Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day Eight ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2015


Day Eight. Playing more with fractions and percentages, remember how yesterday we weren't quite at 1/4th of the month gone? It was 23%, actually. Well, today we exceeded 1/4. Today 27% of National Poetry Month is gone . . . but that means we still have 73% left. Lots of poetry yet to come. Keep writing, friends.

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo prompt: "I challenge you to write a palinode. And what’s that? It’s a poem in which the poet retracts a statement made in an earlier poem. . . . It could be anything from how you decided that you like anchovies after all to how you decided that annoying girl was actually cool enough that you married her."

Robert Lee Brewer's PAD prompt: "write a dare poem. This poem could be written as a dare to someone. It could make a daring proclamation. It could involve a dare that someone has accepted . . . or refused. In a way, each day of this challenge is a dare to write a poem."

Today, I'm merging the prompts with a meditation on palinodes and dares. And working from a comment that reader vstefani, a former colleague, left on yesterday's blog post. To get some order into this surmisal, I'm using haiku stanzas, in form but not in substance. You could think of them as 5-7-5 bottles I'm filling with language, always striving for productive line breaks.

Palinode Dare

On yesterday’s poem,
my ole friend Vicki wrote, “Great
images — now how

do I get them out
of my head?” Vicki, you know,
I just kinda let

that guy talk and I
wrote it down. It was fun. But
I’m no Bukowski.

I don’t want to load
my readers’ and friends’ heads up
with unneeded crap.

But then do I dare
retract? Write a palinode?
Say that guy’s not me,

I’m not that speaker,
didn’t mean to trouble you?
Is that cowardly?

Doesn’t that reject
what poetry is and does,
insulting the Muse?

What I know is this:
my responsibility
to my characters

is a sacred trust.
They live because of my breath
and I can’t say words

to kill them. So no
palinode from me today.
Dare or no dare. Nope.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Here's the good Doctor Holmes's intro today: "I took on the task of combining two poetry prompts again today. The first is to write a palinode, which, in spite of its looking as if it is supposed to be a dumb poem that sounds as if it were written by a former candidate for vice president, is actually a poem that refutes an assertion made by another poem. So, for example, if one were to write a love sonnet that asserts that the beloved is not, in fact, "more temperate and beautiful" than a summer's day, that would suit the definition.

"My other prompt was to write a dare poem, and this poem today includes the action of a dare in it. I am returning to the idea of what would happen if Emily Dickinson were to offer versions of works by other poets. I hope that you all enjoy this one."

[Beneath the fantail sheet she lies]


Beneath the fantail sheet she lies,
                 Her horny feet — exposed
Asserting to our witness eyes
                 What real supplants supposed.

The cigar roller, whipping curds,
                 The boys, the wenches, all,
The flowers wrapped in printed words
                 Defy death through life’s call.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Ah, very nicely done. I won't reveal who the other poet is, but if you need another hint, gentle readers . . . "concupiscent." And "fantail" in the Dickinson-style poem above is also a revealing hint. Those should help ID the poet, I think.   
Vince:  Alan, I'm fascinated by these Dickinson re-visionings you're doing. I think it's something new. I've never seen this approach to poetry writing before. Can you say more about what you were trying to do here?

Alan:  I am applying this notion of Dickinson's version of the other poet's specific poem to illustrate something I discuss when teaching that poem to my students, the importance of juxtaposition. In the original poem, we see a room full of life, so full that it spills out into the street. However, in the second stanza the poem directs our attention to the dead woman in the other room, suggesting that for all the life elsewhere, the end is the same. If, however, we began in the bedroom and moved outward, the narrative progression would indicate that life goes on. In that sense, my offering for today is a palinode that refutes the argument of the original poem. I decided to take the "Dickinson revision" tactic to reduce the original poem to key argument and imagery.

Vince:  Everyone, did you figure out who the poet is? And the poem at hand? Here's the solution to the riddle! Just for fun, here's an illustration of this poem by Anthony Ventura (evolve-r.com).

Anthony Ventura, "The Emperor of Ice Cream" (source)

Friends, won't you comment, please? Love to know what you're thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don't find the word "comments" in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NAPOWRIMO / PAD 2015 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


5 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince Gotera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Alan Holmes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vstefani said...

Vince, I can live with any images you want to throw out there! Truly! Although certain activities performed on a bed of coins would, I imagine, be less comfortable than on other surfaces!

Vince Gotera said...

Vicki, I know that. Your comment was just a jumping-off point. Thanks for coming here so much and leaving comments.

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