NaPoWriMo, Day 2

Photo by Terry Richmond via Unsplash Today's prompt offers as a resource Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken” and challenges us "to write a poem about your own road not taken – about a choice of yours that has “made all the difference,” and what might have happened had you made a different choice."... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2021, Day 0

Ladle, circa 1850, Chinook, Native American, on view at the Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 746 And just like that, spring came back when winter was getting a tad too long in the tooth and she brought NaPoWriMo along with her. Many thanks to Maureen Thorson for gathering us together once more. I'm keeping my fingers... Continue Reading →

some things to watch out for in a poem

Photo by Romana Iorga some things to watch out for in a poem something big             something small          something                     with wings something hungry       or sated                       something                   that doesn’t know what it wants to die to... Continue Reading →

The Shape of Her Body in the Snow

Photo by Kalle Kortelainen via Unsplash The Shape of Her Body in the Snow Do I exist if I doubt? How do my newly-shaped limbs come into being? I must be here, anchoredin the movement .                                        of falling snow. Doubts float over my liquid .   ... Continue Reading →

Conjugal Pottage, Serves Two

Photo by Sergey Norkov via Unsplash Conjugal Potage, Serves Two A dash of wisdom folded into temporary bliss, to keep itfrom curdling. Undiluted,it tends to stick in your throat.Throw in the bonesof yesterday’s rage to give it texture. Nothing is lessappetizing than mush.Do not puree each day to bits,lest you spend your eveningsmostly solo. If... Continue Reading →

Déjà vu

Nikolai Ge, What Is Truth. Christ and Pilate Déjà vu “No matter what comes into the house, a letter, today’s paper, you are convinced you have already seen it.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, “The Almost Audible Passing of Time” Nouns drop from their perches,seeking a lesshate-driven sentence,aiming for purpose or purchaseor mere acceptance.Freedom gives way to cages.Fewer... Continue Reading →

Sharp Dawn

Photo by Dawid Łabno via Unsplash   Sharp Dawn All night long, black moths shattered my bed with their bodies. I see your shape in the hallwaygrowing from my gnawed fingernails, bowing toward the earth. Who am I to honor you, Mother?Bring in your dog, sit by the fire. I have wine cooling in the bucket, bread and cheese on the... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 30

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver via Unsplash . Today’s prompt challenges us to “write a poem about something that returns. For, just as the swallows come back to Capistrano each year, NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo will ride again!” ~ NaPoWriMo, Day 30 Once again, NaPoWriMo has been a wild, exuberant, insanely rewarding experience! I'm beyond grateful to Maureen Thorson for... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 28

Photo courtesy of stejarmasiv.ro . Today’s prompt is “brought to us by the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests: Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s description of her aunt’s cozy room, scented with hyacinths and a crackling stove, warmly recalls the... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 25

Photo by Eric Muhr via Unsplash . Today’s prompt, “which you can find in its entirety here, was  developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen, asks you to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem. (You may remember James Schuyler from our poetry resource for Day 2.) This is a prompt that allows you... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 22

Photo by Xavi Cabrera via Unsplash . Today's prompt asks us to “engage with different languages and cultures through the lens of proverbs and idiomatic phrases. Many different cultures have proverbs or phrases that have largely the same meaning, but are expressed in different ways. For example, in English we say “his bark is worse than his bite,”... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 21

Photo by Wendy Scofield via Unsplash . Our daily prompt asks us to “make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 20

Today’s prompt asks us to manifest our gratitude for having made it to Day 20 by writing “a poem about a handmade or homemade gift that you have received. It could be a friendship bracelet made for you by a grade-school classmate, an itchy sweater from your Aunt Louisa, a plateful of cinnamon toast from... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 18

Photo by Josh Sorenson via Unsplash . Today’s prompt challenges us to “write an ode to life’s small pleasures. Perhaps it’s the first sip of your morning coffee. Or finding some money in the pockets of an old jacket. Discovering a bird’s nest in a lilac bush or just looking up at the sky and watching the clouds... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 17

Photo by  Michał Lis via Unsplash . Today’s prompt asks us to “move backwards in time away from such modern contrivances as podcasts. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that features forgotten technology. Maybe it’s a VCR, or a rotary phone. A cassette player or even a radio. If you’re looking for a potential example, check... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 15

Photo by Mike Marrah via Unsplash . Today’s prompt challenges us to “write a poem inspired by your favorite kind of music. Try to recreate the sounds and timing of a pop ballad, a jazz improvisation, or a Bach fugue. That could mean incorporating refrains, neologisms and flights of whimsy, or repeating/inverting lines or ideas – whatever your... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 12

