while she’s reminding me
of this in her quiet voice,
as if I had forgotten, but
I had not

Peace (sailing the waters),
Kevin

#CLMOOC: On Making a Poem of Play

I’ve been writing poems each morning for CLMOOC’s Poetry Port project — in which there are daily poetry themes as well as an invitation to request a free poem to be written (see more). Yesterday, Greg shared both a poem and then his “behind the scenes” of the writing of the poem.

I figured I’d follow Greg’s lead this morning. (The above video was a screencast of me, in the act of writing the poem, via an Etherpad, which keeps a time-slider version of the writing, so you can follow the writing of a piece from the first word, on. I always liked that feature in Etherpad variants.)

Mostly, during the CLMOOC project this month, I’ve been not looking ahead to the daily themes, even though there is a calendar. I like to write poems each morning in a burst of creativity, letting the theme spark the start of something.

This morning, before reading the theme (which was “play”), I was outside, walking the dog, and found myself in a stunned stop at the view of the full moon — known as the Snow Moon — in the sky. It was so beautiful, this orb of light, and its magic hung with me as I sat down with a mug of coffee and the call for a poem.

Here’s the poem:

The child still within me
shoots the hoop
drops the puck
spins the coin
catches the ball

as the adult in me
slows the pace
stares in awe
thinks on love
writes a poem

of winter’s brilliant Snow Moon,
a heavenly body sitting
above barren bone-fingered trees,
its silver light shouting out delight

in another otherwise
quiet morn

The first line, about being a child, imagining the moon as a ball or puck on the field of play came naturally, which then led to small lines about each element. I was seeking a rhythm to the phrasing: verb, article, noun; verb, article, noun. You can almost hear the dribbling of the basketball, the swishing of skates, the whacking of the baseball.

In the second stanza, I knew I wanted to repeat that rhythm, but this time, on the shift to the adult, seeing the moon, not as a something to be played with, but something to be inspired by. It’s still verb, article, noun, but the nouns now are not concrete objects, but feelings. Something more internal.

After setting up those two pieces as mirrors to each other, I wanted to shift the poem into the present, of the moon in the sky, and how its silver light was in contrast to the leafless winter trees, and the sense that the Snow Moon was shouting for attention, even as the dog and I were the only beings in movement, to notice (and the dog didn’t pay attention). The last two lines, dangling nearly on their own, was intentional — a way to settle the reader into the moment.

I did some recursive editing, too, shifting and changing words as I was writing, “playing” the poem in my head, thinking (but not too much) about flow, the way syllables create or distract from the movement of the poem. One sound can throw the whole cadence off track at times. I’m reading as I’m writing — sometimes out loud but often, inside my head, that writer’s voice that only the writer can hear as words hit the page.

The poem’s not perfect, by any stretch, but I think it captures the wonder of the morning, and what more could I ask of a piece of writing?

Peace (flows forever forward),
Kevin

 

CLMOOC Poetry: On the Matter of Collaboration

collaboration
collaboration flickr photo by mrmayo shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

(Note: this poem is for the CLMOOC February poetry writing. Today’s theme is collaboration. I had the first lines of this poem in my mind yesterday, and then later, I started a piece of music that I hope represents the idea of collaborative instrument voices, weaving together. The rest of the poem came from writing the song)

We are not
disparate parts

empty hooks
inside the heart;

The song, collides;
the map, it charts

the place I end is
the place you start

Peace (in together),
Kevin

#CLMOOC Poetry Port: Share Some Words/Get Some Poems

We’re setting sail on another excellent adventure with the CLMOOC collaborative, as we spend the month of February writing poems, gifting poems and sharing poems.

Inspired somewhat by both an article about a store-front location in England that distributes poems for mental health and the Typewriter Rodeo crew that types out poems on demand at public gatherings, we have tried to create an online version of these two ideas.

You can learn more about how to be inspired to write poems with our Word of the Day and how to submit a few words or ideas and let the team of Global Poets (I am one of those) take your submission, write you a poem and deliver it to you as a gift.

This is all experimental, so please do write with us in the form or submit ideas to us, and we’ll see which oceans we sail upon and which port we end up relaxing in, and which friends we shall toast together, sipping our poetry as the sun sets and rises.

Peace (sailing somewhere into metaphor),
Kevin

A Small Poem for MLK Day 2020

Make America Dream Again
Make America Dream Again flickr photo by Pictoscribe shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Voices, echo

Words crawl inside
the collective mind,
a world yet to be turned
from such madness

of race and
division

for how shall we come together
and truly begin to see each other –
not beyond skin and history,
but somewhere within it?

Some men rise from ash
and assassination —
women do, too —
these fragile bonds
of possibilities linger
in the imagination as

Voices, echo

Peace (and progress),
Kevin

MadLib-ification Remix-ification of Poet-ification

MadLibification

This is a response to Terry’s post about Madlib-ification. I decided to respond quite literally … creating an interactive Mad Lib (via Mad Takes), based on the poem he riffed off, which I riffed off … with apologies to James Wright … go on and play it .. make a remix poem …
Peace (fill in the blanks),
Kevin

Mad:)Takes - free online ad-Lib word game similar to Mad Libs™

MadLib-ification of a Poem

PART OF THE BODY
COLOR ADJECTIVE
COLOR ADJECTIVE
ACTION WORD
COLOR ADJECTIVE
BUILDING
TIME OF DAY
CHOOSE LEFT OR RIGHT
NAME OF TREES
ANIMAL SPECIES, PLURAL
COLOR
KIND OF BIRD