mini-roundup: to yield, the map of a poem, and “Saw You There”

purple rain, purple rain…..

Reader, the children woke early: 6:10. Goodbye to one hour of writing time, hello to 30 minutes. I, therefore, yield to the two gentlemen from the bunk beds and the lady with the soft, pink blankie. I, therefore, also yield to their request to watch cartoons so I can write this post. Please forgive me if it’s shorter and less interesting than usual.

to yield  Speaking of yielding, I love words. The word ‘yield’ is so satisfying to say, to hear. It means 1. to produce or provide (a natural, agricultural, or industrial product). > produce or deliver (as a result of gain). > generate (a specified financial return). 2. give way to demands or pressure; submit. > relinquish possession of. > concede (a point of dispute). It comes from Old English g(i)eldan, ‘pay, repay.’ Of course, I’m talking #2 here this morning. Give way to. I’m not always so good at yielding (unless I’m driving). Sometimes I think if I push hard enough against constraints, I can push past them. This might be true for some types of constraints, but there are those that we must yield to. There’s no pushing against three children awake at 6:10 a.m. (Omg, the cartoon is already over! how did this happen?).

the map of a poem  Have you ever made a map of a poem? I do it all the time, writing in the margins something like:

directions given, then followed

a thought from poem’s speaker



the meaning of something

a memory


5 tercets

Making a map of a poem does two things for me. First, it helps me understand how the poem is working. Second, it gives me an entry into new work patterned after another poem. Come to think of it, it does a third thing, too. Sometimes I write a map of a poem in my notebook, then leave my notebook open on my desk. Throughout the day (or week), I stop by and write just one piece of the map. It’s a way of yielding to reality and still finding a way to write. It’s a way of stealing time. If you’re pressed for writing time, give it a try.

Saw You There  Many of you have probably already seen this poem, since it came out on Poem-a-Day yesterday. But I was really wowed by it, so wanted to pass it on. I love how it begins with incorrect usage; I have never seen that in a poem before. I love the random bit of not-quite-dialogue: “Carrie says…” I love the wild and wide-ranging descriptions. I love that this poem is so completely modern, referencing both Redboxes (those movie things in grocery stores that I have never used) and craigslist (the “missed connections” section where people sometimes try to find someone they saw out and about, e.g., “You were the girl in the raspberry beret. I was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”) Wait a minute, how did TAFKP get into this post? Never mind. I yield. Anyway, here’s the poem.

Have a wonderful weekend!

4 thoughts on “mini-roundup: to yield, the map of a poem, and “Saw You There”

  1. Molly,
    Poem-mapping is an intriguing idea. Sort of an analysis that provides a frame for a poem? To be honest, I’ve never read, or written, a poem in this sort of studied manner. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • You’re welcome. In addition to being a possible gateway into new work, I’ve often found the poem map is a helpful way to figure out how a poem (the one you just read) is working. I learned this trick from my former teacher, Deborah Keenan, who is a fabulous poet and person in St. Paul, MN.

  2. Pingback: never put all your cookies out on the table: a lesson on limits | the stanza

  3. Pingback: some notes on process: the reading notebook | the stanza

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