Friday, April 5, 2013

Progressive Poem and Joy Kogawa

Irene Latham instigated the Kidslitosphere Progressive Poem last year. It was such a success, and loads of fun, that she couldn't resist a repeat this year. Today I add my line to the mix of wonderful words already on the page. Here is the poem so far:

When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until

Now I hand it off to Gayle Krause for tomorrow's next line.

I've been reading a book called, Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak about their Writing and their Faith. It is a compilation of lectures given at Calvin College's biennial Festival of Faith and Writing. Presenters, who are well-known writers, answer the question, "What does it mean to be a writer working in a context of faith within the world of contemporary letters?" Contributors in this volume include Katherine Paterson, Kathleen Norris, Will Campbell, Paul Schrader, James Calvin Schaap, Anne Lamott, Luci Shaw, Joy Kogawa and Madeline L'Engle.

I have enjoyed reading the thoughts shared by these authors and have, in the process, been reading some of their respective works. Today being Poetry Friday, I'd like to share my discovery of Joy Kogawa. I had not known Joy's work before, but find her poetry to be beautiful in it's simplicity, much like the art of Japanese flower arranging, Ikebana.

Kogawa was a child of Japanese parents living in Vancouver, British Columbia, during World War II when she and her family were moved to an  internment camp in central British Columbia. She is a poet, novelist, and children's author. Her award-winning novel, Obasan, focuses on the relocation of Japanese-Canadians during WWII.

As I continue to write through my own story of grief, I was moved by this lovely poem that calls the reader and the sufferer to look farther, see more.

by Joy Kogawa

o that after all no
thought breaks
the mind's cold spell

chill these bones their
language lost

in this fresh silence
weather hides all
odours of decay

by freezing time
I travel through
this numb day

look look
my small
my beautiful child

the icicle here
how it shimmers
in the blue sun

Read the rest here.

For more Poetry Friday, join Robyn Hood Black who hosts the roundup today.


  1. I love the new line! Can't wait to hear what comes next!

  2. A "private pirouette" is delightful. This poem is dancing its way down the page.

    Thank you for introducing me to Joy Kogawa as well - such a haunting beautiful poem.

    1. Haunting is a good word for Joy's poem. I'm delighted to introduce you!

  3. Privat pirouette and solitary samba indeed...what a great line. As the fourth graders start their study of Japanese internment, I will share Joy's poem.

    1. Jone, She has written a children's book on this subject, too, called "Naomi's Road." I haven't seen it yet, but it looks good.

  4. OH my, a "private" pirouette is a whole other thing than a public one! Thank you, Doraine for this and for Joy's poem.

    1. Yes, and we know about those public/private conversations!

  5. Well done with that private pirouette and solitary samba - just beautiful, Doraine! Thank you for sharing Joy's haunting poem as well. :)

  6. ...and yet she added that "until..." how intriguing!

    Thanks for a great line, Doraine, and for sharing this quietly powerful poem today as well.

  7. Yes! Until... can't wait.

    And thank you for sharing what you're finding as you work through grief. Very moving.

  8. Great line, Doraine! It will be fun to see what follows your "private pirouette" and "solitary samba".
    Thanks for sharing Joy's poem. It is beautiful.

  9. I add my admiration for your graceful, energetic line, Doraine! I also appreciate the opportunity to hear your grieving story which you're composing (and decomposing) so beautifully. </3

    1. Thanks, Heidi. I like your description of composing and decomposing. Yes, it's very much like that.

  10. I love the detail in this line! Great word choices, Doraine. That's a beautiful grief poem too.

    1. Thank you, Catherine. I'm so glad to have you stop here today.

  11. Dori,
    I came here to comment on your lovely line, a little late, I know. Do forgive. Then I became very curious about Allison. I have not read every word, but I understand. You may find it interesting to know that I remember that Christmas day so well. I was pregnant with my only child, my son, who was born on Feb. 19. But I had become ill with flu on Nov. 30 and suffered with something like bronchitis until he was born. He was delivered by C-section as I was "un-inducible". Never had heard of that. He had the cord around his neck two times with a true knot in it. A miracle. I have friends who have lost children in the same way as you and I think it is very kind of you to share your story.
    I am glad that you are dancing in your life, even though you have had struggles. Also we had a terrible and sudden set of deaths two weeks ago in our family. It is good to know from others how we will get through this. I know we are all connected in many ways, but I just thought that since you were so touched by my children's reciting, I would tell you how touched I am by your blog, which I have not read regularly but will.
    Janet F.