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Monday, April 7, 2014


I asked the poetry group I have joined, is this a place I can ask about poetry as a "genre" (for lack of a better term,  for the division between fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) Or is the place where we discuss "poems"--a workshop on poems in process?

The only answer I received so far was: "poetry is a concept, poems are its practice". So my questions remain. Where do I go to ask the questions we discuss on the ACFW loop all the time. Where do I find markets for my poems? Am I foolish to try, as unprepared, as someone who completes her first book and asks how to get it published?

And what is the process of writing poetry? In writing fiction, I have decided I am a hybrid Plotter/Pantser.  I write lengthy synopses, as required for my publisher. But I find my characters come to life as I write about them. As I provide them with an activity to further their conversation and romance, that activity becomes a centerpoint in the plot. And so forth.

So I may think I am writing a point about one thing . .  .but since I don't have a publisher breathing down my neck, ready to slash red pen across my changes, I wing it. Sometimes it works. Is there a process, a routine, that most poets use? Any. . .expectations?

For many years, I would timidly confess that, yes, I do write. A few years, before my first book was publisher, I amended that statement: I am a writer.

April is "National Poetry Month."  Many poets take part in a "PAD" challenge, similar to NaNoWriMo. PAD stands for Poem a Day. With my looming deadlines, I decided against it.

But with my second weekly "bloom" (chosen from everything submitted in the past seven days) in the past 3.5 months, I am asking myself the question:

Do I say I write poetry?

Or am I . . . gasp. . . a poet?

Or perhaps it's where the strength of my fiction intersects with poetry . . .emotions and imagery, and the words that call them forth.

At the risk of repeating myself, here are the poems that won the recognition:

The Day My Daughter Died


wait by

the phone late

into the night.

Tick, tock, my heart grows

colder with ev’ry beat.

Will the police never call?

Mother retreats, perchance to dream.

Facebook friends join my pain-filled vigil.

Coroner’s office on caller I.D.

Time freezes, my heart stops.  I demand

answers--How? When? Not asking the

most important question: Why?

It cannot be answered.

Dead. Three Days. Hanging.

I disconnect.

“She’s dead, Mom!”


(untitled poem)


brush winter’s

cobwebs into

skeins of spun memories

new thread

So the question is . . . poet? or not?

1 comment:

Carla Olson Gade said...
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