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Poetry Month is almost over and I have been writing away, trying to catch up on the Poem-A-Day challenge. I wanted to point out the upcoming Poem in Your Pocket Day which is April 30th, but now I am hooked on this story:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6652066.html?industryid=47144

Lulu, the print-on-demand self-publishing company that you may be familiar with already, has purchased the domain http://www.poetry.com and created a whole new site built around the old name. It looks to me like a decent resource, complete with free contests that users vote on (and actually award $$), but also a well-played marketing move to encourage amateur poets like myself to invest in a self-published collection. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; poetry has a long tradition of self-published poets. It worked for Walt Whitman, among many others. There is of course, a darker [and slightly juicy] side to this story. You  may be familiar with the original Poetry.com site which has been featured on such prestigious lists as Winning Writers’ “Contests to Avoid” and Professor Roy’s Amazingly Bad Poetry Journal. This is the site connected to the infamous National Library of Poetry, and several other aliases, which scammed innocent poets into paying for anthologies and awards that seldom materialized.The site has basically been considered a joke among literary and writing circles, though some others may have harsher words for it. It has even inspired parody contests for Bad Poetry.

Lulu legitimately paid for the domain name and are trying to change the tarnished image into their own shiny one, but now they are warding off dissatisfied customers and p.o.’d poets who

a.) want their money back

b.) want their poems back  [yes, they got some of the archived poetry along with the domain, though they swear they did not buy the business itself. That company, Watermark Media, is double-dead].

c.) want revenge

d.) All of the above

The comment board on their blog already has ppl writing in all caps what they think about Lulu and poetry.com … I think they should have thought this one through a bit better, though maybe the controversy will be good PR. Hey, it drew me there, and the prize money sure looks tempting. I would just laugh, but many people really fell for the scam and it somewhat marred the image of poetry publications in America. So, I do question how legitimate this move can make that domain name now. Obviously it is optimal for the search engines, but as any former tween celebrity can tell you, it is hard to shake a bad rep, even if you change your name, Lulu.

I obviously gave up on NaBloPoMo for the month. I fell asleep early one night reading to my daughter. So, then I decided I deserved a weekend off, and now, it’s Tuesday… But, I am still trying to catch up with the Poem a Day Challenge, so the next week will be a spree. Big family weekend coming up, of course, but I think I can, I think I can…

Monday was my birthday, and the prompt was “Rebirth”. I am a huge fan of irony 😉  Robert Lee Brewer also gave us a quick lesson on the Villanelle form, which was new to me so I took it on. I think that traditionally, the form may be a little more lighthearted than mine is, but what can I say? That’s where I was at…

4/20

I was born on this April day
which brings pain for so many
and others mark in their own way.

There are no words that truly say
how it can feel for any
person born on this April day.

I think of people left to pray
for the souls lost in Germany
and others marked the same way.

Think of children who could not play
in Waco, Colorado and many
other places marked in other ways.

Every Spring, I enter the gray,
reflect and then live again. See—
I was born on an April day
that others mark in their own way.

Today’s prompt on Poetic Asides is to “honor” a poet by creating your own version of a favorite poem, or at least by using a title and replacing some words. I believe this would be considered a parody, but in a good way. There are some interesting ones in the comment board.
I have been poetically slacking because I got all caught up in the Amazon Fail thing and because I do have other things to do 😉 but this one came to me rather easily. I am debating whether or not I should bother trying to garden this year. I like it, love growing my own, but I have two brown thumbs. My hubby is a natural farmer, but he relies on me too much since he is never home. And usually by August when it is just grossly humid, even in the middle of a drought, we are watching things die from the comfort of our AC’d living room. Anyway, here is my “tribute” to Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”…thanks for reading!

4/15/2009 3:29:41 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
“With Respect, Mr. Frost”

Spring’s big thing is green,
A hue I’ve hardly seen.
The early leaves may bloom,
But they will be gone soon.
When summer’s months begin
And Hades’ heat sets in,
Although I hope, I know
Nothing green will grow.

Today is Good Friday and the prompt is “Fridays”… that one isn’t coming to me today…maybe next week. This is from Day8 which was “Routines”…not great, but done:

Routine Stream

Balance—
Do not fall.
Keep chin up,
Smile.

Steady—
First round-off.
Straighten legs,
Done.

Repeat—
to hand stand.
Toes pointed,
Breathe.

Release—
Now the flip.
Tuck in knees,
Land.

Well, I am officially behind on the PAD challenge, though since they are pretty relaxed about when you post, I still can catch up. This is my ubiquitous I-just-need-to-post-for-NaBloPoMo-so-I-can-go-to-bed post. I have been using this blog and the poetry basically to escape, because it really isn’t something I “have to do” and it feels good to stretch old muscles, outside of the normal routine. But, meanwhile, I have worries and issues piling up and they are still there…plus, if you read the last one you may have some idea of what my house looks like. The kids are on spring break this week, so I get less time to myself, which of course cuts into writing and work time….yada, yada…

Also I am looking for work, real work, not freelance or sporadic assignments, but steady full-time income… and part of me is wondering how I am going to squeeze yet more in, but necessity calls. I don’t know which is harder to deal with sometimes, rejection for your creativity or rejection for your credentials… its all so frustrating either way. And draining…so goodnight friends. Hopefully, I will dream Shakespeare tonight and wake up with a sonnet in my heart 🙂

