Noise of the World

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) Also, you can skip the writing process and go right to my draft on the full-cover graphic near the bottom :>)

Quick note: I’m looking for an online critique group of picture book authors that focuses solely on picture books/poetry. My own beloved critique group has floated toward older and older audiences over the past several years, so I need to supplement! If you know of any groups with an opening, will you let me know? Thank you! <3

Also, I was just catching up on my PW Children’s Bookshelf reading, and I was happy to see these 3 announcements from recent months. Yay!

Okay, it’s the last Friday of the month, so the Poetry Sisters are sharing today–along with any of you who wrote along with us (yay!). I wasn’t too excited by our form this month, called the monotetra, which I just can’t make flow easily! [Skip to image poem below if you don’t want the writing process stuff!] During our live write last Sunday, I wrote four stanzas. The first was about the seasons. Extremely cliched. The second was about migration. Okay, but maybe it didn’t go anywhere? And the third and fourth were two quatrains that went together, about silence and how hard it is to find. But still very cliched.

Here are quatrains 2, 3, and 4, along with my rhyming lists and my attempt to figure out that ending four-syllable phrase that’s repeated.

As Tanita, Mary Lee, Sara, and I chatted (though we don’t actually share our work–just talk process), Sara threw out a suggestion. What if you put the migration quatrain between the two silence quatrains? Because migration sounds like would be noisy. I was so intrigued. So, here’s my attempt to do that. The migration element all but disappeared (only those thundering hooves even hint at the  possibility), and instead, it turned into sort of a comparison of natural and manmade sounds. It’s still one big old ball of cliche, but it’s better than where I started. I don’t think I’ll be coming back to this form, honestly.

I played with using “Just molecules. Just molecules.” as line 4 in that last quatrain, but it felt a little too obscure. I had a meaning in my head, but it didn’t feel like enough detail in the poem to help the reader make the leap to my own meaning. It’s still too preachy, but it’s what I’ve got.

Check in to see what my Poetry Sisters came up with–and I can’t wait to see what y’all did with this form too, if you played along!

Mary Lee

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

Lovely, creative Jan has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Make sure to quietly check in and discover beautiful poems!

For August, we’re going to play with exquisite corpse poems and also with Linda Mitchell’s clinkers. So do with that what you will :>D Not exactly sure what we’re going to do. But post on August 30 as we poem summer to a close.




20 Responses

  1. Laura, thank you so much for highlighting my announcements. They were sold two years apart, but as publishing goes, they were announced during the same week. 🙂 I’m excited for your book. It looks like one I’ll have to get for my library for sure! The monotetra looks complicated. Thank you for sharing your process–I always learn a TON from seeing your thinking. And you did an amazing job with the finished product.

    1. It was so great to see your name twice! The pub business is so strange, isn’t it?

  2. I’m always happy to read about your process. I had fun with the form. Your end result is worth it!

  3. Laura, congratulations on your book, Line Leads the Way; what a great title! Thank you also for including Marcie’s new books. I enjoy learning from your process. You always make everything more understandable. I love how your changes in your stanzas build up (not sure if “build up” is the best way to explain, but it’s real late here) in sound and emotion. Powerful. There’s a lot going on in the monotetra form and it seems challenging, but now that I read about it and have seen your process, I will try it. Rhyming doesn’t come easy for me. Thank you for your sharing and for your inspiration. 🙂

    1. I love that sharing my haphazard process might make it feel less intimidating, Gail. <3

  4. Gosh, for someone who couldn’t make it flow, you sure made it flow! I especially love how your three last lines build and work together. (And you know I ALWAYS love seeing your process…) PS — Here’s to Line Leads the Way!!

  5. Twilight sings its ballad in plum?? OH! I will think of that next time I’m outside at the right moment. I love how you took my random comment and created something beautiful. And I always love reading about your process.

  6. Here’s another vote for keeping the process notes!
    And maybe this form is about tucking beauty in amongst the cliches that are bound to happen, like the twilight Sara mentions, and the tiny wings with their “insistent thrum.” (Though I have yet to see a single monarch in these parts and I’m beginning to despair…)

  7. Thank you for sharing the insight into your process. Such a gorgeous, deep result!

  8. Your word lists and how you made this work always intrigue. I think you came away with something beautiful — and your distaste for people yammering loudly on phones is hilariously well-described. My favorite line is twilight singing in PLUM. How gorgeous.

  9. I like reading your process and how you made it all work, Laura. It was a challenge to find that end word that had enough rhymes to help make the message. I like your basic idea that noise is all around us, so much that sometimes we don’t know that’s what makes us jittery! And I love “And silence hides.”, works with all the great detail you had. I’m looking forward to your book & glad to see Marcie’s new ones coming, though it’s a long wait!

  10. Laura, I love the process notes about your poem. I also appreciate your self-talk about it being cliché and “still too preachy.” I don’t see it, but it helps me learn more from you.

  11. Laura, I always have faith in you coming up with the right flow to a Poetry Princesses’ challenge. I have been under the weather for two weeks now so I had trouble concentrating. I have to say that the format for this month seemed insurmountable to me but I gave it a try. I hope all is well with you. Congratulations on the debut of your new book.

  12. You always get there in the end, Laura, but “Twilight sings its ballad in plum” is alone worth all the effort. Congrats on the new book and for reminding us about Marcie’s forthcomings too!

  13. I particularly love the first stanza of this poem. I don’t think it’s cliched at all. I do think the last line requirement makes the form feel clunky, but even your minor word changes fix this problem a bit.
    And as so many others have said, I do appreciate your process notes, especially when I don’t get to Zoom with you.

  14. Hurrah for a flowing poem, Laura! I myself like the molecule line…but that’s just me and you probably have the right idea that it could be too obscure. Thanks for sharing your process too!

  15. Love all the nature in the second stanza, and “sounds of the wild” following. I hear “nature’s-hum”-flowing…Congrats on the forthcoming book, sounds intriguing!

  16. Hi wonderful Laura,
    I love reading your line about your LINE LEADING THE WAY. And somehow [easy for me these days] I missed Marcie’s fantastic news of two forthcoming wonderful books. Appreciations for catching me up.
    On your Poetry Sisters’ prompt, I’m overtaken this line of yours’ spot-on knowledge:
    “And silence hides. And silence hides.”
    Apologies for the late catch-up.

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