Sunday, May 23, 2010

Big Tent Poetry: A Wordle Prompt

I was sad that Readwritepoem wound up at the end of April. But there are always bloggers to carry on the good work. Among the ventures set up to carry on where Readwritepoem left off is Big Tent Poetry.

I didn't jump right on to the horse to ride bareback round the ring - after writing a poem a day in April, I needed a break. But I love Wordles, and the words given for their third weekly prompt were calling to me, so, a day late, here is my rough draft.

Weaving the Nets

The women sit on the shore knotting their nets.
Each rope is a journey, a cord spun
by their fathers' forefathers,
their mothers' foremothers
as they travelled the world.
The nets are the pattern
that ties us all together
since we were first sapient,
since we came out of Africa.
The men are of water. They came
in their galleys and longboats.
The women are of the earth. Do not think
they were weak, when they were bedded
in a pile of straw, or a forest clearing,
a richly caparisoned horse tethered nearby.
When they fell for the merchant with his rich purse,
the young man with the smooth tongue
who doffed his cap in passing, they were not conquered.
They bend, but they do not crumple
nor capitulate. Their hands are as old and knotted
as the nets they make, while they sing
the fierce song of the generations.
They fondle the ropes, tie another knot.
It is futile to resist the making of the net.
Your dark-skinned sister no glitch in the DNA,
but the proof of an ancient tincture in the blood,
a connection over the waters
and over the centuries.


I think I fitted in all the words, though some may well come out again in the editing.
fondle, purse, crumple, proof, sapient, tincture, pattern, doff, futile, capitulate, glitch, caparison

For more poems using these words, go here

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Free Stuff

I don't buy lottery tickets. I've been known to enter contests offering a free trip to the other side of the world, without any success to date. But in the last year or so I've found out how to enter competitions, and win things, which gives me a great deal of pleasure.

The secret is to aim for the small things. A contest offering a trip to the UK will attract very many entries and generally only offer one prize. But a number of local magazines and newspapers seem to have frequent offers of smaller goodies, often in multiples - for instance, the New Zealand Listener will often offer movie tickets, with fifty double passes in each of three main centres on offer.

I prefer the prize draws that allow on line or e-mail entry, so that it costs me nothing at all to enter. I have received free movie tickets, twice, a Craig Potton handbag sized diary, a free ticket on a Lyttleton harbour cruise, and $200 worth of book vouchers. The entry for the book vouchers cost me a stamp, but all the rest were online entries.

On Thursday night I made use of a voucher I had won for a local Indian restaurant. I had to do a bit more than send an e-mail for this one - it was won in a local radio station's daily trivia contest - though I didn't have to do much. We listen at my workplace, and when I gave the answer, my boss placed the phone call for me, and his wife picked up the voucher in her lunch hour! (They are good people!)

It turned out that the voucher covered about half the cost of a meal for two, given that we had entrees (which in New Zealand is not the main course, it is what you have before the main course), and drinks, and pappadoms on the side. If we had had takeaways instead it would have covered the full cost of two mains.

I haven't been out to dinner in ages, so it was a very pleasant treat.

Though maybe one day I'll win that big trip, and that will be even better!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Few Poetry Things

Performance poet Charlie Dark in New Zealand - video clip here. (It's about seven and a half minutes and comes with an energy efficiency ad before and after, only brief though)

Best New Zealand Poems 2009 here. This has been up for a few weeks, but the NaPoWriMo madness meant I didn't get round to posting until now.

Another new New Zealand poetry site - The Tuesday Poem.


I've started looking over my April poems and editing them. I'm pleasantly surprised - I haven't counted, but the number I want to tune up and keep is definitely more than last year's tally. In a few days, I will probably delete some or all of them from the blog in case of future submissions, so if you haven't read them yet and want to, be warned! (Though I can always e-mail them to you, if you are too late).

This evening I read at the final of the Canterbury Poets' Collective's autumn poetry series. The guests - ten of us - for the second half were the poets who had been voted first or second by the audience in one or more of the preceding seven weeks. I read three of my NaPoWriMo poems, suitably tweaked, and they went down well. With no "big name" guests, I was impressed by the quality of the reading - my favourite of the evening being Joanna Preston's five poem sequence, Lucifer in Las Vegas, which I very much hope makes it into her second book. (I very much hope there will be a second book!)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Day After

So April and along with it NaPoWriMo is now officially over (or, what I think of as "Bad Poetry Month"). What's next?

This weekend is mostly "breathing space". Time to clean out the fridge, sweep the dust bunnies from the corners, clear the decks. I have also gathered up all my poems into a single file. I hope to visit a number of the other Readwritepoem contributors - something I didn't have as much time for as I would have liked, when I was posting a poem a day. I've fixed up a few embarrassing typos in my poems. I will be off line for half a day or so as I have a brand new reconditioned Apple computer waiting to have all my files copied over to it. My old computer had developed some annoying lines down the screen which have been gradually multiplying, so a faster, bigger computer with lots of space for all my photos, and no annoying lines, will be a great treat.

And then I will be editing. My day 27 poem was voted best of the open mic contributors at last Wednesday's meeting of the Canterbury Poets Collective. As such, I get to read again next Wednesday, so I will be doing some hasty edits to some of the other poems. There are also some deadlines coming up for submissions that I want to consider.

And of course there are plenty poetry prompts waiting for me - I have at least two sets of thirty prompts stored up in case I need them in future. Though I suspect they won't be quite as effective without the deadlines looming over me.

Off to set up the new computer now, see you all in a day or so