Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Poetry Challenge Winners

The December Poetry Challenge was to write a letter in poetry to someone who has been gone from your life for at least a decade. I sent four poems to Jared Smith and asked him to pick the winner or winners. Here is part of his response:

“These poems are so far above the normal standards of poetry--so attuned with the individual, honest and unposed nature of the authors--that they ring out with their own unique visions and nature. The images, line lengths, metrics, and tone are perfectly crafted in each of the poems. What this demonstrates--and it is very important to understanding contemporary poetry--is that if one writes with true, deeply felt intensity and the feeling that the words in a poem really do matter--then that poem finds the "craft" that it should have...what the editor of The New York Quarterly, William Packard, defined as "organic" form. With further explication, what this means is that every emotion or state of mind one goes through has its own "natural" emotion and metrics of thought: and the very best poets can find and recapture that metric of thought and put it down on paper when they write. As Ted Kooser has said, placing a poem within any standardized form may be difficult and one has to have the control over language to be able to do so, but it is like putting eggs in an egg carton. It is harder to look at the infinity of words and images one has to work with--like Michelangelo looking at an uncut slab of marble--and then draw the vision or the poem out of it.”

Jared Smith declared a four-way tie for first place. I think you will find these poems moving, too. Congratulations to Judith Tullis, Mary Cohutt, Peggy Trojan and Gail Goepfert. Their poems are presented here in the order in which they were received.

If you are a poet, and did not have time to try the December prompt, this might encourage you to give it a try one of these days!


I wanted to brush your red hair
and wish for the millionth time it were mine

to look in your dark eyes
and be glad I have them too

to have your smile land on me
and feel the warmth

to make you laugh
and be filled with the joy of it

to take your arm and help you walk
the way you did for me so long ago

to reminisce about the times good and bad
that only we have shared

to hold your hand while we compared
the thrill of romance, the ache of lost love, the loneliness of widowhood.

But I could only release you from the place that stinks of age and pain
and carry you to the hallowed ground of your family.

~ Judith Tullis

To My Brother

I remember our wagon of sun-faded red
With wheels that wobbled and bowed
We were short-shadowed seekers
On long winding lanes
Our newly found treasures in tow

I see our new bikes
Yours red, mine blue
With the store shine glint on the bars
Sunny day summers, with wind in our hair
Like birds on the wing we flew

Springs turned to summers
Summers to falls
Winters completed the turns
We lived to life’s music, high notes and low
Shoulder to shoulder through all

The darkness that came
With the fading of light
Was a shade pulled on what I’d held dear
My colors were dimmed, my music was stilled
No respite lay in sight

and I wondered…
just where…had you gone…

but then…

The sun’s on my face like warm molten gold
The wind whispers your name through the trees
A robin takes flight in a sky of deep blue
And flowers gift colors to me

Clouds roll and cast shadows
On hills painted in hues
Of purples and deepest green
My skin is caressed by an angel wing breeze
And I envision all that’s unseen

And then…I smiled…
for I knew…

You’re still pulling our wagon
You’re riding your bike
You’re holding your first born son
You’re drawing your first breath
Releasing your last
You are He
He is All
All is One

~ Mary Cohutt


After ninety-three years,
we reversed roles.
Remember? You were brought
to the table and sat waiting.
It was right before you gave up
eating all together,
putting your arm across your mouth
to make the point.
You were agreeable,
smiling and patient.
I was the one mashing the food
and feeding you cheerfully,
coaxing you to take
just one more bite.
I had assumed that I would do
the works you didn’t have time
to finish….sorting your photos,
publishing your journal,
doling out your treasures.

In a flash, I realized you were also
giving me Pa,
though we had competed
for his attention
almost seventy years.
The look on your face
I had waited for all my life,
that trust, and adoration.

~ Peggy Trojan

Dear Aunt Nernie,

I think the secrets
sprouted from good intention—
parents, grandparents, protecting.

Unease filled my plate
and followed my food down my throat
each time grandma and grandpa
rose from the table
and led you from the room
without a word
in the middle of mashed potatoes
and homemade applesauce.

Grandma saw the signs
that something was amiss
and rushed you to a backroom
while cold lumps, each one a question
congealed on the china before me.

Years later, I realize you felt shame
not knowing what happened--
during epileptic episodes
beyond your control.

I’m sorry I didn’t know more,
have the words to comfort,
but I’m sure I didn’t mind so much
that you smelled of Noxzema
that the hair on your upper lip,
half-plucked, bristled
my cheek when I kissed you goodnight.

~ Gail Goepfert

Copyright of individual poems remains with the authors.

Check back at the beginning of January for a new challenge.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 2010 Poetry Challenge

Many times since the death of my grandmother I have wished I could sit down with her and talk as we used to talk. There are questions I wish I had asked her, and things I would like to tell her. I’d like to discuss some of the ways she impacted my life, tell her about some of the decisions I made, and introduce her to my children and grandchildren (none of whom had the privilege of meeting her). Some day maybe I’ll write her a letter. It would be especially appropriate for me to write the letter as a poem, since my grandmother loved poetry. One of the main reasons I was attracted to poetry is that she recited poems to me from memory, and also wrote a few poems of her own.

Jared Smith has authored at least six books of poetry, and has had his work adapted for the stage at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, as well as in the Chicago Suburbs. He has served as a screener, board member, and advisory board member of The New York Quarterly and as poetry editor of Trail & Timberline.

Smith says it took him thirty years to find the right words and the time to write the following poem, addressed to his father. The lines do not appear quite as they do in Smith’s book, because he writes in longer lines than this blog permits. Consequently, I have double spaced the lines and let the longer lines fold into the next line. Those spaces thus are the line breaks. Where Smith put a stanza break, I’ve put two blank spaces, to distinguish it from a line break. Also, in the published version, the title appears farther to the left on the page than the rest of the poem.


your grandson is struck sterile

among choices you have left behind.

The compass that carried you through Eagle Scouts is gone;

the badges worn across your chest, dust like the degree from Harvard.

I am a cold point beneath the winter sky,

a dust mote upon a string played obbligato between galaxies,

and soon enough there will be no mountain meadows

for your descendents to walk among.

