April: National Poetry Month

APRILA whole month dedicated to poetry!

We should be giddy, right? Is there an entire month dedicated to screenwriting or copy writing or journalism? Do carpenters get a month? Do the cable guys get a month? Do roofers or hockey players or principals or printers?

NO! Poets get an entire month.

I have a secret.

Every month is poetry month. Poets never stop. We think in verse. We connect the unusual, distort the familiar, silently applaud the explosions of weird  word fusions and pairings,  then shake ’em and bake ’em ’til they roll over and offer us their underbellies.

Then we wake and do it all over again. It’s not possible to turn off the faucet. We are wired this way. When the well runs dry, we seek out beauty in art, music, nature, other writers. Even a trickle of inspiration, gives us the shivers. We court rhymes and rhythms and metaphors. Sometimes we woo them ’til the cows come home. It’s delightfully fulfilling. Maybe even a little too analogous of one of the seven deadly sins-poetry gluttony.

Spouses and sweethearts beware.

While the crocus’ sneaks through the early Spring soil, our jaws are locked shut. We savor the silence as we ponder new poems and forms.  Don’t take it personally, but we do not want to talk to you. At least not about the trivial. Someone should create a bumper sticker: “Please be patient with your poet during the month of April.”

Our minds are on overdrive.

If your partner is having trouble accepting your indulgence, try some reverse psychology. Make them think it’s for them. I suggest implore each of you poets to read this line out loud to your LO:

“April is a great month for you to find a hobby.”

Suggest that they take up whittling or grilling or quilting or star-gazing. Buy them a really long book if they like reading. (It took me three months to read War and Peace. But, that’s when I had a newborn.)

As I write this, my husband is making squeaking noises into his palm to get my attention. Never fear. I did not turn my head. Not once. He aughta know better by now.

After all, this isn’t my first poetic rodeo.

But, this year I’m participating in two challenges. PoMoSco and PAD.

I’m busy.

All poets are busy this month. If your significant other doesn’t get it, give them some hand-made coupons as a gift. (Psychology tricks, remember?)

Here are a few suggestions:

Hand write a coupon giving them permission to learn something new. Maybe they just need some motivation or permission, depending on their personality.

Give them a coupon allowing them to take an entire week to watch every episode of The Americans.

Grant them one whole nag-free week to go on a fishing trip or a hunting trip or a shopping trip.

Give them the power to take two weeks to clean out the garage and basement without your intervention.

Tell them if they behave, you’ll take them to Dairy Queen. (It always worked when my kids were little.)

Get creative. Write them a poem. Make it rhyme. (really rhymy-rhymy.) And make it personal by adding their name to it and rhyming it. If you have good handwriting, make them a card. Seal it with a kiss. Or flower stickers or chewing gum.

If you play an instrument, sing your poem to them. They’ll tear up.

I promise.

Now my husband is banging his hand on the arm of the couch. (Not looking.)

Happy Poeming!



Reading to strangers in public: part one of four

J.lynn Sheridan:

Kris Swanguarin at Milk of Moonlight responds to my year-ending post which asked if poets did anything positive with their poetry in the past year. Kris did. He participated in a public poetry reading. This is the first of four parts of his story.

Originally posted on Milk of Moonlight::

A while back, poet J.lynn Sheridan asked on her blog, Writing On The Sun, if poets did anything positive with our poetry in the past year. One of the things I did was participate in a public poetry reading. This is the first of four parts of that story.


This is the beginning of the telling of how I came to read poetry to strangers. It is a telling of how I came one day to sit and another day to stand in front of strangers and for the first time read my own poetry. It was a long journey. This is the short version of that journey.

child painter

I suppose and can only guess that it began when I was a child. Children are naturally show boats. They create a drawing or write a poem and they want to share it. To this day whenever my daughter writes…

View original 692 more words

Just a Twitter of a Poem

Not sure if you’re a real poet? Well, do you Tweet? If so, then you can at least pretend to be a poet. For the fun it.


I don’t tweet often and when I do it’s usually during Wordsmith Studio Twitter Chats at #wschat on Tuesday nights. (5pm and 8pm Central time.) If you’re a writer, you’re welcome to join in. We discuss everything related to writing.

Let’s have some poetry fun

Your tweets may be more poetic than you think.

Poettweet is a program that amalgams your tweets into a Sonnet, a Rondel, or an Indriso. All you do is add your twitter handle, choose a poetic form, and Poettweet does the rest.

The Huffington Post calls the results “strange works of art.”

LifeHacker calls them “chin-strokers.”

I call them fun.

Here’s the Sonnet and the Indriso that was generated from my tweets:



Chin-stroker works of art? Yeah, probably. I don’t think they’d sell in any literary magazine or even on the street.

Speaking of selling poetry on the streets . . . beware of buying any . . . :)

Even poets like to have fun.

Want more poetic fun ideas? Check out Found Poetry Review.

