Feast of Words
At Coonabarabran High, it’s that time of year again, time to swirl a handful of words around on your tongue, savour some meaning and plate up your 50 word novel! The theme for 2020 is ‘key’. Maybe your high school days are long gone, but I’m sure your taste for words is as gourmand as ever, what 50 word dish will you serve us?
There is something amazing about poetry. Most of us probably don’t think much about it but I feel we are surrounded by poetry, life is poetry! It is about emotion, perception, perspective, observation, curiosity, receptivity and wonder.
I have been enjoying some online poetry courses with futurelearn.com, learning and understanding more, delving into different forms and sharing them here for us to play with.
A cascade is a waterfall. A cascade poem takes the lines of the first stanza, repeating them as the last lines in the following stanzas, like a cascade. Check out this link for a description and an example, then show us how your water falls!
Step by step
I am slow by nature. I like to take the time I need to do things, to understand things. At times, I’ve been frustrated with my pace, now slow and steady is my motto, where I am comfortable. Over time, I’ve discovered that some clichés work wonders, it’s all about the journey not the destination… the process is full of mistakes and magic.
The destinations and goals that inspire me grow constantly, quicker than I can explore them all, but they keep me dreaming, they keep me believing, they keep me moving, slow and steady, step by step.
What do pace and process look and feel like for you?
Letting go, an appropriate theme for free-writing!
I’ve spent the last week setting my 17 year old twins up in their first independent rental. I was their age when I moved out for the first time. It was such an exciting, scary time. There are times in life when we have to let go…of something or someone, an issue, an argument, an item, an opportunity. What have you let go of? Was it sad, painful, weird, liberating?
Just when you thought you found the perfect expression to capture a feeling…along comes another to flatten and contradict.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Out of sight out of mind
What rings up contradictory for you?
What did you say or do that you wish you could erase or blackout? Or have you ever blacked out? Time for a little fun and experimentation with some blackout poetry. Repurpose an old book page, strategically select the words that work for you, blackout all the rest. Check out this link for more insight.
Do you see the forest or the trees? Sleepy moments and the nostalgia of independence.
We have tried our hands at haiku, cento, cinquain and acrostic. Now warm your ink with a Nonet. Follow the guide from http://www.thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk/index.htm
Images speak a thousand words, so they say. A rich history of universal symbols guide us daily, often subconsciously. Time for some intuitive storytelling, what is the message of this card? Don’t guess it, feel it.
You have surely played with Acrostic poems before and I invite you to do so again. There are a few options as far as form goes, so choose what appeals to you or try them all. I’ve found a fun infographic from the poetry website https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/
For the first use your name, for the second choose a favourite word or one from our word bank.
Wikipedia describes an acrostic as “a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, message or the alphabet. The word comes from the French acrostiche from post-classical Latin acrostichis, from Koine Greek ἀκροστιχίς, from Ancient Greek ἄκρος "highest, topmost" and στίχος "verse". As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval.”
Free writing – we have visited the sense of smell and touch, now we will focus on sounds, noise, hearing, associations and sensitivities to sound. What does your world sound like? What role does sound have in your life? Write for 15 minutes or as long as your words keep flowing.
In week two, we used I AM to prompt a descriptive collaged list of ourselves. This time we will turn our I AM into a contradictory litany, a hymn to existence, an ode to joy or all of the above. I came across the first two poems while reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. The third poem The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee is by N. Scott Momaday.
Start by reading the poems. How did they make you feel? What did you like about these poems? Did one poem stand out more than the others? Think about how you can piece together your own I AM poem, mix it all together or try out different versions.
Follow the links to find out more.
Hymn to Isis (3rd or 4th century AD)
For I am the first and the last
I am the venerated and the despised
I am the prostitute and the saint
I am the wife and the virgin
I am the mother and the daughter
I am the arms of my mother
I am barren and my children are many
I am the married woman and the spinster
I am the woman who gives birth and she who never procreated
I am the consolation for the pain of birth
I am the wife and the husband
And it was my man who created me
I am the mother of my father
I am the sister of my husband
And he is my rejected son
Always respect me
For I am the shameful and the magnificent one
Discovered in Nag Hammadi, 1947
'When I am sitting at the door of a tavern,
I, Ishtar, the goddess,
Am prostitute, mother, wife, divinity.
I am what people call life,
Although you call it death.
I am what people call Law,
Although you call it Delinquency.
I am what you seek
And what you find.
I am what you scattered
And the pieces you now gather up.'
From the book Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee
I am a feather on the bright sky
I am the blue horse that runs in the plain
I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water
I am the shadow that follows a child
I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows
I am an eagle playing with the wind
I am a cluster of bright beads
I am the farthest star
I am the cold of dawn
I am the roaring of the rain
I am the glitter on the crust of the snow
I am the long track of the moon in a lake
I am a flame of four colors
I am a deer standing away in the dusk
I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche
I am an angle of geese in the winter sky
I am the hunger of a young wolf
I am the whole dream of these things
You see, I am alive, I am alive
I stand in good relation to the earth
I stand in good relation to the gods
I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful
I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte
You see, I am alive, I am alive
N. Scott Momaday, “The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee” from In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991. Copyright ©1991 by N. Scott Momaday. Reprinted with the permission of the author and St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
Source: In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems 1961-1991 (St. Martin's Press LLC, 1992)
For me, it seems there is not much difference between wondering and wandering. It has always helped me find inspiration. Creative dabbling is good for the soul, I couldn't imagine life without it and often surprise myself by what I come up with.