Darkness burns away on the wings of a moth

flaring itself into a place you have come to know.

The maples I climbed on have gone,

with no more power in their roots to shade your window.

The driveway I carried your suitcase along that last day

has been blacktopped three times that I know

and the weeping cherry you never knew was planted

by my son whom you never knew

and dwarfs a house on the other side of town.

You knew the lady slippers and May apples,

showed me where tiger salamanders lay beneath logs,

called ground cover by all its varied names

spoke 16 languages and read from the books of the dead,

strode with an urgency through urban forests

and took the train to work each day. Tickets, getting

tickets please. Sandwiches in paper bags.

The aurora borealis blows through the cells of my bone,

igniting them so that they are torn apart and scattered in the solar wind.

What was it that you wanted to achieve? Why

did we wear our tight shirt collars to expensive hotels

or spend long years sweating our fears into foreign sheets?

I am older now than you were on that day

when you lay down in a blueberry patch and died

on vacation beneath a Minnesota sky.

After the stroke, we had three days before you rose,

and the light in your eyes seemed to go on forever without finding words.

In listening ever since among the stars, I have been paralyzed

and have raised flawed children who are as wise as you

with no desire to pass it on.

~ Jared Smith

© Jared Smith. From pages 4-5,

You can purchase Jared Smith’s latest book, Grassroots, from

There is a review of Grassroots at

Other books by Jared Smith:

Lake Michigan And Other Poems

Looking Into The Machinery: The Selected Longer Poems Of Jared Smith

Walking the Perimeters of the Plate Glass Factory

The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations

The December 2010 Poetry Challenge

The challenge for December is to write a poem as a letter to someone who has been physically gone from your life for at least a decade, but still impacts your life. You may write in free verse or in form. If you use a form,specify the form you are using.

The deadline is December 15, 2010.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you can access my Facebook page and send the poem in a message. Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is December 15. Copyright on poems is retained by their authors.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

November Challenge Winners

It was difficult to judge the November poems - there were a number of excellent submissions. The two winners are both free verse, but written in very different styles. Congratulations to Mary Cohutt and Jean Waggoner! Mary took a scientific concept with which most people are familiar and lets us view some ways it plays out through the seasons. There may not be anything in the poem we did not already know, but her images help us see gravity in new ways. Jean's poem, on the other hand, may teach many of us something as we read about two related trees.


A single plump raindrop
Gathering its friends
As it travels the curve of an umbrella
Then hangs like a tear on a lash
Before its watery free-fall

Late blooming tulips
Of red and yellow
Drop petals
One by one
Weaving a carpet of color
For daisies to come

Mini-bomb acorns
And leaves of umber and gold
Travel to land
In their singular style
Coming to rest in fragrant beds of pine

Crystals of white
In their slow silent dance
From a steel-washed sky
Blanket the ground
With a casual grace

And I....?
I wander and witness
Each step firmly fixed
For earth calls each of us to her

~ Mary Cohutt

Two Fabaceae

Asia Minor’s acacia is praised in song,
Akasya Kolulu Sabahlarlinda,
“Acacia-Perfumed Mornings.”
Taller than Bosporus roofs, bristling
and swooshing in high summer winds,
It drinks modestly of autumn rains,
thriving in earth starved of nutrients,
yet graciously hosting the bulbul’s nest
amid a sweet pea scent
so redolent of green Byzantium.

Its cousin, Southwest mesquite,
so much smaller in leaf and twig,
sequesters debris from its windy terrain,
and savors a crush of agave at its roots.
A dusty vaquero of high chaparral,
it repels avian histrionics with a forbidding
scratch of thorns and cook-fire brush,
while the flavor it imparts to barbecue
insinuates a deadly carcinogen
into biped carnivores’ meals.

Both arbors are Fabaceae,
subfamily Mimosoideae --
Fabaceae, Mimosoideae,
Mimosoideae, Fabaceae --
and here’s the rub: while
both engender beans;
one is host to the nightingale,
the other a repellent shrub.

~ Jean Waggoner

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 2010 Poetry Challenge

Science plays an important role in modern societies, as do many of the phenomena which scientists attempt to describe and understand. Sometimes we may be tempted to think everything that can be known is known, but biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and the other sciences keep evolving. The wedding of science and poetry can create very interesting results.

Larry Turner’s sonnet, “Biology Class: Her High-School Teacher is Filled with Certainty (1985)” is part of a small chapbook entitled The Girl with Blue-Eyed Parents (Fredericksburg VA: 2001). This collection has ten poems, all about Susan and her family. Two of the poems, including “Biology Class,” were reprinted in Turner’s later collection, Eden and Other Addresses.

Biology Class: Her High-School Teacher is Filled with Certainty (1985)

Another student, Tim, lifts up his hand.
“You talk of dominant, recessive genes,
And which is which, but I don’t understand.”
The teacher speaks, “I’ll tell you what it means.
Since brown is dominant, if parents’ eyes
Are brown, their child’s can still be blue.
From blue-eyed parents never will arise
A brown-eyed child. That should be clear to you.”
Then Susan says, “I mean you no defiance.
But sometimes when the parents’ eyes are blue…?”
“No. Never could that be. We’re talking science.
What science says is absolutely true.”
Stifling sobs, she turns her young face down,
And tears flow from her eyes of deepest brown.

~ Larry Turner

Used by Permission of the author. From Eden and Other Addresses (West Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing Company, 2005), p. 55.

Turner, a retired physicist who worked many years at Argonne National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy lab run by the University of Chicago) drew on the science of genetics for “Biology Class.”

The next poem, “Inertia,” is by Robert M. Chute, Professor Emeritus of Biology at Bates College. For this poem, Chute draws on a theory from physics. The collection in which it appears has poems dealing with chaos, chance and randomness. Evolution, quantum theory and geology inspired Chute to write some of the poems. Ants and homing pigeons appear together in one poem; the human heartbeat and a mating Mayfly, in another. Chute reveals in the introduction that he goes to the periodical section of the library not to read Poetry, but to read the British periodical, Nature (and its North American cousin, Science). It was difficult to select just one poem from his book, Reading Nature.


