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JC Sulzenko’s poem “Sleep, hiding” appears in PANDEMIC POEMS from Public Poetry

JC’s memory of a dream prompted her to write “Sleep, hiding” which is rooted in the experience of the first year of the pandemic. She is delighted that Public Poetry chose to include her work in PANDEMIC POEMS, the new anthology, which now available.

Here’s the link to how to purchase this collection:

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1087992478/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?smid=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB&psc=1

Public Poetry will host an online event featuring readings from the anthology on July 7, 2022. Watch this space for further details.

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BRICOLAGE stays a finalist: JC Sulzenko congratulates winners of the CAA’s Fred Kerner Book Award

JC congratulated Catherine Graham (winner) and and Susan Olding (Honourable Mention) who took home top awards in the Canadian Author Association’s (CAA) Fred Kerner Book Award Contest.

She feels honoured to have had her collection of centos, BRICOLAGE, among five finalists for this national prize. Aeolus House published BRICOLAGE in 2021 under her pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss.

Here’s a link to the June 18 announcement from the CAA :
https://canadianauthors.org/national/fred-kerner-book-awards-2022-winner-and-shortlist/

The judges’ wrote about BRICOLAGE in this way:

“A paean to the intoxicating power of not only the written word, but also of “borrowed” words, Bricolage is a singular triumph of centos—new poems created from other poets’ verse. Written over the course of a decade, these affecting, absorbing homages are a double-delight: first as cerebral, many-layered musings on both the fragility and resiliency of the human condition astride space and time, and second as a chance to honour the brilliance of the original works.”

In thanking the judges for placing BRICOLAGE on the short list, JC welcomed their generous comments about the poems in this gathering of centos. “BRICOLAGE remains in very fine company on the shortlist.” JC also thanked the CAA for the way in which the organization nourishes its members.

The Fred Kerner Book Award is awarded annually to a Canadian Author Association member who has the best overall book published in the previous calendar year–whether fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Fred Kerner was a devoted and long-time CAA member, an author, journalist, editor, teacher, and mentor.

Copies of BRICOLAGE can be obtained from bricolage.weiss@gmail.com, Books & Company (Picton, Ontario), and Octopus Books (Ottawa).

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Poetry Super Highway Issue for Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 28, features JC’s poem, “Panorama”

Poetry Super Highway Editor and Publisher Rick Lupert released the 24th annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue for Thursday, April 28.

JC is honoured to have her poem “Panorama” appear in the issue which features the work of 104 poets from around the world. “Panorama” first appeared in the Canadian Jewish News and then in JC’s debut poetry collection, SOUTH SHORE SUITE…POEMS from Point Petre Publishing in 2017.

Here is the link to access this special issue on the Poetry Super Highway site: https://www.poetrysuperhighway.com/psh/24th-annual-yom-hashoah-holocaust-remembrance-day-poetry-issue/

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Great event April 25 featuring Aeolus House authors on the themes of intimacy and hope

Bricolage-front cover
Publisher Allan Briesmaster of Aeolus House welcomed a great audience to hear eight authors read from their recent books of poetry. JC, reading as A. Garnett Weiss, the pseudonym she uses for centos and other found poetry, chose 4 poems from BRICOLAGE and unveiled 3 centos written since the collection came out last summer. Many people stayed for the lively question-and-answer session which ended the evening.

“It was both an honour and a privilege for me to participate in this National Poetry Month celebration of fine poetry. I am grateful to Allan and to the League of Canadian Poets for making the event possible. I was delighted with how many of my friends and colleagues were able to attend. Great to ‘see’ them there.”

Signed copies of BRICOLAGE at $18 each are available from: bricolage.weiss@gmail.com, and from Octopus Books in Ottawa, octopusbooks.ca and Books and Company in Picton, www.pictonbookstore.com

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Centos for the 21st century –lose yourself in BRICOLAGE

On October 15, JC and colleague Blaine Marchand gave a by-invitation, in-person reading from their new poetry collections for friends under the canopy at the most hospitable winery in Prince Edward County, Half Moon Bay Winery.

This event followed Aeolus House’s virtual launch of JC’s book of centos, BRICOLAGE, and Blaine’s BECOMING HISTORY on Thursday, September 23 before some 100 viewers.

“It’s a real pleasure to read aloud in front of people whose reactions are immediate and true rather than confined to the small screen,” JC observed.

