eggs in a cool place

This is another post in Poets United’s Poetry Pantry. Go to their site to read more.

eggs in a cool place

A stale egg rises in water
fresh eggs are heavy
and sink to the bottom
farewell I gladly bid thee

Eggs should be well covered
and kept in a cool place
wash eggs just before using
thy life is vain and sinful

Eggs should never be boiled
as that renders them tough
they should be cooked
just under the boiling point
I long to be in heaven

In the early spring or fall
when eggs are plentiful at at their best,
pack them away for future use
where they will be rewarded.

1-4-18 (c) Nissa Annakindt

This is an example of found poetry inspired by a poetry book I have just purchased, ‘Mornings Like This’ by Annie Dillard.
My main source was an old cookbook of mine, ‘The Settlement Cook Book’ by Mrs Simon Kander, 1947 edition. The last line in each stanza was from a hymn, Farewell I Gladly Give Thee, (Valet will ich dir geben) written by Valerius Herberger, 1613, translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863.

Since this is a very newly written poem, some things are uncertain. I don’t really know what I am going to do about capitalizations and punctuations, for example. I don’t really know whether this poem is more than temporary amusement for me. I like to let a poem ‘cook’ for a while before I make final revisions. A lot of hard work ahead, like putting a comma in and then later taking it out. 😉

Buying Poetry Books:

I believe every poet would do well to buy books by other poets— or poetry magazines or anthologies— on a regular basis. We learn more from each poem we write. I bought the Annie Dillard book ‘Mornings Like This’ because it is found poetry, and because I am working on a major poetic project based on found poetry. I didn’t expect much and was quite pleased I was more inspired by it than I ever thought possible.

Future blog post project

I am planning a future blog post with a title ‘How to teach students to hate poetry.’ My contention is that school poetry lessons in most schools do a lot to make students hate poetry, rather than like it or read it. Since I suspect today’s blog post may be visited by a number of poets and poetry lovers, I would welcome your opinions on the teaching of poetry.

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Ethics and Political Found Poetry

Recently I bought a book which was titled ‘The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump’ which was, according to the book cover, ‘created by Rob Sears.’ According to the inside flap, Rob Sears lives in Great Britain and has written fiction and comedy. Not poetry, evidently.

Creating poems from other people’s words is called found poetry. I haven’t done much pure found poetry, but I have mixed in a lot of found words and phrases from various sources into my poems.

Political found poetry seems to be a form of political mockery mostly. There was a ‘poet’ who created found poetry from the words of Donald Rumsfeld. He won a court case which found his work was his own creation and not just ripping off Donald Rumsfeld’s words.

One good thing Rob Sears did was document the source of every line from the utterances of Donald Trump. Sadly, most of these sources were tweets. Usually very well publicised tweets. One alleged haiku had 4 different sources. Four sources for a three lined poem? Sears adds TITLES to his ‘haiku’, and they also have their own sources.

His sources for lines in each individual found poem can be decades apart and on differing topics. This bothers me. He is basically asserting that Trump said certain things about one topic while he actually said them about another. If you are going that route, you might as well take words from various subjects one at a time and you can make your subject say any stupid thing you like. But then it isn’t truly a found poem. It’s a concocted poem which falsely represents your subject-person.

Ethical rule: no matter how much a found poet may dislike his subject, the poet must not intentionally misrepresent that subject’s real stated viewpoints and ideas. You cannot turn Donald Trump into a hard-core anti-semite, for example, because of all the Jewish relatives he has. You cannot turn Elizabeth Warren into someone who hates American Indians, because she claims to be one.

Another ethical rule: Write found political poems about the leaders of your own country, if you please. It’s kind of dirty pool if you write about a foreign leader when you don’t fully understand both sides of the political equation in that country. It’s also just cruel to the citizens of your target nation. Making fun of their politics is another way to make fun of THEM. Mocking people for coming from a different nation than yours is a form of prejudice. You have the freedom of speech to utter prejudiced thoughts— but I have the freedom not to read them.

I am writing some political found poems myself lately— most of them derived from the speeches of Nancy Pelosi. I disagree with Miss Pelosi on many issues, and I’m appalled she considers herself Catholic. But I don’t feel that I can, as a Christian, hate her or any of her supporters. When I write a poem based on her speeches I take 1 speech, and I don’t introduce any opinions of my own intentionally. I’m trying to write about what she really says, not what I think she should have said.

 

Here is a short poem, called a Collom or Collom lune, taken from a Nancy Pelosi speech. It is from a gun control speech. I don’t agree with her speech. But I don’t wish to distort anything she says, either. (Colloms really shouldn’t have titles, so I just repeat the first line. I use the titles for filing purposes, mainly. I handle haiku the same way.)

Commonsense Gun Violence

Commonsense gun violence
Legislation – all over the country
Every single day

Source:
Nancy Pelosi speech
07-14-16

You can look up the full text of the speech on Pelosi’s official web page.

