The Deadliest (a phrase acrostic)

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

I really feel it’s impossible that it’s the end of July! I’ve done 8 library storytimes, had a sister visit for 10 days from Florida (whee!), gone to Duluth, MN, for a bit of recharge and research, and worked on a variety of poems and manuscripts of various kinds–plus done some work-for-hire writing. I am exhausted but content. This month, our Poetry Princess challenge was a phrase acrostic, which I think I suggested :>)

I’ve shared one before here on the blog. Wow! That’s from 2008. Anyhow, they’re kind of like the opposite of a golden shovel poem. Someone suggested the Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise,” and we were off and running.

Here’s what I came up with, and at the end of my post are pics of my various drafts, if you want to see a bit of the process. I’m not super happy with the final result, but I did feel like I was working on the craft as I tried each new version.

I’m looking forward to seeing what my Poetry Sisters have come up with–right along with you guys!


Mary Lee


Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations. 

Want to join us in August? We’ll be writing a bop poem (nope, no idea how to do that myself)! We’ll be sharing them on our blogs on August 26 or on social media using #PoetryPals. Hope you’ll join in the fun! [Ugh, a longer form. Sigh.]

Marcie Flinchum Atkins has the Poetry Friday Roundup today–check it out! [ETA: And now I’m wondering if I can pull off the Sealey Challenge in August?]




17 Responses

  1. I love that you share your process. I learn so much about your thinking from these drafts. I like the 2 lines you chose to work with. There are so many wonderful phrases here. “A certainty of knees on necks” is chilling, and “ocean’s ink” is quite evocative.

  2. Powerful, and visceral poem Laura.
    “of knees on necks, rides the
    tides of lies,”
    wish more would see the light, and move away from believing the lies… I enjoyed seeing your process, thanks.

  3. It was fascinating to see the evolution of this poem, Laura. Like others noted, these lines/phrases really popped for me: “certainty/of knees on necks” and the “ocean’s ink.” What a great take on a great challenge!

  4. As always, I adore your drafting process. And oh, Laura, this poem gives me shivers. So visceral!

  5. This is ominous and powerful, and your drafts show exactly how you concentrated your words to make that happen. Thanks for suggesting phrase acrostics—I like them better than plain acrostics, and would love to try another.

  6. I always love looking at your process. (“The certainty of politicians” is a really good name for a book of satire, honestly.) Meanwhile, “what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches” out of the sea to be born?! Fully creepy.

  7. If we want young writers to appreciate how much process informs our writing lives, we must share our own processes. So, I really like what you have done here, Laura. It’s a chance to see what so often remains invisible. I might be wrong, but I am beginning to think phrase acrostics lead to more interesting and varied outcomes for poetry.

    1. Thanks, Alan! I agree about sharing. I would share my process more frequently, but I don’t have time to reflect/comment on the process, and it feels like copping out to only share my drafts. But I figure it’s some small evidence of the REST of the process! :>)

  8. Yes, “ominous and powerful,” as Sara says. I really like what you did with Maya Angelou’s words, Laura. Thanks for sharing your process, too.

  9. Really cool to see the process, Laura, and how different your final is from your initial! I especially like how you turn Ms. Maya’s words upside down yet manage to echo her central message. “Like all weapons,/ it hopes for fire.” And the title! Masterful.

  10. Wow, it’s great to read your revisions and how your idea/political anxieties have evolved fully into a monster. I loved the end stopped line “Still we eye it and wait” which captures the feeling I have of watching something unstoppable progress.

  11. I enjoy seeing the process that you go through to create a poem. Process is craft.

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