So it only makes sense to launch an Instagram Drabble Challenge!
Click on the photo to hear our first ever Drabble on Instagram episode and learn how you can play.
This month I asked our poet guests to share why poetry matters. Before we send Poetry Month 2017 into history, I want to share my own thoughts with you.
Facebook does this sometimes wonderful and sometimes terrible thing where it will show you what was happening in your life on this date in history. Throughout April, in and amongst the talk of baseball and reminders of the toddler when he was a baby, Facebook has been reminding me of past Poetry Month highlights. The 7th grader who wrote an acrostic about a murder investigation spelling out “Who Was It?” The 2nd grader who wrote the 2-line poem called “Failure to Write a Poem.” The kid who wrote hers in yogurt on the playground (she was supposed to be in trouble for leaving trash on the playground and attracting critters. I snapped a picture.)
I have always been an evangelist of poetry, maybe because I don’t trust my own skills at writing it. As a young librarian I would bring poetry into April storytimes, wrapped poetry books up like gifts to make people curious enough to check them out and once bought a bunch of bulk coffee candy and attached it to 3×5 cards with words like “Wonder” “Rage” “Curiosity” and “Bravery” written on them to get people to attend a poetry coffeehouse. (Thirteen people showed up and read some pretty good poems.)
When I became a school librarian, poetry became part of my mission. Every April I would hijack the library curriculum and do poetry with a bunch of K-8 students. We wrote concrete poems. We wrote poems using Google, a Kris invention that I swear I’m going to make a book out of someday. I read the poetry of Gertrude Stein to third graders and discussed Pablo Neruda’s book of questions with fifth graders. I stapled poems all over school and gave awards to students who arrived with poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day. We explored the found poetry of Phil Rizzuto and Donald Rumsfeld.
What I wanted the kids to know is that poetry is alive. It isn’t always funny (our instinct is to share funny kids’ poems with kids, and while the work of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky is great it subtly tells kids that all poetry rhymes and is funny.) It doesn’t even have to make sense, but what it asks you to do is to feel something, to think about something. When a third grader tells me that after awhile he stops being mad that Gertrude Stein’s poems don’t make sense and just listens to how the words sound, he gets it. What he is learning is that words matter, that words can be something, that they have power.
Both of our poets on the show this month have had a message for us: now is the time. If there was ever a time to speak, now is it. If there was ever a time for art, now is the moment. As a teacher I know that you have to convey information in different ways because not everyone will see or understand it in the same form. That isn’t just true in the classroom. Poetry asks us to take things in in a different way, attacks our senses in a different way. Poetry is worth advocating in a world where, in the words of George Carline, “More people write it than read it.” We could all afford to read a little more of it.
So I’m saying goodbye to Poetry Month 2017, but I’m not done pushing for people to write and read and think just a little more. That fight has only just begun.
May a poem impact you today,
The Poet’s Corner segment returns for Episode 80, this time featuring Episode 67 Contributor Anuja Ghimire.
Anuja Ghimire was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she often returns to in writing. She came to the U.S. in 2001, leaving home after the Royal Family Massacre, and arriving to a new country right before the 9/11 attacks. A published author of two poetry books in Nepali as a young girl in Kathmandu, Anuja began writing and publishing in the U.S. She moved to Dallas, Texas after finishing college and continued writing poetry. In 2008, she was a featured poet in the Austin International Poetry Festival. When Anuja was in Kathmandu in the spring of 2015 with her two small children, Nepal suffered the devastating earthquakes. Later that year, her poem “Six” was nominated for a Pushcart prize by Right Hand Pointing. Most recently, she has been published in Medusa’s Laugh Press, Literary Orphans, and The Good Men’s Project. Her poetry and flash fiction has been published in over 40 journals. She lives with her husband and two little girls near Dallas and works as an editor in the e-learning industry. You can find her on Twitter or learn more about her published works and reach her saffronandsymmetry.tumblr.com.
Sometimes you have to lose everything to know where you are. Sometimes your stuff defines you more than you think.
“Spring Cleaning” is a poem about setting the stuff in the FREE box that you really need to get rid of. By Charles O’Hay, copyright 2015, used with permission. Visit Charles’ website.
Sometimes the things you want to hid away don’t really fit into “Storage,” the final poem of our National Poetry Month celebration. By Margaret Adams, copyright 2005, used with permission. Visit Margaret’s website.
Is eating stuff the best way to get rid of it, asks Len Kuntz in “Oreo.” Copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit Len’s website.
The everyday becomes so powerful it is made illegal in “Soup.” By Tino Mori, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Tino’s bio.
This week is our final National Poetry Month episode. We have so enjoyed bringing you a smattering of poetry alongside our usual short stories.