On each occasion, JC read more than a dozen poems, including one cento that reuses lines from various poems in BRICOLAGE in memoriam the child victims of residential schools. “I didn’t know what to do” will remain unpublished as a one-time only cento of centos,” JC stated.

BRICOLAGE comes out under JC’s pseudonym, A. Garnett Weiss, adopted to give her distance from her lyric or narrative work.

JC admitted that gathering her centos into a volume proved challenging but also brought joy. She thanked poets Olive Senior, Keith Garebian and Gregory Betts for providing the fine comments which appear on the book’s back cover. She also acknowledged how grateful she is to fine artist Diana Gubbay for allowing her stunning “Cathedral Forest” collage to grace the book’s front cover. Here’s a link to Ms. Gubbay’s website: https://www.dianagubbay.com

“I thank Allan Briesmaster for publishing BRICOLAGE. It was an honour to share the programs with Blaine Marchand.”

To order BRICOLAGE for $18 plus shipping and handling, please email bricolage.weiss@gmail.com.

Copies of the book also can be purchased from Books & Company in Picton, Ontario, or from Octopus Books in Ottawa, Ontario .

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Impromptu poetry morphs into BESPOKE POETRY or POETRY To-GO– JC Sulzenko writes poems on commission

“I just can’t resist the challenge: writing to a subject not of my choosing, suggested by someone whom I didn’t know beforehand, for the most part, to mark a birthday, an anniversary, a special event or person, or in memoriam,” JC admits. “I’ve now launched “BESPOKE POETRY” to give me the chance to create new poems this way.”

JC began her love affair with poetry written on demand many summers ago at what was then known as “Art in the park,” a showcase for artists, crafts people and assorted others in her neighbourhood.

Wearing a lot of sunscreen and with paper pad and pen, she set up a table and offered to write poems for visitors at $2.50 each, the proceeds of which went to a charitable organization. She cannot remember to which one the modest take went that first year.

She attached certain caveats to the process: payment upfront; she held the copyright to the poem; no one could dispute what she had written; she reserved the right to refuse to write on a subject with which she was not comfortable.

Those who dared to test her skills were interviewed briefly about the subject they had chosen, then sent away to wander among the artisans. When they returned, they picked up the poem in a neat scroll. More often than not, they unravelled the poem and read it on the spot. And commented. Almost all very pleased with the result.

Though not a big fundraiser, JC found the experience exhilarating. “I used a number of the poems written at that festival in “Fat poems Tall poems Long poems Small,” my ekphrastic book of poems for families and children to which Ottawa artists contributed interpretative illustrations.” Several other poems found their way into chapbooks.

For a couple of years, JC returned to the venue, adding a tent and chairs to facilitate the interviews and for the sake of privacy. Each year, the price tag went up by a bit. The final year of her participation, the funds raised were donated to a local hospital.

Then she stopped, overtaken by other writing projects including “Boot Crazy” and later by “What My Grandma Means to Say,” her book and play about Alzheimer’s disease.

Now she has taken up poetry on commission again with enthusiasm. The process begins with agreement on a base price for the poem, which can take the form of free verse or rhyme. The ‘buyer’ pays JC upfront. Then, there’s an interview which can take as little as 10 minutes over the phone or up to an hour face-to-face, where that’s convenient to the parties.

JC considers carefully what she has learned about the subject and writes the poem within the timeframe agreed to in the discussions. The length of the poem can vary depending the subject matter. Once she’s satisfied, she shares the poem and asks for comments as to accuracy only. If there are any factual inaccuracies, she corrects them and then provides a final text.

She asks that the poem not be published without her prior permission and then only with clear acknowledgment as to her authorship.

“I have written about a granddaughter’s graduation from high school on her birthday, the death of a child, a dog who dreams. It’s such an adventure, never knowing where a new poem will begin or to where it will take me.”

 

 

 

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A. Garnett Weiss featured in Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology

For kids of many generations, Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene hooked them on reading. Whenever a new book came out, the local bookstore (and there were several independent! bookstores in my neighbourhood!) would sell out very quickly, as young readers couldn’t wait to follow their favourite sleuth as she unravelled threads of the next puzzle.

Garnett is pleased that Silver Birch Press of California chose her erasure poem “With original mystery” for the anthology, published on October 1. This poem extracts words from titles of Nancy Drew books in the order they appeared on the the page preceding the inside title page of “The Hidden Staircase,” published in 1930 and reprinted in 1995. The poem and the page showing the erasures both appear in the collection.

