Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Progressive Poem Ends Here!

Welcome to the 2018 Kidslitosphere Progressive Poem, brainchild of Irene Latham.  For seven years, we've been creating poems together. 30 days in April, 30 poets, 30 lines of poetry that take us on an adventure, give us room to dream, and challenge the very essence of creating a poem. Take a look at the past poems here.

I missed the sign up on Irene's blog for the Progressive Poem this year. Life has been busy and my energy must be spent wisely. I didn't mean to miss it. I just forgot to check on that Friday in March. It wasn't until Irene emailed me with the subject line "Progressive Poem" that I realized I'd missed it. It was a simple conversation.

Irene: Dear Doraine, there is one slot left -- the last line! Just checking to see if you want it.
Me: (Silent gasp!) Okay. She says quaking in her rain boots. (It was pouring rain on March 11.) 
Irene: You got this, rain-bird. Thank you! xo

And I quaked in my boots for the rest of March, often reminding myself of Irene's "You got this." I spent the first week reading each of your lines, swallowing the panic that rumbled like distant thunder.  I don't have a great track record for ending things. I once (and only once) wrote a middle grades novel where I spent the last six months of writing trying to figure out how to find the end.

"You got this."

Then through the middle of the month, I found myself grateful that I didn't have to figure out how to get our sweet Jasmine out of Lee's birthday party. If that had been my line, we might still be there partying into the wee hours of April.

Over the last week, I have done a lot of deep breathing, gently nudging my stomach out of my throat back to the space in my body where it belongs.

The interesting thing about this progressive poem is that our one line feels so important, no matter where we fall in the list of days. And it is. Every word matters in a poem. Yet, in reality, we are not alone in this process. The work of this poem lies in trusting each other and listening well.

I recently read a quote from Natalie Diaz who spoke at the 2018 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (one of these years I'm going to get there). She said, "We need friends—not just followers—if we’re going to do the slow, often hard, always worthwhile work required to read and write with clarity, creativity, and nuance. "

That's just what this community is/does.

For an excellent recap of this poetic journey, read April's post with her next-to-last line.

Each of us, as we've added a line, have played along with Heidi's suggestion for deepening this progressive journey. We were to write down our thoughts after we read Liz's Line 1, hide it from ourselves, and come back to it when we wrote our line.

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched. 

I wrote:  A seed carries its nature within. It grows with strength. Becomes exactly what it's meant to be.

This is me, trying hard to fly like a rain-bird to the end.

And just so you know...I don't like messing with other people's lines, but Jane and I talked via email about keeping the tense of line two as she created it, but enhancing the poetic quality with a contraction.

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she'd had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

“Moon?” she called across warm honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”

“Come find me,” Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons’ embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl’s toes, pale
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee’s party!
Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
                            Jas grinned,




                                                                       a new,


a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.
Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet’s jasmine, she
wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.
Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,
filled with light and starsong. “Revelers, lean in –
let’s add to this merriment a game that grows
wordgifts for Lee. He’s a man who knows
selection, collection, and wisely advising
these dreamers, word-weavers, and friends.”

Jas enfolded Moon-Sky-Owl into the cup of her petals,
lifted new greens to the warming rays of spring. Sun
smeared the horizon with colour, as Jasmine stretched.
She felt powerful. She felt fresh. She bloomed and took a breath
and filled the earth with a fragrance all her own. 

Here is the sweet-smelling community of word builders that created our poem.  I'm sure Irene will wrap us up and give the poem a title. In the meantime, bloom, my friends. Bloom like Jasmine.

4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Jan at bookseedstudio

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

13 Linda at A Word Edgewise

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers

29 April at Teaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Poetry as a Spiritual Practice of the Heart

Photo by CrizzlDizzl

Today I join my Spiritual Journey family of bloggers as we celebrate National Poetry Month and look at the ways we incorporate poetry as a part of that spiritual practice of the heart.

One of my favorite writers, Leanne Payne, once said that images are the language of the heart. If that's the case, then poetry with its vocabulary of images, speaks directly to the deepest places within us.

I have often used poems as a starting place for communion and meditation. There is a kind of wooing in a poem that draws me deeply into stillness and prayer.

Here is one that has spoken to me recently.

by Derrick Austin

Lord in the pigment, the crushed, colored stones.
Lord in the carved marble chest. I turn away
from art. You are between my eye and what I see.
Forgive my errant gaze. Tonight, I can't sleep
and won't frighten the deer in my peonies.
Like children who rub their grimy hands over everything,
they only want to touch and be touched by grass.
They've never known violence, cars howling out of darkness.
Lord in the camellia, drifting in and out of sight,
like those blushing, perfumed heads will you welcome me?
I, too, am little more than a stranger in your garden.
Stroke my velvety antlers. Open your palms.

from Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, compiled by Sarah Arthur.

See what other bloggers have to say about this idea at Beyond LiteraacyLink. Thanks to Carol Varsalona for hosting today.

Monday, April 2, 2018

2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

April is National Poetry Month and there is a flurry of poetic activity all over the web. One of my favorite projects of the month happens in the Kidslitosphere, a group of children's authors, teachers, and poet bloggers who celebrate Poetry Friday each week and a smorgasbord or poetic adventures during April. Seven years ago, Irene Latham began the Progressive Poem, a 30-line poem written by 30 different poets over the month of April. Every year the poem twists and turns with a life all its own as we collaborate with one another and the poem itself.

I invite you to take this amazing journey with us! 

Here are the links to each day's contributor. 

Jane at Raincity Librarian
Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
Irene at Live Your Poem
Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads