Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2018 Poetry Challenge - Insects

Insects with Creeping Thistle and Borage by Jan van Kessel the Elder, 1654

Some people are fascinated by insects and other creatures commonly thought of as bugs. Some people hate them, despite the fact that many are important to the diets of many kinds of birds. Of course, we don’t like it when a tick or mosquito takes a nip from our blood! Jenene Ravesloot and I have each written roach poems:

Elegy for a Roach

Her exoskeleton cracked under the chef’s boot.
Now antennae rest on the floor like pieces of
cut thread.

She was carrying forty-one encased eggs when
he chased her down—if only she hadn’t been
burdened by that.

Her four vestigial wings, three pairs of spiny
legs, and small head have been severed. Her
compound eyes no longer see a mosaic world.

She can’t draw air through the holes in her side.
She can’t feel anything. The ceiling light blinks.

~ Jenene Ravesloot

(First published in The Miscreant)


If you don’t get up
in the night
how will you know
how many cockroaches
have come to dance

on the kitchen floor?
How will you learn
whether they prefer
an airy light waltz
or the beat of a polka

and how many drums
are in their band?
Don’t you wonder
if they dance till dawn                                           
to heavy metal?

Do they form squares,
one roach calling
Bow to your partner?
Do they slip into the shadows,
one couple at a time

~ Wilda Morris

The March Challenge:

The March Challenge is to submit a poem featuring an insect or other creature commonly thought of as a bug (It does not have to be about roaches). It may be free verse or formal. The insect may be used metaphorically or as an example to further an argument (as in John Donne’s poem, “The Flea.” Your poem may include some scientific vocabulary and concepts, as does Ravesloot’s poem, or be whimsical (which is the effect I was going for in “Dance”).

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. 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 March 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 do not 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.

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 “March 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:  Jenene Ravesloot is a member of the Poets’ Club of Chicago, Poets & Patrons and the Illinois State Poetry Society. She has led numerous poetry workshops for poetry groups and various Chicago educational institutions. Her poetry has been published in the Chicago Quarterly Review, after hours, THIS Literary Magazine and other poetry journals in print and online. She has published several books of poetry.

©  Wilda Morris