Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wanna Have Fun? Write a Poem Every Day!

It's Day 6 of my commitment to write a poem every day this month under the guidance and encouragement of poet Molly Fisk (see previous post for delicious details). I can now report: these six days of poetry writing have been utterly transformative.

March was a month of malaise for me. I wrote dutifully on revisions for a children's literature scholarly paper, following February's dutiful revisions of an academic philosophy article. But I wrote nothing creative, nothing fresh and new and daring and different, nothing just for the joy of it, nothing just for me.

Now every morning I hop out of bed to race to my computer to see Molly's choice of the prompt for the day. You can see them rendered photographically on her website. The list so far:
April 1:  Where are you going next?
April 2: In reflected light
April 3: Praising camouflage
April 4: What am I going to wear?
April 5: Do you want to demolish something?
April 6: Are you going to grow old?

I think the prompt that produced the best poems from us as a group (there are eleven poets signed up with Molly for the month's challenge) was "praising camouflage." I think I'm fondest of the poems I wrote today and yesterday, on demolition and aging (though I'm pleased with my camouflage poem, too, which I wrote in a child's voice).

I was stuck for a while yesterday, thinking about what I might want to "demolish." I've found it's helpful to un-stick myself by starting with some research - in this case, internet searching on "dynamite," which unearthed this gem from a website called

Q: How can you get dynamite?

A: You first get a federal explosives license. You will need to prove three things: that you are a good person, that you need the license for professional reasons, and that you have a safe, secure place to store your explosives before you use them.

Ooh! How good a person would I need to be to be in order to be able to purchase some dynamite? How would I prove my goodness? My poetic muse afire, I busily scribbled for an hour, as happy (as Grandpa used to say) "as if I'd had good sense." 

Through the poetry challenge I've already made several new friends. One of them, when I messaged her to praise her exquisite camouflage poem, wrote me back to ask if by any chance I was the Claudia Mills who was the author of the article "Redemption through the Rural: The Teen Novels of Rosamond du Jardin," which she was reading with another discussion group. And I was! 

Her group focuses on the novels of a different mid-century author, the Beany Malone books of Lenora Mattingly Weber, which I don't remember reading, though I adored a different one of Weber's books: Don't Call Me Katie Rose. I couldn't find any Beany Malone books listed in the Boulder Public Library catalog, and even the University of Colorado libraries had little to offer. So I turned to Image Cascade Publishing, which offers reprints of many beloved girls' books of the past, otherwise all but unavailable.The full set of Beany titles - 14 books - totals a whopping $149 plus $10 shipping. I hesitated for a moment and then went ahead and clicked to purchase. Why not?
After all, I'm on a joy roll this month. Poetry AND new friends AND a new series of mid-twentieth century girl books to read? 

Go for it!

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