It doesn’t take a Newton
to know nor a Sartre to see
how my life might go if
the universe were frictionless,
if I were free—a little push
and then eternity.

~ Robert M. Chute

Reading Nature (Topsham ME: Just Write Books, 2006), p. 14.

Permission granted by the publisher and the poet, Robert M. Chute.
To buy the book:

Robin Chapman, Professor Emerita of Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has won a number of awards for her poetry, including the Posner Poetry Award for her collection, The Way In, and the 2007 Cider Press Review Book Award for Abundance. Julien Clinton Sprott, a plasma Physicist, at UW-Madison, is the author of hundreds of papers on such topics as chaos, fractals and complexity. He has also published as several books. Chute is also known for his video series, Wonders of Physics, a total of 22 hours of programming.

At UW-Madison, Chapman and Sprott partnered in a weekly interdisciplinary Chaos and Complex Systems Seminar, in which many colleagues participated over the years. Topics taken up ranged from chaos in plasma and the spots on buckeye butterflies to chaotic compositions for string quartets and the dynamics of happiness. The seminar led to collaboration on a book filled with Sprott’s stunning computer-generated images that follow from chaotic attractors and dynamical systems along side Chapman’s arresting poems, inspired by the seminar, Sprott’s images and scientific theories. The authors help the scientific layperson by including definitions of such terms as dynamical system, attractor, bifurcation and entropy. However, you don’t have to understand fractals to appreciate the beauty of Sprott’s images, nor do you have to be a Ph.D. scientist to appreciate Chapman’s poems in this amazing coffee table book.

Dynamical Systems

What’s not changing in time?
The glass in the window pane
sags slowly, the sunlight
streams through the glass, the cat
washes her face with her paw,
the house gathers dust motes,
the geraniums we brought in
before frost take root and flower.
Outside, a wind is blowing the leaves about.
The universe we once thought steady-state
is flying apart. Inside, we are waltzing,
laughing, to the music of the nickelharppe.
And you, reader, anchored by gravity
and oxygen and eye, thinking now
of the sky full of stars, dancing, house repairs –
what strange, unpredictable pattern is yours?

~ Robin Chapman

Used by permission of the author. From Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos, by Robin Chapman and Julien Clinton Sprott (World Scientific, 2005), p. 4.

A different kind of collaboration led to Two Off Q: a conversation in poetry, by June Nirschl, a retired English teacher, and Judy Roy, retired from careers as a psychologist and then as a French teacher. Two Off Q received an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award from the Wisconsin Library Association.

Many of us have tried to understand what we have heard about string theory, and have contemplated what it might mean in practical terms. Judy Roy put her thoughts into a very interesting poem which takes us from contemplation of her parents and grandmother to a surprise ending.

String Theory

Physics proposes seven or perhaps eleven
dimensions which may mean that you,
Mother, around an unseen corner,
are dusting the very toby jugs
which I have just dusted. Daddy
is once again, or still,
smoking his pipe and reading Life magazine,
stretched out on the green couch
which I gave to Goodwill years ago.
Grandma is adding a pinch of lemon peel to her cake batter,
and I, aged four, am sitting on Grandpa’s lap
during a WWII air-raid drill,
all of us trailing strings which vibrate
in a celestial music which one of us hopes
may be God’s voice, singing.

~ Judy Roy

Used by permission of the author. Two Off Q: A Conversation in Poetryby June Nirschl and Judy Roy (Marshfield WI: Marsh River Editions, 2008), p. 13.

Other unions of science and poetry:

* Judith Strasser’s collection, winner of the 2006 Lewis-Clark Expedition Award from Lewis-Clark Press, The Reason/Unreason Project.

* Kurt Brown, ed., Verse & Universe: Poems About Science and Mathematics

* Roald Hoffmann (Nobel Prize Chemist), Gaps and Verges (Contemporary Poetry Series)

* Song of the World Becoming: Poems, New and Collected, 1981-2001
* Kimiko Hahn, Toxic Flora: Poems

* “Science Experiment,” from Breaking the Mapby Kim-An Lieberman.

* I Marveled at How Generally I Was Aided,” from The Best of It: New and Selected Poemsby Kay Ryan.

* “String Theory,” from Broken Strings, Missing Notes: ...Strengthening Democracy and Seeking Justice inby Larry J. Eriksson. Republished in Peninsula Pulse at

* Ronald Wallace, “String Theory,” Redactions (2009).

* Website of the Center for Poetry and Science, University of Liverpool, at

The November Poetry Challenge

The poetry challenge for November is to write a poem related to, responding to or reacting to, a scientific theory or principle. You may write a formal poem or free verse. The deadline is November 15, 2010.

Poems published in books or on the Internet are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you can access my Facebook page and send the poem in a message. Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is November 15. Winning poem or poems will be published on this blog.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 2010 Challenge Winners

The October challenge was a popular one. There were more entries than any previous two months combined. The poems, including the four printed below demonstrate that the prompt, to write a poem on the subject, “where I come from,” can inspire an interesting poem regardless of the poet’s cultural context.

The poems were judged by Barbara Eaton, Vice President of the Illinois State Poetry Society and Contest Chair for Poets & Patrons of Chicago. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She teaches part time at the College of DuPage and serves as a dramaturg for the First Folio Shakespeare Company in Oak Brook, Illinois. She picked winners for first, second, and third place and, as we discussed the poems together, we agreed to add a fourth place winner.

Note that two of the lines in the fourth place poem, "I Come from the Grace of a Farm," were too long for the blog format and folded onto the next line. Also, the uncapitalized lines in the third place poem, "Maddening," should be indented. Unfortunately, I am not able to indent on this blog.

The poem has some rich images and an ending which fits very well. It was one of several poems with rural backgrounds.

