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Haiku 1, April 1, 2016

It’s that time of year again.
April. Bright buds and birthdays.
Chilly mornings and warm afternoons.
Pollen. Poetry.

April is National Poetry Month and this year for the (I think) 8th year in a row, I’ll be writing and sharing a haiku each day. Last year, a whole slew of friends joined me in the practice which just made the whole thing more ecstatic. You’re welcome to join in this year….

And now, without further ado….

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If the question is
“Travel by land or by sea?”
This scull answers that

April — Poetry Princess Project

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It’s a month of ekphrastic poems for my poetry sisters and me — and wow, what art, huh? Laura Purdie Salas found it at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis — it’s part of a ceiling fresco and she thought (rightly) that it might serve to inspire us.

My poem emerged as a villanelle. Enjoy. Or take in. Do with it what you may…

Hark!
By Liz Garton Scanlon

Hark, who’s that knocking, who comes to call?
The fallen and slothful, you vain and you meek –
you’re welcome here, truly, there’s room for you all.

You come bearing gifts, some spiteful, some small.
Horned heroes bow humbly, the devious speak –
hark, who’s that knocking and who comes to call?

Now hush — a suggestion – that we raise a wall
to keep us from outsiders evil or weak:
You’re unwelcome here now; there’s no room for you all.

There’s enough here already, there’s rancor and sprawl!
The masses, all sure of their fervent critique,
call out Hark, who is knocking, oh who comes to call?

The harpy sings shrilly, beasts hide in god’s shawl
and the picture they paint is horrific and bleak.
Are we still welcomed truly, is there room for us all?

What started as discourse has descended to brawl
and we’ve traded on everything right and unique.
Hark, now, who’s knocking and who comes to call?
You’re welcome here, truly, there’s room for you all.

I’d love for you to go see the poems all my pals have put up too:
Laura Purdie Salas
Sara Lewis Holmes
Kelly Fineman
Andromeda Jazmon
Tanita Davis
Tricia Stohr-Hunt

And there will be a whole Poetry Month Kick-Off Round-Up over at my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog! Hurrah!!

Poetry Princess Project — March 2016

Aaaaand our challenge this month was….Sedoka!

Sedoka is a Japanese form that consists of 6 lines of 5-7-7-5-7-7 syllables respectively. Each 5-7-7 unit is called a katauta. Traditionally, the second katauta says the same thing as the first katauta, although in a different way.

I wrote a whole series of sort of domestic ones, about cooking and minivans and dishwashers but in the end I decided to share this one, a poem in two voices.

It’s sort of my flipped version of that old Gary Larson Farside cartoon about what we say and what the dog hears:

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Woman and Dog Sedoka
By Liz Garton Scanlon

The dog follows me
every time I switch places.
It’s how he shows he loves me.
Why can’t she sit still?
I should keep an eye on her
but oh, to nap in the sun!

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All my poetry pals have posted sedoka today too — go see!
Laura’s post
Tricia’s post
Sara’s post
Kelly’s post
Tanita’s post
Andi’s post

Enjoy!!

Poetry Princess Project — February 2016

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This past fall I was in New York with my writer pal Audrey Vernick and we stumbled upon this Picasso Exhibit at MOMA. We really did. We had a couple of hours to kill in Manhattan, and lo and behold, this. The whole experience blew us away. The breadth, the quantity. The fact that Picasso was apparently good at everything in every medium.

So when it was my turn to offer up an image to my poetry group for ekphrastic inspiration, I thought, YES — Picasso! In the end, I shared multiple images so everyone could find one that spoke to them. Here’s mine!

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Picasso’s Woman
Liz Garton Scanlon

When you look in the mirror
and see a body
that isn’t yours – hips
like an egg timer
with all the sand stuck
in place, thighs the size
of a small state – they say
that’s a disorder, a delusion,
which is a way of saying:
Look, there’s something else
wrong with you, not just the
thick neck and uneven breasts,
but also this – this way
of thinking – you’re disordered!

and because you always listen
to all of the voices
you hurry to have your head
shrunk
right away.

Please check out the others too!
Sara Lewis Holmes
Tanita Davis
Kelly Fineman
Laura Purdie Salas
Tricia Stohr-Hunt

(And, bonus, Tricia’s hosting Poetry Friday today so you’ll find lots more than just us there! Enjoy!)

The Culmination of Our Year — A Crown Sonnet

What a year. Really, we had such a great year — my friends Sara, Laura, Tricia, Andi, Tanita, Kelly and I — writing poetry together, a new form each month. A new form that we invariably thought would be easier than it ended up being. But still, somehow, a pleasure.

So, the grand finale? A Crown Sonnet. Seven linked sonnets, each one beginning with the last line of the previous one and the final one wrapping up with the very first line from the first sonnet. And because we like a challenge, we thought, “Hey, let’s make them all about the periodic table of the elements. We each get a row.”

Which sounds old-fashioned, maybe, except when you consider that just this week a whole slew of new elements was added to the table! (This is unbelievable to me, this fluidity of truth and beauty.)

ANYWAY, you guys, here’s mine. It’s a lowly little sonnet — the fifth in a series of seven. Read it, but then go over to Tricia’s and read the whole thing. It’s kind of awesome. If I do say so. Enjoy.

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Sonnet V

It’s odd to think it’s metal, and not stone
that we bite down on, gnash and grind at night.
Fine silver mixed with tin, its pauper clone,
alloyed with other charms to fend off blight.

The way these chemicals transist, set in —
you’d never know they weren’t a part of us.
Perhaps they are as native as our sins
the framework for our aches, the messy truss.

Rubidium — are we made up of you?
And cadmium and antimony too?
Unstable ores that blow the earth askew
so there’s no fault, no consequence undue.

But what if we own up, apologize:
Don’t blame the elements for our demise.

Each individual sonnet can be found by following these links:
Row 1: Laura Purdie Salas
Row 2:Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Row 3: Sara Lewis Holmes
Row 4: Kelly Fineman
Row 5: Mine
Row 6: Tanita Davis
Row 7: Tricia again