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More than mulch or top-dressing (NPM ’16-DAY 5)

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Photo: pixabay.com

More than mulch or top-dressing

An experience just lived
not considered, pondered, mulled over,
reflected on, studied, and weighed
is like giving food a detour
past digestion.

Even worm’s automatic reflexes
produce the stuff of enrichment—
castings that make fruitful.

So may the ingestion, digestion
and assimilation of our days and moments
grow our souls and fertilize
what our voices and pens bring forth.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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When the Wonderopolis topic “What is fertilizer?” came up for April 4th, I thought immediately of how our life experiences are a type of fertilizer for what we write.

It’s wonderful how God has made the world so that what is waste need not be wasted but can become nourishment for the next season. We know that manure and worm castings are some of the best fertilizer for plants. What better use for the lessons we learn from life (bad and good) than for them to fertilize our growth?

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Nature, Writing

 

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Hello Poetry Month!

Today is April 1st and the beginning of National Poetry Month. Today is also Poetry Friday. How perfect when the two come together!

As I usually do in April, I’m planning to do some extra writing. The goal is to write a poem a day or at least spend some time on poetry-writing every day (though I may  take Sundays off, with no guilt).  I will also contribute a line  to the 2016 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem arranged by Irene Latham (looking forward to that–the schedule of who contributes a line when is in the right sidebar).

To begin this month I’m going to share with you some of the quotes I’ve collected about poetry over the years and end with a little ars poetica piece I wrote myself.

About the writing process:

“I don’t believe in inspiration. (I love telling my students that–everyone is always shocked.) If I sat down and wrote a poem only when I felt like writing a poem or when I felt inspired, I would have written maybe one poem in my life.

“What I believe is that to keep yourself writing, to fully live a writing life, you have to do whatever it takes to keep the engine running, so to speak. For me, that means: writing when my students write in class, writing on the subway, assigning myself writing exercises, forcing myself to sit at my desk and write.”

– Nicole Cooley from the How A Poem Happens blog.

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“If you have writer’s block, lower your standards.” – Poet Marvin Bell (quoted by Nicole Cooley in the above blog post).

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“In my opinion, no doubt a minority view, inspiration is overrated. Occasionally, lightning strikes with a word/phrase/or rhyme, but for me poems come from dedication. Strapped to a chair. I do wish my Muse were a reliable fixture on my desk, but she is usually off shopping, perhaps because she feels unwanted, which isn’t true of course, but there it is….

“A poem does not begin with an idea but with a word, a phrase. Of course, I know beforehand what subject I intend to write about, but I can sit here endlessly thinking of words before liftoff….”

– J. Patrick Lewis – in an interview by Matt Forrest Essenwine.

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“As a writer, as a keeper of a daily reflective journal, I find that as soon as I put words and ideas onto paper in my notebook, or type them into my computer, they begin to gather to themselves more images, more words and ideas. As I write I have the sensation of being at the center of a small vortex of enlarging connections…” Luci Shaw in Breath for the Bones, KL 1401

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You Say Grace

You say grace before meals
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in ink.
– G.K. Chesterton

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“Writing poetry is not putting down whatever comes into your head, and leaving it at that, never taking it any further. Poetry involves layers, and a lot of revision.” – Barbara Crooker quoted on Your Daily Poem.

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“Compose with utter freedom and edit with utter discipline.”
– Erica Jong

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“I think that as a young poet I looked for what Keats called ‘a fine excess,’ but as an old poet I look for spareness and rigor and a world of compassion.”
– Stanley Kunitz (from Writer’s Almanac – July 29, ? year).

About the reading process:

“I don’t think people read poetry because they’re interested in the poet. I think they read poetry because they’re interested in themselves.” – Billy Collins on Writer’s Almanac.

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“Take me: my theory is a poem should set you free: reading a real poem should leave you feeling less tired and more exquisitely yourself. Aerated. You’ve been speeded up and perhaps somewhat dispersed, your bits enjoying more distance from each other than they had previously. You seem to have been augmented, but not in any one place like a lump; no, just some extra electrons here and there; you could never say where. No; that can’t be right. You couldn’t be heavier if it was a real poem. So maybe it’s more of an electron swap or adjustment; hard to say, because these are very small, fast exchanges. In any case, every poem does some small thing to fit us to the galaxies.”