I Come From the Grace of a Farm

Small hands lie gently over a trembling sparrow trapped in the barn window
Fragrant hay dust dances in the shaft of sunlight
The low bellow of steer and muffled stomp of cows
Accompany the flutter of the sparrow’s wings as I release her to the day
I am witness to her flight

I walk, knee deep in color
Daisies tickle my fingertips
Indian paintbrushes flutter their reds and golds to the wind
Buttercups tell me their story
I gather them to me

Bare feet on sun-warmed stone
Rock hopping the length of a friendly creek
Lacy sprays from tiny waterfalls make my toes dance
The swift sound of clear running water
I listen to its traveling song

Sleepy heat from a wood stove
The dinner time clink of crockery
My drink still warm from the milking
Head bowed, words spoken,
I eat

A tin roof worn smooth with time
A rising wind and maple branch lullaby
Sun dried bedding
A soft edged quilt
I sleep

~ Mary Cohutt

Third place goes to “Maddening,” which the judge said “has great images and imagination.” There is a haunting quality about it.


I am the ripped out pages and calendar leaves
I am husband and socks, office and bamboo
I am burst-open white iris, roadside apparitions
I am unwound watches behind the mirror
jasmine and bridal veil blooming
I am only a voice, only the skin of an all-night city

I was half-way night to nightmare
wicked days, poised on the edge of stagnation
the mattress on the curb, stained
the trash men, diapers and melon rinds
ground together, I was the unpaved road
and the hand I held so like mine

I am inflamed passage of bronchial tubes
the garden bed shriveling
morning dull and ill fitting clothes

It is only the person I cannot call
I am calling out in prayers nailed to doors
I lie down soft, it hurts to lie at all
it’s my unkissed mouth,
I hang beyond the confession of not this again
it’s thin wonder in the cul-de-sac
all the eggs in my basket of how can I

~ Ann-Marie Madden Irwin

The second place poem has an interesting and appropriate title and an especially strong ending.

Yin and Yang

When I was little, Dad explained to me
the meaning of my name: the first character,
firm on the ground; the next two,
dazzling vermilion. Thus, a land
under the reflection of a red sun.

When I grew up, I learned
how he, with a deep-rooted
southern accent, pronounced land
as green, that sets off the rebirth
of flowers in a bird chirping spring
along thousand miles of the Yangtze River.

Now, the red and green swim
side by side like two fish, head to tail
in a globe, where I see
moonrise and sunset,
west wind chasing east rain,
and rivers embracing mountains.

~ Lucy Lu

“Golf Clubs and Hugs” was chosen as the first place winner in part because it was so well integrated and coherent. The poet made excellent use of repetition; when a word or phrase was repeated, the context often changed just enough to make it interesting. The ending of the poem circles back to the mother’s hands and the father’s golf clubs, both of which played a part in the first stanza.

Golf Clubs and Hugs

I am from the bleached-out hands of a mother
whose slap started my wail to wanting
hugs from a father whose hands held a golf club
and ignored my mother.

I am from the tired womb of too many daughters
who spit us out for wanting
hugs from a father whose hands held a golf club
for his sons and ignored the daughters.

I am from a land of oranges and roses,
where the white hairs played with the brown skins
and my father held a golf club and a drink,
while we ran for candy to Prontos,
our cheeks full of roses.

I am from a higher education than most,
straight A’s and stellar at running sport
and many awards in academia... in search of
hugs from a father whose hands held a golf club
where he stroked and swung and bested most.

I am from the land of wheat and honey,
where Dad answered an ad in “The Wall Street Journal”
and quoted his salary, working for nuclear war;
left my mother to weep and wail,
“Please come home, honey.”

I am from a man who hugged his scotch and water
and cried for losing wives and distant daughters;
who struck a deal with a honey and held his shotgun straight
into his mouth that wailed and wept,
returning to dust and water.

I am from the earth you see,
born of blood and water.
I am now my own to be
and getting my hands dusty,
weaving wheat into roses for you to see.

I am from an equal union
buying golf clubs for my honey
wailing at wars and nuclear nightmares;
hugging my sons and daughters,
praying for the Union.

And there’s my mother, my friend now
she has silvered, raises her bleached-out hand
in a wave and a grin
Gone is my father, gone are the clubs and slaps
I am my best friend now.

~ Sandra Sloan

Congratulations to the four winners!

The poems remain the property of their authors, and should not be copied without their consent.

Blog © 2010 Wilda Morris

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dorn Septet Winner

Glenna Holloway, who wrote the sample (prize-winning) Dorn Septet posted in June, has selected a winner for the Dorn Septet Challenge. Congratulations to Indiana poet, Reason A. Poteet.

This I Am with No Remorse

At home I had no fears,
in school, my trust in God was taught as truth.
Now teacher's work requires that I have hope,
my church, the place I go as wonder perserveres.
And when I'm done with my career, I'll cope
with constant faith and coaching ne'er to quit
when Satan interferes.

At home I passed the test,
in school complied with ev'ry task assigned.
Now work I leave with obligations filled,
attend a church where needy folk complete their quest.
May I retire with passion, free to build
a channel for my Father's love which leads
to heav'n where all can rest.

The Bible is my source
of truth from youth to everlasting life.
When Christian faith and actions intercept
from James I know that faith without good works of course
is sheer perversion, trust denied - inept.
My God in times which threaten toil and trust -
my Hope without remorse.

~ Reason A. Poteet

Poem © Reason A. Poteet

Blog © 2010 Wilda Morris

Thursday, September 30, 2010

October, 2010, Poetry Challenge

In 1999, George Ella Lyon published a book entitled,Where I'm From (Writers' & Young Writers' Series #2) (Writers & Young Writers Series, #2). On her Website (see, Lyon says she wrote her poem which begins, “I am from clothespins,” after being inspired by Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet: Selections from the People Pieces by Jo Carson. The “prompt” has been picked up by numerous teachers and writing instructors, including those at the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) in Chicago, Illinois.

According to Carrie Spitler, publisher of the NWA’s literary journal, Journal of Ordinary Thought, the NWA invested six months on the theme of “where I am from.” As a result, they selected “Whistle Talk: JOT Writes on Where I’m From” as the theme of the Winter 2010 issue of JOT. The sample poems for the October Poetry Challenge come from that issue. As Ronne Hartfield wrote in the introduction to the issue, “the simple-seeming question ‘Where are you from?’ is, of course, not so simple after all.” I found it difficult to select only two poems from the issue to share, because so many of them were powerful.

I’m From Arkansas

I am from the land of hot sun, using lard and Vaseline to grease my ashy arms, legs, and feet.

