Final Assignment: Guest Judges Beers & Duhamel

ShaindelBeersShaindel Beers’ poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in Eastern Oregon’s high desert and serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary. A Brief History of Time, her first full-length poetry collection, was released by Salt Publishing earlier this year. You can find more info here.

 

 

 

DuhamelDenise Duhamel’s most recent poetry titles are Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009); Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005); Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); and The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she is an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami. Don’t forget to visit Denise in a the Double Ds, a monthly series here at I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin.  Become a fan of Denise Duhamel or a Duhamalite on Facebook!

Project Verse: Final Assignment ~ Kathi Morrison-Taylor

Kathi Morrison-Taylor’s final assigment for Project Verse. Please click here to review the instructions for the final assignment.

 

POEM #1:
You Can’t Compare the Pope to the Wizard of Oz                  

 You can’t compare the Pope to the Wizard of Oz,
says the history chair.  We are at a rare co-meeting of departments
to establish common standards for paper style,
and we’re hung up on conclusions.  It may be okay
for you namby-pamby, touchy-feely sorts
to get a paper like that, but we in history
don’t care about fiction and require a succinct
analysis of what matters, she says. 
                                                 My English colleagues and I
hung up on analogy and archetype barely hear her,
we are so amused by her example, by the adolescent’s nerve
to lay it out as he saw it, through childhood’s Emerald City glasses:
the Wizard, a humbug, feared and glorified, thundering out
with smoke and mirrors, and following through with liquid courage
and hot air balloons. He meant well, and remained Dorothy’s savior,
even when he floated back to Nebraska without her.
                                                If we could confer, we’d say
It is a promising comparison. But stymied by history’s outrage,
we pass little notes: “Pay no attention  to the teacher behind the curtain”
and “Surrender Creativity,” passive aggressive and surly. 
It grows stormy inside.  It’s not like he threw a bucket
of water on Stalin, someone mutters.  But the history chair
has risen to the rooftop – she stands for academic discipline, 
tossing her APA fireballs, slinging her summary statements,
                                                while we sit silent as Pious XII
through the Holocaust.  She’s the sort to have an hour glass
glued to the table. There’s no place like home, when home’s
a boarding school. Irreverently, I click my heels, red
and glittering.  The sky is vintage celluloid, the hell
to come, a midterm of flying monkeys, scooping us up
to drop us in the orange-smoke haze before Parents’ Weekend.
I hit my head—this popcorn communion, this papal blessing.     

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
This is one of those poems that felt a bit stiff at the outset, but then really seems to pick up steam by the end.  The end is, in fact, quite wonderful: “this popcorn communion, this papal blessing.”  I do think the first strophe could probably be cut to two sentences and the poem wouldn’t miss the cuts.  something like ” ‘You can’t compare….’ says the history chair…My English colleagues and I” There’s a tad bit of the prosaic in this poem, not at all Kathi’s modus operandi, so I may have noticed it more as a result.

Dustin Brookshire:  Fantastic title. Fantastic poem.  Kathi, I love this poem. We have the Wizard of Oz, the Pope, and the Holocaust all in one poem– that’s working it!  I love:
we are so amused by her example, by the adolescent’s nerve
to lay out as he saw it, through childhood’s Emerald City glasses:
the Wizard, a humbug, feared and glorified, thundering out
with smoke and mirrors, and following through with liquid courage

& I love: “…Pay no attention to the teacher behind the curtain”

This is such a lovely poem.  And, I have to say: Out of the two of you, you had the harder line to work with; however, you rocked it out.  Bravo for working in “the sky is vintage celluloid, the hell.”

My only sugesstion would be to go back through this poem and trim it a bit.

Matthew Hittinger:  First off, I love the title; it caught my attention right away and made me want to keep reading.  You could probably get away with not repeating it on the first line and just have the title be the first line, but that’s a personal preference.  The first stanza loses a little steam after that great first line–I wanted more music from the rather prosaic description that locates the narrative and situation.  In fact, whenever I got thrown out of the poem it was usually these more prosaic moments or phrases like “we are at a rare co-meeting of departments” or “hung up on analogy and archetype” or “passive aggressive and surly” or “irreverently” etc.  I want the images and context of the narrative to convey all of that information without the speaker having to tell us.  The way you frame and describe this little episode, and the humor of it all down to the passed notes is irreverent and that’s what I love about the poem.  As for the assignment, you do a fabulous job of working Emily’s line into your poem.  It’s seamless and the context very much makes it your own.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  You Can’t Compare the Pope to the Wizard of Oz” is a poem based on a great premise. I would have liked to see it move to more interesting places. What if there were more play between the Wizard of Oz and the setting of academia. Still, there are some beautiful standout lines, one being, “The sky is vintage celluloid, the hell/to come, a midterm of flying monkeys, scooping us up/to drop us in the orange-smoke haze before Parents’ Weekend.” This is very promising work. I’d just like to see the writer pare more—make sure each word is the right word.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “You Can’t Compare the Pope to the Wizard of Oz” is an amazing title, a promising premise.  The poem is executed with panache, with very funny jokes throughout.  I found myself wanting more depth from the poem because it was so well-written.  I mean, it was hilarious, but I was looking perhaps for some kind of poignancy that may not quite be there yet, though I thought the lines “while we sit silent as Pious XII/through the Holocaust” came very close to that depth.

 

POEM #2:
Rewriting Frankenstein

No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in
which she stood to me–my more than sister, since till death she
was to be mine only!”
Victor, on Elizabeth – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

He approached her with a calm and smiling face,
blurred in darkness—cobbled together, by Victor’s ambition.

She sat at a writing desk—a hurricane lamp, a blank page—
as if she were Mary Shelley rewriting to show how they met:

Elizabeth and the creature.  Honesty in his dull yellow eye, and mercy,
he had vowed revenge, but now at the bridal threshold he forgave.

While she held her nib in ink for a long time,
the tide of absence rose from the twilit lake

where Victor searched for all the trouble he’d been promised.
Let them escape both relentless parents: Mary Shelley

and Victor Frankenstein, both would have them dead,
for the sake of fear.  When muse meets creation, it is difficult

to hold back the scream, but looking into his black-lipped grin,
the grin of saboteur and stepson, the grin of fellow virgin,

Elizabeth recognized her love’s stitches,
his neglect, his heretical curiosity—and fell to listening. 

