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.
Last week, I shared a cento that I wrote using titles from Ada Limón’s poems in THE HURTING KIND. This week, I’d like to share an amazing gift I received as a summer poem swap. Truth be told, they were ALL amazing gifts, but this one was seriously over the top amazing! Check this out:
Four of us Poetry Friday Peeps read and discussed THE HURTING KIND one section at a time in August. It was the best #sealeychallenge activity ever. We got more out of this book with a slow read and deep conversations than we ever would have by plowing through it in a day and checking it off our to-do list.
If you haven’t read THE HURTING KIND, I highly recommend it. Here is the book trailer with Ada Limón reading the final poem in the book.
Here is a cento I made with almost all of the poem titles in the second section, Summer. The words in italics are the only words I added.
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!
August is a juicy piece of fruit with the seed of Fall at its center. In spite of all the lush growth of Summer, the brown of Autumn is at the heart of August. August marks the shift from the production of leaves, to the production of seeds. Life must go on, come Spring, and August see(d)s to that.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, Linda (A Word Edgewise) offered up her third annual “Clunker Exchange.” I chose the line “That’s what you wrote about the green beans,” and I couldn’t have been more surprised by the poem (and memories) those eight words were able to elicit. Thank you, Linda, for this beautiful not-a-clunker-to-me!
Now let’s see what you’ve been writing (or reading) these days! Are you getting ready to take part in the Sealey Challenge? Share your stack if you’ve made one! Can’t imagine reading a book of poetry every day in August? Children’s poetry books count!!
I’m going totally old-school with the roundup this week. Leave your link and a short description in the comments. That’s it. If you’re not able to comment for some reason, I’ll help: mary lee dot hahn at gmail