Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Writing Poetry

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
― Robert Frost

National Poetry Month Poster 2019
Art by tenth grader Julia Wang from San Jose, California, who has won the inaugural National Poetry Month Poster Contest. Wang’s artwork was selected by contest judges Naomi Shihab Nye and Debbie Millman . . . . It incorporates lines from the poem "An Old Story" by current U. S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.  
 Read more about Wang’s winning artwork.

“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.”

― Aristotle

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." 
 --William Wordsworth

Midweek Motif ~ Writing Poetry

Writing Poetry is what we do. Why?
According to Jane Hirshfeld: 
"One reason to write a poem is to flush from the deep thickets of the self some thought, feeling, comprehension, question, music, you didn’t know was in you, or in the world. Other forms of writing—scientific papers, political analysis, most journalism—attempt to capture and comprehend something known. Poetry is a release of something previously unknown into the visible. You write to invite that, to make of yourself a gathering of the unexpected and, with luck, of the unexpectable."   (Read the rest HERE.)

Is she right?  What is a poem? 

Your Challenge:  In a New poem, tell us Why Write Poetry? and/or What Is Poetry?  Consider limiting yourself to addressing one poem rather than generalizing.

Last Monday, Sherry gave us Poems of the Week ~ Three Poets on Poetry in which Sanaa, Rajani and Sumana answered that question.  Below I provide a few excerpts of the feature:

". . . sometimes it’s better to counsel with our hearts alone. 
I have found that pink buds are perfect within  
and destined to open. . . . "
In THE POET HAS GONE, Sumana notes: 
". . . Things of beauty,  
Scattered everywhere 
Like a Mary Oliver page- 
Yet there’s an uncanny calm . . . ."
And in JUST MATH, Rajani notes:
"Even Rumi, who could fit the entire
universe inside his poem, was yearning
for the grace of the Beloved. The universe
is not enough. . . ."

At the podium
measured and grave as a metronome
the (white, male) poet with bald-
gleaming head broods in gnom-
ic syllables on the death
of 12-year-old (black, male) Tamir Rice
shot in a park
by a Cleveland police officer
claiming to believe
the boy’s plastic pistol
was a “real gun”
like his own eager
to discharge and slay
while twelve feet away
at the edge
of the bright-lit stage
the (white, female) interpreter
signing for the deaf is stricken
with emotion —
horror, pity, disbelief —
outrage, sorrow —
young-woman face contorted
and eyes spilling tears
like Tamir Rice’s mother
perhaps, or the sister
made to witness
the child’s bleeding out
in the Cleveland park.
We stare
as the interpreter’s fingers
pluck the poet’s words out of the air
like bullets, break open stanzas
tight as conches with the deft
ferocity of a cormo-
rant and render gnome-speech
raw as hurt, as harm,
as human terror
wet-eyed and mouth-grimaced
in horror’s perfect O.
Rafael - El Parnaso (Estancia del Sello, Roma, 1511).jpg
The Parnassus: The whole room shows the four areas of human knowledge:
philosophy, religion, poetry and law, with 
The Parnassus representing poetry. 

by Rafael (1511)

Morn on her rosy couch awoke, 
   Enchantment led the hour, 
And mirth and music drank the dews 
   That freshen’d Beauty’s flower, 
Then from her bower of deep delight, 
   I heard a young girl sing, 
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry, 
   For ’tis a holy thing.’ 

The Sun in noon-day heat rose high, 
   And on the heaving breast, 
I saw a weary pilgrim toil 
   Unpitied and unblest, 
Yet still in trembling measures flow’d 
   Forth from a broken string, 
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry, 
   For ’tis a holy thing.’ 

’Twas night, and Death the curtains drew, 
   ’Mid agony severe, 
While there a willing spirit went 
   Home to a glorious sphere, 
Yet still it sigh’d, even when was spread
   The waiting Angel’s wing, 
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry, 
   For ’tis a holy thing.’

by Matt Haig



The Way

That when you

On their side
Look like
A long way
Made out

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
                (Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Temptation)


  1. Hello, Poets United: Happy poetry month and April! Have a good Wednesday and a great week.

    1. It is Chrome that won't let me post. Firefox seems to be doing just fine.

  2. Happy April, Susan!💞 I am hosting today as well over at Imaginary Garden and made it such so that my prompt would compliment yours! I hope you enjoy the poem. Love and hugs!💞

  3. I was convinced that I was going to be too tired to write for this one. Then the words did what they do... and sprouted.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration, Susan.

    Have a great day, everyone.

  4. What a great topic. I love the Joyce Carol Oates poem, as well as the skyscrapers made out of words. Thanks, Susan.

  5. Susan I enjoyed your poem about writing poetry. I want you to know, I cannot comment on your post? I do not know why? Maybe you have blocked me? Or something else?

    1. Hmm. No, I hven't blocked anyone. Are you using Google Chrome? It stopped letting me post last week!

  6. I forgot to say, this has been going on for some time....

  7. A challenging prompt Susan. Thanks for all the wonderful poetry you cite.
    I'll be back to read in a while.

  8. That student's poster is rather wonderful!!!

  9. A wonderful prompt Susan. Glad to have made it this week. Sometimes I just cannot get here. Love the Skyscrapers poem. :-)

  10. Here I am 23 minutes past Wednesday. Hope everyone had a good Wednesday. Sahara Dust still terrorizing us here in T&T

    much love...

  11. I'm a bit late again. The weeks seem to get busier and busier; besides writing poems for NaPoWriMo I'm preparing to visit my daughter. If I don't get around to reading and commenting tonight or tomorrow, don't despair, I will read and comment on the train on Saturday!


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