Monday, July 14, 2014

Chat Between Two Poets - Hannah Gosselin

Our talented friend, Hannah Gosselin, of Metaphors and Smiles, has been writing a fantastic series of poems about writing itself, recently, and I asked her if she might like to discuss them, and her writing  process, with us in one of our poet chats. As she was writing the poems, she became aware that she was at the same time creating a new form, the Boomerang Metaphor Poem, which she recently posted about here. I got very excited, as she was creating the topic of our chat with every stroke of her pen. We now get to unveil a unique, Hannah-created form! How cool is that? 

Pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea with lemon and mint, gather 'round and prepare to be knocked out. Let's take a close look at these wonderful poems.

Sherry: Hannah, I have really loved the series of "This poem is a __" poems you have been writing recently. How did these poems come about?

Hannah: I was thinking about our chat...about the first poem and how it progressed into more...I remember that my first "This poem is a ___," poem was Building a Universe, written in January of this year, inspired by a Real Toad challenge by MZ.  The line that got this whole ball rolling for me was “The poem creates a space,” by Billy Collins. 

Building a Universe

This poem is a star
sparkling in dark
causes one to wish
causes one to wonder
about the wide
about the deep
calling cosmos
stars and poems.

Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2011-14

I began writing in this style kind of obsessively at first, (so fun and freeing to use this phrase), and then I employed it off and on when I remembered to. ;) Here are two of the older ones. This Poem is a Puppy and This Poem is ♥ Shaped.

Sherry: I love both of them, Hannah. Then, in May, the poem  that really made me sit up and take notice was Peony Moon. I knew you were creating something really special.

☾ ☽ Peony Moon ☾ ☽

May 15, 2014

Truth is this poem is more patient than I am,

it doesn't tap its fingers and feet for the same reasons I do...

it merely keeps the measured--unmeasured beat;
free verse identifies with ranting and is friends with rhyme
but it also knows how to plod peacefully along --
it finds the allotted time to rest within the breast for a while.
Stanzas discern when to go and when to stop,
they will sleep when they're meant to, and visit in dreams;
this prose glows as a mist veiled moon,
it smiles fully and waits uncomplainingly for eyes to open.
Words are wise knowing how to sift down,
when its feathered crown becomes full with light 
petals unclasp their grasp from peony’s stem…
one at a tolerant time they slip into place,
silently finding their way into lines –
settling deeply into poetic expression;
silken and ivory – evening draws their shadows,
savory streaks in the rippled wake of day just leaving.
Simple stippled words trace their stable way across the page;
they hold no regrets and harbor no unfulfilledness 
for they’re realized today and fodder for tomorrow.
They understand that their life, though past, 
breathes crucial breath into the next patient poem.

~Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2011-14

Hannah: Peony Moon was one of those poems that felt light and on the tip of my tongue…words did not tumble together or struggle to come to the surface, they politely waited their turns and presented themselves neatly; I just love it when it happens that way. I think it really helped that the jumping point for this piece was already realized and the challenge was to write a poem as an edited version or a rewrite of a previous poem of our own. I mused on four lines and came up with Peony Moon.

Sherry: I love it! After Peony Moon, I started watching for them, and they started coming more frequently. There was No Hello, and then came 
Two Sides to Every Story, and you were really on a roll. 

Hannah: When I wrote No Hello I was feeling very distant and, oddly, I actually felt poem-less that day, but a prompt asked me to poeticize about an object, and my phone was right there next to me with a red blip indicating that I’d missed a phone call; that coupled with the recent news of the newest baby in the family being born on the highway and voila, No Hello was born! :)

Two Sides visited me in unexpected images, which is how the word lists usually puzzle together for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by some of the poignant points that were brought forward, and I’m always happy when a poem can be cyclical and meaningfully close on the same words that it began with…feels like a bubble that way, to me, floating – self-contained. 
Sherry: (I am so enjoying this conversation!) With the poem Weekly Forecast  you showed just how far "this poem is --" can take you. I especially love the closing lines, "this poem is a sparrow on the railing, longing to be cupped in its creator's palm."

