Monday, October 1, 2018

October Poetry Challenge - Your Favorite Month

"June is mine" ~ Carolyn Bailey     Photo by Wilda Morris




Here in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn officially started on September 22, a little over a week ago. I love the autumn months. I think October is my favorite month, though May comes in a close second. Each part of the year has its own beauties and its own challenges. What is your favorite time of year? Can you narrow it down to one favorite month?

Last Friday evening at Nature at the Confluence in South Beloit, Illinois, I participated in a reading of poems from a brand new book of nature poems published by the Natural Land Institute (https://www.naturalland.org/). Carolyn Bailey got a lot of appreciative chuckles from the audience as she read her poem about the month of June.

The Abduction of June

I’ve decided to take the month of June.
   The rest of you can have July through May,
   but June is mine.
   June, when birdsong lilts the air
   and the weeds pull easily, when
   wind is a breath and wet grass is warm.
You can parcel the others among you.
   May, for instance, when violets emerge
   and ferns uncurl, is quite a bit like June.
I’ll keep June, when the air is fragrant
   with the scent of peonies and roses.
Some of you might like July, hot enough
   to ripen bananas overnight, and humid enough to curl hair.
I’ll stay in June, hunting butter-colored iris
   wild by the river.
August is up for grabs, when marigolds bloom
   and bats nip mosquitos at twilight.
Back in June, I’ll be watching the robin weave
   her nest on the porch light.
The fall months can go to you who like leaves
   in hot colors…raking them and bagging them.
As for me, I like the green leaves of June
   and the breeze that sways the branches
   without dropping a single leaf.
All of you cozy-by-the-fire people can have
   the winter months, sharing of course,
   with the sledders and the skiers.
   There’s plenty for all. The winter months
   go on and on and on.
I think it’s not too much to ask
   for this one little month, when I’m
   leaving you eleven others.
I’m taking it anyway. It’s mine:
   the reed call of doves, soft air
   like cobwebs on my skin and
   the sun bright enough, finally,
   to bleach the laundry.

~ Carolyn Bailey


This poem is from Natural Voices: Celebrating Nature With Opened Eyes (Rockford, IL: Natural Land Institute, 2018), p. 3.

As Carolyn finished reading the poem, I immediately thought it would make a wonderful prompt poem, and she graciously gave me permission to use it.


The October Challenge:

So what is your favorite month, and how might you turn you love for that month into a poem that others would enjoy reading and/or hearing read? That is the challenge for October.

Your piece may be free verse or formal. If you use a form, please identify the form when you submit your poem.

Title your poem unless it is a form that does not use titles. Single-space and don’t use lines that are overly long (because the blog format doesn’t accommodate long lines). Read previous poems on the blog to see what line lengths can be accommodated.

You may submit a published poem if you retain copyright, but please include publication data. This applies to poems published in books, journals, newspapers, or on the Internet.

The deadline is October 15. Poems submitted after the deadline will not be considered. There is no charge to enter, so there are no monetary rewards; however winners are published on this blog. Please don’t stray too far from “family-friendly” language (some children read this blog). No simultaneous submissions, please. You should know by the end of the month whether or not your poem will be published on this blog. Decision of the judge or judges is final.

The poet retains copyright on each poem. If a previously unpublished poem wins and is published elsewhere later, please give credit to this blog. I do not register copyright with the US copyright office, but by US law, the copyright belongs to the writer unless the writer assigns it to someone else.

If the same poet wins three months in a row (which has not happened thus far), he or she will be asked not to submit the following two months.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send one poem only to wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for “dot”). Put “October Poetry Challenge Submission” in the subject line of your email. Include a brief bio that can be printed with your poem if you are a winner this month. Please put your name and bio UNDER the poem in your email.

Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name (exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win) at the end of the poem.

Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment (no pdf files, please). Please do not indent the poem or center it on the page. It helps if you submit the poem in the format used on the blog (Title and poem left-justified; title in bold (not all in capital letters); your name at the bottom of the poem). Also, please do not use multiple spaces instead of commas in the middle of lines. I have no problem with poets using that technique (I sometimes do it myself). However I have difficulty getting the blog to accept and maintain extra spaces.

Poems shorter than 40 lines are generally preferred but longer poems will be considered.


Bio:
Carolyn Bailey was born in Southern California, but moved to the Midwest when she married a man from Rockford, Illinois. Sixty years of living in the Midwest have taught her to appreciate the gift of its seasons.

© Wilda Morris


Sunday, September 30, 2018

September Challenge - Math Poem Winners

Photo by Silvia Corradin


The September Poetry Challenge was for poems related to mathematics and/or arithmetic. There were a number of clever entries. Congratulations to the first place winner, Marina Manoukian, and to the second place winners, Deetje J. Wildes and Kristin Procter. The three poems are very different. The  judge was Linda Wallin, whose poem was used in the previous post.

We will start with the second place poems.


Measuring Marigolds

I recall the inchworm song.
Sang it with a friend years ago.
Two and two are four,
Four and four are eight, 
Eight and eight are sixteen .  .  .

Today
I measure time.
The year I graduated.
The year I met my husband.
Our fiftieth anniversary.
The day he died.

by Deetje J. Wildes

The judge liked the turn in this poem, which gave it emotional punch.


Love and Arithmetic
(a Fibonacci Poem)

What
can
numbers
possibly
teach a poet’s heart?
What good is eleven in love?

- Kristin Procter

The judge felt that this poem made good use of the form, in which the number of syllables per line is determined by the Fibonacci sequence.


The winning poem is presented as a series of equations which, as Linda Wallin says, do a good job of describing an important aspect of the human condition. Here it is:

How to stop asking about variables and instead notice function

1. If x = the earth
1a. x² = the earth spinning on its own axis

2. And y = the sun
2a. xy = the earth orbiting the sun

3. And x² + xy = the seasons

4. Then f (x² + xy) = how we change with the seasons.

~ Marina Manoukian


Each poet whose work is published on this blog retains rights to his or her own poem.

Bios:
Marina Manoukian is a reader and writer living in Berlin. Working towards a Master of English Philology, she likes bees and loves honey. Find more of her work at marinamanoukian.com

Kristin Procter lives in Massachusetts, where she collaborates on workshops and open mics for motherwriters. Her writing has been published in Mom Egg Review3Elements, and Understory, as well as in anthologies.

Deetje J. Wildes is an enthusiastic member of Western Wisconsin Christian Writers Guild. She enjoys making music and experimenting with visual arts.

Check back tomorrow afternoon or evening for the October Challenge.

© Wilda Morris