Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 Poetry Challenge

C. J. Laity, editor of CRAM invited poems on the subject of writing poetry for issue 11. Below are three poems from that journal, each with a different take on the subject. Marilyn Peretti objected to the sometimes arbitrary rules imposed by teachers of poetry and members of critique groups. Pamela Larson reacted to rejections that poets so often receive, expressing her thoughts in a villanelle. Michelle Brinckerhoff wrote with tongue in cheek about "the dangers of dating a poet."

Poetry Mistakes?

To the writer who says
we poets must not use that,
I say that it is perfectly acceptable,
for that which is written in my poems
is all that one could want.

And to the poetry counselor
who advises that we must not
repeat words, I write and write
to find a way to tell her that here
is the way one can do that,
here is the freedom plane of
line breaks and stanzas where
truth inevitably belies arbitrary rules.

The muse is a sprite, a mischief-
maker who jumps to conclusions and
leaps to tipsy ideas, leaving the novel
in the dust, plants prepositions at
line-ends, hones the skills of delicious art
never to return again, inspiring then
hiding, to escape the harsh tongue of
the anti-muse.

~ Marilyn Peretti

The Poet’s Hell
(Via Villanelle)

Thank you for sending us your poetry
These words I always receive when they write
a rejection, worded so politely.

Send us your poems, three or four, they plead.
I run to the box to mail them that night.
Thank you for sending us your poetry.

For months at a time I wait patiently
for letters that read, ‘It wasn’t quite right”—
a rejection, worded so politely.

But On I will go with persistency
emailing attachments through cyber flight.
Thank you for sending us your poetry.

Someday I will win, so says history,
but meanwhile I suffer the poet’s plight—
a rejection, worded so politely.

My duty: submit with consistency,
even though this just seems to invite
Thank you for sending us your poetry—
a rejection, worded so politely.

~ Pamela Larson

Dangers of Dating a Poet

One day it might end.
You realize you are not paranoid—
a writer does not recognize the profane.
Every fight or tender moment between you might now
be immortalized in a poem you have
not given your consent to.
You could be reading something by
your now ex-lover and realize she
is holding you up too closely to the light.
Your personality is a persona and you
are trapped on the page. There is no voice
of rebuttal (unless you are a poet yourself
and you don’t need this poem to know what
you signed on for in the beginning.)

But if your ex-lover once swore off poetry—
don’t believe her. She will always return to it.
It is in her blood.
A necessary exorcism to express
what she’s eaten. Intimate moments are
never declared too difficult to digest.

~ Michelle Brinckerhoff

Poets whose poems are published on this blog retain copyright on their work. Do not copy and distribute the poems without permission of the authorsl

Write a poem about writing poetry or being a poet. Your poem can be free verse or formal. If you use a form, please specify what form you are using.

Submit only one poem. Poems published on the Internet are not eligible. Poems in print journals or books are eligible, if you hold the copyright and include publication data.  Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be published on this blog if it is a winner.

Please left-justify your poem and put your name at the bottom. Send a short bio with the poem so it can be posted if your poem wins. Submit your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net by January 15, 2015. Poems received after that date will not be considered.

CRAM has been replaced by a fine new publication, edited by C. J. Laity,  The Journal of Modern Poetry. You can read about this journal and how to submit your work at

Blog copyright by Wilda Morris