Gogyohka

WD POETIC FORM CHALLENGE: GOGYOHKA

This short form was developed by Enta Kusakabe in Japan and translates literally to “five-line poem.”

Pretty much, that’s it. Five lines.

Give it a try.

Here is one I wrote:

wall-clockPiotr Siedlecki

Photo: Piotr Siedlecki Public Domain

WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?

The clock always
tells me the truth.
You offer  hours of excuses.
This little joker
keeps ticking.

c. J.lynn Sheridan 2014

~~~

Mix and Match Muse

Creative Bloomings, one of the poetry blogs I frequent, offered up a poetry prompt this week called Mix and Match Muse.

I was tickled to learn I won this week’s bloom for the visuals.

Here is the prompt:

Autumn is a time of change. The skies are changeable, day get shorter still, The foliage takes on the hues of a broad palette. The air takes on a chill. There are many inspired thoughts connected to Autumn. Here’s the twist.

Write down the following:

Something you buy in a bakery.
A smell in a diner.
A make of automobile.
Something people do to relieve stress.
An unusual musical instrument.
A child’s game.

Use all six in our poem. Start with:

The smell of burning leaves…

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“Autumn smoke in the city”
(C) J.lynn Sheridan, 2014
“Because of the smell of burning leaves,” he tells me
when I ask why he left the farm for a two-flat in the city.
“Smells like tar.”
We lean against his pomegranate red hot-rod Lincoln,
he slides a harmonica from his pocket and begins playing
“The Hokey Pokey.”
I put my right hand in. I am shaking it all about when a
tangerine mustang pulls aside. “Play some jazz, cowboy,”
the driver says spitting his chew into the sewer grate.
I take my right hand out. The three of us stare at each
other. My buddy starts playing, “Who’ll Chop Your Suey
When I’m Gone.”
There’s a moment of panic, one scrawny yellow elm leaf
dangles from his antennae, then falls. He shows us his
toothless smile, then speeds away, cutting donuts in the
intersection, leaving us in a cloud of blue/black exhaust.

~~~

Want to Know More?

 Robert Lee Brewer, Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems has just released a list he is calling The Poetry World A to Z.

This list includes poets, events, publishers, and more. He writes, “it’s a good starting point for poets who want to know more about what’s happening.”

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And don’t forget that November is approaching. And that means November PAD Chapbook Challenge.

The Science of Poetry. And yet . . .

You’ve probably heard the big news–People who write, live healthier lives. (Healthier than . . . ?)

Or maybe it’s people who write, die less quickly? (Less quickly than . . . ?)

The premise is whether you blog, write poetry, or scribble in a journal–as long as you write expressively for twenty minutes, three days/week, you’re gold, says Arts.Mic.

Physical Health Benefits

Quoting a 2005  article in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, people who write enjoy more benefits than just publishing a piece of their work.PP_D079_poster_by_grasset_for_l'encre_marquet Science has now proven long-term health benefits of writing which includes, less doctor visits, stronger immunity, less depression, etc.

Chalk it up to my doubting Thomas personality but, I’m a little skeptical.

First, notice it said long-term.

Short-term, maybe not so much: “The immediate impact of expressive writing is usually a short-term increase in distress, negative mood and physical symptoms, and a decrease in positive mood compared with controls.”

Meaning, you’re going to feel kind of lousy at first because you are re-living a not-so-fun incident. At least temporarily. I’m not sure at what point the profits of long-term physical health kicks in but at least that sounds hopeful.

And yet,  if only we could interview all those poets and writers who took their own lives and ask them if they felt so desperate shortly after writing about a misfortune, that they could not hold onto life. Did they not experience the long-term benefit of writing?

Emotional Health Findings

And yet, (that phrase will repeat rapidly and . . . repeatedly throughout this post) emotional health findings were not “as robust or as consistent as those for physical health.”

Are you like me in thinking that emotional health is one of the big reasons we do write expressively?

The key, which seems not to be emphasised, is that to benefit from expressive writing, you must confront the traumatic event during your twenty-minute writing session, seek to understand the event, then integrate your experience cognitively instead of just ruminating about your feelings. Otherwise, you are just propagating negative physiological reactions.

The Key

In other words, to reap the health pay-off, the key is to gain understanding of what you’ve experienced. Not just to upchuck all your nasty nauseating  feelings, which, quite frankly, is kind of the fun part of writing expressively.

And yet, (I keep finding these caveats) one study suggests that while no direct evidence exists, structured writing seems to have more benefit than just journal or diary writing.

So, there you go. Just unlocking your diary (I almost spelled dairy, which I like better) and madly purging all those feelings you want to express about and to your BF, your BFF, your DH, your MIL, etc. does not lead to lowered blood pressure.

You gotta sort out the problems. Resolve them. Work them out. Learn from them.

And Yet Again.

As I read further a few phrases popped up: Some studies. Can benefit. Others failed to find any benefits. Not all studies find benefits. Results are inconsistent. Supporting and contradictory evidence. No direct evidence.

Does this sound like science has uncovered the writing secret to long-term health? surreal-402830_1280

Recently I read a big name blogger whose guest poster expressed her belief that writing healed her depression. Again, my cynicism wagged a fiendish finger.

While I believe  writing can aid in calming symptoms of depression. I don’t believe it can heal depression. I have a cell in that dungeon. I write there among the rats often. Writing underground cannot heal depression on its own.

And Yet Again Again

If you were to ask a random gathering if they thought writing was beneficial, I’d be the first to raise my hand because that is how I express myself. For someone who doesn’t enjoy writing, I’d guess, unscientifically of course, that forcing him/her to write twenty minutes a day would cause them stress. And writing long-term would cause them greater long-term stress. And quite possibly, they might decide that a life of words is not worth living for.

But, for those who love to write, we seek the joy of words, we chew them, suck them like lozenges, inhale the sometimes perverseness of surprise, then reread and rewrite and wake to do it again.

My point is that blanket statements and glass-overflowing, jump-to-conclusion analysis of studies offers false lofty promises.

Just keep it real. Writers are not superlative beings.

Just as runners love to run. Bakers love to bake. Quilters love to quilt.

Writers love to write.

If there were no psychological or physiological gain from participating in these activities . . . then why run? Why bake? Why quilt?

Why write?

And Yet

I’m stopping here.

It’s Back!!

ModPo!

Don’t even hesitate to sign up for this FREE 10-week Coursera class through the Writer’s House at U Penn. I took this last year and gained a whole new appreciation for poetry. Better hurry. I copied this from their Facebook page: “We are 49 people shy of 30,000 enrolled in ModPo, which begins tomorrow morning at 9 am Philly time. People are currently enrolling at a rate of 2,723 per week.”

Wow!

 

Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly “difficult.”

Get all your questions answered and then register.

Your poetry cup will overflow.

G.K. Chesterton was wrong

poets have been mysteriously silent about the subject of cheese

Thankfully, G.K. was wrong.

Aren’t you glad?

Cuz who wouldn’t love a good poem about cheese?

I introduce to you, James McIntyre, also known as the Cheese Poet.
(1828 – 1906)

The following poem is from his masterpiece, “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds” from his collection entitled: Oh! Queen of Cheese: Selections from James McIntyre, the Cheese Poet.

It is possibly his best-known poem.

cheese

McIntyre’s “greatest boost to his fame probably came from a number of his poems being anthologized in the collection Very Bad Poetry, edited by Ross and Kathryn Petras (Vintage, 1997).”

An annual poetry contest is held in Ingersoll, Ontario, to honor McIntyre.

Now, that is an tribute any poet would relish.

hot_dog_rounded

(Too cheesy?)