And the creature spoke to her with his Italian plum tongue;
he pled in French. They ran away together, not as Beauty

and Beast, but as nun and school boy. She even took his hand,
she even kissed his forehead, ignoring a torn veil,

the gothic cutouts of trees and mountains, and the dazzling glacier.
They settled somewhere near, but out of reach of parents,

somewhere the creature galloped once, young monster,
still under Shelley’s pen, Promethean, himself the stolen spark,

supernatural and sallow, petulant with wit, almost
presenting an image of goodwill.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
Oi.  I don’t know if it’s the hour of the night or that I haven’t read “Frankenstein” since the birth of Jesus, but I found this poem confusing.  The pronouns befuddle me.  Again, this is not typical of Kathi’s work, and it may just be my obtuse and tired brain getting in my way, but I couldn’t quite get into this one, despite some wonderful moments: “Honesty in his dull yellow eye,” “When muse meets creation, it is difficult/to hold back the scream”  and despite the delightfully strong end line: “almost presenting an image of goodwill” that weaves so perfectly into the poem’s conclusion.  I like this for its ambition, but I think the poem could be teased out and clarified a bit more.

Dustin Brookshire:  This is a good poem; however, I’m not won over like I was with “You Can’t Compare the Pope to the Wizard of Oz.”  There are great lines in this poem: “When muse meets creation, it is difficult // to hold back the scream.”  Now, that’s lovely and beautiful. 

Matthew Hittinger:  This poem made me think of Laurie Sheck’s new book A Monster’s Notes which operates in the same vein of revision and reimagining  Frankenstein; I think you would enjoy it given what you do here on the page (perhaps you already have read it!).  I love your choice for the split sentence; as soon as I saw which one you chose and that you were taking on Frankenstein I gave a little “yes!” in my head–I see and feel the resonance of that connection.  I like that you highlight the dual creator role of both Mary and her character Victor as you liken them to parental roles and that you work in the few details we know about the Monster: his black lips, his yellow eyes, his sallow skin.  There is great music in this poem: “grim / virgin / listening,” “plum / tongue / nun” and all those esses hissing and hard t’s ticking in those great final lines: “…young Monster, / still under Shelley’s pen, Promethean, himself the stolen spark, // supernatural and sallow, petulant with wit, almost / presenting an image of goodwill.”  That “almost” is key and a hinge word for the poem.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  Rewriting Frankenstein” is a very intelligent poem. Readers can tell the poet knows and has spent time with this novel, which makes it a real treat. There are some beautiful lines such as: “himself the stolen spark,/supernatural and sallow, petulant with wit, almost/presenting an image of goodwill.” Again, in some places, the poet is trying to stay true to the period of the novel in her language, and it comes out a bit clunky.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “Rewriting Frankenstein” is strong and culturally relevant in that it explores violence and revenge and the way those two impulses are often glorified.  This poem speaks to wisdom, forgiveness, and second chances.  The back and forth–the then and now, the fairy reverences, the actual text of Frankenstein, the Prometheus reference–nods at postmodernism.  This is a poem of grand scale.

POEM #3:
The Cross

                                  How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!
                                 
But I can’t.  Need is not quite belief.
                                                                                                    
–Anne Sexton

My mother asked for the cross back:
the gold and ivory cross
her father gave her on her first communion,
and she gave me on my first communion.
She said I didn’t care enough about God.
As I watched her tuck the little velvet box
into her purse between a wad of tissue
and her rain bonnet, I didn’t argue.

Neither of us believed in the Virgin Birth
or a literal timeline from Genesis.
And it always made me a little sick
in church, imagining grape juice
blood-of-Christ and the wafer,
unleaven skin, rough against my tongue.
Mostly I just envied Christian athletes
who thrived on a faith as good as novocaine.

What calm it would bring to know
truly Jesus was watching me, protecting
and guiding me as my lungs burned,
as my legs turned to noodles,
as my father drank and drove, as I
jogged after dark alone. Still I would ruin it. 
I would hunt the coordinates of Christ.
I would sink his battleship,

and he would look at me, and drown under
my hawkish questioning, bobbing
with his frail symbols.  I could take the grotesque—
content to love my distance runner friends,
shirtless and spent returning from ten miles.
But I’d never be like them, baptized in sweat,
heart’s bursts visible against heaving ribs.
nose bleeding its best pageantry.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
Wow!   I have to say first that think Kathi gets the prize overall for her consistently effective ends to her poems.  As someone who struggles and struggles to find her endings, I am both envious and admiring:  “nose bleeding its best pageantry” is just dynamite.  As is this simile: “thrived on a faith as good as novacaine.”  This poem overall is quite powerful and well written.  I think the complex way Kathi steps into her subject: having a mother ask for her daughter’s cross back, works exceptionally well as a frame to explore some heady and complicated subject matter.

Dustin Brookshire:  I like that you selected “With Mercy for the Greedy.”  Emily selected this poem in the original week six assignment.  This poem is fantastic.  I want to get my one little complaint out of the way.  I almost feel like the poem could end with the “I would sink his battleship.”  I’m not sure about the last stanza.  It is great stanza by itself, but I feel it might be a little too much.  OK.  I’m in love with the other three stanzas.  You have a hell of a beginning:
My mother asked for the cross back:
the gold and ivory cross
her father gave her on her first communion,
and she gave me on my first communion.
She said I didn’t care enough about God.
As I watched her tuck the little velvet box
into her purse between a wad of tissue
and her rain bonnet, I didn’t argue.