Hannah: This poem touches upon a lot of conflicting emotions and thoughts that I have about a world that feels, at times, so very corrupt. The conflict comes in the form of wanting to be naïve, wishing to ignore the news and the weather…longing for a world that’s a little more pure and untouched, at least for the sake of our young ones. I was hesitant in posting this one, as I felt that it may be offensive to some people who are religious but at the same time I felt that the points brought to light were important enough that I couldn’t not post it.

The initial inspiration for Weekly Forecast was a line that arrived soon after waking: “this poem is a sparrow on the railing/longing to be cupped in its creator’s palm.” I came down the stairs and that was the first thing I saw out the window and that was the line that came to me and I felt, in that brief slipping time, that I was the sparrow and this was my longing. Of course it’s such a classic and striking image, but it never felt more personal as it did in that moment.

Sherry: Wow, I love this insight as to the inspiration for the poem, Hannah. Then you  seem to have discovered you were creating your own form. Tell us about this form.

Hannah: This is one of my new favorite approaches to poetry. I’ve invented a form to serve the idea and give it a shape that can be repeated. I call it Boomerang Metaphors, (you’ll see why)!

Boomerang Metaphors: 

* Create three, “This poem is a ____,” statements.

* Support each statement in separate stanzas, (one can choose the length of the supporting stanzas and whether or not to rhyme or employ free verse).

* Restate the statement that’s being supported in the last line of these supporting stanzas, (as mini boomerang metaphor refrains).

* Then name the list of three, “This poem is a _____,” statements again as a boomerang metaphors refrain.

Note: One may choose to state the closing refrain slightly morphed but mostly the same. As it seems, words that go out into the world do tend to come back touched – slightly transformed.

* The title encapsulates the three listed elements, “This Poem is a ____, ____ and a _____”

Sherry: Fantastic, Hannah.  I loved this approach to poetry ever since I read your very first one. Tell us how you felt as you  were realizing you had created your own form.

Hannah: This form was created as a result of a challenge from a poet friend who hosts challenges and summer prompts from time to time. She asked that we invent a form and the first notion that came to mind was the recent new-found-love of mine in these, “This poem is a ____,” poems. So I thought of a way to formulate an organized succession of these kinds of statements and, because I brought a cyclical quality to the form, I immediately thought of a boomerang and that’s how I discovered the title for my new form, Boomerang Metaphors.

Sherry: These poems are enlivening! Plus they are so accessible, to read and, also,  to write. They spark the mind! They open the door wide to Possibility!

This next poem is the one you wrote when you realized you had invented a new form. It is spectacular.

Hannah: So of course after I designed the form, I was very curious to find out how well it would work and I straightaway surged into writing a Boomerang Metaphor entitled This Poem is a Hoe, the Wheel and a Sphere.

This poem is a three-year-old boy using a hoe.
This poem is a red tricycle.

This poem is an iridescent glass-globe.


This poem is small and strong,

it wishes to work and play all the day long.

This poem likes to get grubby and grounded,

this poem is a little guy with giant dreams.

This poem is a three-year-old boy using a hoe.


This poem is metallic – related to the bicycle
it desires the wind of motion on its wheels;
this poem enjoys the journey forward into the unknown.
This poem is always happy to come back home,
this poem is a red tricycle.


This poem is fragile and forever beautiful,
it’s whole and in an instant shattered.
This poem celebrates and embraces slivers of light,
this poem is a prism – rays gathered flight;
this poem is an iridescent glass globe.


This poem is a small blue-eyed boy with a garden hoe.
This poem is a colorful streamer-adorned tricycle.
This poem is the rainbow in the iridescent glass-globe.

Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2011-14

Sherry: I adore this poem. Tell us a bit about how you felt as you wrote it, and upon completion.

Hannah: This was a writing outside kinda day at the little-white-patio table, pencil and notepad style, while our three year old played in the yard, so when I looked up I named the first three things that caught my eye and then began writing non-stop until I came to the end and puzzled the opening lines into transformed closing lines; as, I believe, that which goes out into the world when it comes back it tends to be touched for better, (or worse).

When I completed this poem I read it aloud to myself and by the time I read the closing lines I was overcome by emotion and tears wouldn’t stop. It was partly the immediacy of it all, the setting and the sun sifting in through the trees, but mostly it was the sensation of time passing and the greater journey that we all embark upon the moment we gain our first breath.