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“Poetry and music are sister arts. So are poetry and painting. It’s as if the eye and the ear were related through poetry, as if they had become siblings or lovers.” – Edward Hirsch, How to Read a Poem, Harcourt, Brace & Cop. Durham N. Carolina 1999. p. 17.

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“Writers are great lovers.  They fall in love with other writers. That’s how they learn to write.  They take on a writer, read everything by him or her, read it over again until they understand how the writer moves, pauses, and sees.  That’s what being a lover is; stepping out of yourself, stepping into someone else’s skin. Your ability to love another’s writing means that those capabilities are awakened in you.  It will only make you bigger; it won’t make you a copy cat. The parts of another’s writing that are natural to you will become you, and you will use some of those moves when you write.  But not artificially. … So writing is not just writing.  It is also having a relationship with other writers.”
– Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down the Bones.

P1010972

“Take the scenic route…”  (Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly)

The road I’ve taken (a riddle)

Each April morning I’ll hit the road
with one for the road
take the scenic route
detour down a narrow
two-rutted lane
that may be a cul-de-sac to nowhere.
It’s definitely not the highway
parkway, turnpike or freeway
to notoriety, is the long way round
to trendy, this course
that has become my driveway.
It’s poetry.

– © 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (written during National Poetry month in April 2014)  All rights reserved

(Select the space with your mouse or trackpad and the word will become visible.)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by award-winning Amy at The Poem Farm (Congratulations, Amy!!).

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Poetry Friday, Writing

 

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Advent in poetry

Traditional print "Bringing home the tree" - Artist unknown

“Bringing Home the Tree” – Traditional print from a German storybook: Artist unknown

A few years ago, my friend Laurel realized that Christmas would never be the way she remembered it or the way she was acccustomed to celebrating it. Her two kids (with autism spectrum disorder) couldn’t handle the upheaval and stimuli. The family had to cut way back on decorating, gift-giving, traveling, eating… The story of how she made peace with that reality and still celebrates, only in a different way, is HERE.

One thing Laurel does is observe Advent. On December 1st each year her wonderful blog TOWARD CHRISTMAS gets activated. It becomes a tool to help not only her but all who read, to focus on the themes and deep meanings of Christmas.

This year she invited me to play along with her and her writers guild. We’re following the story of Jesus’ incarnation through Jesse Tree readings. Every day a new poem at TOWARD CHRISTMAS!

Why don’t you follow along?

Update on Thursday. We’ve seen some fine poems so far. I love the prose poem “Creation” by Denice Bezoplenko that appeared yesterday. It begins:

cre·a·tion /krē ā SH(e)n/ noun  1Affection, brooding; Divine Intent, hovering, subtly, over earth, air, fire, and water, sun, moon, stars, and dust.  2. Word, wooing elements into a slow dance.  3. Love, drawn to our dark matter (who knows why?), finding home in us, loving the place, lighting it up; becoming the soft animal, intimately curled, putting the coffee on… ” read entire…

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Though Laurel’s experience isn’t part of my spiritual journey, in a way it is. For we’ve all come across adversity which brings us to a fork in the road. We can wallow in self-pity and bitterness, or choose to make something good of our less-than-perfect situation.

spiritual-journey-framed

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Christmas, Poems by others, Writing

 

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Writing

Beach pea and daisy

Writing

Beside the path
that winds through my
waking and sleeping,
grow, like wild flowers,
scenes, insights, connections.
Some days I am too rushed
or distracted to see.
On others I am wiser,
live with the perception
that gathers a bouquet,
chooses one or two
to press
between the covers
of a book.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly

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Today’s poem “Writing” is reposted from a first appearance here in 2010. Sad to say, I haven’t been picking or pressing many of those wildflowers lately because I’ve been engrossed in something else. The poem “Writing” is part of it.

CalendarYou see, I’ve been studying Mark Coker’s style guide on how to format documents for Smashwords. (In case you’re not familiar, Smashwords is a website through which you can publish and sell your own ebooks.)