Oh Kathi, lovely.  Lovely. Lovely. I could go on about the first three stanzas; however, I won’t.  If Sexton were alive, I think she’d enjoy this poem.Matthew Hittinger:  Again, I think you do a great job meeting the requirements of the assignment, using the Sexton epigraph to jump into a very personal narrative that explores and builds off the Sexton sentiment about need and belief.  There are so many crosses in this poem: the literal and physical object of the cross given to you and taken back by your mother; the action “to cross in the sense of transgression, having crossed your mother who doesn’t think you care enough about God, and also your religion in not believing in it all.  And then perhaps how you cross yourself in your desire, your need to want to believe like those “Christian athletes” and how you fail in fulfilling that desire, how it’s more complicated for you and how you wish it could be as easy as it is for them.  There are powerful lines here, such as the recalling how Holy Communion, the symbolic (or literal I guess if you’re Catholic) eating of the blood and flesh of Christ made you a little sick, and the admission that even if you could believe “Still I would ruin it. / I would hunt the coordinates of Christ. / I would sink his battleship,” with your questioning.  Those last lines are like a slap (a good slap!) as the image echoes Christ on a cross but with a twist: “I’d never be like them, baptized in sweat, / heart’s bursts visible against heaving ribs, / nose bleeding its best pageantry.”  Yes.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  The Cross” is one of Kathi’s strongest poems. There are no extra words here, and there are excellent details:
My mother asked for the cross back:
… she gave me on my first communion.
She said I didn’t care enough about God.
As I watched her tuck the little velvet box
into her purse between a wad of tissue
and her rain bonnet, I didn’t argue.
As soon as readers “see” the wad of tissue and the rain bonnet, they can imagine the entire character of the mother. This is the type of work details should do for the writer (and reader).

 

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “The Cross” is both exciting and puzzling to me.  I am drawn in by the coordinates and the philosophical/religious pondering and truly like the voice.  But I am also confused by what this has to do with athleticism.  I can guess to an extent though I wish more was made of that.  “The Cross” is very close to being finished–I think it may be missing a leap.

POEM #4:
Lonely

The train to Portland whistled: 2 AM. It woke my father
with its vacant blast. I was the twinkle in his eye, fastening
on my sleeping mother before she was my mother
in the little pink house above the tracks, windows aimed
over Commencement Bay. Nearby the ASARCO smelter
smokestack puffed out lead and arsenic, and Kirby’s lab
rolled in nettles, snuffled through foxgloves under our mailbox.

My childhood sent us over the bridge, to the island. Barefoot
tracks across the mudflat always circled back to the rope swing.
I collected sand dollars and the moon snails’ damp aprons of eggs.
My parents slept off early-dinner wine—Emerald Dry— in the living
room beside the view they designed, then woke by sunset to fight
in front of the Olympic mountain range, on fire.  I was so lonely I wished
I could spill all their secrets—squelch their anger with my soggy heart.

I tiptoed through curfews and planned to move to the east coast
where girls could play field hockey and catch lightning bugs.
My father’s art studio had a new sky light; then algae
grew over the glass; it rained that much.  My mother finished
her master’s in counseling and took a job in town.  I’m Okay:
You’re Okay, on our coffee table, and  If You Meet the Buddha
on the Road, Kill Him.  Some sicko crucified the neighbor’s collie,
nailed him to the bulkhead. Apple Dumpling!  I hear my mother
calling me; Honeybun, come home!

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
I think I like this one even better than the third poem, if that’s possible.  Kathi does a superb job revealing the texture and complications of her childhood through the details she chooses.  “smelter/smokestack puffed out lead and arsenic, and Kirby’s lab/rolled in nettles”  and also through the emotionally complicating language “squelch their anger with my soggy heart.”  Again the ending is enviable.  That “Honeybun, come home!”  speaks to the complex nature of the relationship.  This is a speaker who is adored, but it’s also a speaker who’s simultaneously much ignored.  The final words speak to that quite powerfully indeed.

Dustin Brookshire:  I loved your first and third poem.  I liked your second poem.  For some reason, I didn’t enjoy this poem as much as the others.  As always, you have a way with detail, but I’m not won over by this poem. 

Matthew Hittinger:  There are great details that make this poem very vivid, in that first stanza alone: “Commencment Bay,” “ASARCO smelter / smokestack puffed out lead and arsenic,” “Kirby’s lab” and so on through the rest of the poem with things like the type of wine “Emerald Dry” and the titles of the mother’s books on the table.  Not only makes for a more memorable experience in reading the poem, but makes the emotions present hit home harder.  And it captures that act of “distillation” necessary in Laux’s prompt.  There is also some lovely music here that spurs the rhythm on: “Barefoot / tracks across the mudflat always circled back to the rope swing” with those -at/-ack sounds.  I think given the constraints of the prompt you did what was asked and most of my suggestions are more my issues with where the prompt took you: I stumbled over the lines “I was so lonely I wished / I could spill all their secrets–squelch their anger with my soggy heart” and wished there were a stronger way to show this, but again I know the prompt is making that abstract word “lonely” present.  I think the second abstract “anger” is compacting that feeling for me.  I do like “spill” as an action.  And while “heart” is often put off-limits, I’m okay with it if there’s some sort of twist or fresh take, but “soggy heart” didn’t feel that fresh.  I know the title came out of the prompt’s “find an abstraction” and “make the title of the poem your abstract word,” but I feel it does the poem disservice.  This is more a suggestion for the future of the poem: a stronger title that isn’t so abstract or indicative of a theme or what the poem is exploring could help set the stakes higher and frame this poem a bit better (I know this is a similar critique I had of the “Generosity” poem earlier on in the competition).  Only other comment was about time: I like how time picks up, speeds up in the last stanza but I fell down when you moved to the neighbor’s collie: the progression of growing up and plans to move east into the father’s studio (love the algae image!) then the mother completing her master’s all worked, but then the crucified neighbor’s collie threw me out of the poem.  I think the mother’s calls after you were maybe to echo an owner calling after a pet and the lost collie is a stand-in for the lost daughter?  Then again perhaps it’s just the prompt: I sense the 23-line restriction maybe rushed some parts of the ending that need a little more space to breathe.  There’s a lot of great stuff here, and this comment is solely for the future life of this poem outside this competition: step away from the prompt, or at least the parts of the prompt that are holding this poem back, and allow the poem to now take the reigns and show you where it wants to go.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  “Lonely” is another strong poem of Kathi Taylor Morrison’s. Here, again, she has beautiful images and no extra words. One of my favorite passages is:

My childhood sent us over the bridge, to the island. Barefoot
tracks across the mudflat always circled back to the rope swing.
I collected sand dollars and the moon snails’ damp aprons of eggs.
My parents slept off early-dinner wine—Emerald Dry— in the living
room beside the view they designed, then woke by sunset to fight
in front of the Olympic mountain range, on fire. 

The internal rhyme of “tracks” and “back” feels comfortable and child-like to the reader in a poem that talks about the poet’s childhood. This is a poem which exquisitely captures time and place.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “Lonely” is, in my opinion, the strongest poem in the competition.  The authenticity of voice, the spot on imagery, and the grief are all palpable. I especially was drawn to “the moon snails’ damp aprons of eggs” and “squelch their anger with my soggy heart.”  The poem is one small voice but epoch in its cry.