I am from a shotgun house covered with a tin roof, newspapered walls, linoleum flooring, sheltering me from the rain and cold.

I am from hot fields of cotton, with rows of thorny white bulbs neatly planted for picking.

I am from the banks of the mighty Mississippi River watching fisherman who provided the “catch of the day” for the hungry.

I am from the “Blue Hole,” where sinners dressed in white were baptized in the name of the Lord.

I am from the ones who loved me and called me their “Sugar Baby” and taught me to say “TaTa.”

I am from the Baptist church, where Sunday preaching, Gospel singing, and shouting saved you from the Devil.

I am from Helana, Arkansas, where fried chicken, neck bones, collard greens, chitterlins, sweet potatoes, cha cha, corn bread, and biscuits were a must for breakfast, supper, or dinner.

I am from Sammie, who found and cultivated plants that produced herbal medicine to heal the sick.

I am from Fred and Ora, who watched me grow and play games such as “Ring Around the Roses,” and “Aunt Dinah Is Dead, and “Hide and Seek.”

I am from ancestors who took pictures dressed in their finest clothes, looking into the camera without a smile, silenced to the world of their “deferred dreams.”

I am that girl from the uplifting light of above goodness…where Alpha and Omega reside…No beginning, no end…

I Am.

~ Charlene K. Smith

Journal of Ordinary Thought (Winter 2010), page 45. © 2010.

I Am Their Story

I am from the descendants of slaves
That lineage that survived the horrific passage across the Atlantic
To the shores of these Americas. . .
I am the griot that will tell the tales
Of the 1,000 lashes that sliced their skins
Burned their flesh
As they labored from sunrise to sunset
I am from blood spilled upon urban streets as they walked peacefully
For justice
In unjust times
I am the daughter of a dying breed of men
That cherished and celebrated their women
With honor and respect
Protected her from the chaos of the world
Nourished her spirit
And relinquished in the sacredness of her temple
I am Daddy’s girl
And I wear that crown with honor
For my father breathed and embodied the definition of being
a Black man
And the foundation he built
The standards that he provided
Others have failed to measure up to
He exhibited a quiet strength
That I will forever admire
Though his physical presence is not here
His external essence
Continues to flow through me
He exhibited a quiet strength
That did not waver
During battles with my mother
She taught me the power of words
For she can lace words together that could penetrate the strongest
Armor of man
He stood during her season of verbal warfare
And silent
And silent
And strong
Never leaving his imprints upon the side of her face
Nor bruising the flesh of her skin
She taught me that words can wound
But her love for my father was stronger than her sporadic
temper tantrums
And she adored him
Allowed him to reign as king
I am from a union
That honored their vows, only through death they parted
A love that spanned 40 years
A love that withstood the trials, tribulations, and temptations
that life hurled in their path.
I am from this picture of family
That I have tried to recreate with my daughter
Absent her father
But loving her just as strongly
With the strength of my father’s determination
And the fire of my mother’s presence
I am their history
I am their story

~ Felicia Madlock
Journal of Ordinary Thought (Winter 2010), pages 28-29. © 2010.

The October Poetry Challenge:

For October, write your response to the question, “Where are you from?” (or the closely-related question, “Who are you?”). Are you, like George Ella Lyon, are “from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride”? Are you, like Felicia Madlock, “the daughter of a dying breed of men”? Or like Charlene K. Smith, are you “from a shotgun house” and “hot fields of cotton”? Your story is unique, one only you can tell. Your title does not have to begin with “I’m from. . . .” or “I am. . . .” but the poem has to be a response to one of the two questions.

Poems published in books or on the Internet are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you can access my Facebook page and send the poem in a message. Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is October 15. Winning poem or poems will be published on this blog.

Dorn Septet Challenge:

The Dorn Septet Challenge is still open because there has not been a winner. The septet must reflect all the qualities of a dorn septet as described in the June Challenge, and must have a minimum of three stanzas. To find the June Challenge, scroll down and look for Blog Archive on the right-hand side of the page. Click on June.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 2010 Challenge Winners

John Lehman, poetry editor of Wisconsin People and Ideas (and the founder and first publisher of Rosebud), judged the poems for the September blog challenge. He selected three winners.

Firefly Summer

my fifth summer
was light rain
and heavy mosquitoes
cold sprinklers
and hot dogs on the grill

twilight brought fireflies
all the droopy-bottomed blinkers
my sticky fingers could capture
Nature’s purpose arrested
in a glowing pickle jar

when the crickets’ bedtime
signaled a new day
the lights were out
life in the jar was gone
and wonder faded to guilt

~ Judith Tullis

Of the first place poem by Judith Tullis, “Firefly Summer,” Lehman says, “I love this poem’s directness. It is the essence of summer and the end of childhood. How can someone accomplish that in three short stanzas? But this poet does. Beautifully.”

Chocó, Colombia, 2003

They like white meat, your new friends joke:
your legs are the fresh banquet bars
of biting flies, mosquitoes, ants,
and so you learn the rhythmic towel
leg-swatting that might mitigate
the map of dots and welts that throng
across your shins and ankles now,
district of angry villages, absurd
itch for friction, nail claw-sharpness,
pink profusion, seven daft demons,
you an addled magdalene.

~ Ruth Goring

Ruth Goring’s second place poem, “Stung,” gave the judge “the creepy-crawlies.” And, he said, ‘“Addled magdalene’ is a loaded term that takes the physicality of this gem to a whole different level.”

Ruth Goring is the author of Yellow Doors: Poems

An Invisible Cocoon

I dislike caterpillars.
They cling to fresh leaves, as if come
from nowhere.
Crawling or curling up,
they seldom fear my coming near.

I must confess- I envy them:
Leisurely they nibble green foliage
with an indifferent look.

I want to get rid of them,
but fear to touch their droopy bodies.
With a stick, I fling them
one after the other into the air.
Where do they land? In the bushes or on the soil?
I don’t care.
“Good bye!” I wave to the little noodles.

In the early summer, hot winds blow.
I almost forget them--
near my garden, under threads,
green and light cocoons dangle,
all wrapped inside silence.
So so they don’t bother me,
and I let them be.

