A Long Slog #poetry #MondayBlogs

As some of you may know, I am taking an online poetry writing course through the University of Iowa (FREE!).  Just finished Week 3.  Being that the course is FREE, students have the option to do as little or as much as they want.  But if you want a certificate of participation, you have a lot to do:  post a minimum of 1 writing assignment per week; post feedback to 5 of your peers’ writing assignments; and post comments to 5 forum discussions.  So that’s 11 posts a week that I have to write, and the feedback/discussion posts have to have more content than just, “Hey, I really liked your poem” or “Hey, I’m really enjoying this discussion.”  And the certificate is NOT free.  It’s 50 bucks.  I’m not complaining about the cost.  Just wish I didn’t care/wasn’t trying to be qualified to pay it.  The long slog is me trying to keep up with this class while working a day job and having the heavy weight of other projects looming over me.

I have books to read and book reviews to write.  If you’re someone who is expecting a review from me, I’m doing the best I can.  If you’re not, then good. That gives me more room to breathe.

It doesn’t help that I was “conscripted” to contribute my crocheting “talents” to making something for someone I work for.  It’s doesn’t help that the deadline for that project is really looming (casting a shadow over what was to be a sunny weekend).  I only hope that by the time this post publishes, I’ll have met that deadline, which will give me more room to breathe.

So what am I getting out of this course that makes me willing to push aside all my other commitments for a few weeks?  Besides that the fact that it’s a good excuse for writing?

I can count the number of poems I’ve written in my lifetime on two hands.  But I feel pulled toward poetry for some reason, and so I slog on.

Here’s one of my assignments from Week 2:  making a poem out of a word cloud, as discussed by Carol Light.

My word cloud: assault fault naught caught brought bring brung rung dung human no-man ampersand neverland broken spoken forsaken waken waking breaking bleating repeating deleting meeting maker baker tailor mender contender relentless dauntless gauntlet junket monkey loving doves roves moves grooves moods fissures tissues issues

Here’s the “poem”:

Not my fault the assault caught
the mender, the contender
with his relentless bleating.
The junket monkey
moves in grooves
and fissures of moods,
meeting then deleting
the broken forsaken
human ampersand from Neverland.

One of my peers suggested I edit the poem to read like this:

Ignore the relentless beating

It’s not my fault
The junket monkey
moves in grooves
and fissures of moods,
meeting then deleting
the broken forsaken
human ampersand from Neverland.

I like this:

Not my fault.

The junket monkey
moves in grooves
and fissures of moods,
meeting then deleting
the broken forsaken
human ampersand

from Neverland.

Another peer suggested I look up calligram and maybe write the poem as an ampersand … wouldn’t that be a hoot?

38 thoughts on “A Long Slog #poetry #MondayBlogs

  1. Don’t give up. In the end it’s worth the achievement. When I upgraded my skills, I found routines helped: Monday washing, Tuesday cleaning the apartment etc. This way, when it was study/assignment nights – the other jobs were done – so I couldn’t procrastinate.

  2. Kudos for you for doing an online poetry class. I love writing poetry so much, but push it aside too often. I know a class would get me more involved and light a writing fire under my procrastinating butt!

    • Procrastination is my middle name! It’s a shame that I have to create deadlines in order to get that fire lit, but at least it works 🙂

  3. Taking a writing course has been on my ‘To Do’ list for quite some time. Never get around to it. I admire that you took that step. Thanks for sharing your work and the ‘work’ that goes with it! 🙂

  4. Marie, this is so cool!!! I love the idea of shaping the poem as an ampersand. Good luck with that! I never have much luck with the hard task of shaped poems myself. I’d love to see it. But these variations are fabulous. Your willingness to cut really lets the poem shine like a cut diamond.

