Sunday, April 1, 2018

April 2018 Poetry Challege

Photo taken by Wilda Morris at St. Francis Woods, March 30, 2012.

There are many of signs of spring here in Illinois: robins, of course, crocuses and daffodils, skunks coming out of hibernation, ants and other insects wakening. Spring is also a time when wild flowers spring up in unexpected places—in the lawn, at the roadside, in the middle of the vegetable garden that hasn’t yet been planted, as well as on the river bank, in the unplowed field, and in the woods.

Here are two poems about wild flowers by contemporary poets:

Wild Flower

A wild thing grew beside my drive
and having little to do with such,
I let it grow,
let it be itself,
and did not worry
about what others would say,
my letting a weed grow like that.

Then it bloomed one summer day,
a long-stemmed and lovely thing,
taupe blending easily into white,
then white into a cloudless blue,
like a cup of beauty
pouring up out of the ground,
pretending to be you.

~ Michael Galati

Used by permission of the poet.

Is this a poem “about” wild flowers? Maybe not, though it seemed to be until the end line, which provides a nice surprise.

William Marr takes his look at a wild flower in a different direction:


Swaying alone in the evening wind
a little blue flower in the wilderness

a passing poet with misty eyes
suddenly turns his head
and gazes at her

One evening centuries later
a faded blue book of poetry
stands in the corner of a dusty bookshelf

a little blue flower in the wilderness
swaying alone in the evening wind

~ William Marr

First published in DuPage Arts Life, 2005. Used by permission of the poet.

Centuries from now, the Chinese version of Marr’s poem may be found in a book on a dusty shelf in Asia, while the English version sits in a book in the United States or Great Britain. And maybe a lover of poetry will find Galati’s in a book on a dusty shelf centuries from now.

Maybe your poem will be on one of those shelves, too.

The April Challenge:

The April Challenge is to submit a poem featuring a wild flower (or wildflowers). It may be free verse or formal.

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 April 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.

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 “April 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.

William Marr was born in China and is one of the best-known and most highly-respected poets in his homeland. He has published fourteen books of poetry (two in 2000) in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. His poems have been included in over ninety anthologies. In addition to writing poetry, he is a sculptor and painter. His Web site contains images of his art work as well as selections from his poetry books. He recently retired as a researcher from Argonne National Laboratory.

Michael Galati was born in Chicago. He holds four degrees from Northern Illinois University, Galati taught English and related subjects for 40 years at Lemont High School where he served as English Chair from 1958 until 1993. Following his retirement, he went on to teach English, public speaking, education and American religion in area colleges and universities for eleven additional years. He also edited his town newspaper, the Lemont Metropolitan, for several years where his weekly column appeared for over twenty years. His single book, Love Me a Village (a book of casual reflections and poetry published in 1976), is long out of print.

©  Wilda Morris