Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Poem Spark Oct. 30-Nov. 6 - Spooky Poems


Because today is the day before Halloween, I think it is fitting that we dedicate this week's spark to our favorite spooky poems. The first piece of poetry that I remember as spooky was from Shakespeare's Macbeth:
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

It still brings a chill to my spine. Such ominousness! There are so many more, and a great place to begin to read them is on Poets.org's front page: Poems in the Graveyard. From there it's only a short click to this next page: The Graves of Poets.

I read the list of poets and their gravesites. Surely the spookiest is that of Hart Crane, "Drowned while returning to New York from Mexico, Body not recovered." Of course, I clicked his page link and found this gem of a poem, At Melville's Tomb. How fitting! Here are the first few lines:
Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

Almost prescient, these words. Did Crane know where his death would find him? Perhaps.

This week's spark: write a spooky poem. Simple enough, yes? Or, if you cannot bear the walk into darkness, post a link to your favorite spooky poem (title and author if there is no link). Good luck! Happy hunting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Busy, busy

Blogging has been scarce lately because I've been very busy with Real Life. My sister is opening a store: Deborah's Interiors and Gifts, and has asked me for some prints of my photos to sell. Opening day is Friday, and we're all very excited (and insanely busy).

The Guardian's Poetry Workshop

I'm thrilled that another of my poems has appeared on the Guardian's Poetry Workshop shortlist. This workshop's theme on ekphrasis was written by Amy Newman. Checkout my poem, How to perceive red, and Newman's comments here: Words on pictures.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Poem Spark Oct. 16-23 - the Poet's Poem

Greetings and Salutations!

Every day, once my house has sighed quietly in the wake of two kids gone to school and the tea in my cup begins to paint the air with ephemeral threads of steam, my thoughts turn to poetry. How can I describe this silence? What does it mean to spend time reading poems? What is the Spotlight Poem today on Poets.org?

Inevitably, I put these thoughts away in order to go about my day, but I always hope I can find a few minutes to jot down a phrase or two that might grow into a poem with enough care and attention. This is important to me, but I'm not sure why. What is it that makes me want to collect words? Why do poets love to play with language? The answers are as many and varied as there are poems in the world.

Here is an essay by Amy Lowell that speaks about The Poet's Trade. In this short piece, she outlines her belief that a poem must be crafted, "As a matter of fact, the poet must learn his trade in the same manner, and with the same painstaking care, as the cabinet-maker." Another poem written by Heather McHugh, begins as a narrative about poets traveling and follows them as they speculate about poetry and its root meaning: What He Thought. It is in the end of the poem where a greater meaning becomes surprisingly apparent to the reader. Poetry seems to spring not out of craft, but from a spontaneous gift on the part of the writer.

Your task this week is to write a poem about writing a poem, or about what it means to be a poet, or about how it feels to be inspired. Write a poet's poem. Write a poem that only another writer will truly understand, but try to do it in a way that invites the non-writer into the poet's world.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

Thomas Lux Render, Render

Harryette Mullen All She Wrote

Charles Bukowski so you want to be a writer?

Richard Wilbur The Writer

Have fun. Be creative. Good luck! I leave you with this quote from this page on the Poets.org website, various quotes from On Poetry and Craft: Selected Prose of Theodore Roethke.

Theodore Roethke wrote:
"You must believe: a poem is a holy thing -- a good poem, that is."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How to ride a bicycle

Examine the sublime black
of the road: how it steers
the bike as if grooved,
through a cup
of warm air.
Bow over the drops,
tuck elbows and knees
above the sweet flex
of aluminum
and soon the leaves
cracked with autumn
will wish they could
fly too.

© 2005 Christine Klocek-Lim