Anybody out there addicted to Wordle or Waffle? I assume that more than a few of you who like to play around with words might have climbed aboard one or more of the current word game crazes! That’s why my challenge for the Inklings this month was to write a Wordy 30 Poem. A Wordy 30 is a poem using exactly 30 letters. Each line should have the same number of letters. Each line should use one word. You might have 6 lines with 5 letters in each line (like Wordle), or 5 x 6, 3 x 10, 10 x 3, 15 x 2, 2 x 15, 30 x 1, or (most unlikely) 1 x 30. Here are mine — a 5×6 and a 6×5.
And if you want to join in with the Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month, we’re writing Dansas, described here by Cousin Tanita: Its opening quintrain (5 lines) is followed by quatrains (4 lines), with a quintrain rhyme scheme of AbbaA and the quatrain bbaA. You’ll note that A repeats because the opening line of the first stanza is the final line of every stanza, including the first.
I had planned to let nature take her course with the butterflies this year. I would provide ample milkweed and fennel, and not bring any caterpillars inside to mature and emerge in an artificial environment. Caterpillar after caterpillar was sighted…then disappeared. We had more than the usual number of bluejays at our feeder. Was I unwittingly providing them with caterpillar snacks? Guilt took over. The next two (and as it turns out, the last two) monarch caterpillars I found came inside and were raised successfully to adulthood. I’ve lost count of the number of black swallowtails we’ve raised to adulthood, but there are currently six chrysalises that will overwinter in our garage and be the first to emerge in the spring. The world is right again.
The Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month was to write a definito — a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. I collected several juicy words from the Merriam-Webster word-a-day emails I get: assiduous, perspicacious, and effulgence. They all go together in a fun way when it comes to raising monarchs: it takes assiduous care and a perspicacious eye to fully appreciate the effulgence of the gold-spangled monarch chrysalis.
The Poetry Sisters wrote bop poems this month. They have three stanzas (6 lines, 8 lines, 6 lines) and a repeating refrain. Additionally, the three stanzas should 1. introduce a problem, 2. elaborate on it, and 3. solve it. Our shared refrain was “Let’s kick that can down the road.”
My first challenge was to thing of something I’d “kick down the road” without trying to fix it. Something I can absolutely do without. Well, that’s easy…dusting!
Here’s what the rest of the Poetry Sisters came up with this month:
Next month, we’ll be writing Heidi’s Definito Poems: the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. Join us if you’d like!
We had a nice turnout for the July meet-up of Ohio Women on the Fly. Spirits were high as we walked from the parking lot at Antrim Lake to the Olentangy River, which runs near the south and east sides of the lake. The clouds were building, but we weren’t worried — rain was not in the forecast.
We got soaked. Drenched. We were soggy, and by the time we got back to cars when it was starting to get dark, muddy up to our knees.
It was great fun. It was an adventure. When was the last time you had an adventure (the kind involving lots of water and mud)? I highly recommend it.
Every time I go fly fishing, the experience is new. No two times on a river are the same. That’s why fly fishing is a sport I love.
Catherine gave the Inklings this month’s challenge to write a poem about sports. Here’s what the rest of the crew came up with, and Molly has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup to boot.
This month’s Poetry Sisters challenge didn’t seem tricky when the idea was hatched. Phrase Acrostics are pretty much reverse Golden Shovels, with the striking line on the left rather than the right. But then er…uh..someone suggested using phrases from the iconic poem by Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise.” That’s when the challenge got tricky more complicated and interesting. How could we borrow phrases from this poem while still honoring the poet and the spirit of the poem without being appropriationist? Reading and rereading the poem with the intention to uphold Angelou’s purpose led me to these two drafts, which weave lines and meanings like a braided rug on a warm wood floor. Both of the titles, as well as the striking lines, come from Angelou’s poem.
Heidi gave the Inklings our challenge this month: “There are so many ways in which we’ve all (but especially as women, as educators) had to be persistent, despite our weariness. Write a poem (for kids or adults) about PERSISTENCE. If you write for kids, maybe try a definito!” Little did she know her words would hold So. Much. More. Truth. in these past couple of weeks.
Here are the rules for writing a definito: “the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.“
And here’s how the rest of the crew met Heidi’s challenge:
The Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month was to write Welsh Byr a Thoddaid Poems. There are a ton of rules, but when you get right down to it, the form consists of lots of syllable-counting and attention to rhymes.
My first cat, Jennyanydots, achieved the status of Truly Old Cat. She passed at the age of 21 and was a tiny thing (maybe 6 pounds in the end) with a mighty voice for wailing when she couldn’t find her “tribe.”
Hemingway is a big guy (14 pounds) and not old yet — only 7-9 (he was a rescue) — so why is he starting the yowling-for-no-reason? Maybe just to give me a poem topic!
Molly’s challenge to the Inklings this month was “to write a poem about some sort of domestic task.” My loss of control in the garden is embarrassingly similar to my approach to housekeeping — tidy up just enough to get by until time and energy (and usually company coming) converge to inspire a deeper cleaning.
“The show” is in full force right now in my garden. I never cease to be amazed at the transition from the exciting first tentative emergence of spring green and bloom to summer’s (seemingly sudden) surge of exuberant (over)growth.
Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted this challenge:
The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month was to write a poem with the theme of string, thread, rope, or chain. My brainstorming took me on a trip down memory lane, beginning with a visual memory of our precisely clothes-pinned swim suits and beach towels in a perfect suit-towel-suit-towel pattern on the clothesline.
Then came crafting memories. So many of the crafts I learned from and with my mother used thread or string: macrame, cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, sewing.
My mother’s mother was a home ec teacher and somewhat of a tyrant when it came to precision. Mom had to baste every seam before stitching it, and if her basting stitches were not perfectly even, she had to rip them out and start over. At the time, I never fully appreciated how much Mom had to dial back when she taught me “thread arts.”
I was definitely indoctrinated in “follow the pattern,” which left me with a healthy appreciation for rituals, routines, mentor texts, patterns, instructions, and recipes, but I also have developed a deep joy found in trial-and-error, guess-and-check, innovation, and experimentation.