I got the prompt this morning and mulled over it all day while doing home and garden and kid stuff. When I got some quiet time to myself I began working on something, but it is not done so I am not posting it yet. I am pooped and need to rest before I can write anymore. So tomorrow I will have 2 poems to write, or one and  a half. Along with the two articles I have to do too. But, I am not feeling that overwhelmed… yet. It feels good to be writing regularly again. Of course, the novel still is incomplete…

I like writing poetry, but I know it is not everyone’s cuppa… I have not always had an easy time sharing it though. Even in a poetry course taken in college, I shied away from sharing time and ultimately did not turn in the portfolio, which was basically the entire course grade. I did/do have a hard time thinking of poetry being graded. I think it is way too open to interpretation, haha, and also, I had/have these issues with rejection. Which is why it is  a bit odd that I have so easily shared these pieces here. Perhaps it is because these bits are hardly personal. They are written to someone else’s prompt, not on my own impulse [the one that sends you scrambling for paper in the middle of the night or traffic until you get the thought OUT, you know]. Because it is a daily exercise, there is a rushed informality to it. I think it is understood that it may stink. And, there is safety in numbers, too. Mine is just one of hundreds of amateur poems in Poetic Asides’ comments. And I am not the only one blogging them.

But, mostly, I think I am able to share them because I am so comfortable now, writing in this space. I have found a little writer’s support group in this blogosphere and even knowing that many others may come and scoff and never return, I certainly appreciate the encouragement I get from you, as well as the inspiration, hearing about your work, successes and struggles. Truth is, I do not get that much irl. Though my hubby, friends and family are encouraging and supportive, too, it is in a different way. Not all of them really understand what exactly I do, nor how I struggle with it. And frankly, I do not share many personal feelings about writing, et al, with them. Sometimes it is hard to put in words, iykwim. So, thank you, because you are here reading this now 🙂 I know I may not make my fortune with this weblog, but it has become priceless to me, and I appreciate you reading. It makes me feel like a real writer.

The prompt on Poetic Asides today was to write an animal poem. I spent plenty of sunny time outside today and was trying to think of what to write about. It was very close to being about bunnies since we broke out the Easter stuff today and the kids are already on the Bunny buzz. That or the ptarmigan which I learned today can change their feather colors for camouflage. Thought that was cool. Instead this came out… Chesapeake Bay influence again, I guess, which is in my view. A lot of crabbers in this area, and not as many crabs these days. So…Ode to the Crab…It’s a little silly, but it is done…-ish.

Blue Crab

“Why so blue, friend?”
I ask rhetorically,
Knowing you’re at the end
Of your species.

Do you have any idea where
You are going from here?
Or notice the changes
You’ve lived through?

You are taking it well,
brave in your shell,
watching the tides
as they change too.

The prompt today was to make the title of your poem “The Problem with [fill in blank]”. Here’s mine:

4/3/2009 8:31:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)

“The Problem with Poetry”

The problem with poetry is
it does not always come when you
ask and sometimes it does not mean
what it says. There may be a few

poets who do not agree, but
I have fought with the words at times.
Maybe I just don’t have enough
patience to wrestle with their rhymes.

Yet, I keep going back for more.
What looks good to one may not be
musical for another one’s
eyes. See, on that we can agree.

WOW! There were hundreds of poems in the comments of yesterday’s Poetic Asides. I love poetry, but am glad that I don’t have to read through all those to select pieces for the e-book they are publishing post-challenge. So I got on early this morn to beat the rush….when I started my post there was one comment. By the time I posted, I was the 16th. I wrote it straight into the comments this time, which is a bit different than scribbling in the comp notebook, crossing out words and squishing in new ones. But I think it is OK…theme was “outsider” and for some reason [it was a stretch] I immediately thought of an adolescent girl watching her dreamboat in a crowd of kids at school. I guess she is more of a scientist than I am b/c I channeled information that I had forgotten I learned. Of course, it could all be scientifically incorrect, but I am okay with that. Thanks for reading 🙂

“Free Radical”

I have been waiting
patiently, hoping
today may be the day
you notice,
turn your lens on
me floating by
you, nucleus
in a tightly packed
cellular structure.
I cannot seem
to squeeze my way through
to make my match.

I do not
look like they do,
cannot form
against my nature,
will not change
my own way
in this world.

Still, I grow
unseen
and will cause
noticeable
effect on you
whether or not
you look
my way.

The theme, fittingly, for the beginning of the Poetic Asides’ Poem-A-Day Challenge is “Origins”…here is my first attempt. I am not really happy with it, mostly because I got to the word ‘mark’ this morning in my journal, then tried finishing it this evening with kids bouncing all around me. So the ending stinks and is forced. Actually it’s probably incomplete, but heck, it’s poetry. There is a time factor here, although the “rules” are pretty lenient on when we have to post. Technically, I could work some more and post it next week, but where would the fun be in that? I had to add the extra pressure of NaBloPoMo too.
Anyway, here goes…I live in the historic triangle where the Virginia colony began, btw, which inspired this piece.

“Virginia”

In more ways than four,
it all began here:
the building and planting,
the lessons and loss.
It is not hard to imagine
what they saw in this world,
sailing into the mouth
of the great Bay,
verdant forests and swamps
lacing the coast,
quiet creeks leading
to another nation.
They named it for
untouched purity,
then they made their mark.
For centuries,
have left footprints
and artifacts
and litter by the wayside.
Grown as a nation and
changed the world view.
Four centuries
have seen begin
and end
changes
unforeseen.

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