POEM #5:
On Purpose

I started writing poetry when I found out
Kurt and Howie broke a hornet’s nest, at recess,
with a baseball bat.  In the tailspin from summer
to second grade, they did it on purpose, and grown-ups
unable to stop them, herded us inside the school,
leaving a paper turban bashed under the big madrona tree
by the jungle gym, a head emptying its buzzing. 

I started writing poetry when I imagined hornets
coming to find me, me with my typewriter leg
and a fear of consequences, me scribbling
what their angry hum would be, me whispering an apology,
over my peanut-butter and grape jelly,
prayer like stanzas unwinding into a safe place
hornets would like better than their original home.

Each stinging insect I saw knew what happened,
wanted to strike back, break through the glass to sting
our class, to destroy Mrs. Winchell’s fall leaf collection
with our crayon-tissue-paper rubbings.  When one
battered out a last complaint in the girls’ bathroom
between screen  and storm window where the wood
was termite-worn, it was no relief—

a fierce exile finding her solitary death,
between sunlight and the cool sea of green tiling.
It made me afraid of scattered misfortune.
It made me gather mine in little nests
and write it down.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
Another knockout of a poem.  “A head emptying its buzzing” Shit–that’s good!  So is “prayer like stanzas unwinding into a safe place…”  As is the description later “to destroy Mrs. Winchell’s fall leaf colleciton/with our crayon-tissue-paper rubbings.”  The speaker’s intense imagination bursts forth with and through those bees and their threat of destruction, their potential to cause pain.  Stunning.

Dustin Brookshire:  Here is another poem that I love.  Beautiful, Kathi.  There is so much to love about this poem that I won’t start listing because I’ll end up listing a majority of the poem.  I don’t think you should change anything about this poem, and I hope you don’t. 

Let me send this message again: I don’t think you should change anything about this poem, and I hope you don’t.

Matthew Hittinger:  The first thing I noted was that you set up the expectation of anaphora by beginning the first and second stanzas with “I started writing poetry when…” and that I wanted it sustained, appearing one or two more times.  I think having the phrase appear more often would also get you more mileage out of that title as the stops and starts to try to answer the “when” go up against the notion of doing something “on purpose” like those boys attacking the hornet’s nest.  I do puzzle over that line though, “they did it on purpose” and wondered if it should only appear in the title.  It just struck me as an odd statement to include, though I guess saying it wasn’t an accident would convey the same thing, though the grown-ups unable to stop them also sort of conveys the purposeful nature of the action.  It tripped me up.  I guess I was wondering if there were a way to convey the “on purpose” without having to outright say it.  (I also kind of wonder if they got stung…)  But I LOVE how your first poem and why you started was a way to set right a wrong, to make a “safe place” for the hornets and subsequently the speaker’s fear of them and their sting.  In the end I think it’s a nice ars poetica.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  “On Purpose” is one of Kathi Taylor Morrison’s stronger poems. I especially love that final image of the one hornet:

Batter[ing] out a last complaint in the girls’ bathroom
between screen
and storm window where the wood
was termite-worn.

Again, as in many of Kathi’s poems, there is room for tightening and paring, but this is still a lovely poem.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “On Purpose” is amazing–the “rewriting” of a childhood poem or childhood journal is a brilliant move here.  I am drawn the imagery of the hornets, the children, the crayons, the lunchroom.  The depiction of the hornet between the screen and window is particularly fitting–the writer between childhood and adulthood, danger and safety, imagination and reality.  This poem is direct, with a huge payoff.

Project Verse: Final Assigment ~ Emily Van Duyne

Emily Van Duyne’s final assigment for Project Verse. Please click here to review the instructions for the final assignment.

POEM #1:
I’m Sorry, Will Roby, or: Why I’m Not a Language Poet

We lost the rubber of a tire
scouting out a pasture where two horses
melt a little every day
            -W.F. Roby 

 Will, I wither straight
to you, from Atlantic City’s glitz, whatever sin
you live in, clammy hole you’ve dug yourself.  If I heard
your wounded hype just right, at the moment you’re haranguing to a tent
of angry, moonshine sipping gypsies on the state
of bullet trains, the M dash, how umbrellas are suspended
in the sky.  Will, I sigh.  Why, Will Roby, why?  If you’ve really
seen a stallion liquefy, I’ll give you each red cent

in my pink wallet, each couplet as they holler
from my mouth.  Here, love, take that
little lyric puff of smoke, the one
where I go down on Bowie, circa ‘85.  I know it’s gauche, but
since you can blow David Bowie in my poem, go on, give
it a try.  He’ll be kind to you, my little W, he’ll stripe
silver shadow down the side of your blue eyes.  After, he’ll treat
you to a coffee, pecan pie— some trash diner down below
14th.  Can’t you hear the F train underneath?   So can I.  Listen,

Will, I’m back, a pretty thief, to steal my poem
from your brink.  If you had kept
these lines, they’d end up in that diner’s kitchen sink, where
there’s a baby turtle race, some hot pink heat,
a caterpillar squawking at the moon (who’s slinked
off from her post to grab a drink) and I don’t think
so, I’ll have none of that.   What’s this need to make the world
do what it can’t?  I’m just like, here’s the earth 

we’re dealt, its one night only! Technicolor glow, look around
you, sweets, it’s the best prime rib you’ll never eat, your one night
stand on that Greek white sand beach, the moon-
light sparking off her caramel tan— why not just call
it like it is?  What’s a little horse sense, struck
between new friends?  & once,
you know, on Valentine’s, an ex & I, we brought
a pineapple to bed.  We were 19, we thought oh, yes,
how erotic, I don’t know why we thought it, guess we both envisioned
its tart dribble down our flawless, baby chins, how its juice would drench
my dorm room’s flannel sheets— sheer
abandon, how delicious!  But, we forgot to buy a knife, back
at the Acme, couldn’t hack inside. & the leaves were tricky
spikes!  That fruit kept us at arm’s length, did we even make
love that day?  I don’t think

we did.  It’s that pineapple that sticks
me in the craw, obtuse & brown.  It would never
make a sound.  Forget the ex, how half the time
he couldn’t get me off, half dozen nudes
he painted of me, silent, staring, in his New York
City loft, below 14th, oh, way below, my dear, we’re talking
Brooklyn, here.  Forget the rendered, faded summer light, orange
on my naked shoulder blades— it makes me yawn.