The other thing that struck me on an unconscious level, at first, was that the elements I chose, in their raw and bare form, felt timeless and deeply connected with many, many layers of past and present. The hoe, the wheel and a globe all feel, to me, almost archetypal.

Sherry: I love hearing about the setting for, and the birth of, this poem, Hannah. And your tears - every mother can relate to the sense of time passing, the journey, the little boy who is three now, for such a fleeting time. Very moving. Then came another archetypal poem, about a ghost, a memory and an orange popsicle.

Hannah: This poem is actually about me, it’s about my long summers past, and the shape of the excitement they’ve left in my belly. I was struck this early summer with the feeling of incomplete…that summer hadn’t really arrived for some reason, and I got to wondering, why?

Lucky for me serendipity is a close friend of mine, and a prompt arrived right on time to help me explore the concept of summer in greater depth, and that is how This Poem is a Ghost, a Memory and an Orange Popsicle came into being. 

This Poem is a Ghost, a memory 
and an Orange Popsicle

This poem is the thin-shimmery-ghost of summers long past.
This poem holds the memory of excitement’s shape in its belly.
This poem is heavy humid air and dripping orange popsicles.


This poem doesn’t ponder where the time went, it knows.
It understands that years have fled and things have changed…
It’s filed away beautiful scents and remembrances for safe-keeping,
this poem is the thin-shimmery-ghost of summers long past.


This poem’s insides are gnawed raw by a distinct feeling
it’s the one that reeks of carefree and beach, of sun and wonder;
it’s a souvenir, a sensation – one whose origins are much younger.
This poem holds the memory of excitement’s shape in its belly.


This poem’s skin loves to run through lawn sprinklers and glories in rainbows,
it takes part in full-laughter, fresh-freckles and watermelon-seed-spitting contests.
It remembers black pavement’s dappled look and smell with sudden sprinkles,
this poem is heavy humid air and dripping orange popsicles.


This poem is the collection of many shimmery-ghosts of summer’s sweet past.
This poem handles the memory of excitement’s shape carefully – harbors it in its belly.
This poem is rain not-yet-fallen and small hands stained orange by a popsicle dripping.

Copyright © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2011-14

Sherry: This poem is summer. You have captured it completely. How do you feel now, having created the form,  seeing a few of us getting excited about trying it out?

Hannah: I’m thrilled and daunted by this new form! While I would love to use it all the time, I think I could overuse it but, in the same breath, poetically, I look forward to employing the advice that you so wisely offer, Sherry…I definitely will create a book of these type of poems, and I’ll include the form as well. I find this idea very exciting!!

Sherry: Yay!

Hannah: I’ve so enjoyed reading your poem responses to the form, Sherry, and the handful of others that have evolved from the promotion that you so graciously brought to this form recently. It’s so refreshing to see the diversity that this form allows for, and I find it really inspiring to see what arises from the seed of an idea that was planted in the garden that day.

On that note, if anyone else would like to try this form I would be over-joyed to read your responses. I believe the best way to coordinate this endeavor, (without a Mr. Linky), would be to, please, leave a link to your post site where you’ve employed the Boomerang Metaphor into your own poetic responses in the comments section of my Boomerang Metaphor post

Sherry: I love this idea! Thank you so much, Hannah, for this wonderful chat, for an exciting and inspiring new form, and for the invitation.

What do you say, kids? Any of you who feel moved to do so, please do hop over to Hannah's site where the form is described in detail, and let's link in some poems in this intriguing new form. The Boomerang form is a total lift-off, the poems almost write themselves. 

I must say, I am finding these chats very exciting. Each one, so far, has been thought-provoking and completely unique. Do come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. it really is a quite fascinating form you created hannah...
    the choices in what you include as well and how they inform on one another...
    and build connections...or maybe that is what the reader reads into it as well...smiles.

