POET INTERVIEW – DEBI SWIM

DEBI SWIM

DEBI SWIM

 

When I ask folks if they would allow me the honor of interviewing them, the response sometimes shows surprising reluctance.  Today’s guest, Debi Swim, is one of the hesitant ones.  It took a bit of coaxing to talk her into the fact that our Creative Bloomings community would be ever-so-pleased to get to know the talented lady behind the poetry.   Continue reading

INFORM POETS – ENGLYN

Englyn (plural englynion) is a traditional Welsh and Cornish short poem form. It uses quantitative meters, involving the counting of syllables, and rigid patterns of rhyme and half rhyme. Each line contains a repeating pattern of consonants and accent known as cynghanedd. There are eight types of englynion. We’ll highlight three.

The earliest englynion, for instance, are written in three-line stanzas, each line of seven syllables, with a single end rhyme, thus:

_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ a

The englyn penfyr, with a more elaborate rhyme scheme. In this form, the first line is 10 syllables long, and the second and third are seven syllables each. The final word of the first line must be polysyllabic and must rhyme with the first word of the second line. The second and third lines have end rhyme:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ a
a _ _ _ _ _ b
_ _ _ _ _ _ b

The three-line englyn evolved into a four-line stanza. Perhaps the most common is the englyn cyrch, four seven-syllable lines of which lines one, two and four rhyme and the end of line three has an internal rhyme in line four:

_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ b
_ _ _ b _ _ a

Try any variation of the Englyn.

 

WALT’S ENGLYNION:

LOVE ENGLYNION

In the shadows of the night,
two lovers stand , both in sight
of each others hearts. They light

the path of life they have chosen to stride,
Bride-to-be and her young man
facing futures hand-in-hand.

Obstacles may block the way,
but face them not with dismay.
Walk in courage and be strong,
take love along from this day.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

*** Stanza one is a standard three-line Englyn, stanza two is an Englyn Penfyr, and stanza three is a four-line Englyn cyrch.

***

BENJAMIN’S ENGLYN PENFYR:

EYE CANDY

As rain drizzles down luxuriantly;
esuriant eyes soon bask,
in her fresh dew…hopes it lasts.

(C) Copyright Benjamin Thomas – 2014

PROMPT #150 – SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE: GUEST HOST – BENJAMIN THOMAS

Our Guest Host is as prolific as he is talented. Spanning a wide range of topics, forms and styles, I’ve looked forward to his joining me for this week. You see him post as poetryshack, you know him as Benjamin Thomas. Welcome Benjamin!

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POET BENJAMIN THOMAS

POET
BENJAMIN THOMAS

Benjamin Thomas was born and raised in the great state of Ohio, Buckeye country, as they say.  He currently resides in Dayton, OH (Go Flyers!) where he has spent the last 18 years going to school and working in the field of physical therapy.  He is happily married to the love of his life and has two little bustling, bumbling, tumbling whippersnappers that he chases when he is not at work.   He first began writing poetry in 1995, then took a long hiatus until Fall 2010 when he mysteriously discovered Writer’s digest’s Poetic Asides poem-a-day (PAD) challenge and met poets from all  places including our own Walt Wojtanik and Marie E. Good.  

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PROMPT #150 – “SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE”

Consider this: The government has declared that upon the first of May, you must change everything about yourself. You can retain only one feature, characteristic or character trait. Poem about that one constant. Prove that some things never change.

WALT’S PART:

THEY LEFT MY SMILE

They took my time,
they took my rhyme.
They took my money,
they took my soul.
They too my heart.
they took control.
They took my dignity.
They took my resolve.
They left me with my smile.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

 
***

BENJAMIN’S BIT:

CHANGE ME NOT

Change me, change me not.
Gut the interior,
but I’ll keep one spot.
Skin me silly,
extract all muscle strap.
Pluck each nerve, and remove the thinking cap.
But I’ll keep my funny bones please.
And yes, they’re all funny.
Just ask mister humerus.
Who’s contagiously hilarious
and always very humorous.
Procrastination, slowness
they can all take it back.
The warranty still valid
“defective”, there’s been a crack.
How slow is slow?
Like slow-freezing molasses,
with the speed of a centipede
wading through the grasses.
I’m laughin’ til’ the cows come home,
when I’m splittin’ grins in my sleep.
And these funny bones are chucklin’ hard,
still rumbling six feet deep.
So change me, change me not,
gut the interior,
but I’ll keep
that spot.