It’s the fruit we couldn’t crack
that brings it back— his awkward, unrequited love (and unrequited
love can kill you, but he made it through), that’s
the thing, the real, the here & now, that’s my heart-
broke sister out in ‘Frisco, slinging drinks
to pay the bills (she just found out her lover
fucked her best friend, in that bullshit city’s shrouded
hipster hills), it’s the way that words

can do their dirty, honest work— look, they whisper, look,
you blinked, you missed it, summer’s done, the light just switched,
it’s fall.  Wake up, Will Roby, you might miss it all.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
This poem is absolutely a tour de force.  It’s quintessential Emily through and through from the wild imaginative riffs “If you’ve really/seen a stallion liquefy, I’ll give you each red cent// in my pink wallet, eatch couplet as they holler/from my mouth” to the sassy voice: “look around /you, sweets,  it’s the best prime rib you’ll never eat…” to the intense word and sound play: “whatever sin/you live in, clammy hole you’ve dug yourself. If I heard/your wounded hype just right…” I don’t even finally know quite what the poem’s subject is, and I don’t care.  I love it!

Dustin Brookshire:  You took lines from W.F.’s last Project Verse poem to create an epigraph.  I think the poem and epigraph work well together; however, I think the poem needs the epigraph because of lines 7-10.  I would have liked this dependency to be shown in your third poem since that is exactly what the third portion of the final assignment is about.   You work in Kathi’s line nicely.  While I’m not completely sold on this poem, I think you have created a poem to be admired.  I’m sure W.F. is flattered.

Matthew Hittinger: The music of this poem knocked me down with its internal rhyming and chiming, the rhymes folded in and spurring on the rhythm.  Just in the opening stanza you get the short I sounds of “wither / Atlantic City’s glitz / sin / in” and the “hype / right” rhyme and the “sipping gypsies” and “sky / sigh / why / why / liquefy” and so forth to that final “fall / all.”  It’s playful, which matches the spirit and occasion of the poem perfectly, and adds sonic texture to the surface of the lines.  There’s a twist to meeting the assignment, not just working in Kathi’s line in a natural way, but by adding a line break between “unrequited” and “love can kill you” that slight pause in the break speaking volumes about the sentiment behind those words.  The assignment doesn’t specify that the line had to be kept intact as a whole line, so this little tweak was fun and worked well even if from a purist perspective Kathi worked hers in, intact.  The poem is also in nice conversation with poet Will Roby, a fellow Project Verse contestant.  It’s nice to see the PV contestants forming friendships out of this experience.

Guest Judge Shaindel Beers:  “I’m Sorry, Will Roby, or: Why I’m Not a Language Poet” is simply put, a good, strong poem. There is a terrific wealth of specific imagery: “I’ll give you each red cent/in my pink wallet, each couplet as they holler/from my mouth,” a fun, unique use of internal rhyme: “some trash diner down below/14th.  Can’t you hear the F train underneath?,” and is an exciting read. A fun and witty retort in defense of narrative poetry. Bravo, Emily!

 Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “I’m Sorry, Will Roby, or: Why I’m Not a Language Poet” is a truly inventive poem.  I admire the hidden but not so subtle rhyming and the far-flung pieces of personal history the poem brings together.  The image of the pineapple, especially, is amazing.  This poem is delightful and meta and full of song.

POEM #2:
Judy Garland Plays a Chelsea Bar for $100 in 1968 

As soon as
I’m done with this one, boys, I’ll need
another.  I know, I know, glory hallelujah
and all that.  Do you know about my mother?  No!
Well, sit back, little darlings, hold on
to your feathered, leather hats.  What a night-
mare, she was, what a hitch!  She couldn’t cook, she
wouldn’t clean, she couldn’t stitch, she made
off with the neighbor lady’s man, she left
my father dropping heavy tears into an iron pan
of skillet cornbread.  No, I swear it, loves,
she even swindled Mr. Mayer.  Oh, but, come, let’s
sing, you’ll sing with me, yes?  Applause, applause,

 it acts just like a tonic, oh my, boys, I’m onto
you… you’ll keep me hanging round
all night, I know your game, and I should say— I really
only do one tune, the rest all fade
to gray—they cower in the corners
of the screen, they’re trapped in central casting, oh,
but this one, oh, but this, oh, babies this belongs
to me, they’ll tattoo this one
to my slinky grave.  You know, the night
is bitter, (yes, you know) but those swank stars—I see
them now, cracked foil glued to my black
dressing door, backstage, come by for one more drink
when we’ve wrapped up— those stars will never lose
their glitter, though they may get
stranded on 8th avenue, a taxi rolling by.  I’ll sing
straight through the gutter, sing for anyone,
for free, just clap & I’ll go on— my father’s whispers
Baby, it’s all you, straight to my pretty ear, he worries
for me each time I go on, just like he did when I three
and crooning Jingle Bells in Grand Rapids, that I
will crash and fall and cry—but then Judy
comes alive—when he
saw her, he knew that this wouldn’t happen.

 THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys:
  Ah, this is a disappointment after that first poem.  The voice of this poem isn’t all that compelling to me.  Partly it’s that the character is tired, so the voice feels tired and maybe as a result, not especially convincing either.  I do love “she left/my father dropping heavy tears into an iron pan/of skillet cornbread.”  The end’s a little confusing to me though.  The use of ‘her’ is introduced so abruptly it throws me out of the poem.  I don’t know quite how to contextualize that pronoun, but I might be being daft…..

Dustin Brookshire:  I think this is my least favorite of your five poems.  I did really enjoy a couple of parts “she/wouldn’t clean, she couldn’t stitch, she made/off with the neighbor’s lady man” and “cracked foil glued to my black/dressing door.”  But, then there is the ending of this poem—-the switch from first to third— I don’t think it works at all.  I have to confess that you picked the line Kathi originally used back in week five.

