Statues in the Park [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

The Process


This month, our Poetry Princess challenge (my choice) was a poem of any kind, mood, or topic to go with the title “Statues in the Park.”

I was on a fabulous trip to the North Shore (Minnesota’s shoreline on Lake Superior) last week, and I meant to maybe think about my poem while I was there. But I didn’t.

So, last Saturday morning, before we went to see the movie Dunkirk, I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with several ideas and the thought that I wanted to try acrostics and free verse poems. [Note: I have played hide and seek, and I have taken pictures with the bronze family in downtown Minneapolis (evidence in the video, in fact!). But the settlers’ cemetery one was not based on anything in particular. I have seen a couple of settlers’/pioneers’ cemeteries over the years. But the idea was just an idea–nothing based on personal experience.] And then I just started writing quickly. In fact, I did a screen capture of the hour and 17 minutes I spent writing four rough drafts. Nobody wants to watch that, though! Here, however, is a time lapse video showing it at 6x the real speed. It’s about 13 minutes long.

I had fun writing them and liked bits and pieces, but wasn’t madly in love with any of them. However, the whole point of our monthly Poetry Princesses adventure is to produce SOME poem. The best poem you can depending on whatever your circumstances are. I try not to put too much pressure on myself!

Sunday morning at church (shh!) I brainstormed a few sensory details I might want to work in:

sensory details for Statues in the Park

So, on Monday morning, I picked the free verse one I preferred. The other was just too chaotic and needed way too much work for the time I had! I spent about 20 minutes on two revisions. You can see a time lapse of that writing session below, if you’re interested. (And in less than 4 minutes!)

And here’s that revision, which still needs work, but…there ya go!

The Poem

Statues in the Park

Don’t forget to check on the magic that the other Poetry Sisters have made this month! A few of us got to read each others’ versions ahead of time and offer feedback, and it’s always a kick to go see what each one ended up with!


Non-poetry demands are keeping Andi away this month, but she’ll return :>)

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

The Poetry Friday Roundup

And make sure to get your poetry fix by visiting the Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted this week by the wonderful Donna at Mainely Write–and she’s rocking a Padlet! (I love those things.)


















25 Responses

  1. Fascinating to watch the process. I love how your poem places us there with you picking out the M&Ms and having a conversation about the statues. Thanks for being brave to share how it came to be.

  2. Ok. You are amazing. This is wonderful. I am sharing, coming back to savor, to learn, to write. (I let life get in my way.… that seriiusly has to end!!! I want ti be more like you!)

    1. Aw, Janet. That is sweet. I miss your writing. You need poetry and poetry needs you:>)

  3. Thank you for sharing your process. I enjoy detailing my process too. It’s a kind of teaching — that helps ME understand better. My sister and I love to visit cemeteries together. In fact, she’s traveling cross country this next week and we are going to a cemetery! I love the names on the stones. This poem puts me right in the feel of being in a cemetery off the beaten path.…one of those jack-pot finds that make you feel like it’s all yours.…until one of the names sighs as you leave. Just perfect. Really nice poem. Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you, Linda. Exactly. Sharing my process is actually a pain in the patootie, BUT I figure it is helpful for someone. And then someone ends up being me:>) Have an awesome time with your sister!

  4. What a rich post! Thank you for sharing your process and your wonderful poem. I was entranced by both and especially enjoyed the life you so creatively injected into this cemetery scene. What a delight!

  5. Ok, Laura—you’ve got to share that screen capture time lapse thing with me. It also kind of oddly parallels your poem, now that I think of it—the watcher/recorder looking over the shoulder of the poet, who maybe thinks, with a sigh: I thought she’d never leave…ha! But isn’t that so—we have to write, and be active, then lie flat, and look, and then munch some M&Ms and then look again, and it’s ever so jumbly and layered, like an old cemetery…until we pack out with whatever we’ve managed to glean that day. Also: love those “old” names. And how you mix humor with keen observation here.

    1. Thanks, Sara! I hadn’t even thought of the parallel of the narrator of the poem and the people watching the writing process too. That’s great! The video is just Screencast-O-Matic (I use the paid version–still inexpensive–just so I don’t have watermarks). Then I just published it to YouTube. I think I did mine privately, though I’m not sure, for the full-length ones. And then in YouTube editing now there is a way to speed it up and slow it down. Maybe that’s always been there–I don’t know. Anyway I just sped it him up time 6 and recorded it as a new video and it was pretty simple. Super fun! I might do that more often. Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. Laura,I so liked a video of your writing process of the Statue in the Park. It is amazing to actually see “pysically” how many changes you made until you were satisfied with the poem. (or almost satisfied).

    Also, its strong imigery (which you are masterfully create in your many poems, makes in the Park kind of a poetic,mini-history lesson (which the students, I am more than sure, would LOVE to study and learn from, instead of using very often “dry” texts in their history books.)

  7. Like all the others above, I loved seeing and reading about your process, Laura. I love how you included those women’s thoughts about visitors to “their” place as intruders. Privacy is not often considered in a graveyard for those who reside there. Beautiful details, too.

    1. Thank you, Linda. Using their names was kind of my favorite part of writing it, although I felt a bit guilty about using real names, so I took a listing of names from a settler cemetery and I used one person’s first name with another person’s last name so that I wasn’t using anybody’s actual real name. It was fun to imagine their thoughts and moods.

  8. Ooh, time lapse. So fancy, lady!

    I someday want to SEE this park; it truly lives for me.
    Also, I laugh at you for picking at your trailmix — or Gorp, as we call it here. We all have to get the chocolate out first…

    1. I just remember thinking, I’m camping trips as a kid, why? Why would you put raisins among yummy stuff. It was fun taking memories of state parks, some memories as recent as last week, and mixing them with settler cemetery sites seen over the years.

  9. Revelations of process are fascinating in that they show us our differences as well as our similarities. Your poem is quite evocative. Nicely done.

    1. Thanks! I would love to peek over other writers’ shoulders as they write poems. As you said, interesting to see the similarities and differences.

  10. Yes, Tanita, it was Gorp for us, too. I liked to pair an M&M with a peanut as I picked through mine! Which has not much to do with your poem, Laura. Thank you for all the process. The one thing I’ll take away is the brainstorm of sensory details. I love that for making all modes of writing richer.

    1. Thanks! Ironically, I was not able to work in as many of those sensory details as I wanted. It was gorp for me as a kid with hiker parents. But I meet a lot of people who have no idea what gorp stands for so I thought I’d better use something a bit more generic. 🙂

  11. Is it wrong of me that I love you were sitting in church, taking notes of noises, milky way and disco ball? And that you shared it with us? I like that you visit another sacred place in your poem, the settler’s cemetery, in your poem, bringing a feeling of the church into the poem with you, without one word of lecture.

  12. Watching the process on screen was somewhat eerie! I’ve done a capture like that before — not for a long time — and it is interesting to see the moment by moment thoughts changing. It is like being inside your head!
    I love the inserted names and the ending is awesome!

    1. Thanks, Donna. I actually need to go back and watch it a little bit myself. I was happy with the names, too. I think that’s my favorite part of this so far:)

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