(C) Copyright Benjamin Thomas – 2014

BRILLIANT BLOOMS PROMPT #149 AND DIATELLE

We’ve entered April to celebrate all things poetic, and Nancy Posey has given us a prompt to ponder. Poems about the poetic process were the order of the day and it has brought forth some wonderful and imaginative poems. All of our poets bring their “A” games each week. These are two that we would like to highlight! We present the BRILLIANT BLOOMS to:

WALT’S CHOICE:

Too much in this piece could have been written by me from the title (pointing to my many sleep disorders,) right down to my not drinking anymore. Our obsessions do take over at times. But we take these thoughts and commit them to page, ready for many new adventures. Laurie Kolp certainly has this mastered. She earns my BLOOM.

INSOMNIAC by Laurie Kolp

Sometimes my dreams
leave me slack-jawed.
It’s like an attack
of lucid metaphors
begging for home
awakens me
and I can’t sleep
until they’re delivered
safe and sound
to my writing shack,
which is odd–
calling the nook
where I write a shack.
But it’s like that
with papers strewn
this way and that,
words on purple
and yellow pads
waiting in line.
Sometimes I can’t
even find the door,
but it seems as if
I live there,
according to my kids.
They call me
a poetic maniac,
but that’s okay–
I don’t drink anymore.
© Copyright Laurie Kolp – 2014

***
NANCY’S AWARD:
I loved so many of your poems this week, but when choosing, I tried to climb inside the head of honest-to-goodness reluctant readers of poetry (Remember, I teach literature—poetry to eighteen-year-olds at eight in the morning.) This one I found so much fun. I love the way she uses language of poetry and tipsy dance.

POETRY by Barbara Young

always wants a dance.
Even when nobody asks
she gets out on the floor.
Alas I am left, tapping,
with two left trochees
and a pest of unvoiced plaints.
Amphibrachs,
and some tepid punch jiggle
when I bump the table
for I bump the table
when I tap. Poetry does
enjoy a good turn
in a lampshade.
© Copyright Barbara Young – 2014

***

INFORM POETS BLOOM:

WALT’S SELECTION:

Henrietta Choplin wrote this tender and beautiful DIATELLE, truly one of her best pieces submitted. I was totally taken by this poem.
FRON A DISTANCE, PEACE by Henrietta Choplin

In
stillness
may I miss
nothing at all.
Lying in quiet, bliss
Remaining steady, not to fall
That rock in the distance, to me it calls:
“Let me surround you, building a structure within
There I hold you…I will not let you fall,
And through your trust, I will stand tall
With strength you cannot miss.”
Nothing at all
will I miss
Our bliss,
Then.

© Copyright Henrietta Choplin – 2014

***

NANCY’S CHOICE:

I did my best to read the poems without considering who wrote them, but I have to pick Jane’s Diatelle, mainly because I love the imagery and the verbs—scotching a barn..keening and weaning, evoking spring so subtly.

I found this form so challenging, I think, because it’s hard to have varying line lengths with rhyme. I felt like a ninth grader given a form and forced to make it fit. I wouldn’t dream of sharing my outtakes. This one by Jane Shlensky really worked for me:

Words
distilled
can be filled
with deep meaning
sweet syllables that build
a castle or scotch a leaning
barn, raise roofs or still a widow’s keening.
Such strings of sound abound and sing aloft with birds
in languages we cannot speak—greening
of trees, all things newborn weaning—
but know in our hearts, stilled,
but listening
ground new-tilled
good-willed
Heard

© Copyright Jane Shlensky – 2014

 

CONGRATULATIONS LAURIE, BARBARA, HENRIETTA AND JANE AND OUTSTANDING JOB TO OUR INCREDIBLE POETS.!

INFORM POETS – DIATELLE

The Diatelle is a fun, 15 line, syllable counting form patterned similarly to the etheree with a twist. The syllable structure of the diatelle is as follows: 1/2/3/4/6/8/10/12/10/8/6/4/3/2/1, but unlike an etheree, has a set rhyme pattern of a-b-b-c-b-c-c-a-c-c-b-c-b-b-a. This poetry form may be written on any subject matter and usually looks best center aligned in a diamond shape, although it isn’t necessary.

The Diatelle form was created by Bradley Vrooman.

