friday roundup: false starts, the political poem, and “How I Will Outwit Grief”

Did you know this is the go-kart racing flag for “false start?” Neither did I.

Reader, the Olympics are great and fun and all that but they’re killin’ me. Small people wanting to watch “just one more event”; a complicit father; late bedtimes; early mornings (as always); much wailing and gnashing of teeth come late afternoon. Rinse and repeat. Husband tells me they’re over this weekend, for which I am glad. Meanwhile, on to the roundup:

false starts  Speaking of the Olympics, I’ve been trying to have a little poetry olympics here at my desk this week in the form of a draft a day. Today was a day of false starts. Reading, writing, listing, drafting, getting stuck. Rinse and repeat. Several times. There is no draft today, despite trying all my best tricks and old-reliables. I used a prompt called “The Black Sheep” in which the prompt’s author asks us to write a poem about or from the voice of someone who has voluntarily left the family.” I wanted to write about Cassandra, the tragic figure from Greek mythology who could see the future, but was never believed. It just didn’t work — a draft never emerged. The day isn’t over yet, so who knows what might happen later. But for now, I cry uncle. Some days are like that.

the political poem  I find political poems very difficult to write. The issues in our public sphere seem so daunting, and I’m not sure I can say anything fresh or new about them. One of my po-friends shared this tip she learned from a Very Famous Poet regarding political poems. The VFP said that if you’re going to write a political poem, or a poem that inserts the private into the frame of the public, the reader expects the poem’s speaker to emerge transformed. It’s something I’ll keep in mind during my next failed attempt at a political poem :).

“How I Will Outwit Grief”  Go read this stunning poem by Donna Vorreyer. I love the imagined strategy for outwitting grief, the subsequent preservation of the beloved, the “days of / sweet-smelling nothingdark.” And then the poignant ending. If you are the writing type, you could borrow Donna’s title as your working title and tell the world how you’ll outwit grief. Maybe I should try that for Cassandra.

Have a wonderful Friday!

6 thoughts on “friday roundup: false starts, the political poem, and “How I Will Outwit Grief”

  1. Thank you for your kind words – this is a poem I love that has been searching for a home for a while. Albert Abonado’s The Bakery gives people a new poem each day with a featured poet every month. I think it’s a wonderful format, and his choices are diverse and wonderful.

    • You’re welcome. You were right to love this poem and I’m so glad it found a home. I’m also glad to know about The Bakery — hadn’t seen that site before. Happy writing!

  2. Pingback: little bit of crazy mixed in writing residency days 5-7 & S.O.S. week 9 update, or, daybreak in the house of breaks | the stanza

  3. Pingback: friday roundup: S.O.S. post mortem, more on political poems, and ‘someone should mark / the day’ | the stanza

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