On the hottest morning, the air is still.
A yellowish pouch drops and cracks.
Something trembles and unfolds.
All of a sudden, wings flutter
and take off.

I only catch a glimpse of a butterfly.
I want to call, “Wait.”
The empty crust rolls aside,
"Too late!” as if a sigh falls upon my own skin.

~ Anna Yin

Lehman liked the movement of “An Invisible Cocoon,” the third place poem, and the “payoff” at the end. He especially like the unforgettable metaphor of displaced caterpillars as “little noodles.”
Each poet retains copyright to her poem.

No one has yet submitted a winning Dorn Septet, so that category is still open. Refer to the directions given in June for more information.

The October Challenge will be posted on October 1.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 2010 Poetry Challenge

According to, an insect which scientists call Eopterum devonicum lived 350 million years ago—before the dinosaurs and even 349,900,000 years (give or take a week or two!) before human beings appeared on earth. The same Webpage estimates that there are 20-30 million species of insect on the earth today. In fact there are more different species of dragonflies than there are mammals. It should not be a surprise then, that poets through the ages have written about these small winged creatures.

Poets have admired, complained about and cursed insects. William Blake, a English poet who died in 1827, wrote an empathetic apostrophe to a fly:

The Fly

Little fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

-- William Blake

The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake

Contemporary poet, Alice D’Alessio, has a different take on the insect she writes about, the pesky Asian Ladybeetle. Where I live, the Asian Ladybeetle hasn’t been as omnipresent as in some previous summers—for which I am grateful!

Uninvited Guests

For instance, the Asian Ladybeetle
smug as an orange pearl

in its vinyl exoskeleton
dotted, determined, has come to stage

a wild reunion, bringing myriad friends.
They swarm out of window casings, motor

about the floor, climb the walls,
linedance along the bookshelves; take

a quick dip in dishwater and scotch;
make side trips along the couch, inside

my collar and book, wander through hair,
dive in eyes and mouth. It’s a road race

with mini VW’s, a plague, an invasion,
a terrorist plot, a bad dream.

Nature slyly lifts the lid and looses
Pandora’s hordes to teach

humility. We who imagine ourselves
just slightly lower than the gods, cower

before this orange revelry, huddle
in corners, stinking of bugspray.

~ Alice D’Alessio

From Woodlands and Prairie Magazine

Though many people despise flies, mosquitoes, ants, Asian Ladybeetles—and many other insects, the dragonfly is often the object of admiration and fascination, as is evident from John Lehman’s poem:


It anchors to the sail of our skiff,
clasps a world of detachable wings
and the scent of almonds and coconut
oil dancing in the sun.

It is ancient, the iron rod of a distant
weather vane, leaves of a book
riffling in the wind.

Gulliver borne on one more voyage
it asks, what is the governing body here
that pulls these lines and hums
to the hum of the wind and glides
yellow and white so low
between the mirrors of lake and sky?

I am real and you are not, it spins
as we turn about —
the snap of our sail recalls the flap
of Pteranodon wings.

~ John Lehman

Shrine of the Tooth Fairy (Poems by John Lehman; Illustrations by Spencer Walts)

The cricket is one insect that is better received in some cultures than in others. This is reflected in my poem:

The Cricket

I didn’t mind sleeping
on a cot in the basement
until the cricket moved in,
made his home under
the water heater. How
could anyone sleep
when that cricket shrieked
all night, notes reverberating
off the tile floor and the metal
above his small back?
I kept throwing my shoe
at him, missing again and again.

Now I know Chinese families
buy small cages, keep crickets
as pets to hear them sing.
How long would I have to live
in China before I understood this,
before I’d harmonize
with their night music?
How long before I’d learn
to distinguish the chirps
of the yellow bell cricket,
from the broad-faced and bespeckled,
till I heard in their songs the loneliness
of the emperor’s concubines?
How long till I internalized
the cycle of their lives,
from nymph to white maggot
to singer of soft summer songs,
to the high pitched cheep
of autumn, the laying of eggs
and death before spring?

~ Wilda Morris

Rockford Review, XXV:2 (Summer-Fall 2006), p. 57.

September Challenge

One thing each of these poems has in common is that they reflect on some aspect of insect-human interaction. The challenge for September is to write a poem reflecting on some kind of interaction between a human being (or human beings in general) and an insect (or insects). Your poem can be free verse or formal, serious or humorous.

Poems published in books or on the Internet are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you can access my Facebook page and send the poem in a message. Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is September 15. Winning poems are published on the blog.

Dorn Septet Challenge:

The Dorn Septet Challenge is open until September 15. The septet must reflect all the qualities of a dorn septet as described in the June Challenge, and must have a minimum of three stanzas. To find the June Challenge, scroll down and look for Blog Archive on the right-hand side of the page. Click on June.

A Few More Insect Poems and Where to Find Them

Anne Sexton, "Hornet," "Cockroach" and "June Bug" in The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

Ted Kooser, "Grasshoppers," in Delights & Shadows

Emily Dickinson, #677 ("Least Bee that brew"); #1224 ("LIke Trains of Cars on Tracks of Plush"); #1405 ("Bees are Black, with Gilt Surcingles")

Richard Wilbur, "A Grasshopper," in Collected Poems 1943-2004

Jean de la Fontaine, "The Grasshopper and the Ant," translated by Richard Wilbur, in Collected Poems 1943-2004

Stanley Kunitz, "The Dragonfly," in The Collected Poems

Yusuf Al-Sa'igh, "Ants," translated by Diana Der Hovanessian with Salma Khadr Jayyusi in Modern Arabic Poetry

Khalil Khouri, "Ants and the Sun," translated by Sharif Elmusa and Christopher Middleton, in Modern Arabic Poetry

William Butler Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," (Several insects play a role in this poem, but the poem doesn't center on insects inthe way expected of poems in the September challenge. See The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

Don Marquis has a number of insect-related poems in his Archy and Mehitable books (Actually, Archy is a cockroach). See: Archy and Mehitabel or The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel (Penguin Classics)


© 2010 Wilda Morris

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 2010 Challenge Winners

Two winners were selected this month, one in which flowers are a metaphors. Lucy Lu’s poem was selected in large part because of the imagery and the flow of the couplets.