I’ve wanted to try my hand at this kind of self-publishing for a while and decided to make my guinea pig document a chapbook that I first published in 2004 called Calendar. After spending several weeks snatching moments here and there to work on my document, this Monday I nervously hit “Publish.”

Amazingly the process completed without a hitch! And so today I’d like to introduce you to the 2014 ebook edition of Calendar!

Poetry Friday LogoNow to see what the rest of the Poetry Friday ladies and gents have been up to, click over to Buffy’s Blog where the lovely Buffy Silverman is laying out this week’s  Poetry Friday fare.

 

 

 

 
 

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Talking with a stranger

Happy National Poetry Month.

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted here. My time away has had its events.

Mid-February I went to northern B.C. to be with my daughter and help with the grandkids around the birth of her baby. Their lovely baby girl arrived on February 24th.

Then on March 2nd (still at my daughter’s) I had a crazy fall on some stairs and fractured my hip. Surgery the next day put everything right (I hope) though I’m still walking with a cane and not back to normal mobility (of course I’m back at home now). That’s life for you!

Again this April I’m attempting to write a poem a day. I’m using a grab-bag of prompts to help with this: Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog, Adele Kenny blog The Music In It, Martha Silano’s book The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice and others.

Today’s poem was prompted by the Poets and Writers weekly email “The Time Is Now.” This prompt is actually for creative nonfiction but who says one can’t use it for a poem?

Children are often reminded not to talk to strangers, and for good reason. As we get older, communication with strangers isn’t as dangerous, but it can still be uncomfortable. This week, think about a conversation you have had with a stranger in an awkward situation. Who started it? Did you feel safe? After talking, did you feel like you knew this person any better? Did you ever see this person again, and if not, would you want to?

On reading that prompt I immediately thought of my experience this past Monday when, after attending my physiotherapy appointment, I decided to sit and wait for hubby on the bench outside the building.

park bench

Talking with a stranger

Appointment done, the sun is out
the day is warm, the bench is long
the lady sitting there is mute
hair turbaned, leather purse is gold
she wears sunglasses and a coat.

I say, “It’s nice.” She says, “It is.”
I find my notebook and my pen.
She looks asleep but murmurs then,
“How warm is it to get today?
“Twelve or fifteen is what they say.”

Our little talk has loosed her tongue
for now the muttering has begun
not to me or anyone
within our view converses she
with ones unseen

earnestly, disgustedly
with vehemence
and sarcasm, disdainfully
while I, relieved of chat polite
can write and write and write and write.

Violet Nesdoly © 2014 (All rights reserved)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Amy at The Poem Farm – a farm where poetry flourishes!

 

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in People, Writing

 

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Poetry and long-term friendship

Has poetry brought lovely, interesting, gifted people into your life? It has certainly done that for me.

My poet friend and memoirist Tracy Lee Karner (whom I’ve never met in person) posts a back-and-forth chat we had about poetry and our long-term friendship on her blog today. In it she interviews me and then answers some of my questions to her. (Lucky girl, spent a whole year studying with Patricia Fargnoli). The post is HERE.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in People, Personal, Writing

 

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Words

"Family and Rainstorm" by Alex Colville

“Family and Rainstorm” by Alex Colville – 1955

Words

i
ubiquitous as water, find words
on cereal boxes, cracker wraps
this pencil, this keyboard
shoes, underwear
beside the road, on your stove
TV remote, light bulb
in the speech cloud above my head
the thought bubble above yours

ii
words have texture and heft
substance, power and cleft
they sing and ring
cling and fling
can be tart or tasty
considered or hasty
with precise aim and tone
they can break a bone

iii
some paint broad strokes
like impressionist art
others are real
as an Alex Colville
complete with summer day
storm clouds

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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Tomorrow (January 18th) would be the 235th birthday of Peter Roget, the physician / theologian / lexicographer who compiled the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. It was published  in 1852 and went through twenty-eight editions in his lifetime. (He died in 1869) (The Christian Almanac, p. 47).

Thank you, Mr. Roget. I love words and I love your Thesaurus!