This form is challenging, as Nancy and I can attest. But, we’re here to spur you on, so get writing! ;)

WALT’S DIATELLE:

POETICALLY CHALLENGED

Still
each year
You can hear
all the poets
shedding a joyful tear.
with a seed of thought, they’ll grow it
do they make words rhyme? You better know it
and the finished poem just gives them a big thrill.
With a well written verse, they will show it
so take your best shot; don’t blow it
poetic patrons cheer
this seed, sow it
It is clear
It’s here.
Still

© Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

***

NANCY’S DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH:

FAREWELL SONG

One
brief kiss
and you’ll miss
me when I’m go.
And you will think of this
embrace, our arms entwined just so.
You’ll long for more, a second chance, and though
we promised we would meet again, what’s done is done.
Don’t turn around, I do know want to know
when bitter tears begin to flow .
and when you reminisce,
the lights turned low,
think of this:
such bliss
gone.

© Copyright Nancy Posey – 2014

PROMPT #149 – “NO POEMS ABOUT POETRY?”: GUEST CO-HOST – NANCY POSEY

Following her friend and sister North Carolinian, Jane Shlensky, our Co-host this week is highly accomplished and we are extremely honored to include her works amongst the glowing blooms here at CREATIVE BLOOMINGS. Nancy Posey is a strong voice in poetic circles, as she is a ardent promoter of the process. We welcome her here.

***

POET AND AUTHOR NANCY POSEY

POET AND AUTHOR
NANCY POSEY

Nancy is an Alabama native, living in North Carolina (“The Writingest State”) since 1995.  She teaches English in the community college after 18 years of teaching in high school.  A lifelong reader, she has always been in love with the written and spoken word.  Nancy was drawn back to poetry with the Poetic Asides PAD challenge about 6 or 7 years ago.  Since that time, she has built friendships with the writers she met there, leading her to this site.  When she’s not reading or writing (or grading the endless stacks of essays) she stays busy.  She and her husband Dick have been married 37 years in June. They have three grown children and three grandchildren–all beautiful, charming, and fun. She also finds time to travel (most recently to Haiti) and to learn to play mandolin.

Find Nancy’s work and musings at: THE DISCRIMINATING READER and ALABAMA TAR HEEL

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PROMPT #149 – “NO POEMS ABOUT POETRY?”: Nancy offers this thought for poetry month. It becomes our prompt this week! She says: “No poems about poetry,” I’ve read in submission guidelines, joining cat poems in the lists of don’ts. If poets don’t sing the praises of poetry, then, who will? People of all ages often bristle and grow defensive when we suggest reading poetry along with, not even instead of, their usual reading matter. I must confess that some of the damage is done by my people—English teachers. We assign a poem, ask students what it means, and then tell them why they are wrong. Didn’t Billy Collins say that high school is where poetry goes to die?

 

Rather than wring our hands, why don’t we take this opportunity during National Poetry Month to become publicists for poetry. Write a poem that celebrates poetry in some way—and follow that basic rule of writing: Consider your audience, reluctant readers.

***

WALT’S POETIC P.R.:

SINCE I’M GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING ANYWAY…

I might as well write rhyme.
I have this blank page, and the time
and the rage to go gently into that good write.

I might as well write rhyme.
A poem is as expressive as I can get,
and I’m of a mind to do it all on my dime, every time.

I might as well write rhyme.
Poets are a special breed. We don’t need much
except a muse and just enough heart to get started.

Since I’m going to write something anyway,
I might as well write rhyme.
It’s the best way to know I’m alive.

© Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014

***

NANCY’S PROMOTION:

POEM

I’m leaving it here on your desk,
purely harmless, with no hidden
intent, this brief poem I heard
that made me think of you. No
Latinate construction, skewed
syntax, no symbols planted so deep
even the poet needs a pirate’s map.
In simple words—ones I might
have said myself, though not
as well, not as clearly, this poet
who never knew you penned lines
that surely sing your name.

© Copyright Nancy Posey – 2014

 

BRILLIANT BLOOMS PROMPT #148 AND CINQKU

I cannot tell you all what a tremendous help you have been in tilling this fertile poetic garden. The Guest Hosts so far have been such nurturing souls and we have all benefited from that. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Jane Shlensky for her diligence and tenacity to stay with the project, comment on almost every poem posted.

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WALT’S BLOOM:

The idea of culling three lines from a poem and giving them a fresh start, is a form of revision which is a major part of the writing process. The original poems were a step stone to something rejuvenated and better; a new perspective. The poem I chose became in our author’s words, ”something different”. But in her irrepressible story telling style, Barbara Young rewove her three lines into this tapestry:

BARBARA YOUNG’S “DIFFERENT” POEM

[First time I tried to tell this memory,
I thought you were shadows
on the cave wall. Did not know
that you had losses, faces, grandbabies.
It was a story I told, in Mama's sense
of telling stories: falsehood, if not an outright lie.]

