It’s that wonderful time of year again, to honor and celebrate all things poetic- Poetry and Poets for April’s National Poetry Month!
But before I post my first poems, I wanted to segue from a post last year where I introduced the topic of visual Poetry Journaling. I mentioned starting a Pinterest board of visual poetry to get inspired, and indeed, this all started a new journey begun last April to incorporate more visuals on my otherwise white pages. The biggest push into this wonderful world has been the many artists I discovered on IG who inspired quick, 15 minute journal pages, abstract moods, collage, found poems, asemic writing, mindful mending, and messy mixed media techniques. You can follow my arty discoveries here on IG @OrbitingOracle.
Blending arts and media in this way makes a lot of sense for any artist, and why not? For me, my poems are never separate from musical Muses, which are never separate from lyrics, which are never separate from the constant visuals- all of which is fed by emotion, imagination, spark, and color. To explore this gorgeous cross fertilization, I began a journey into the art world via classes, art challenges, and personal projects for the first time as I set about to jazz up my journals.
I also mostly make my own journals now, made of different papers (watercolor, scrap, sketch, junk, and vintage). While I’m not there yet- a poetry journal style that leaves ample space for words and forms with a dance between image, texture, color, and written sentiment- the journey and discoveries have been fascinating; I feel like a poet-musician wandering about one mixed media artist’s studio after another as I try varied things- and it’s been a blast! But my overall aim is to bring it all home; spacious pages that hold my poems ensconced in visuals when the mood strikes.
So ‘what if…we told ourselves that nothing else mattered but our art in April?’ Here is my Day 1 poem:
For National Poetry Month this year, I’m excited to try different art and collage visuals with my poems, with cues coming from my usual favorite poetic forms (free verse, short haiku, waka, tanka…) and others. As usual, inspirations will be more spontaneous than cued; overheard conversations, other poets’ work, my Muses, and scattered prompts.
And because I always make it a point to buy more poetry in April from local bookstores and small publishers, (YES!- Support Poets: read/buy more Poetry!) I will be also be showing you favorite poet authors and recent book purchases. Please leave a comment below to let me know if you are also writing and posting poetry for the next 29 days, or just say Hi!!
This prompt is clear; distracted by paperwork & taxes this month, to the exclusion of music & writing. Think I’ll pick another month for poems next year, like Haiku March.
#8 Physalia Love
How can I forget? The day we met, all signs
faded in the hot Gulf sun, Peligroso!’s letters dissolved in
the venomous glow. I swam to you, as you surrounded
me, enrapt the moment we touched, my legs & arms made
numb with sensations I’d never felt before they left,
leaving just below the surface of mirth & warmth,
just you & me in this chocolate sea.
Oh how many ways you held me! If
I could count them all, sweet Siphonophore,
opals embedding in tiny tentacles, dangled light to my skin, just
below your majestic sail, that glistening iridescent mast, that
veil submerged- just once, in our sea-green water waltz.
And how you tethered one to many- eloquently, as I swam
through, you- so selflessly giving all, each colony, its own treasured
jewel, each a dance of give & take, all held afloat by one
well-healed hunger, one desire to feed, to move, to gather in tryst
over & over held, then burned in your nematocyst kiss.
Prompt: a poet friend and I challenged each other to retell a terrible life experience, something we couldn’t forget; cast in a positive poetic light. Mine was a run-in with a Portuguese Man-of-War when swimming in the Gulf of Mexico years ago. It was awful; I went into shock and had to be hospitalized. My second degree burns taught me (as a budding then marine biologist), that there are at least 3 types of tentacles on Physalia physalis, each specialized for defense and feeding, each inflicting a different type of wound to hapless prey. The best thing about that experience was that I learned to play drums in the 30 days that I could not sleep, due to the steroid treatments from the burns. Drums became my heart instrument for the next 20 years, ironically. I suppose that should be another poem for the Muses. What did not kill me, made me musical. Haha! 😉
The dog in the house down the street
barks incessantly, and we wonder if it is out of
loneliness since it begins when his owner leaves, like shouting to
fill space, loud enough to fill absence, and keep
Or maybe he his sounding fear, because anything can happen
in emptiness, so he barks in constant tempo to scare away
dread, to fill the house with the might of amplitude, loudness splattered
like paint in giant blasts across the walls.
Or perhaps it is all simple anger, a defiance to tear the house down
altogether, so that nothing stands between the dog and the neighbors, whose faces are knotting up grimaced as we speak. The dog must think it’s a
human kind of snarling.
Either way, the house is an amplifier, presenting his bark in
all directions, first at Loudness-8, Reverb-10 to the apartments next door,
and traveling down the overpass, leveling off to Loudness-7 before hitting
our house and the crossroads that turn it all up, projecting the bark in
two more directions.
I hope the devil is a dog, there, at the crossroads,
kindred kind to negotiate something fair between this maybe-lonely
animal and all these neighbors, pockets filled with anger coins,
ready to ransom a canine soul
Vs. 1: 4/11/2018
If it matters to anyone- my numbering system in my post titles now, doesn’t follow the NaPoWriMo prompts anymore, since I have been writing more, ironically. My goal is simply to post as many poems as possible this month; 30 poems in 30 days would be nice. 😉 That said, I did experiment with longer lines for once (Prompt #6), and there is a parallel of perspectives in this piece (Prompt #10).