    • Thanks, Luanne! I really appreciate the other students taking time to read and recommend suggestions. Learning a lot 🙂

  5. I love that poem! Makes me want to play with word clouds. And I hear you on pressure for other obligations. Just know that I’m one of those people who is happy knowing you’re doing what you’re excited about. You owe us nothing. 🙂

    • Thank you, Andra! It is a journey, isn’t it? It will be interesting to see what is at the end of it (if it ever ends …) 😉

    • Thank you, and you are so right. I don’t like multitasking so it’s a great feeling when I lighten my load 🙂

    • Ha, ha, you sound like my yoga instructors: “Don’t forget to breathe.” It’s a good reminder because sometimes I do forget 😉

  6. Fantastic Marie! You’ve done such an excellent job with the word cloud assignment. – wasn’t it fun? Although in some ways I can see that either of the shorter versions make a “better” poem, I really liked the sense of rhythm and speed you have going with the longer version. And well done on sharing your work too. I’ve been writing poems through the course, but just for myself. I think mainly because of the time factor to edit them with a fine tooth comb. Though sometimes I think the initial emotional reaction can really capture what you’re trying to say. Great work!

    • Thank you, A.K., for your kind words! I was hesitant to share this poem because it’s so different from anything I’ve ever done. I’m so glad you like it. I would probably be less stressed if I were just writing the poems for myself, but once I decided on the certificate … oh, well. The best part is it’s helping me to be organized, although I wish I had more time to spend on finishing the poems.

  7. Kudos, Marie! I’ve written very few poems in my life too. They seem so hard to write, yours works! Good luck with all your writing assignments and projects. I have a feeling you’ll get them all done and earn that certificate. 🙂

    • Thank you! I was pleasantly surprised with that poem. If nothing else, the course is helping me push past my writing boundaries 🙂

  8. I loved all of the versions of your poem, Marie.
    Good on you for taking that writing course. I had to giggle though when you mentioned you were conscripted to crochet something. That was my week last week. 🙂

    • Hi, L. Marie! I thought of you when I wrote the bit about crocheting. It’s a baby hat, but not as cute as the one you made for Phillip. I’m not as good at crocheting as I am at knitting and this particular hat was something I had to improvise on. The person who wants it just gave me a photo (of a pattern that is no longer for sale … sigh), a pattern book, and yarn that was so different from what the patterns called for, I had to make 4 attempts to get the gauge right 🙁 Did I mention the person who wants this hat is in a position of authority over me at my workplace? A very weird situation. Anyway, after 12 hours, I managed to create something that resembles the photo and I plan to give it to her today. She just better be happy with it because I am so done with it 😉 (Oh, I had crocheted a “prototype” for her a couple of months ago, so, in effect, she’s getting two baby hats out of me.)

  9. Sounds like a genuine workshop scenario, and it’s Iowa! I looked at that wordcloud and said, I’d never be able to make anything of that soup. You nailed it. 👍

  10. Wow, Marie, I give you a lot of credit. This course sounds like a big undertaking. I know nothing about poetry and I can count the number of poems that I’ve written on one hand.I don’t like the idea of someone’s poem being edited, it would be like someone editing my thoughts. But as I said…I know nothing about poetry. 🙂

    • Hey, Jill. People are really good about providing feedback in this class. It’s not so much editing as sharing what resonates with them. For another poem, someone suggested I use “yet” instead of “but” and what a difference that made when I read the poem aloud! But I’m pretty much posting first or second draft poems for the course, so I don’t mind the suggestions I get. Of course, with one that I posted last week, one commenter didn’t like the last line, and the other did. Just like writing fiction! You can’t please everybody 🙂

  11. Loved the poems. 🙂 I have been far removed from writing lately. Too many things going on in real life. Reading lots, but nothing satisfying.Guess I’ll have to write something satisfying.

  12. Man, Marie! You always take on a chunk. I have to say I really enjoyed your poem. I liked the first one the best. (Okay call me nuts but it had a haunting beat that seemed to carry more emotion) Best on trying to get to the certificate. You can do it. I decided to hold off the launch of my next book until you have time to read it. (or whenever the @#&% publisher decides to launch) I love your reviews.

    • To be honest, I didn’t know how involved it would be until the course started. But it’s only 7 weeks … surely I can handle that 🙂 I get the feeling that you’ll be happy once you’re self-publishing. Must be a pain in the ass to have to wait on someone else when you’re all set to go. Looking forward to your next book. It would be great if it launches in summer.

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