Matthew Hittinger:  Given the prompt I like where the imagination went in this poem, making a dramatic monologue in Judy Garland’s voice.  I think Judy’s voice is great throughout, but that weird shift to the third person at the end threw me out of the poem a bit.  I kept trying to read it as Judy talking about herself in the third person, but it just didn’t fully convince me.  I don’t think you intended this, but it feels like the sudden presence of a speaker narrating where there was none before.  Perhaps this was just brought on by the demands of the prompt since the line is written in third personI think there are ways you could nudge it there, maybe with some stuttering doubling; I inserted a “but then I, Judy, come alive” or a “but then I–but then Judy comes alive” or “when he saw me, when he saw her, he knew that this wouldn’t happen” or something to that effect where the reader is given a cue that she’s shifting to third person.  Perhaps that’s just my interpretation, seeing you mark a difference between private Judy and public performer Judy.  Again your fine ear is displayed here: “feathered, leather hats” and lines like “I know your game, and I should say–I really / only do one tune, the rest all fade / to gray–“ are golden.  Great authority behind her imagined voice here–you do well in the dramatic monologue form.  Playful diva, working the crowd.  My only other quibble is that short first line.  It bothers me by where you chose to break: the line doesn’t carry much weight, not only for a line but especially for an opening line, and given how long all the other lines are it stands out, and not in a good way.  Otherwise a fine poem.

Shaindel Beers:  In “Judy Garland Plays a Chelsea Bar for $100 in 1968,” Emily Van Duyne captures the voice of Judy Garland perfectly. One can just imagine Judy Garland saying all of this. It is a really remarkably beautiful persona poem. And the skill with which she brings that poem around, completing the split sentence of the assignment, is breathtaking.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “Judy Garland Plays a Chelsea Bar for $100 in 1968″ is a wonderful voice poem–authentic in its tone and history.  The persona’s straight talk sass is just what is called for in such a poem.  The ending is poignant without being camp.  A very sensitive voice here.

POEM #3:
Stiletto: A Love Song

‘The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.’
            -Naomi Shihab Nye

I must have looked
a fright, a wild woman, fashionista
Cathy Earnshaw stalking down
that barren hill: one faux leopard
clutch, one mini-skirt, two brilliant ruby
heels— leather redder than a fire
truck & edged in hot gold tongues `       `          
of bitchy flame.  One hundred bucks
too much, but I was 20, what
the fuck.  I was in love
with love.  Where was I?

Buchenwald (a granite hell, a pit), in early spring.
Suddenly, an icy wind shit-kicked
my fur coat open, shocked my sleek
black bangs out from my eyes.  Then, the looming

sign: Krematorium.  Prussian
silt dredged from my mind’s sore throat, the K
& r a gravel echo I’ve heard every
goddamn day since that cold March.
And if you tell me, now, I should
have wept or knelt or worn fleece
insulated waders, should have snapped

a photo of the Zerlegungs-Raum
(rusted scalpels, tweezers trapped
behind smudged glass— cool white tiles that once ran
hot with blood), I’ll have you know— Princess

Mafalda of Savoy, who Hitler called the blackest
carrion of the Italian Royal house, whose arms

(& didn’t they once they carry clanging white
gold bangles, gifts from Alfonso XIII?)

 were crushed, & then cut off (an Allied air
raid, 1944), breathed her last
in that same, stark Dissection
Room.  I could tell you how she fought
against the Reich, fought to save
her babies, died alone & starving like
the rest— how Buchenwald

means beech forest, how those peeling
damsels shot straight
for the famished, steely sky.  But,
I’ll never pen a poem to a tree.  I’m sick
to death of muddy psalms
of praise for some dumb earth
that won’t sing back.  That night,
I bawled alone in my hotel, recalled
that little English girl, turning perfect
pirouettes on the chill floor, her mother hissing, Don’t,
it’s not nice, don’t.  But I wish

that someone, sometime, dances|
on my grave in Mary Janes.
I stomped back up
that hill, stilettos sinking
in the dirt, then rising up.  Princess,
if you heard, I hope
their clatter was a beautiful distraction
from the brutal thud of boots.  I tap
this Valentine to you, from my cherry
Smith-Corona, in my coal black, sling back
mules, my husband’s Oxford shirt, — here is
love, two spiky heels that click and clack
across this earth, to pierce your gutsy heart. 

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
There’s so much to love about this one (not, mind you “I was in love/with love–a little over-familiar and SO not like Emily), but on the other hand, the self description of the speaker “Cathy Earnshaw stalking down/that barren hill: one faux leopard/clutch, one mini-skirt….” is fabulous, and the communal guilt that the poem tackles works really beautifully. The poem’s ambitious, and for me explores familiar territory in unfamiliar ways: the discussion of Mafalda, the odd defiance the speaker feels, coupled with her utter grief (written in such a way that it almost seems like even she is mystified by it.  All of this seems to me rich and beautifully executed.

Dustin Brookshire:  While the epigraph was your on-ramp, this poem doesn’t need the epigraph.  This poem can easily stand alone.  This is a lovely poem, Emily.  For some reason or another, I didn’t feel like I had been dipped in the lake of Van Duyne.  Well, this poem didn’t dip me in the lake, it dunked me.  This poem is breath taking.  We have Buchenwald, Mafalda, stilettos, Mary Janes, and boots all in one poem.  What a way to end a poem: “—here is/love, two spiky heels that click and clack/across this earth, to pierce your gutsy heart.”  Bravo.

Matthew Hittinger:  Again, blown away by the music.  I found myself reading it out loud just to hear how it sliced the air.  First to the prompt’s expectations: perfectly met.  The narrative you conjure based on the epigraph is compelling and takes the reader on a metaphoric walk in those red stilettos.  Which is to say I like the distance the speaker has looking back at herself, showing us the before self down to every last superficial detail of dress and accessory and then juxtaposing that surface presentation and get-up to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp.  The speaker addresses her detractors who may be thinking a different get-up or response would have been more appropriate by conjuring Princess Mafalda, held in that camp whose arms were severely burned by an allied raid and then amputated before she died there.  The authority and self-awareness present behind the voice here really struck me: “I’ll never pen a poem to a tree.  I’m sick / to death of muddy psalms / of praise for some dumb earth / that won’t sing back.”  The stakes are high, the speaker unabashed, even defiant in the face of what is deemed proper” or expected.  And that last stanza, where all the shoes come together–Mary Janes, the red stilettos, army boots, mules–which forges this connection across space and time to Mafalda.  And the gut-punch of those last lines, or should I say heart pierce–bravo.  This is hands-down one of my favorites of the season.

