poetry

All posts tagged poetry

October Leaves

Published October 29, 2014 by Elsa Pla

This past summer I taught a fun writing class on creating stories through comics. I learned a lot of new things about comic books and even created my own! I’ll share some of the skills I learned in a later post.

In August I started working as part-time middle school librarian. I love it! I’ve been very busy, but also quite happy. I had to put my writing and blogging on hold for a while, but now that I’m getting the hang of things at my new job, I’m ready to get back on the writing/blogging saddle.

I’m working on revising a collection of poems that I plan on self-publishing as an ebook. I’m trying to focus on imagery and simplicity. Easier said than done! Fresh images are difficult to create, and simplicity is hard work. I thought I’d be able to breeze through this project, but I was ridiculously wrong. I’m going to have to settle for a summer of 2015 publication date.

Anyway, it’s October–the most amazing month of the year–so here’s an inspirational autumn poem:

October Splendor

 

OCTOBER WALK

Oh, riotous autumn!
Summer greens pale and
Give way to the splendor of
Your burgundy reds and fiery oranges,
Your golden yellows and rusty browns,
Expectancy and possibility
Painted on each and every
Leaf that falls.

Lit by sunlight,
The luminous leaves explode.
The world is aflame!
Trees glow like bonfires,
Leaves drop like sparks
Igniting the ground
With golden fire.

I walk the flaming corridors of fall,
Embracing the blazing colors
Until I, too, catch fire
And join the conflagration:
Life, like a phoenix,
Burning itself up;
A million willing flames
Heralding rebirth and hope.

Copyright © 2011 Elsa Pla

“Show, Don’t Tell” and Vice Versa

Published February 17, 2013 by Elsa Pla

Writer's Hand

On my last post I mentioned that I would be working on “showing, not telling” in my poetry.

I have a tendency to write poems that are too “on the nose,” as my writer daughter describes them. In other words, I am often guilty of being too obvious in telling the reader information they could instead infer. I’m trying to become more aware of this tendency, and I’m also trying to figure out when “telling, not showing” actually works.

So here’s an example of a revised poem without the “telling”:

DOMINOES

I wait as the dominoes fall one by one,

listening to the sound of inevitability

as one domino strikes and fells the next one,

cause and effect,

potential to kinetic,

and so on;

until all dominoes are down,

fallen like soldiers on a battlefield,

all energy spent.

Then – because there’s still time –

I stand them up, position them again,

this time making sure they follow

a different path.

(by Elsa Pla © 2013)

And here’s the original version:

Dominoes

The ignorant choices we make early on,

if we are granted such a privilege

(for most have ignorant choices thrust upon them),

result in the start of a chain of events

known as the Domino Effect,

and we are surprised to be left with no more choices

and no other option

(if we are responsible and brave)

but to wait,

to weather out the storm

as best we can,

watching as the dominoes fall one by one,

listening to the sound of inevitability

as one domino strikes and fells the next one,

cause and effect,

potential to kinetic,

and so on,

until all dominoes are down,

fallen like soldiers on a battlefield,

all energy spent.

Then – if we’re lucky –

if there’s still time left to make

one final, less-ignorant choice,

we’ll lift them up, position them again,

this time making sure they follow

a different path.

(by Elsa Pla © 2013)

So, less words; more meaning, right? (I’ll save the unnecessary “telling” portions for a different piece.)

Now here’s a poem where I think the “telling” works (my daughter agrees):

SEA OF TRANQUILITY

My heart belongs to salty, blue mornings

By shore and shallows,

To places where living water and parched sand

Kiss and make love,

Where life is gentle and kind

And the water is cool and clear

And the whole world glistens.

Where time slows down to allow

The lazy rhythm of the tides,

Where foamy, aqueous fingers

Stroke and comfort the land,

And all hurts are forgiven.

A place too beautiful, too light, too blue

For violence of any kind,

Where the sea is a safe haven and a healing balm,

Where dreams spawn and multiply,

And peace and tranquility reign.

(by Elsa Pla © 2013)

What I’ve learned from this revision process:

We need to know, understand, and internalize the rules in order to break them.

To close, here’s a great blog post on “show, don’t tell” and vice versa.

http://writerunboxed.com/2012/03/05/flip-the-script-tell-dont-show/

Found Poetry

Published July 5, 2012 by Elsa Pla

Writing found poetry is a lot of fun. “Found poems take existing texts [from any written source and any mode or genre, even poetry] refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. [A found poem is] the literary equivalent of a collage .” –www.poets.org

www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5780

www.creative-writing-now.com/found-poetry.html

www.imaginationsoup.net/2009/06/rainy-day-found-poetry-recycled-art/

I was introduced to found poetry at the Denver Writing Project 2012 Summer Institute. Here’s my attempt at creating a found poem (written in honor of my favorite author, Ray Bradbury):

A Ray Bradbury Original

From “A Martian Joined Ray Bradbury and Me for Dinner in Paris” by Henry Fountain, New York Times, Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

He was a masterly writer,

a bit dressier than most

and so passionate about the subject.

That, it turned out, was no obstacle.

He wrote at least a thousand words a day,

and the wine kept coming.

A prolific signer of autographs,

funny, effusive, and genuinely friendly,

he carried around some felt-tip markers

just for that purpose.

So it didn’t really surprise me

when he knocked over his wine glass

on the white linen of the small square table

in a bistro on the Left Bank.

“My! That looks like a Martian!” he shouted

and opened his sport coat,

revealing five felt tips of different colors

lined up neatly in the inside pocket.

He added a couple of antennas

to the purple stain seeping across the tablecloth

and an alien face appeared—

A Martian in Paris.

He signed it and added the date for good measure.

It didn’t really surprise me

when a month or so later, I stopped at the bistro

and there was the tablecloth,

prominently framed on a wall

like a canvas from Picasso.

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NOW YOU TRY IT! 🙂