Copies of the anthology will be available through the publisher and from Amazon.com. The publisher’s price per volume is $15. Here’s the link to Silver Birch Press’s release:

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/new-release-nancy-drew-anthology/

Garnett’s second poem arising from Nancy Drew sources has been posted under the A. Garnett Weiss tab. “Siren” uses non-contiguous phrases, taken unaltered from”Nancy Drew: The Secret of Mirror Bay,” published in 1972.

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“What My Grandma Means to Say” — lynchpin for the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island’s outreach program in PEI Elementary Schools

JC is thrilled that the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island (ASPEI) chose to anchor its 2016-2017 education program in schools with “What My Grandma Means to Say,” JC’s play and storybook for children and families about Alzheimer’s disease.

With the province’s Department of Education and input from JC, ASPEI developed a resource kit for teachers which puts a copy of the book, plus JC’s Discussion Guide, into every elementary school in the Province. Here’s a link to the CBC’s report:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-alzheimer-students-education-book-1.3773649

“As I wrote in my op. ed. piece published by papers across Canada (go to the Archive table to read the article), I feel it’s essential for kids to be part of the discussion when Alzheimer’s affects someone they know and about whom they care. Understanding what they can and cannot hope for is one way to get at the fears this disease raises,” JC believes.

A number of Alzheimer Societies in Ontario incorporated “What My Grandma Means to Say” into their programming. With the new program launched on September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day, PEI’s Alzheimer Society is the first to take “What My Grandma Means to Say” province-wide.

“I look very forward to whatever feedback comes my way from the use of this story and play in schools. I know that having an open and safe environment to talk about Alzheimer’s can really build awareness and dispel myths, without sugarcoating what people living with the disease face.”

 

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Globe and Mail prints JC’s letter to the Editor: “Dead Birds Cannot Sing,” 17/09/2106

JC responded to the Partners in Flight report in the Globe on the large decline in bird populations with a scathing indictment of governments that site industrial wind turbines in environmentally sensitive areas on bird migration routes and in habitats of endangered species, such as the Blandings turtle. The Editor included a verse from “Spectacle,” for which is she is grateful. The verses first appeared on this site. Here it is:

Dead birds cannot sing,

their melodies lost to winds

that rouse high towers

to our great hades of steel

that churn songs and soft feathers.

Here’s the link to the edition:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/letters/sept-17-whats-policy-got-to-do-with-the-us-election-plus-other-letters-to-the-editor/article31930945/

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Next Bookends Review

Go to Bookends to read JC’s review of Plum Johnson’s 2015 memoire, “They Left Us Everything,” which won the Charles Taylor 2015 Prize for Non-fiction. A review and rating with reservations.

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New Bookends Review: The County Murders J.D. Carpenter, 2016

Again, it gives JC a kick to keep her reviews within the same number of words as twitter allows characters per tweet. Focuses the mind. Adds discipline. Makes her not yak on and on with thoughts about a book.

Go to Bookends to read JC’s review of J.D. Carpenter’s 2016 mystery, “The County Murders.” She gave it 8/10!

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Bookends Review: “Little Bee” Chris Cleave, 2008

Go to “Bookends” to read JC Sulzenko’s mini-review of Chris Cleave’s 2008 novel, “Little Bee.” Why does she give this best-seller only a 7/10 rating? See for yourself.

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New Bookends Review: A God in Ruins Kate Atkinson, 2015

Go to bookends to read JC’s mini review of  A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. Her rating?                                  6.5/10

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Brick Books Celebration of Canadian Poetry Series features JC’s introduction of A. Garnett Weiss who celebrates Al Purdy and Friends

The day before Canada Day, Brick Book’s website featured JC’s article on A. Garnett Weiss’s use of the cento form to celebrate the writing of poets such as Al Purdy, Lorna Crozier, E. J Pratt, Monty Read, Molly Peacock and Leonard Cohen.

Here’s the link to the article:  http://www.brickbooks.ca/category/news/celebrate-canadian-poetry/

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New Bookends Review: The Education of Augie Merasty, A residential school memoire

Go to Bookends to read JC’s latest review: 7/10 for Mr. Merasty; 2/10 for his ‘editor,’ David Carpenter.

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Day 21 prompt: Fairy tale skew

The April 21 prompt from NaPoWriMo.net appealed more than what was on offer at The Found Poetry Review, which has suggested a number of prompts that would require a week’s efforts. Here’s the prompt: “Write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth.”

Of course, always blame the woman
with hair growing out of her mole,
which is as old as I am, which is…
pointless for me to quantify. I’m forever.

Can’t help it that I’m always dressed in rags.
When you’ve lived as long as I have
you outlast the threads.

And the hair, well, how would your hair look
after centuries of dust and lice? Exactly!

Ah, my hair: Long, to my waist,
blond almost to silver
it caught sunlight and moonglow
once upon a time.

.Well, no point dwelling in the past.
What’s done is done.
That ancient troll’s curse made me
what I am and will stay.

No wonder I spike apples with
my special brand of wormwood
and slick it on needles in haystacks,
thorns, spindles, whatever sharp will
pierce the soft, white skin

of anything young, anything happy.
Wouldn’t everything lovely
make you angry, too?

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Day 20 Challenge: to write a Kenning or two

Today’s prompt through NaPoWriMo.net comes from Vince Gotera, who suggests a “Kenning” poem. “Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas.” Definitions: “A Kenning is a two-word phrase describing an object often using a metaphor. A Kennings poem is a riddle made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone.” The structure: Several stanzas of two describing words. It can be made up of any number of Kennings.

Amusing and surprisingly difficult. Here is a poem made up of Kennings that relate to two different subjects. Can you guess what they are? Let me know.

Cellar-dweller.
Flag-maple.
Dwarfs’ girl.
Top-stopped.
Transparent-apparent.

Emotion, commotion.
Life sign.
Paper greeting.
Dead end.
Rhythm section.

 

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Day 19: Lost in translation in response to Michael Leong’s prompt in the Found Poetry Review

Here is Michael’s prompt. “When we speak of “translation,” we usually refer to the process of turning a text that is written in one language into another language. But if think about translation more broadly, we can imagine a diverse range of experimental processes that can spark new writing. All you need is to find a source text and invent a method of transforming, altering, or changing it.”

This is an interesting challenge, which I only tackled in part. First I provide the text from which I removed articles and nouns, plus a few other words, to come up with a short ‘translation’ of sorts. I will bank this approach for future consideration when the pressures of time are less.

“But much more importantly, even if there had been such a contract, what would it prove? We could hardly maintain that it explains the political obligations of exiting citizens. After all, no reasonable legal system allows one generation to make a contract which binds succeeding generations. Yet this is exactly what the doctrine of the original contract seems to presume. “p. 44 Justifying the state, An introduction to Political Philosophy, Jonathan Wolff 1996 Oxford University Press

Lost, in translation

But much more importantly,
even if there had been such,
we could hardly maintain that
explains existing after all.

‘No’ allows, binds, succeeding
exactly what seems.

 

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Day 18: To incorporate in a poem the “sound of home” (from NaPoWriMo.net)

NaPoWriMo optional prompt for April 18: To write a poem that incorporates the ‘sound of home,’ figures of speech, ways of talking people around you may have used and you may not hear anymore. “Coax ear and voice backwards.” Which is what I did, though I deliberately didn’t seek to abandon adult words as had been suggested. What surprised me? That the sound that came to my ear was my Austrian’s mother’s voice speaking in German when I was a child. I was bilingual until I was about eight. but now there is no one in my life now who speaks the way she did. (I apologize for the crude attempts at phonetic rendering of what I remember.)

 

Liebe kind remembers

The black Bakelite phone rings, once, twice.
My mother always answers on the third brrrring!
“Ya, vie gehtes; ya, alles ist in ordnung.
Was ist passiert? So etvas? Das kannicht sein….”

My head cupped in my hands,
I’m glum at six years-old, because I know
that’s how a l—–o—–n—–g conversation begins.

My mother talks with her best friend
for at least one hour every afternoon
just when I come in from Grade 1,
which makes me feel as though I’m not there.

Ich kann alles verstehen.
At least from my mother’s end of the conversation,
I understand what’s going on.

Though I couldn’t write the language then
and cannot now, I could speak it well.
Aber ich vill night is what I would say.
Whenever and however sweetly my mother asks,
I refuse to talk German on command.

Except when I lose patience
with my mother’s telephone chitchat/chitchat/chitchat:
That’s when I pick up the extension down the hall.
“Kann ich mit meine mutti sprechen, bitte”—
I muster as polite a demand as I can.