Image from Lars von Trier's film Breaking the Waves (1996) . Today’s prompt challenges us to “write a triolet. These eight-line poems involve repeating lines and a tight rhyme scheme. The repetitions and rhymes can lend themselves to humorous poems, as well as to poems expressing dramatic or sorrowful moods. And sometimes the repetitions can be used... Continue Reading →

Portrait with Crows

Photo by Alexander Sinn via Unsplash : Portrait with Crows : This evening turned the day’s blaze into rain. Crows beside the window, harsh caws carving a space in my stomach. The bright spot of orange hue in front of me stays. My daughter’s painting, untouched yet by artifice, nor willed into shape. So abstract... Continue Reading →

A Woman Made Entirely of Air

Photo by Laurence Demaison :   A Woman Made Entirely of Air : these days I worry about          percentages :              who knows how much          fear is enough to inflict          irreversible :              damage           who knows if merely by passing through someone’s life :   ... Continue Reading →

The Photograph

Photo by Federico Bottos via Unsplash  :   The Photograph : It doesn’t matter what we should have argued about. Talking was something we couldn’t or wouldn’t do. We walked through a meadow instead, you slightly ahead and I taking pictures of things I wanted to remember, including that bloody sunset. The flowers parted before... Continue Reading →

Falling Asleep with Carpenter Bees

Photo by v2osk via Unsplash : Falling Asleep with Carpenter Bees : The walls are thin, transparent. Angels stand at right angles. I close my eyes to see the bees breaking and entering. Honeycomb dipped in sorrow. Eyeballs rolling like grapes on my palm. I see a handful of pennies fallen through the grate. Shallow... Continue Reading →

The Rose

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin via Unsplash : The Rose : This hand that holds the trowel, a rubber glove to hide thick-knuckled, restless fingers— you know it’s yours. Yours, also, the knobby knees, the narrow feet in muddy crocs, the loosened skin holding it all together—who knows however long? You are a waterfall of flesh and... Continue Reading →

Count Your Blessings

Photo by Taylor Ann Wright via Unsplash : Count Your Blessings : Sneer, counting the moments touched by joy, the ones currently marching like mad across your front lawn. You clearly see them for what they are—frauds, counterfeit, foolish impostors, because, let’s be real, no way in hell do you deserve what brushed by with... Continue Reading →

The Wolves and the Crucifix

Keith Haring's wolves : The Wolves and the Crucifix : Based on Keith Haring’s “Suite of Five Prints,”—(“Two Animal Images Falling/Jumping”; “Two Figures with Crucifix”), screenprint on paper, 1982. : The wolves keep coming to my door, they keep coming. Today they hold a cross like a trophy. Ink drips from their paws onto the... Continue Reading →

Out of the Labyrinth

Photo by Steinar Engeland via Unsplash : Out of the Labyrinth : In the morning the girl sits by the window, pulling dried husks of flies off the spider web. The brown spider drops from its corner on a glistening, tremulous thread, hauls itself up to inspect the damage, hairpin legs climbing the air on invisible... Continue Reading →

Learning from the Swallow

Image courtesy of  www.stevegettle.com : A good part of my childhood was spent in my grandmother’s village, where I grew up believing that the mud nests the swallows built under our eaves brought us good luck. More swallow nests meant better luck. I remember the joy when yet another swallow family would choose to raise its young... Continue Reading →

Beyond the Threshold

: If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. ~ William Blake My neighbors are temporarily storing a barn door in the hallway of our apartment building. It’s intricately carved, iron-studded, worn by wind, rain, the hands of several generations of farmers. I dare not ask why... Continue Reading →

Pebbles and Sand

Image courtesy of www.littleterns.org : Poets throughout history have turned to animal and mineral being to express their own because from that storehouse a larger vocabulary of being, particularity, and wisdom can emerge. ~ Jane Hirshfield “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” Some poems are pebbles and some are sand. This sounds like the beginning... Continue Reading →

Impetus and Inertia

Photo source: Nividia Cave : I've always wondered what brings a work of art into being. The creative process is a mysterious one and I approach it with trepidation. There have been times when it seized me and tossed me around like a giant wave—and I've come to define those instances as moments of true inspiration.... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2017

NaPoWriMo, the National Poetry Writing Month, begins in three days. Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under the caboose. Thirty poems in thirty days is no joke, but someone's gotta do it. This clayandbranches site has been a mere shadow of a thought for over a year. I may yet reach the conclusion that turning it into... Continue Reading →

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