In Ann-Marie Madden Irwin’s poem, the narrator is planting daffodils. The experience of the narrator is specific and individual, but in another way, it is universal. It is not unusual to experience a sense of the presence of a loved one in a way that seems very real.

Congratulations to both of the winners.

Snow Flowers

Gathering their last strength
they flutter softly to the earth

with an infinite tenderness.
One petal, then two, then three

dotting over pines, cypresses,
aquiver with such gentle touches.

Patch by patch, crystal hexagons
unscroll a silverscape.

Is it snow that decorates April,
or April that beautifies snow?

A skittery squirrel, searching
acorns, yields no answer.

A sudden bird's call shakes
the last snowflakes from treetops.

~ Lucy Lu

Death Mask

She remembers how her face
set, the feeling of death so new
the way she felt on the inside.

Tinker, she heard it only
in her mind, something she’d be
forever and yet not ever again.

She heard her name called
as she planted daffodils
in the side garden, the bulbs

promise of trumpets come spring.
Tink! She heard her father
calling so clear she turned

from her task to see
only air, the neighbor’s red house
the pines and dogwood.

There it was, an understanding
of forever and never again in her bones
as her face set, she continued digging.

~ Ann-Marie Madden Irwin

Copyright on these poems belongs to the poets who wrote them.

Thanks to the consulting judge for August, Kathleen Gustafson.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Saturday, July 31, 2010

August Poetry Challenge

There is a long tradition dating back at least as early as the Song of Solomon (6:2-3) of using flowers in love poetry. A favorite song from 17th century Scotland begins “O my Luve's like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June.” Robert Burns was concerned to save the folk music of Scotland. According to one account, he heard a country girl sing these words, and recorded them for posterity.

One of the best known poems about flowers is by William Wordsworth, written after he and his sister took a walk in the Lake District of England.


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

-- William Wordsworth
The Collected Poems of William Wordsworth (Wordsworth Collection)

During her lifetime, Emily Dickinson was probably better known as a gardener than as a poet. It is said that she sometimes worked in her garden at night. Many of her poems include flowers. Dickinson’s poems, including those with roses, daisies, lilies and other flowers, are not “simple nature poems.” They tend to be cryptic. More often than not, the flowers are symbolic as in this sample:

The Dandelion's pallid tube
Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas --
The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower, --
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o'er.

-- Emily Dickinson

Flowers appear in so many of Dickinson’s poems that the New York Botanical Garden developed a show entitled “Emily Dickinson’s Garden: A Poetry of Flowers” last spring. Thirty-five of Dickinson’s poems were printed on placards and placed next to the plants and flowers they mentioned. Two major books discuss her interest in gardening: The Gardens of Emily Dickinson and The Gardens of Emily Dickinson

Contemporary Poets

It is easy to become sentimental when writing about flowers, or to fall into the use of clichés. Here are three contemporary poems which avoid these temptations:


overnight hundreds came
found a crevice
a tuft of green
an obvious spot on the grass

and settled in, unpacked
nuzzled in
comfortable now
yellow joy content

squatters all
these bright strewn puffs
scattering like golden pearls
singing the praises of spring

then leaving overnight
just like they came
floating off to new territory
forgetting to pack up
and throw away their trash

where it still sits
on the lawn
trying hard to blend in

-- Susan B. Auld


Note that Auld is neither sentimental about the beauty of dandelions, nor cranky about their presence on her lawn. The tone of the poem is, on the one hand, matter of fact: the dandelions come, stay for a while and leave as suddenly as they had arrived. Within this staid framework, however, Auld uses imagistic and metaphoric language to make us see the dandelions in a new way. They are “squatters” who “unpack” and “nuzzle in.” The “strewn puffs” are “golden pearls.” And when they float off, they leave their “trash” behind.

CX Dillhunt writes about prairie flowers. There is deep feeling underneath the words: The prairie “takes me in,” the poet says. It tells him to stay, and he stays. There is an element of the list poem here, as he names various kinds of flowers and, later, varieties of Asters. He uses both scientific names and casual descriptions, such as “stars” and “little white bread ones.” The ending is a surprise, as he addresses the flowers, asking what name—if any—they would like to be called.


The prairie

takes me in this morning gets me wet with turkey feet
little bluestem cord grass switchgrass Indian grass in this fall
Indian summer and I am

showy goldenrod field goldenrod stiff goldenrod more
goldenrod and yellow
cone flowers almost gone and clover

some asters and always-forget-your-first-name gentian
other plants of prairie and parts of prairie
prairie pleasing prairie and prairie singing prairie


says the prairie
surely you are some sort of aster

and your composite heart belongs to us

I stay.

I pray to see Aster azureus

I think I see two or three varieties
asters I call New England (pink-to-purple)

and a couple of white kinds


blue ones bright ones little white bread ones

what name I say do you prefer—your Latin name?
a common name? any name at all?

-- CX Dillhunt

The poem appears in the box above to show the lay-out Dillhunt chose for his poem. Unfortunately I am unable to retain that layout in this blog. Does the layout remind you of a stretch of wild prairie?

"Aster" is from Girl Saints (Madison WI: Fireweed Press, 2003), p. 19.

Judy Roy’s poem “White Lilacs” can be called a love poem. It is also, however, ekphrastic poetry. Roy is responding not to lilacs in the garden or in a vase on the piano, but to lilacs (and burgundy roses) in a painting by Marc Chagall.

White Lilacs

after a painting by Marc Chagall

I am white lilacs
You are burgundy roses
I float on the newness of spring
held aloft by the dark beauty
of your essence
Eternal in our embrace
we soar from earth to sky
arch across the lingering river
dissolve petal by petal
into the soft womb of time

-- Judy Roy

Two Off Q: A Conversation in Poetry by June Nirschl and Judy Roy (Marshfield, Wisconsin: Marsh River Editions), p. 50.

The August Poetry Challenge:

The challenge for August is to write a poem about a flower or flowers without being sentimental or trite. Will your poem be a formal poem or free verse? Will you use scientific or every-day terms or both? Metaphor or simile? Alliteration or assonance? Will the flower or flowers be symbolic? What new thoughts will the reader have about flowers after reading your poem? Poems published in books or on the Internet are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you may send your poem in a message. Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is August 15.