After which my mother usually sighs and signs off
with auf wiedersehn, as though she and her friend
had been speaking face-to-face,
and then she turns to me.

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Day 17 Prompt from Jeff Griffin through the Found Poetry Review

The prompt from Jeff Griffin took me to the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology. As suggested, I read it through and transcribed chronologically and without punctuation what words or phrases I found “remarkable.” I then copied the text into Google Translate through a cycle of 5 different languages and then back to English. I’m afraid the chronology and substance of what I first noted remained more or less in tact in spite of Jeff’s prediction of translations going awry. Perhaps I was inept at the process. Would not be the first time. The poem below uses unaltered words and phrases which keep faith with the order in which I noted them originally.

Misspent

How the feminine gains strength
smelling of silence, prayers wearing out,
old thoughts—unbroken, never corralled.

To keep us from home, now I expose
the ironed life in ‘glorious’ childhood
which did not heal with time.

Nothing passed between us
but, under this wing, hard love,
possibility, memorable patience.

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Day 16 Prompt from NaPoWriMo.net — choosing words from a specialized dictionary

Instead of the April 16 prompt from The Found Poetry Review, which may have provided a constellation of possibilities to others but left me cold, I followed, instead, the optional prompt for April 17 from NaPoWriMo.net, which both intrigued and amused.

Here’s the prompt: “Use ten words from a specialized dictionary in a poem.” The source I consulted: “Foyles Philavery,” by Christopher Foyle, 2007. (The 10 words appear in bold.)

Hunting season

Sophomania sufferer, I hear
your insufferable banter in the name of venery:
Your lust for a fitchew’s fur, mellisonant to your ears,
your craving for inchpin, sweet as the sorbite you seek
to drain from a breathing creature you dissavage
with death by pheon and crossbow.

It’s otiose for me to argue, I know.
As the black vulture circles free above us,
I turn remontado and disappear.

 

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Day 15 Found Poetry Review Prompt from Joel Katelnikoff: Love what you hate

Joel Katelnikoff’s prompt took me to the reading list my book group set for 2015-2016 over my own objections to a sole focus on fiction and non-fiction related to Canada’s aboriginal or indigenous peoples. I felt the weight of the choices but read the books, on occasion with gritted teeth. What follows, then, is my take from those sources on finding “love within what we hate,”  which to be honest surprised me.

In this partially found poem, I’ve used the actual titles of books, exhibits and reports that I’ve experienced. They appear in italics, and I can supply footnotes, as necessary.

Manifesto

The World Until Yesterday before I learned to read
was a child’s playroom filled with toys and possibility
under skies, cloud-free.

The World Until Yesterday before I chose to read
about Riel and Dumont, A life of Revolution,
residential schools, Indigenous Healing,
was a simpler place, where conscience slept
in comfort, largely undisturbed

until the day a little Birdie sang Celia’s Song to me,
to expose the present day’s ugly past,
to show Truth and Reconciliation as necessities.

Walking with our sisters, I inched down
a corridor of moccasins, beaded or plain,
each one for a woman missing or murdered
because she was The Inconvenient Indian,
or from the Métis Nation: Hiding in Plain Sight.
So easy to overlook, to forget till now

failed governance, broken promises,
abuse, and deprivation, which make
The Comeback of indigenous peoples
a triumph of will, talent, patience
over settler greed and duplicity.

Never thought of myself as a colonizer before.
Never assumed my share of the shame for
the suicides, attempted or successful,
of Extraordinary Canadians,
though they might not self-identify as such.
Extraordinary because they were here first.

Time now
to embrace justice,
to listen,
finally to learn
we can’t be white tourists
in an indigenous land.

Now The Reason We Walk
toward An inconvenient truth
is that at long last we begin to see our future
as one to share.

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Day 14: Prompt from Brian Oliu Re: The Found Poetry Review Challenge

Brian Oliu suggested setting aside “about twenty minutes of your day with the intention of “doing research” for a piece. Do not allow yourself to write about anything that you do not experience firsthand….Allow yourself to be immersed in your project & only trust “first hand research” take notes, but don’t let the notes dictate your experience. After you have concluded your “research” begin writing immediately & without prejudice–don’t stop, don’t worry about linebreaks or punctuation, or word choice:capture whatever fleeting magic you have conjured until the feeling is gone.”
Well, it’s not ‘magic’ that characterized the firsthand experience captured in the piece, below. Again, a day late.