And speaking of the length of a linebreak in a poem, I just realized in this poem post, that long lines are not supported in the formatting of this blog template; ergh! Although I don’t use them often, I detest being limited by force. Time to look for a new blog template. What are your favorite WordPress templates for writing poetry?
But if memory serves without the sugarcoat,
When you were in writer’s halls, singing villanelles, offering odes,
and cornering quatrains with your lacy sestina,
The marine lab held me sway, chambered in Nautilus pompilius,
casting nets deeper than darkness, her bioluminescent waves.
Come Spring, my algal mats were a riot of bubbling pigments
much the way cherry blossoms bloomed in your haiku.
And how can I hold it against you? The courage you held for two.
While I scribbled verses on graph paper, you doodled lips on fish.
Archival dust made us both sneeze.
Tara Linda, c. 2018
NaPoWriMo Prompt #4: to write about an abstraction in a concrete way. This poem is a rewrite of a poem from 7 years ago, about something very abstract: regret. And perhaps a bit of jealousy. It’s one of those pieces that when I first wrote it, began to open a door to a feeling I’d yet to articulate: that I became a scientist instead of a poet. And that somehow, a certain poet I knew was farther ahead and better equipped than I. Revisiting this poem now, this topic, was easier. I felt more like an observer than a participant, I could open the door even wider, filling in more specifics than before. I loved studying science. And poetry! And I have no regrets. I know now that regardless what my path has been, marine science enriched my life. And of course, studying poetry and music in non-traditional ways, has made the poet within stronger and more defiant than ever. I can see now too, what a waste of time it is to compare ourselves to others. Don’t do it!! Thankfully, our paths all differ wildly. We should celebrate this.
Here is one thing I always think but never say aloud…
Haha! If you’ve been a visitor to this blog during past years and April months, you’ll know that I love poetry and this whole April movement toward poetry worldwide. You’ll also know that I mix up prompts from NaPoWriMo, and my own Muses and inspirations.
There is much travel and recording, work projects this month, but No Excuses!!! Haha! Seriously, since poetry is Art, and my goal is to LIVE my art in all ways possible (music, poetry, creating with my hands…), presenting a little bit here shouldn’t be so difficult. Right?! But the truth is, it’s that evil perfectionist that stifles my presentation on this blog- via editing. I write daily, several times so in my journals (would DIE if I couldn’t write). But it’s that ‘polish the draft’ thingy that stifles my posting! Luckily, as I alluded to with the previous post on Rauschenberg’s art, I am suddenly wildly inspired by the messy art journal crowd of late, and have a board started here on Pinterest to celebrate a particular version of poetry journals; where journaling and poetry meet visual art: the visual poetry journal.
And So I will be trying a little harder this month, to leave my critic in the dust, to post as habit, my first and second drafts. I truly appreciate the momentum of this poetry community, and would love to hear on this post- How do You get past your critic to post early drafts, often? The link provided by NaPoWriMo on Fifteen Poets on Revision is insightful.
Perfect for spring; blooms in Oakland and inspiration from the SF MOMA…large and memorable, the Robert Raushenberg retrospecitive.
Happy Spring Everyone!!
Here is what’s ‘growing on’ in the garden.
I know, some of you may be rolling your eyes, fed up with the blustery winds, sleet, and snow of this week where you live. But allow me just a few photos of the Northern Pacific Coast to cheer you up; this is what is soon coming your way: warmth, Sun, and color!!
And ever so spring-like, I’m happy to say that inspiration is also coming round to my studio lately, especially for writing and poetry (which is always the precursor, the sister Muse to my musical inspirations. Whew!) I do have projects to finish this Spring. I think I alluded to the lull earlier; family stuff last year kind of drove things quiet for a bit. I’m not one to to make art in times of intensity or drama. Not for public consumption anyway. So hopefully my Muses will honor me with some quality time this month.
But I’m excited by one major spark to my world lately- seeing the art retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules at the San Francisco MOMA last month. It roused my artistic doldrums with curiosity about other art mediums, got me dusting off pens and ink wells, and has me journaling lots of late. Woo Hoo!
If you are close to San Fran, you must go see Raushenberg’s work: It’s wonderful! Big color, wild textures, giant works and small zippered pieces, a feast of artistic styles, photography, and sculpture. I just love it when a museum is filled wing after wing, room to room with the chapters of an artist’s life. Those are always the most powerful exhibits.
In the MOMA’s words “From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings, and Combines (works that incorporate painting and sculpture),” are on exhibit. And he was a rule-breaker of sorts. He “broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time, and redefined what art could be…” Exhibit details.
And give yourself a couple of days to enjoy it all; this really is one of those exhibitions where multiple visits benefit; the shear magnitude of offerings is huge. I know I’ll catch things I missed the next time I see it.