Shaindel Beers:  Emily’s third poem, “Stiletto: A Love Song,” is a tour de force. It might be the strongest poem in this set. Again, she has a way of combining information and images and moving a poem that is amazing:

 — how Buchenwald

means beech forest, how those peeling
damsels shot straight
for the famished, steely sky.  But,
I’ll never pen a poem to a tree.  I’m sick
to death of muddy psalms
of praise for some dumb earth
that won’t sing back. 

This poem was everything a poem should be—powerful, educational, beautiful, and heart-breaking.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “Stiletto: A Love Song” manages to connect the sadism of high heels with young love, travel, and history.  The poem is gutsy in its leaps, with the near perfect ending of the typewriter clacking under the fingers (nail polished?) of the speaker.  This poem explores what it is to be a woman writer–the surface and the passion underneath.  The end “stomps” in its honesty.

 

POEM #4:
Kinesis, Or, At 58, My Mother Learns to Surf

            We all have reasons for moving.
                                     -Mark Strand

 Six times I’ve failed to write this, properly— it was Fifth
Avenue, at Christmastime, 2001— the frigid city smoldered,
still.  I didn’t understand my mother, yet— she snubbed
the subway, checkered cabs, force marched her daughters
forty-something downtown city blocks to Port
Authority, uh-uh, no, now, c’mon, almost there.  I think I called her
nuts, unhinged, her stride a psycho figure
skater’s spin, I thought she moved like that to blister out
the dead: that, somehow, moving screened her from their faces, always
swimming in her beautiful, blond head.  Her own mother, gone
at 58— the Lucky Strikes, the gin.  Her father at his end, his mottled skin,
the raspy hole they cut into his throat.  Look, though, now I’m prey
to those same traps.  That cold Manhattan
night, we tagged behind her like a cranky, Hamelin
pack.  & although twelve blocks in, I balked & stripped
my kitten heels to stalk the New York blocks in stocking feet, though
I whispered to my sister, I bet Mom polishes the silver while we sleep, I
followed her so far, I ended up back home: this barrier
island, gritty beach, salt Atlantic Ocean that my mother paddles
into: she is always just beyond my reach.  There’s a hurricane off-shore.  My father’s
reading Gatsby for the first time in his life.  My mother carves
the water like a knife.  I’ll never understand, I spoke
too soon.  The summer wanes, back-lit— a dream, a quarter moon.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
The poem has some beautiful and poignant language i.e. “I thought she moved like that the blister out/the dead”  and that the mother’s character is fairly well drawn: her fierce determination and independence, her intensity….The one place I trip in the poem is at the end.  When the poem shifts to “I ended up back home” I’m a tad confused where home is, confused too about the water.  I think the poem’s close, but needs to be fleshed out a tad more in that final segment.   The last image is beautiful.

Dustin Brookshire:  I think you had an epigrpah fetish with the final assignment.  Another poem that I really like!  Some of my favorite parts include “I didn’t understand my mother, yet–she snubbed/the subway, checkered cabs” and “I thought she moved like that to blist out/the dead” and “we tagged behind her like a cranky, Hamelin/pack.”  Going back to the first part that I quoted—some people think it is small—but I am in love with the line having “yet” in it.  Good job.

Matthew Hittinger:  Great title.  I like your spin on the prompt’s demands and how you interpreted the abstract component.  The poem has a nice layering–the opening admission of the drafting process, the attempts to tell the story create a palimpsest throughout as you try for a sixth time and give glimpses of what you said before: “I think I called her / nuts, unhinged, her stride a psycho figure / skater’s spin” and the ultimate revision “I’ll never understand, I spoke / too soon” to the earlier “I didn’t understand my mother, yet” as the speaker confronts how she falls short of fully understanding her parents, in particular her mother who “carves / the water like a knife” surfing for the first time at 58, while her father, presumably also in his later years reads “Gatsby for the first time in his life.”  That rhyme of “life/knife” does what a good rhyme should: it connects her parents not just sonically but semantically.  Same goes for that final rhyme of “soon/moon” (I noticed you like to embed rhyme, rhyming a word early on in a line with the final word of the line–it works well for you).  There’s much more one could say about movement and change and the mystery of it all in the end of a season and the phases of the moon and how all that reinforces this slippery act of trying to fully understand a parent, or any loved one.  It’s a great poem and its details and framing and its reach back into memory while moving forward to the present not only makes for a great poem but exceeds the prompt’s expectations.

Shaindel Beers:  Emily’s “Kinesis, Or, At 58,” My Mother Learns to Surf is a poem which shows tremendous emotional growth from beginning to end. Again, Emily Van Duyne is a master of images: “My mother carves/the water like a knife.  I’ll never understand, I spoke/too soon.  The summer wanes, back-lit— a dream, a quarter moon.” Just beautiful work, once again.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “Kinesis, Or, At 58, My Mother Learns to Surf”–once again, the shoes!  The characters in this poem are charming and surprising.  The “journey” of the poem in time and space (childhood, adulthood, Manhattan, the sea) is   powerful and earned.  The “rebirth” of the parents (mother surfing, father reading The Great Gatsby for the first time) is an ode to middle-age wisdom.  This is a tight, well-made poem.

 

POEM #5:
I Blame the Ronettes

I started writing
poetry when I found out— wait.  Stop.  I can’t

use that line— I started writing?— no.  I hate
that sad-sack bumpkin passive croak, gerund
lazing in its belly’s bloat, a blood
drunk picnic fly.  & I, love, I

will never start a poem with a sigh.  Listen—
that’s my heart’s hot stutter— a boy invites
his first girl to the dance— my heart is shacked
up with my tongue, their boudoir walls

 are painted red & black.  This is my torch
song, stage to stalk, white gardenia already gone
dark around its paper edge, tucked behind my diamond
studded ear, my throaty lark, my snare

drum wrapped in cotton wool, tambourine to shake
your patent leather party flats.  & if you want
a cliff to leap from, honey, I can grant you that—look,
your raven hair (what raven hair?)  two steps

on the ancient, Grecian air… Oh, no
it’s really happening, oh, yes, I wanna
be another woman, just this once, I’ll go
down South to 1963, where there’s a dance hall