Cliché Ritual

Papers come out of my ears. More than I imagined all over the carpet. Raked charge card slips, bills, receipts, form into neat, little heaps just days before the deadline! Still cross- referencing, double-checking, collating, misplacing what I’ve just seen, I have to dig for it. Rather be doing anything else, except visiting the dentist. I pay my accountant through the nose to submit my return. A relief, frankly. Though I wish I could give him the piles as they are, let him work his magic in that high glass palace. Though I’d have to pay double, which would piss me off. Instead, I struggle to hold onto the string from where the story of each category begins before the whole darn shebang unravels, and I have to start from scratch. En route, I slice fingertips on sharp sheets and bleed, and then I mis-staple till I figure out a stack’s too thick and use a clip instead. That’s expensive, too: I use coloured ones, ‘cause ‘silver’ clips stick like rust, make me cringe as if I had chalk on my hands. Only then do I assemble the still-fluttering papers and stuff them into a giant envelope with a blank cheque, dated April, owing.

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Day 13: Prompt from the Found Poetry Review

The April 13 prompt from Senna Yee had a light-hearted side: “Travel websites have always intrigued me with their language– visual, lush and sometimes a bit dramatic and naive. Browse and write down any words/phrases that interest you….Craft a poem using only these words/phrases. You may arrange them in any way you wish.”

Of course, a variation appealed more than the strict letter of the prompt. What follows is a poem drawn from words and phrases found in the winter 2016 magazine of the Canadian Automobile Association. Each found word or phrase is non-contiguous and so appears on separate lines.

Milestone

I had a mission
to feed
the fantasy,
explore
trails that lead to
hard-to-find,
forehead-slapping
experience;

to cross the river,
embrace
hours of daylight,
diamond-quilted
thermal
danger,
caught by sunlight.

Don’t panic!
You’re like me,
driven,
hoping for
biodiverse
quirkiness,
tango lessons,
ruins,
bazaars,
almost any kind of trinket,
cheese and chocolate.

Take the two.
Life happens,
pays tributes to the gods
I’m craving.

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Day 12 Impromptu poem through the Found Poetry Review

Oh dear. Another day late. Well, can’t be helped. Here is the prompt from Robert Fitterman, borrowed from Steve Zuttanski: “Collect found language from individuals who articulate how they feel, specifically, in their bodies…physical symptoms in the body (neck, head, stomach, feet, etc). Use at least 20 different posts from different speakers. Modify, arrange, modify.” Which I modified, as you will see below.

I have no fuse

How do you cope with fear
You get used to it

I don’t get thrown by it
don’t sound like an idiot saying
I was invisible when I was underneath
massive rifts
some minor slippage

Trying to go out every day
hearing voices
troubles
being good to others
just didn’t work out

Honestly
I suffered a lot of nostalgia

People who do not believe
shouldn’t be surprised
it’s a workout

To cry or think of something sad for a while
really takes off and catches

 

(Phrases or words (and the title) which constitute within a single line are non-contiguous and taken from about 20 different articles or reports from different sources in the April 9 paper edition of The Toronto Star. )

 

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Day 10: Catch up impromptu poem

Instead of taking the cue from the Found Poetry Review for April 10, turned to NaPoWriMo.net and the lead from Lillian Hallberg’s challenge: ” to write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem…. that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts.  Here’s what emerged:

Behind the second shelf

After the falls galore
and running with scissors
she broke into the school of essential ingredients
to ‘edit’ the accidental indies,
those festival films
awaiting her cuts, her fearful
symmetry about the big why
for her virgin cure

 

Key:  “After the falls,” Catherine Gildiner
“Galore,” Michael Crummy
“Running with Scissors,” Augusten Burroughs
“The School of Essential Ingredients,” Erica Bauermeister
“The Accidental Indies,” Robert Finley
“Her Fearful Symmetry,” Audrey Niffenegger
“The Big Why,” Michael Winter
“Virgin Cure,” Amy McKay

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April 11: impromptu poem from another prompt

Fell off the wagon yesterday (April 10) and didn’t write a poem in response to Found Poetry Review’s prompt. Perhaps will have a chance to catch up later today. Perhaps not.

Didn’t really feel any affinity for today’s prompt from that source which had to do with astrological signs and other stuff. Instead, attempted a response to this Day 11 optional prompt from NaPoWriMo.net: “…write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does….An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details.”