Want to find out about more interesting facts about January. Check out the January ’14 Freelance Writers Almanac post on my writer blog. It’s my plan to post an almanac post on the first day of each month this year.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Keri at Keri Recommends.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Poetry Friday, Writing

 

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View from my writing window (#poetryatwork)

View from my writing window

Rectangles and lines of nonfiction
diagonal, horizontal, vertical paragraphs
of roof, window, drainpipe
Venetian sentences
just a little off
with the siding
(a bit of parallelism
would even that out)

Eave trough
is a green algae poem
(if my window opened
on the near side
I would revise it
with a long-handled mop)

Only movement
commas, colons and periods
dripping from the greasy shingles
and once in a while
dropping in to visit
fantasy crow
or jeweled pigeon
from a novel setting

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

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Today is Poetry at Work Day! I’m celebrating it by re-posting this poem about the view from the room in which I work (our townhouse’s third bedroom that has been my office from the day we moved here).  My view isn’t particularly inspiring. My window faces another building. The window just across from mine, judging from the pink curtains, is the bedroom window of our neighbours’ five-year-old daughter.  From time to time the blinds open and and then they close but not much else goes on.

However, I am thrilled to have my own room in which to write, despite the lack of an exciting view.

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How are you celebrating Poetry At Work Day? Need some inspiration? The Infographic below (captured from this page at Tweetspeak Poetry) will give you some ideas! Have a wonderfully poetic day, wherever and whatever your work!

Poetry At Work Day - Infographic

Poetry At Work Day Infographic from Tweetspeak Poetry.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Personal, Writing

 

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“Match” and writing challenges

Caught fish in a boat.

“In fisher talk, haul in a bumper catch”

Match

November is the month for poems to hatch
I hope to incubate a healthy batch

in fisher-talk, haul in a bumper catch
till there’s no room to store them in the hatch.

My problem is, these poems don’t hit me natch
I always seem to need a key or latch

I’ll count on Brewer’s prompts to be my match
igniting poems with pen or pencil scratch

© 2013 –  V. Nesdoly

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Today is the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Have you ever done it? I did four years ago. Gruelling. But I got a book out of it (the novel I published in June of 2012).

My usual habit for November is to take on a poem-a-day challenge. Today’s poem is the first one I wrote for last year’s November challenge at the Poetic Asides blog, when the prompt was: “Write a matches poem.”

So during November I’ll probably do a daily check of the poetry prompts at Poetic Asides (the Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge). If Robert Brewer’s prompts don’t do anything for me, I have a collection of weekly email prompts from Poets and Writers stashed in a folder in Mail, and then there’s Adele Kenny’s blog with her wealth of prompts, and I have some books… I shouldn’t run out of ideas. Unfortunately though, sometime during the month I’ll still probably fall off the daily wagon.

Do you do anything crazy writing-wise in November?

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the very lovely Linda Baie at Teacher Dance.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Poetry Friday, Writing

 

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Fall Semester

"Life's too busy! I'm too tired to write poetry."

“Too busy, too tired” – a slide from my talk “Breaking the Silence”

Fall Semester

I plod toward the culmination
of a summer of study and planning
lugging a stone-boat
of handouts, lessons and lectures.
Responsibilities blinker me
from distraction.
Urged and directed
by the reins of conscientiousness
it’s Giddy-up and Go
till November
when, unbuckled
from this harness
I again get to frolic
in the meadow
of carefree imagination.

© Violet Nesdoly

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I have spent much of the summer getting ready for fall. I’ve been preparing to deliver two poetry workshops at an end-of-September writing conference and at the same time reworking a series of eight lessons for our church’s Wednesday morning for women.

Though I have been a classroom teacher in the past, I haven’t taught much lately and I’m rusty. Ratcheting up the tension for me this year is that I have made Keynote (Mac version of PowerPoint) presentations for each session. That’s ten Keynotes! Trouble is I’ve never used such a presentation before in a class, neither do I have my own projector so I can’t even practice with the technology.

I’m not complaining… really! Doing this teaching is a wonderful way to stretch and grow my skills. But one thing I find hard to do while focusing on these assignments is to give myself to creativity. Because when I do, I so easily get lost, lose track of time, slow down, get behind. So I’m trying to enjoy this season and looking forward to the time when my on-top-of-things teacher-role will be finished and I can again be the absent-minded writer.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday. It’s hosted today by Jen at Teacher-Mentor Texts.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Personal, Poetry Friday, Writing

 

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