Cement Shrouds

CONTENT WARNING: POETRY

I used to share a poem on this blog on Sundays, but haven’t done it for ages. Today that will change. Since I’ve been sorting through my old poems in the process of assembling my third poetry book, I’ve been more conscious of my lack of poetry postings. I know poetry seems to offend so many people— I lost a Twitter follower over it. At least, one that I know about who actually told me to quit Tweeting poetry as if I’m going to shape my Twitter life to fit him, ONE follower.

I have been writing quite a bit of minimalist poetry in recent years. Haiku, of course. And Collom lunes. There are two kinds of lunes, both more suitable for school children’s poem writing projects than the haiku, which has a long history and a lot of rules— a haiku is not just counting syllables.

The Collom lune counts words, not syllables, in an 3-5-3 pattern. Learn more about regular lunes and Collom lunes here: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-lune

This seems like a lot of introduction for a tiny little poem, doesn’t it? Anyway, here it is. Duck!

Cement Shrouds

the teacher uses
cement shrouds to keep us
lined up proper

 

Shared on Poets United

#Micropoetry should be Tweeted

Poetry is dead? No, not really. Not on Twitter, anyway. There is a brave gang of us brave fools who share our shortest poems there— #micropoetry. There are a lot of #haiku. Some of them are actual haiku and others are more #senryu or other short poems.

Micropoetry is a great fit for our age when we have no attention spans and are trained by the FakeNews media to think in slogans and soundbites. Just as the longer poems were a fit for the Victorian age when local newspapers printed poems regularly and people read them.

Asian short poetic forms are a good fit for Twitter poetry and micropoetry. The sijo poem is too long to fit into a Tweet, but some have shared them in graphic form as Twitter poetry. Haiku is a natural. I often do Collom lunes, a poetic form of 3-5-3 words. I checked the hashtag #CollomLune and found others besides myself had used it, especially an antisemitic pro-palestinian fellow who is very persistent in his use of the hashtag.

I have been neglecting my poetic life for a few months and work up determined to do something about that. I looked up Collom lune online again so I could read a few and be inspired. Then I walked into the kitchen and saw a mother cat with a baby. Not actually HER baby, but a baby. And memorialized it in a Collom lune.

Cat Mama

cat sits on

small box. kitten is nursing

from her anyway.

 

Of course, Tweeting my poem, submitting it on Micropoetry.com, and posting it in this blog post mean that I can’t submit the poem to most poetry markets. But since poetry markets don’t pay, and most are aggressively unfriendly to conservative voices, I’m not worried about that. I can always include them in my next poetry book. Which I ought to start writing one of these days now.

Where the Opium Cactus Grows: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0557939135/

Poets market: Eastern Structures

One of the most significant moments of my writing life happened in 1989. After having written poetry intensely for about a year, I finally dared submit my poems to a couple of markets— I had purchased Writer’s Digest’s ‘Poets Market’— and one of them, Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature, accepted some poems. (I was in my Youthful Marxist Phase at the time.)

I wrote a lot more poems that had ranty Marxist topics and I got published a few more times in Struggle. And I think that I learned a lesson about getting poetry published— try to find a poetry ‘zine you are in synch with and submit regularly.

Currently I discovered a new poetic market in a Facebook group about sijo poetry. It’s called Eastern Structures, and publishes 3 poetic forms: ghazals, sijo and haiku. The editor of Eastern Structures, R. W. Watkins, was seeking out some submissions of sijo for his next edition. The web page of Eastern Structures is: https://sites.google.com/site/nocturnalirispublications/eastern-structures

The ghazal form is explained on the website. ES publishes only 5-7-5 syllable haiku (& senryu)— they are quite firm about that. But they don’t insist on a season word in the haiku, or the strict division between haiku and senryu in the subject matter.

In the Sijo Poetry Facebook group, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/21083466365/), I asked the editor if he had any preferences for sijo in the matter of the number of lines. All the sijo in Eastern Structures #2 were written in 3 long lines, instead of breaking each long line into 2 half lines, leaving what looked like a six line poem.

R. W. Watkins replied: ” I prefer the original three-line version. The six-line version has a tendency to become a six-line thing in itself. I wrote an article on this subject almost two decades ago. Certain people hated me for it; it was an ‘inconvenient truth’.”

So— if you are a sijo poet, I would suggest you submit your sijo to Eastern Structures as poems of 3 long lines. If you have written sijo of 6 lines where the two line-pairs don’t work well as one line, the editor will probably reject it.

If you are new to submitting your poems to a market, here are some tips useful for submitting anywhere:

  • buy a sample copy or two of the ‘zine and read what has been accepted.
  • review descriptions of ghazals, sijo or haiku and see if your poems qualify as these forms.
  • write many, many ghazals, sijo or haiku before submitting, so you can pick the best of many.
  • after completing the first draft, let each poem ‘age’ a month or two before working on the final version.
  • if you think a market is a good fit for your work, don’t take rejection badly. Many poetic markets get hundreds more submissions than they can use. Submit your best new work at a future date.