 Waiting for the axe

She’s like a tree—all bark, no sap
inner rings wrung out

pre-leaf, as if leaves could limp out of buds
discouraged by April frosts

Winds sigh through her branches
arthritic, sore, stiff limbs
outstretched toward a pale sun in a pale sky

till, in the notch of a heavy bough
a robin lands, strands of grasses in his beak

Back-and-forth he flies
all day and the following day, too

to form a nest at shoulder-height
A messy pile takes shape
Hope flows to her roots

underwater, without Noah

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Impromptu poem 9 (Found Poetry Review)

Here’s the prompt for April 9 from Frank Montesonti about a novel (for Garnett) and intriguing way to approach erasure poetry and the start of a poem employing the new approach:

“Erasure poetry in its essence….is just the idea of selection. Highlighting the words you do want to keep instead of erasing the ones you don’t ….creates new possibilities in poetic dialogue and polyvocal erasure texts….Think in terms of creating a dialogue. Highlight some phrases or words in one color, then feel if there might be a response to those words somewhere else in the text. How many voices do you hear in the text….What is the conversation…?”

Since importing colour to this post seems impossible, after the full text, are notes to show the three voices that emerged from colour-coding on the original text, which is:

“Nothing fills the spirit and lowers stress hormones like taking a walk in a nature preserve and connecting to the natural world, or sitting by the seashore and listening to the sound of crashing waves. We are surrounded by movement in nature, and yet, in this high-speed world, we have become disconnected with ourselves, from our ancestral ways of life, from our own sense of internal movement, and from gut rhythms. “Happy Gut”, Vincent Pedre, 2015, p. 207

A first ‘voice’ emerged as:

Nothing lowers nature
listening to ourselves
our own sense

A second ‘voice’ emerged as:

the spirit connecting sound
disconnected from movement, rhythms

A third voice emerged as:

our ancestral ways of life

The piece as a whole:

Nothing lowers nature
listening to ourselves
our own sense

the spirit connecting sound
disconnected from movement, rhythms
our ancestral ways of life

 

 

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Impromptu poem 8 (Found Poetry Review)

Harold Abramowitz suggested this prompt: “Write something you cannot remember: a memory of something – a story, an anecdote, a song, another poem, a recipe, an episode of a television program, anything, that you only partially or imperfectly remember. Write multiple versions, at least 6, of this memory.”

What came to me were distinct ‘verses,’ using the syllable discipline of the tanka form and relating to the same TV broadcast, parts of which I remember, though not all of it.

Reflections: “On the Beach”

                                                     (after Nevil Shute’s novel and subsequent films)

Black and white flicker:
men, women, well-dressed,
standing on Florida sand.
They face west, the ‘mushroom’ cloud,
armageddon, now upon them.

*

Unwilling witness,
my eleven year-old self
watches the action;
cannot tear myself away
from panic or acceptance.

*

Services all off,
a woman on insulin
sees her future
without electricity:
A two days’ supply of life.

*

What happened to them,
the characters in that play?
I do not recall.
It could not end well for them
as their world, their lives collapse.

*

I’ve walked that shore since,
never thinking of the outcome,
of their hopelessness,
but I’ve shuddered in my dreams
at how being trapped would feel.

*

What I can’t forget:
The anguish of no way out;
scavenging, begging;
my survival unlikely;
desperation palpable.

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April 7, Impromptu poem (Found Poetry Review)

Simone Muench  suggested the following prompt: “write a cento that is a self-portrait, or anthology of your life, utilizing lines and fragments from your own work,” an intriguing and somewhat daunting task.

 

You’re lost if you look, if you listen, if you follow

 

Austere, without edges or colour,
small-smiling, she looks down,

watches, waits for a sign, any sign,

listens for the story
as cardinals sing a requiem among apple blossoms.
Otherwise, she feels invisible.

Her life lies on her lips like a mystery,
like the ice that coats trees when you thought it would rain.

And I begin to understand
the legacy of those cruel shards,

to be herself
what will shatter with her
in a way both welcome and not.

                                     

Cento Gloss: Each line in this ‘self-portrait’ poem is taken unaltered from the following poems written over the past decade+: “Panorama,” “Woman of ice, woman of glass,” The April Dead II,” “Fairy Tales,” “Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” “Huis clos,” “The days of billy boy bad,” (a line from which furnished the title for the cento,) “Debut,” “Elegy for a Thrush,” “Post Partum,” “Vanishing point, “ “Where does it hurt”, “No regrets.”

 

 

 

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