Margaret Adams is a Maine-born writer and family nurse practitioner living in Seattle, Washington. A former columnist for The Bangor Daily News and a Pushcart Prize nominee, her stories and essays have most recently appeared in The Bellingham Review, The Portland Review, and The Delmarva Review. When not at her day job or bike-commuting, Margaret enjoys patronizing coffee shops, hiking, and checking too many books out of the library. Her website is margaret-adams.com.
Charles O’Hay is the author of two collections—Far from Luck (2011) and Smoking in Elevators (2014)—both from Lucky Bat Books. His work has appeared in over 125 journals, including New York Quarterly, Cortland Review, and Gargoyle. A sampling of his poems and photographs can be seen at http://www.charlesohay.com/
Celebrating National Poetry Month with six fantastic pieces…five poems of all different styles and feels and one short story. Can you spot who is who?
Kicking off with a little “Perspective.” This is the second episode in a row we have shared a piece called “Perspective,” and I love how two different authors can go two different ways with it. By Janelle Cordero, copyright 2016, used with permission. Read Janelle’s bio.
Did you ever wonder what kind of punctuation you would be? Jaclyn Tan does in “Ellipses.” Copyright 2015, used with permission. Visit Jaclyn’s website.
“Apollo” is the story of a dog. Well, sort of. It’s really so much more than the story of a dog. By Devyn Millette, copyright 2016, used with permission. Read Devyn’s bio.
“Kid” is the story of…well, I won’t tell you what I thought “Kid” was the story of the first time I read it. I’ll just let you listen. By Jen Karetnick, copyright 2013, used with permission. Visit Jen’s website.
Do you participate in the “Transoceanic Twitter” as described by Alex Dreppec? If so, you should tweet me. Copyright 2013, used with permission. Visit Alex’s website.
Ellen Girardeau Kempler leaves us today with some essential “Travel Tips.” You’re gonna need them. Copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Ellen’s bio.
Careful readers of this blog will note that Fridays in April have been our “Meet the Poets” feature, where we introduce the people responsible for adding a shot of poetry to our short story podcast during National Poetry Month. However, this week’s episode plays with that boundary between poetry and prose, which is not always as clear-cut as one might think. I am therefore not giving you advance notice as to who the poets are and are not. Instead, today we introduce two of the six (!) contributors who share their work on Episode 44.
Alex Dreppec is a German author with hundreds of publications (both poetry and science) in German journals and anthologies, both the most renowned (“Der große Conrady” – since 2008) and the best sold among them, and a lot of publications in the US and the UK. He won the “Wilhelm Busch” Prize in 2004. http://www.dreppec.de/english_dreppec.
Janelle Cordero is a poet, painter and community college teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. Janelle worked as a soda fountain waitress, peach orchard laborer, and shoe salesman before earning her B.A. in English from Whitworth University, followed by her M.F.A. in Poetry from Pacific University. Janelle’s poetry has been published in numerous journals, including Harpur Palate and The Louisville Review, and her paintings have been featured in venues in and around Spokane, Washington. Her debut poetry collection, Two Cups of Tomatoes, was released in October 2015.
Everyone is sentenced to something on today’s two-part poem/story pairing.
Kicking off the first part, second-time podcast contributor Frederick Foote brings us the story of what happens when one man gets the “Goodbye Blues.” Copyright 2015, used with permission. Visit Frederick’s website here.
Paired up with “Goodbye Blues” is t.j. peters’ poem “Keel Day” about a most unusual family legacy. Copyright 2016, used with permission. Visit t.j.’s website here.
Susan Moorhead kicks off the second part of today’s show with “Perspective,” on what happens when you are forced to listen to everyone’s opinion. Copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Susan’s bio here.
In “Booked,” we speculate on if the lawyer is the one being sentenced. By Zac Locke, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read Zac’s bio here.
This is the episode where I broke my own rule about one poem per episode on our National Poetry Month episodes. We are squeezing in the work by two talented poets on Episode 43.
t.j. peters is a humorist and filmmaker dwelling atop a mount in Los Angeles, CA. To alleviate the mind-numbing rigmarole of the big picture show, t.j. writes short prose and poetry, often relying on irony and paradoxes to examine things large and small in scale. His recent work can be found in “The Blackstone Review”, “Westwind, UCLA’s Journal of the Arts”, “The Higgs Weldon”, and is forthcoming in “Unbroken Journal”. Currently, t.j. is shopping a chapbook of poetry with Chicago-based author Mark Magoon. Find him at www.tjpetersonline.com or on Twitter.
Susan Moorhead is a poet, writer, and librarian in New York. Her work has appeared in JMWW, Anderbo, Lowestoft Chronicles, and the Crab Creek Review among others. Nominated three times for a Pushcart prize, recent work includes a chapbook, The Night Ghost, with FInishing Line Press. She blogs and posts photographs at http:sunpoursdownlikehoney.blogspot.com.