Hi, everyone! It’s Day 4, and thus Line 4, of the 2015 Progressive Poem, created and curated by Irene Latham.? I missed participating last year and am happy to be back.
OK, I confess I am a fan of short poems. And short lines. (My Ireland poem from yesterday feels long to me, and it’s only 16 long lines.) So when I read the first three lines, which are beautiful and lyrical and descriptive and–holy moly!–long, I feel totally out of my element. 30 lines this long will practically be a novel.
But, there you go. I love working within constraints, so it’s a fun challenge to figure out how to use my own poetic preferences to add a line that will still work in this group creation.
I decided to do a shorter line for contrast. Have you ever played the group improv game where you stand in a line and make up a story, one word at a time? And the game master points randomly at people, so it’s not like you can count a few people ahead and try to plan! It’s fun but scary. And sometimes your big moment results in your having to say “the” or something equally boring, because that’s what is needed in the story at that single moment when the game master points at you.
That’s kind of how this progressive poem is. I need to quit worrying about whether my line will sound glorious on its own and think about what the poem needs. So far, we have a beautiful description of an intriguing character. I think it’s time for action or momentum, because 30 lines of description and character would be too much, in my opinion. The last time I participated, I was much later in the month, and the main character was preparing, in great detail, for a journey. My head was exploding. I know, I know–it’s not all about me and my personal pet peeves:>) But I want to get this fascinating girl/woman doing something that might lead to conflict or revelation or something momentous.
All joking and whining aside, this is what makes group poems challenging.? Balancing your personal poetry preferences with the poem’s own demands. It’s why creating large group poems with elementary students, which I do on my school visits, is always a celebration of the unexpected. It’s why things fall flat…but it’s also why magic sometimes happens. OK, here goes:
She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium deposits of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the
I added a comma to the end of Heidi’s line. Is that OK? I didn’t want to start my line with “and.” I also wanted to add a bit of rhyme, even though it’s not a metered verse poem. Initially, I had “blows” as the first word, but how boring and expected. Here we are in the deep south (in my head, anyway), I thought, what if I use “snows” to describe the motion of her hair whipping and blowing, falling and rising, around her face? I was hoping “snows in wild wind” would add a bit of drama and contrast to the beautiful scene we have going on and would also pick up on the hint of speed and urgency in Heidi’s interesting phrase, “Hands faster than fish.” And what is she digging in? Digging for? Why? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find a clue tomorrow when Charles Waters add his line!
Here’s a list of links below so that you can follow along each day to see how our poem grows. I love being one stem in this poetry garden!
2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem
1 Jone at Check it Out
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy
24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write
30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
Thank you, Irene, for organizing this fun event where we can connect with each other and with readers!