And She’s Off! Again …

I like to renovate and redecorate, so welcome to the new space.  I have moved some things around here and also put some things on my website, which I hope you will visit.  I changed the name of this blog to “Talking to Myself” because, honestly, I do that all the time.  For those of you who previously have been eavesdropping, let’s review: I was toying with the idea of trying to develop a “virtual poetry group,” but after talking to some other folks and taking into consideration my other commitments and goals, I had to let the idea die.  It was a nice service with some lovely flowers …

Something strange happened to me last April, during Poetry Month, which brings me to this next bit.

After taking a hiatus from the act of submitting my poetry for consideration for publication, I am back in the “Po Biz,” or, as I like to call it, the “Mostly No Biz.”  Just kidding. Not really.

Look, “no” is a huge part of what poets do, and I am all right with that aspect of writing.  With poetry – and forgive me if you’ve heard me say this to myself before – I take rejection as an invitation to revise.  I read and re-read and re-read the poor little poems that come back to me, unwanted.  Sometimes, I readily accept that invitation to revise, feeling embarrassed that I sent my poem out into the big world with its clothes on wrong side out.  And sometimes, after I read and re-read and re-read,  I think my perfectly appropriately dressed poem just needs to find the right adopted home.  Continue reading “And She’s Off! Again …”

Begin doing …

I just saw a quote from Walt Disney on a friend’s Facebook page: The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

So much wisdom is so simple.  Simple, but not easy.  My last post here was over 2 months ago!  That sounds so much longer than it seems to me; so much has happened in those 2 months, that chunk of past time is like a blur.  The “doing” part of my life has had very little to “do” with writing, and more to do with being a parent helping a daughter prepare for college.  Her departure is now just a little over a week away.

Not surprisingly, my focus has begun to shift back to writing, to the “plan” for achieving “the goals” I have set for myself.  Certainly, step 1 is to “begin doing.”

To that end, I am considering launching a new site, and it’s an endeavor that has been over ten years in the making.  Let me explain how a new site might help me (and you) begin doing …

I happen to live in an area that is rife with writers.  These writers are not only talented, but are generous with their time, their insights, and their knowledge.  As one of these talented writers once said to me, “None of us do this work alone.”  When I first realized what a wealth of talent and resources existed around me, I began to explore the idea of what I labeled a “Writers’ Energy Exchange.”

In my mind’s eye, it was a physical location where writers could meet informally to work and to assist one another.  Most of us have trusted groups to which we belong, and to whom we can take drafts of poems or whatever we are writing and get some good feedback.  My two poetry groups have been essential for me in my work.  However, I have always thought it would be great to have that kind of feedback on a more spontaneous basis.  “Workshopping” someone else’s stuff is such a two-way street:  when I am given the opportunity to review someone else’s work, even in draft form, invariably I am inspired to work harder and better.

Continue reading “Begin doing …”

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 16th

Today’s first device from Packard’s A Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Ode: An extended lyric, on a single theme or subject, often of considerable length and usually using recognizable STANZA patterns. The word “ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and the form may have had its origins with Sappho in the middle of the seventh centruy B.C., because her surviving work includes one complete ode and four stanzas of a second ode. The later Greek poet Pindar wrote triumphal odes, and the Roman poet Horace wrote odes as well as SATIRES and EPISTLES.

I am sharing here the first two stanzas of an original poem entitled “Ode to Today.”  It is quite lengthy, so I won’t post the entire poem.  The “single theme or subject” is the kind of sadness that is brought on by loneliness or rejection.  As for recognizable stanza patterns, there are not any; at least, not the way I think Packard means.  The stanzas get “fatter” on the page (the lines get longer) and build to a middle, a crescendo, before they shrink again.  That effect was not anything I tried to achieve consciously, but it is suitable for the poem. Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 16th”

April 24, 2010

Today’s device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Oxymoron:  A radical paradox; a conjunction of extreme opposites.  “Dry ice is so cold that it burns” is an example of oxymoron.

In poetry, oxymoron also functions metaphorically (see METAPHOR) to express a state of ambivalence or contradiction. …

Old Lamb
(by Suzanne Baldwin Leitner)

“What did the tired nurse
say to the complaining
patient?
‘Take your Oxy
Moron.'”

And that’s what
every interminable
minute was like
with him: a slow
trot from one
sad joke
to the next.

April 23, 2010: Just say noh (oh, brother)

From William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices:

Noh:  A tradition in Japanese poetry and theater that is over six hundred years old; called “the immeasurable scripture” because it is a synthesis of song and dance and poetry and drama and religion. …

Well, obviously no noh happens in one sitting, and it won’t be happening here! My only other option under “N” is a cross-reference (NARRATIVE  See DRAMATIC-NARRATIVE POETRY; GENRES) and I am too much of a purist to fool with cross references for this exercise.

We shall, however, honor the Japanese poetry form with a tanka.  Thanks for reading!

Thunderstorm

The calm that settles
over us before a storm
is a counterfeit;
it is not fury’s absence.
It is fury coiling up.

-Suzanne Baldwin Leitner

April 22, 2010 (and Happy Earth Day)

Today’s device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Macaronics:  The use of foreign words to enrich the texture of DICTION in a poetic line.  The most common practice of macaronics is the mixture of vernacular worlds with Latin words, but macaronics can be any combination of two or more languages in any given passage.

I tried to use today’s device as a forced writing exercise, comfortable in the notion that poets all over the country are doing something similar, either through a collective daily writing prompt, or some other self-imposed practice.  In other words, what follows is a draft – but I’m sure it isn’t the only draft on the internet today!  Thanks for reading! Continue reading “April 22, 2010 (and Happy Earth Day)”

My Inauspicious Return

Virtual life had to give way to real life for the last 3 days, so I will carry National Poetry Month three days into May in order to fulfill my stated purpose of a poem a day in celebration of poetry.

Today’s device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is (oh, dear)

    Limerick:  Usually anonymous five-line light verse poem, generally with surprise or eccentric RHYMES, with first and second and fifth lines in anapestic trimeter [ . . / . . /. . / ], and with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/b/a.  Limericks often play on geographical or proper names, and commonly treat an outrageous subject irreverently.

    Critical comment on the limerick tends to stress its anti-literary pedigree; thus Arnold Bennett said, “All I have to say about limericks is that the best ones are entirely unprintable.”  George Bernard Shaw commented, “They are most unfit for publication.  They must be left for oral tradition.”  Film director Mike Nichols, commenting on a limerick contest he was once asked to judge said, “It was easy.  We just threw out the dirty limericks and gave the prize to the one that was left.”

    Commenting on the technical effect of a limerick, Morris Bishop wrote in The New York Times Book Review: “The structure should be a rise from the commonplace reality of line one to logical madness in line five.” Continue reading “My Inauspicious Return”