Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2027 Poetry Challenge - Book Title Poetry

Kathy Lohrum Cotton won first place in the 2017 Book Spine Poems contest sponsored by the Carbondale, Illinois, Public Library, with this poem, “The Subject Tonight Is Love.”

Cotton also authored this poem, “Acts of Light,” which was published in the newsletter of the Illinois State Poetry Society, which she edits. 

Cotton issued a call for members of the society to submit their own Book Spine Poems. I decided to take up the challenge. Since haiku is traditionally untitled, I used a book entitled Haiku to identify the genre of my offering, which was published in the ISPS newsletter.

To “write” a Book Spine Poem, you need a camera of some kind (I used an iPad to photograph mine). If you have good photo software, you can trim yours better than my haiku (my photo software crashed). You may use books you own, or go to a library where you have a bigger choice of titles to choose from.

If you aren’t into photography, you can integrate book titles into a poem. For several days, I slept in a guest room that evidently doubled as a family library. I wrote the following prose poem which includes the names of 50 books, 49 of which are mysteries (The Girl Sleuth is a book about mysteries, not itself a mystery). Forty-nine of the books were on the shelves in the guest room. I had to throw in a Nancy Drew book, since that series got me interested in reading mysteries. I now suspect that it would be a better poem if I cut a few of the titles out!

After Reading Too Many Mysteries

It’s a hard truth we learn from wild horses at Deception Point, where we found blood from the stone near the twisted root. On the Day of the Dead, we decide to solve the murder at the Pottawatomi light, but have to deal with doctored evidence, hush money, road rage, birds of prey, the kiss of the bees, desert heat and even the girl with the dragon tattoo. We have much night work in a darker place. While other people sleep, we will listen to the silence; we shall not sleep. Children of the storm, we will follow the track of the cat, an endangered species. If the girl sleuth, whom we presumed innocent, is with child, we will face a firestorm; drive to the last precinct; learn if it was truly death in a tenured position and whether it was an acceptable loss. At dead midnight, we will enter locked rooms, turn seven dials, seek the secret of the old clock, check the arrangement of cards on the table. A flashback will give us total recall of all our yesterdays, including a cinnamon kiss, the falcon at the portal, and a dead madonna. We will develop a taste for death and leave with exit wounds.

~ Wilda Morris

This poem was published in Voices on the Wind (http://voicesonthewind.net/), November, 2013.

Kathy Lohrum Cotton is a southern Illinois poet and digital collage artist whose work appears in literary journals, anthologies, and poetry/art exhibits. She is the author of two chapbooks and the illustrated poetry collection, Deluxe Box of Crayons. Cotton serves on the boards of the Illinois State Poetry Society and National Federation of State Poetry Societies and is editor for three annual NFSPS poetry books.

The August Challenge:

The August Challenge is to submit a book title poem. It may be a Book Spine Poem or a “regular” poem with several book titles integrated into it.

Title your poem unless it is a form that does not use titles. If you use a form, please identify the form when you submit your poem. Unless you are submitting a Book Spine Poem, single-space and don’t use lines that are overly long (because the blog format doesn’t accommodate long lines).

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 August 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. 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.

Copyright on each poem is retained by the poet. If a previously unpublished poem wins and is published elsewhere later, please give credit to this blog.

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 “August Poetry Challenge Submission” in the subject line of your email. Include a brief bio which 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.

Book Spine Poems are to be submitted as jpeg files. 
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, or for a photo submission, in the email.

Book Spine Poems should be submitted as jpeg files.

If you submit a poem integrating the names of books into the poem, please add a note providing the titles of the books you used and identifying their authors. Word 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. 

Please do not indent or center your poem on the page, put it in a box or against a special background. 

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

© Wilda Morris