In Tennessee, the winter ‘fifty, ‘fifty-one
was like this past one: frigid. Ice broke everything.
This memory belongs to that November.
The stars were clear as ice, the moon full
but small and cold. We’re in the country:
where my grandmother, grandfather, uncle lived.

[A farm with two mules, a half-dozen cows.
A woodstove in the front room; a single,
hanging light bulb. I catalog the mismatched chairs
in the original poem, and tell you the unpainted
sheetrock walls are gold-brown, mention
a souvenier pillow, the smell of hickory smoke. ]

I don’t remember who was in the room–
a ring around the hot stove, faces red, backsides
cold as outside–when my uncle Bill came back
from hunting. We’d have heard his dogs,
foxhounds, barking and then belling, out there
up and down the hills and hollows. Echos.

[I would have seen fox skins nailed to the barn.
They kill hens, foxes do, and I have seen
the tiny yellow chicks trying to stay warm
around a light bulb. The men and their dogs
are out hunting foxes. Or sitting around a fire
talking in low nasal country voices, and drinking.]

That is where memory plays false. I was three,
maybe four. My true recollection isn’t framed well,
but nailed to the wall, a page from a magazine.
My uncle lets the cold air in, has a gunny sack;
in that, what he dumps into the circle of family
is a fox cub, small as my hands, and terrified.

[I tried to make a poem from that, for the cave
and its shadows. Added a gun that was--if even there--
unimportant. Missed telling you the truth.
Not some thing about the south and rural barbarism,
but: That I was as frightened in that room of poets
as a fox cub dumped out of a gunny sack.]

© Copyright Barbara Young – 2014

***

JANE’S BACK TO SQUARE ONE BLOOM:

Guest-hosting has been a great experience for me, reading so many fine poems from so many fine poets and people. Thank you, Walt. While bloom selecting has been a little daunting, it has given me an insight into how editors of books and magazines feel when they select poems for their publications. I realized that I’m more of a gatherer of posies than I am a single-stem girl, but I have to say to you all that there was a lot to love in your poems this week, and a lot to love in the kind and caring way in which you encourage one another. That’s the fertilizer that makes this garden grow, in my opinion. I winnowed for hours and still sat like a child holding a Whitman’s sampler but allowed only one piece of chocolate. My short list had Jerry Walraven, Patricia Hawkenson, Bill Preston, Nancy Posey, and Hannah Gosselin, but that isn’t short enough, alas. Finally, I took a nap and went with the first poem that claimed my thoughts when I woke . It ain’t scientific, but it worked.  This week’s Brilliant Bloom goes to Patricia Hawkenson for a poem that chilled us and offered the power of redemption through music.

I LEARNED FROM THE BEST OF THEM by Patricia Hawkenson

Bent over
in a mocking bow,
he should not
be jealous
of what I know.

For my fingers
know the quick wind
of a knife blade
taunting closer,
in a father’s control
of his child’s fear.

My eyelids know
the pain of closing
while trying
to look straight
ahead.

My back felt the spaces
welt between the bars,
the blackness of blood
on my white sheets.

I knew how
to hold it all inside
until my keyboard grabbed
my fingers tight
and forced them all
to fly away.

© Copyright Patricia A. Hawkenson – 2014

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WALT’S CINQKU BLOOM:

This short form seemed to garner some outstanding thoughts and their corresponding amazing poems. From happy to sad, determination and despair these Cinqku all met the challenge. This one was clearly thought provoking, slightly tongue in cheek and quite telling. Two oars working together move forward. One oar steers to the shore, of just goes in a circle. Paula Wanken expressed that vision smartly. There is wisdom in her words.

PAULA WANKEN’S CINQKU

Setting
sail, with oar
in water, moves
me…alas, only in
circles.

© Copyright Paula M Wanken – 2014

***

JANE’S CINQKU BLOOM:

One of the things I love about this blog is that people rise to a challenge, take on any form, and churn out these wonderful “attempts” that read more like the finished thing. I ate these little cinqku up, each one as imaginative and clever as each of you are, but finally I offer my bloom to Darlene Franklin for a cinqku whose central image has kept me spinning.

DARLENE FRANKLIN’S CINQKU

Breezes
brush winter’s
cobwebs into
skeins of spun memories
new thread

© Copyright Darlene Franklin – 2014

CONGRATULATIONS to Barbara, Patricia, Paula and Darlene on you selections. And great work by all our contributors!