    1. Thank you, Brian! I enjoy the randomness of it, too and how even thought they seem quite disjointed that they have clear connections. I'm glad you liked it! :)

  2. Hannah's spirit spreads truth and enlightenment in every artist form she uses for self-expression.

    1. Kerry! Thank you so much for this comment...I'm touched. ♥

  3. I haven't been paying attention and now I'm blown away by a form and its results that came to you gradually and stayed. I am going to try it, Of course. I also like those found moments of creativity you describe--sitting next to a phone when a new baby is born, fleeting time in front of a hoe. I love combining meditation, thought and setting in a found kind of way--but not everything found is coincidental. Thank you for Boomerang and for the clarity of your words.

    1. I'm so glad that this form spoke to you, Susan and I love your description of a found poem...a beautiful creative way, thank you!

  4. Isnt it the coolest form? It inspires one to leap right in. I have always loved Hannah's poetry and I especially love the poem about her little fellow and his hoe.....and the popsicle poem, which is the epitome of summer in childhood.

    1. Thank you so much, Sherry!! I can say the same about you!! One of the first poems I read from you spoke so clearly to my heart...I always leave your place with a full and heart-fed feeling! ♥

  5. What an enlightening discussion, Sherry and Hannah. Really quite a fascinating form. I loved learning how it came about and all of the examples. I enjoyed this post very much. Thank you.

    1. Thank you to you, Mary! I'm so pleased that you found this enjoyable...thank you for being here. :)

  6. This was a much needed jolt of inspiration and energy on a very warm, lazy summer day! Thanks so much you two ....

    1. Thank you, Helen...what a compliment, I appreciate it!! :)

  7. What an interesting form Hannah ~ The premise of the poem full of possibilities, probably an endless list ~

    Thanks Sherry for sharing the conversation ~

    1. Yes, I agree, Grace!! Endless indeed! Thank you so much for reading today!! :)

  8. It was truly my pleasure. I got pretty excited about this form. It's kind of cool, each of these chats has arisen from email chats I was having with the poet when the light would suddenly dawn and I'd go "this would make a really cool chat!" Each one has happened just this way.

    1. We're blessed by your endeavors, Sherry!! Thank you again! ♥

  9. Such a genius idea - this form! It feels so easy to control the poem's flow, and in the same time - no control here, just a description of 'the statement'. And one more thing, which make it feels for me like innovation - feeling of present,fleeting nature of time. Thank you, Hannah and Sherry for highlighting this form for me! Very inspiring!

    1. I'm so thrilled you are drawn into this and I appreciate your compliments! I had such a fun time bringing this form to life and I love the way you've described it...thank you!!

  10. I specially like those moments of inspiration that go into making these poems that have their own identity revealing personal and universal at the same time...the new form seemed to me to be a slow meditative process of artistic creation and meticulous all the examples of this new form Hannah and THANKS Sherry for this brilliant post :)

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful words here, Sumana. I love this, "poems that have their own identity revealing personal and universal at the same time," yes, that feels so true. Thank you for being here!!

  11. Im not sure if my first comment posted or not ... But Hannah i never came across this form of your poem before.... I really enjoyed reading this .... Thank you Sherry for sharing with us.... Love

    1. I'm glad that you're here and getting to see it now, Arushi!! I hope that it inspires and thank you greatly for visiting this chat today!!

  12. What an interesting process took place to create this form. This was a very enlightening interview. Hannah you're a great thinker. You too Sherry. Thanks to both.

    1. Wow...I really appreciate that, Myrna...such a gracious compliment...thank you for reading!!

  13. Thank you Sherry for this wonderful interview.
    It's nice meeting you Hannah and to learn about how these beautiful poems are born..I loved the new form of poetry you have created.. Thank you for sharing it. Good luck to you..

    1. This has been a blessing and a treasure...I'm so glad I got the chance to share this with poetic friends. Thank you for the luck and for being here to join us today!! :)

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. A truly inspiring interview, enlivened by all the poetic examples. I enjoyed reading the poems again in single-spaced blocks, as I tend to lose the thread in a double-spaced poem - my fault, not Hannah's!

  16. I love your form-so touching and beautiful! I love the idea of thoughts being like a photo-capturing a memory~ Congrats, Hannah-thank you for sharing your gift with us!
    I love your poems and can't wait for your book!


This community is not meant to be used in a negative manner. We ask that you be respectful of all the people on this site as each individual writer is entitled to their own opinion, style, and path to creativity.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Archive