Dorn Septet Challenge:

The Dorn Septet Challenge is open until September 15. The septet must reflect all the qualities of a Dorn septet as described in the June Challenge, and must have a minimum of three stanzas.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July Challenge Winner

Reason A. Poteet is the winner of the July poetry challenge, to write four short poems on a related theme, each representing a different season. Her haiku sequence invites us to view waterfalls in spring, summer, autumn and fall:

triplet series

riding the rapids
mom films from the shore
springtime cataracts

amusement park flume
summer's gonna-get-wet ride
no cam'ras allowed

windy fishing spot
autumn's cascade of leaves
fall at the falls

winter ice sculptor
dad picks his way to the top
frozen falls

-- Reason A. Poteet

Poteet shares many of her poems on her website at

The runner-up this month, Francis Toohey, submitted an evocative poem about what the hand does in each of the four seasons:

The Seasons

Winter/ My hand rings the bell--
the echo dissolves, the bell leaves its ghost in my palm.

Spring/ My hand lifts one finger, but the wind dissolves--
the finger folds back to my uncharted lines.

Summer/ My hand grasps a world, grim plum in my grip--
its flesh dissolves to free its single sleeping seed.

Autumn/ My hand counts the birthdays while ten fingers fly--
another year dissolves, weightless at each breath.

-- Francis Toohey

Copyright on posted poems remains with the poets who wrote them.

Thanks to Katie Kingston, who judged the top poems for this month’s blog. Katie is an award-winning poet. Her books include In My Dreams, Neruda (in English), In My Dreams, Neruda (Spanish Edition) and El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio.

© 2010 Wilda Morris

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Poetry Challenge

William Marr who was born in China and lives in Illinois is a very prolific poet. He has published numerous books of poetry in his native Chinese, under the pen name of Fei Ma. He is quite well-known as a poet in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. His work has even been included in textbooks on poetry in China. Marr has also published two books in English. His work has found homes in over one hundred anthologies. Most of Marr’s poems are short, concise and thought-provoking. Some are humorous. In addition to writing and translating poetry, Marr is a painter and sculptor. You can read many of Marr's poems in Chinese or English, and see some of his art work by clicking on the links to the right on this blog.

From 1969 until his retirement in 1999, Marr (who has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin) did research in energy and environmental systems at Argonne National Laboratory.

In his book Autumn Window, Marr has a set of four poems about birds, each reflecting a season of the year.

Birds * Four Seasons


If you wish to know
the shortest distance
between two trees
on this bright, enchanting day
any of the small, swift birds
can tell you with their twitter

It’s not a straight line


At noon
struck by a flaming light
a small bird
plummets through
dense leafy shade

Until slowly awakening
to discover himself
standing on a tree
lush and luxuriant

All that can be green
is green


When did the eyes
become so blurry

A bird flying higher and higher
its own reflection in a pond
the smaller the clearer


The last thread of mist
drifting in the air
finally joins
the icicles beneath the eaves

In this winter
how can I criticize
a small bird’s song
brief and evasive

-- William Marr

From Autumn Window

Marr’s most recent book of poetry in English, Between Heaven and Earth, can be purchased from at

A much longer cycle of four seasonal poems is “The Seasons" by Kristijonas Donelaitis found at Donelaitis, a Lithuanian poet, wrote this sequence about the lives of peasants in the mid-eighteenth century in hexameters (a total of almost 3000 lines!).

The July Challenge

The challenge for July is to write a series of four brief poems representing the four seasons. There are to be no more than 12 lines in each poem. Select a theme which will tie the four together (in the way birds tie Marr’s poems together). You may use free verse, haiku, or a rhymed form. Poems published in books or on the Internet are not eligible.

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Or you can access my Facebook page and send the poem in a message. Be sure to give me your e-mail address so I can respond. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner.

Some Seasonal Poems You Might Want to Read

* Haiku generally includes seasonal references. See for instance: The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets); and Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku
* "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth, in William Wordsworth - The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
* "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" by William Shakespeare, in Shakespeare's Sonnets (Yale Nota Bene)
* “in Just” by E. E. Cummings in E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904-1962 (Revised, Corrected, and Expanded Edition)
* “Spring Comes to the Suburbs,” “Good Humor Man,” and numerous other poems by Phyllis McGinley, in Times Three
*“The Fifth of July, by Grace Schulman, in The Broken String
*“Returning Birds,” in Wistawa Szymborska’s Nobel Prize winning book (translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh, Poems New and Collected
* “Snow,” by Naomi Shihab Nye, in Fuel: Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye

* Numerous poems by Mary Oliver, including “Summer Story” and “Summer Morning” in Red Bird* Many poems by Jane Kenyon, including the series, “Walking Alone in Late Winter,” in Collected Poems and The Boat of Quiet Hours (Poems)
* The akam poems, which (like haiku) have seasonal references, in Poets of the Tamil Anthologies (Princeton library of Asian translations)
* “Cottonwood” by William Stafford, in Even in Quiet Places: Poems and History is loose again: Poems
* “November Bargain,” and “Winter Etude” by June Nirschl, and other poems in the joint collection by Nirschl, Nancy Rafal and Judy Roy entitled Slightly Off Q
* “April Fools,” by Christine Swanberg, in The The Tenderness of Memory: New and Selected Poems
* “Language of the Birds,” by Gladyce Nahbenayash in Dreaming History: A Collection of Wisconsin Native-American Writing
* “Kamperfoelie” (and translation, “Honeysuckle,” by J. C. Bloem, in Turning Tides: Modern Dutch & Flemish Verse in English Versions by Irish Poets
* “The Fall” by Heather McHugh in Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968-1993
* “September afternoon at four o’clock,” and “Snow, snow,” by Marge Piercy, in Circles on the Water

July Challenge Deadline: July 15, 2010

Dorn Septet Challenge: A rhymed Dorn Septet with a minimum of three stanzas. No poems previously published in books or on-line. Deadline September 15, 2010. See the June Challenge for the rules of the Dorn Septet and an example by Glenna Holloway.

© 2010 Wilda Morris