Found Poetry Review Challenge

Was one of your poetry goals to participate in more poetry challenges? If so, I have just the challenge for you.

This one sounds like fun (and a little bit of work.)

National Poetry Month Badge

The Found Poetry Review is inviting established and emerging poets to participate in its 2015 National Poetry Month project, PoMoSco (short for Poetry Month Scouts.)

A short definition: Found poetry is a poetry form in which you utilize preexisting text and reshape it into a poem.

The challenge is to complete their poetry prompts in five poetic categories: remix, erasure, conceptual, chance operations, and out and about.

Thus, you must possess a willingness to experiment. (What poet doesn’t want to experiment?) In return for all your poeming, you can earn at least 30 merit badges and something special at the end of the challenge.

Oh, and you’ll need to have a Facebook account to join.

But, you don’t have a whole lot of time to think about it.

Registration for PoMoSco is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2015.

I just signed up although I haven’t had much experience with Found Poetry. My goal was to step out of my comfort zone. So, I’m stepping into this challenge.

Won’t you join me?

(Thank you, Misky, found-poetry extraordinaire, for the heads up.)

Do Poets Make Poetry Goals?

It’s that time of year—when we look back and wonder if we did anything positive with our poetry and then create goals for the new year.

Or maybe we just think about doing it because we’ve really never done it before.


I do wonder if it’s even important to be intentional about poetry because writing poetry isn’t scientific or calculating. Writing poetic goals isn’t like writing business goals or educational goals because most of us don’t earn degrees in poetry or earn a living writing it. We write it because poetry oozes from our veins. It’s how we think. It’s how we express ourselves. It’s how we connect.

But, still. I want to do a little bit of a retrospective rehash even though I went through a poetic slump this year. Some of it was because I’m focusing on my new editing business and the novel that just never seems to be finished. Some of it is because lately when I write something,  it seems plastic and forced.

So, I’m stepping back and looking at the big picture of 2014. I’ll lament the losses and celebrate the victories. Then I’m opening the curtain on 2015 and stepping forward.

I searched for some sort of assessment list for poetry but didn’t find anything, so I’ve pieced together a preliminary list.

Reflection questions—

  1. Did I write the poems I wanted to write?
  2. Did I submit to the literary journals I wanted to?
  3. Was I accepted?
  4. Did I learn about a new form?
  5. Did any of my poems win any awards?
  6. Was I intent on submitting to anthologies?
  7. Did I learn anything new about poetry this year?
  8. Did I grow as a poet?
  9. Did I write every day?

(Remorseful answers—)

  1. No. Lament
  2. No. Lament
  3. Yes. Happy dance
  4. Yes. Happy dance
  5. Um. Kind of.
  6. No. Lament
  7. Yes. Happy dance
  8. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
  9. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Renovation questions—

  1. Where did I go wrong?
  2. Where did I go right?
  3. Should I change course?
  4. Should I change voice?
  5. Should I submit more? Less?
  6. What is my blueprint for the next year?
  7. Should I participate in any submission marathons?
  8. Should I host one?
  9. What can I do to grow?
  10. Where can I go to learn?
  11. Who will I chose to be my mentor this year?
  12. Should I write a chapbook?
  13. Am I discouraged? Encouraged?
  14. Should I take a break?

Rejuvenation questions—

  1. What poetry can I read to inspire me?
  2. What else might motivate me?
  3. Who can I motivate?
  4. How can poetry change my life?
  5. How can my life change poetry?
  6. What can I do to be more intentional and mindful?
  7. Do I still enjoy poetry or is it a chore?
  8. How can I get ready to paint my world with poetry?

new-years-eve-574259_1280aWhat have I left off my list? What about you? Will you be assessing your poetic life when the New Year’s ball drops?

Happy New Year to you all!

Gifts to Nurture Your Poetic Self

 Gifts to Nurture Your Poetic Self

christmas-1386273280gxJGeorge Hodan

When your friends and family just don’t understand how your heart aches for more poetry, more books, more literary love, click over to these sites and smile.

The Chicago Manual of Style Favorite Things 2014

The Manual is posting “twelve days of the people, places, and things that made our lives a little better in 2014.”

10 Great Titles for the Poet’s Wish List

A Huffington Post article lists some great poetry books.

Daniel Mark Picture Poems

A great place to shop for personal poems. Beautifully framed.

Gifts from Literary Luminaries

A Jane Austen Umbrella

Yep, you read that right. So cute!

umbrellas with Women Artists: featuring Cassatt, Morisot, Kahlo and O'Keeffe

A Microfiber Bag with Caricatures  of Women Writers

famous women writers book bag

Who wouldn’t want this bag? It’s crazy cool. Some day I want my face on a bag. I just made that a goal for my bucket list. Meanwhile, my plan is to buy this bag and fill it with poetic treats. Along with a cup of cocoa and some ginger snaps, I’ll be nurturing my poetic self this season.

So, what’s on your poetic Christmas list?