& a jukebox & a weedy boy with glasses
& a drawl & he just hooked
his hand in my back pocket, oh, it’s tricky,
baby, here’s where it could fall

apart.  Every time that dance hall steals
its way into this song, the record scratches, skips
& then I’m back to my insipid, bare bones
start.  Desire.  & desire & again.  When I found

out, when I found out, when I found
& you were there, & you, & my mother’s
in there, too, I’ll never be the beauty
she is, never have that voice, its hot sweet

shot of honey Scotch, never win my father’s
absolute ardor.  If I make it back
to 1963, then I know— my mother beat
me to it, look, she’s oh-so-cool, sipping whiskey 

with two cubes.  She just jumped on
the table in her wiggle dress, electric
blue, her figure eight hips cha-cha, twist & switch.  My moon-
faced fellow wolf-whistles & stares.  & there

I go again, I can’t shut-up.  Today, I woke
& knew—my faded heart had switched
back on, a hot pink neon
light.  OPEN

it buzzes, in perpetual midnight while those three
girls (oh lined black eyes, oh sweet beehives) heave
& sigh, c’mon & please, be my baby, say you’ll be
my darling, oh just this once, I swear it, just give in.

THE JUDGES SPEAK:
Beth Gylys: 
This last one so resists the prompt that I’m convinced by the end it has to go.  I’d really consider starting the poem with “Listen–/that’s my heart’s hot stutter…”  I am intrigued by the speaker going back to her parent’s courtship and comparing herself to her mother.  I’m much less interested in what began the poem, the “I started writing” etc, which enters the poem again a little more interestingly with: “When I found out”…   I’d say Emily should re-work this one, working the original line out of the next draft, just to see what happens.

Dustin Brookshire:   Another poem that I’m not sold on.  I think this poem has great potential, and I think you get this poem to where it could be.  I think this poem didn’t want anything to do with the prompt.

Matthew Hittinger:  Fun title.  Love the opening and how you do what the prompt asks and then promptly undercut it not only by calling it into question, but by doing so with such playful and acidic music “that sad-sack bumpkin passive croak, gerund / lazing in its belly bloat…”  It brought a smile to my lips in that good-subversive way in which poetry can operate.  This poem continues the great music you can squeeze out of a line, and just to track one occurrence of it: “I’ll/hall/drawl/fall/hall.”  The poem expands in many directions and yet never flies off its axis, the speaker in tight control from that shift in time where a song can transport you back, “I’ll go / down South to 1963” and where you bring that back later with your mother who beats you to it, to the record scratch and the tight rhythm of “skips / & then I’m back to my insipid, bare bones / start.  Desire.  & desire & again.  When I found // out, when I found out, when I found / & you were there, & you, & my mother’s / in there, too” the lines literally skipping like the lyrics skip on the scratched record, and the riffing off lines from the Wizard of Oz.  Lines like “& there / I go again, I can’t shut-up” exercise control over the fast-paced images tumbling at us.  Again great skill and mastery of the poetic line displayed here.

Shaindel Beers:  “I Blame the Ronettes” is another fabulous poem by Emily Van Duyne. Granted, the beginning is awkward. It seems that Van Duyne had trouble working with the prompt, but the poem soon takes off with her usual adeptness with image and movement:

 

.  Listen—
that’s my heart’s hot stutter— a boy invites
his first girl to the dance— my heart is shacked
up with my tongue, their boudoir walls

are painted red & black.  This is my torch
song, stage to stalk, white gardenia already gone
dark around its paper edge, tucked behind my diamond
studded ear, my throaty lark, my snare

drum wrapped in cotton wool, tambourine to shake
your patent leather party flats.

Beautiful work!

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel:  “I Blame the Ronettes” is a pop culture marvel, the touchstone of the girl group a way to re-imagine her speaker’s parents meeting.  The voice her is both nostalgic and calculating.  The re-envisioning of her parents’ meeting, the Electra complex, and the honky tonk all make for a romp of a poem.  “The belly’s bloat” is a nice set up to the eventual conception of the speaker.

Judge Announcement: The Replacement

This morning it was announced that Dana Guthrie Martin will not be able to serve as a judge for Project Verse’s Week 10: Final Assignment. Click here if you missed the post with all the details.

Matthew Hittinger is stepping in to fill Dana’s spot for the Week 10: Final Assignment. Not only did Matthew serve as the guest judge for Week 3: Simile Vs Metaphor, he has been following Project Verse since Week 1.

Welcome aboard, Matthew!

Week 10: Final Assignment

Emily and Kathi, you’ve made it a long way; however, you have one last assignment.

Only one poet can win Project Verse and receive the Project Verse prize package.

The final assignments consists of five parts:

Poem #1:
Part of your Week 9: Duel Task assignment required you to select what you consider the strongest line from your revised poem. The selected line will be used to write a new poem. While the new poem must use the strongest line, the new poem must not be anything like the poem from which it came. I almost forgot: you must swap lines.
Emily, you will use Kathi’s Unrequited love can kill you.
Kathi, you will use Emily’s and glittering. The sky is vintage celluloid, the hell.

Poem #2:
Revisit Week 5: The Between; redo the assignment. Yes, you must follow the rules as originally listed in the assignment. Poets, you may NOT use the lines you selected the first time around. Here is a reminder as to which lines you used the first time around:
Emily: He already has a name, she sighs reproachfully.
Kathi: As soon as he saw her, he knew that this wouldn’t happen.

Poem #3:
Revisit Week 6: Epigraph; redo the assignment. Yes, you must follow the rules as originally listed in the assignment. Poets, you must select a different poem to create an epigraph from. Here is a reminder as to which poem you used the first time around:
Emily: “With Mercy for the Greedy” by Anne Sexton
Kathi: “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poem #4:
Dorianne Laux participated in the new celebrity writing prompt series at Read Write poem. Click here to read Laux’s prompt. Poets, you will use Dorianne Laux’s RWP prompt to write a poem. Follow the instructions of the prompt carefully.

Poem #5:
Write a poem that begins with “I started writing poetry when I found out…” You can insert line breaks into those eight words any way you see fit; however, the poem MUST begin with those eight words. No, using the words in an epigraph won’t suffice. The poem must be written in 50 lines or less. There is no form constraint.

DEADLINE: Poems should be submitted in a single Microsoft Word document by 4pm on Friday, September 11, 2009.

Good luck!

Get to writing.