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New beginnings (SJfT)

I begin lots of things. It’s the continuations that I’m concerned about! Three new beginnings that have become a part of my daily life are captured in the photo and poem below:

A favourite time of day

A Favorite Time of Day

Laptop tucked away
housework keeps till tomorrow.
Now is time to pray

to process joy and sorrow
line-captured while music plays

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

My three new 2017 beginnings:

1. Bible Art Journaling
Earlier this spring I discovered Bible art journaling. You could say it was love at first sight.

Doodling, drawing, and lettering in my special journaling Bible has become part of my routine. Several times a week, in the evening when the jobs of the day have been put to bed, I get out my Bible, pens, and supplies, tune in to one of my Spotify play lists (favourites are Audrey Assad , Fernando Ortega, and Andrew Peterson) and meditate / create.

They say that when you work in an area of strength, the activity energizes you. That’s what I find happens when I do this. The day’s fatigue falls away and I am often still going at 10:30 – 11:00—pretty good for someone who wakes up without an alarm just after 5:00 a.m. (though I do often take a daytime nap).

Here’s the project I was working on in the photo (prompted by a Rebekah R. Jones Bible Art Challenge video).

2. Taking a photo a day
My camera has been my walking companion since I got my first digital in 2006. Earlier this year I found a website (Capture Your 365 – #CY365) that provides a daily photo prompt. I’ve been snapping photos challenged by those prompts since mid-May. The photo above was prompted by the July 3rd challenge: “A Favorite Time of Day.”

3. Summer Shorts poems
On the first day of summer this year I met with a local poet friend. Among other things, we discussed summer poem-writing. I told her about American Sentences, and she decided to embark on writing “Summer Sentences.” Her decision encouraged me to work on a summer poem project that seemed like it would fit into my life—writing short poems prompted by the daily photos I take. I call my project “Summer Shorts” and the tanka above is one of those.

There you have it—three activities that I’ve not only begun but continued, and that have added much spiritual richness to my 2017!

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted today by Julieanne Harmatz at her blog To Read, To Write, To Be.

 

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Lady in white

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Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly

Lady in white

Today on my walk I pass a trim little old lady all in summer white, though the wind is sharp and at night frost still nips the rooftops. As she strides by our eyes meet, we exchange a momentary smile, and I think how she is probably a literary sort–a stream of consciousness novelist perhaps or a poet on her way to read with her friends. Or maybe she is hurrying to the library to pick up Patrick Lane or Anne Michaels newly reserved for her. I imagine the poems that are her regular fare–all energetic verbs and crisp nouns with not a fatty article or carb-laden adverb in sight. She seems the sort that lives on sinew and muscle, energy and light with just enough fiber to keep her from flying away.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration
A poetry group with whom I used to meet set ourselves the challenge of writing a prose poem. This was my attempt, written in April 2011.

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Posted by on April 6, 2017 in People

 

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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.

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“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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This is the house that Donna built

Donna reads - September 2015

Donna reads – September 2015

I’ve been part of a local poetry group for about ten years! My involvement started out when the MSA Poets Potpourri Society invited me to be a guest reader at one of their poetry nights. I think it was in 2005. After a few years of attending off-and-on, I became a paid member. In 2010 I started our website. Then a few years ago I became one of the directors.

Last year we changed our name to Fraser Valley Poets Society. We also published a book of writings by our society’s founder on the occasion of her 90th birthday (titled Encouragement).

Donna Bishop started our club way back in 1981, after she got a standing ovation for reading one of her poems at a poetry reading in a neighboring town. She realized what a powerful force for good sharing poetry could be and wanted others to experience it too.

Donna’s book is a collection of poems and essays not only by Donna. There’s also an anthology section of poems by our members and a section of tributes.

We had our first poetry reading of this fall season on Monday—an open mic. Guess who was there—Donna herself, now almost 91 and still sharp as a tack! Of course she read for us.

Our president happened to read my tribute poem to her, and later in the week, the sweet lady phoned and asked if I would read it at her memorial service. Of course I said yes, but told her we sure hope that would not be for a long time yet!

It’s the poem I’m going to share with you today:

THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT DONNA BUILT
(with apologies to Mother Goose)

These are Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the poems, some short, some long
crafted in words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the books of original verse
with shiny covers, thoughts diverse
crafted in words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

And here is healing for low esteem
where everyone listens and knows your name
buys your books of original verse
with their shiny covers, thoughts diverse
and listens to poems, some short, some long
crafted in words of the English tongue
and the other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

Thank you Donna!
© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Read some of Donna’s poems HERE.
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Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Michelle at her always-something-interesting-happening blog Today’s Little Ditty.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Imitation, People, Poetry Friday

 

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Denial

Happy Fall and welcome to September!

The past few months of relative quietness here have been a period of thinking for me. I’ve asked myself, why do I do this–write, especially poetry? Why do I post it here? Do I want to keep doing this?

This June before holidays I lived under a cloud of particularly thick ennui. Maybe I should just stop writing altogether… but what would I do? 

It has been good for me to ponder these questions.

In the beginning of August, after a great holiday (and a writing break) I felt revived but continued to wrestle with, what do I do in the fall with the poetry blog?

As a Christian, perhaps it was to be expected that I would need to get as close as possible to the bone in quizzing myself. The question that finally floated into my mind to help me sort through this is from the Shorter Westminster Catechism:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

In applying that Q&A to my situation I asked, would I be glorifying God if I stopped writing, that is, using the talent and expanding the skill and interest in words that is part of who I am?

Does it please Him when I squirrel away my writing in binders on the shelf? Do any of us have insights and realizations just for ourselves? Or are they given to bless and help others along the way? (Not that I ever feel that everything one writes needs to be shared!)

How can I better glorify Him with what I do?

Can I do that here?

How would it look?

I have decided as a result of introspection and prayer to be more open and candid about my faith in the poems I post here. In other words, in the days ahead you’ll find more poems that reflect my spiritual pilgrimage and beliefs. Of course I’ll also still write about nature and other topics that catch my fancy.

Enough philosophizing! It’s time for a poem. This is one I found in my binder, written a number of years ago.

Crow

Crow – Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly

Denial

Me: This lamp will be perfect for the table where my husband studies.
Clerk: What does he study?
Me: Uh, uh, …oh stuff.

He studies the Bible.
I know that.
It’s really the only thing he studies.
But did I say it?

No.

Automatically I veer toward cowardice.
My default setting: Be private about your faith
After all you don’t want to appear
odd, different or, heaven forbid,
be expected to explain!

On my way through the park
crows call triplet caws
and I hang my head
embarrassed, ashamed
robbed of excuses.

I will go
into my closet
and weep.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly

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Added September 3rd: My Poetry Friday friend Margaret Simon invited me to join in on “Spiritual Journey Thursday” hosted by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning where this week’s theme is “paying attention.” Thank you, ladies! I hope you teachers don’t mind being joined by an ex- who has been away from the classroom lo these many years, but who is still trying to pay attention to what God is teaching her.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Religious

 

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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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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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