Have you ever submitted your poems or prose to a publisher? How did it work out for you? Are you still submitting?


Other Post of Interest:

Celebrate: Poem Published! https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/celebrate-poem-published/

Poem Stories: The Cosmos by Han Yongun; Celebrate

Celebrate blog hopThe Cosmos

The cosmos is swaying
in the autumn wind.
Are your petals wings
or wings your petals?
Your soul is a butterfly —
as far as I can see.

The Korean poet Han Yongun (1879-1944) was a Buddhist monk, and also one of the 33 who signed a historic document in 1919 declaring the independence of Korean from Japanese rule.

This poem is a sijo. A sijo is a traditional Korean type of poem, just as haiku and tanka are traditional Japanese types of poems.

How do you understand this poem or other poems? Forget all the English class nonsense where there were ‘right’ answers about the hidden stuff that was in a poem that only an English teacher could work out. A poem is more like an ink-blot test, and there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to what you see in a poem and what you think it means.

Here are some things the poem awoke in me:
I wondered about the word ‘cosmos.’ I looked it up in the dictionary. It can mean an orderly universe. Or it can mean a variety of flower. Is the ‘cosmos’ in this poem the universe, the flower or both? (It makes me wonder what the original word was in the Korean and if it had these two meanings.)

I wonder who the Speaker of the poem is talking to that either has wings or petals. Or both. Are the wings/petals literally. And the soul is a butterfly thing— ‘as far as I can see….’ Interesting.

So, now, your turn. What does the poem mean to you? If you had one question for the poet Han Yongun about the poem, what would it be? Post it in a comment!


This is  a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop.

What am I celebrating? Well, it’s kind of hard these days. I’ve been sick and it’s been very hot and uncomfortable by me. And then I heard the word about the terrorist attack in France killing 77 (Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.)

But I wrote a good poem last night after I studied the sijo poem above, so that’s something to celebrate. Can’t come out with a new poetry book if I don’t generate enough new material.

And on Lexa Cain’s blog, my friend Robert Mullin’s novella Blood Song was featured on a list of ‘freebies.’ I liked the book so much that I hope some more people will download and read the book.


My email list:

I’ve temporarily taken down the pop-up for my email list. I was hoping to put up a less annoying one but the one I wanted was not compatible with WordPress.com, just WordPress.org. If you want to join my email list without a popup to prompt you, the form is at: http://eepurl.com/FN2hr

Writing a yangjang sijo poem

modkoreanThe yangjang sijo is a modern variant of the standard sijo (pyong sijo), which is a very traditional Korean poetic form. The yangjang sijo was invented by poet Yi Unsang (also spelled Lee Eunsang.)

The standard sijo is written in three lines in Korean. Because the Korean alphabet is quite compact, the poems have awkwardly long lines in English. So the tradition is to divide the three Korean lines in half, making it look like a 6 line poem. For syllable counting purposes, each Korean line is divided into 4 quarter-lines.

Yi Unsang created the yangjang sijo by removing the middle of the three lines of the pyong/standard sijo. This makes the poem more compact and intense.

The first line of a yangjang sijo states and develops the theme. An anti-theme or a twist is given in the second, concluding line. If the first line raises a question, the second line will answer it. Or the second line will be a comment, perhaps a witty one, on the theme raised in the first.

Sijo lines have recommended syllable counts for the quarter-lines of each of the three lines. Yangjang sijo can use these as well. Here is one scheme, taken from Jaihiun Kim’s Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form:

First line: 3 – 4 – 3 – 4
Second line: 3 – 6  – 4 – 3

A more flexible scheme as recommended by Yi Unsang, creator of yangsang sijo.

First line: 2-5 + 3-6 + 2-5  + 4-6
Second line: 3 + 5-9 + 4-5 + 3-4

So in total the yangjang sijo will have around 27 syllables while the standard sijo has around 44. But as you can see by the syllable counts above, it can vary a bit.

A yangjang sijo by Yi Unsang, taken from Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form:

I’d Rather Go Blind

I try in vain to see my beloved
she appears only in dreams

If I can see her only with my eyes closed
I’d rather go blind.

Some things to note about Yi Unsang’s poem: First, like most modern sijos, it has a poem title. Also, the English translation is in four lines. Really, though, they are four half lines.

Here are the syllable counts for the quarter-lines of this poem:

4 – 6 – 3 – 4
5 – 6 – 3 – 2

This yangjang sijo is the only one I have been able to find so far. To get more models for study, find classic pyong/standard sijos and remove the middle line to see if they still make a little sense. Like this:

Deep in the mountains we have no calendar
To tell us when the seasons change

When children hunt for warm clothes,
We know it must be winter!

This is from a sijo in ‘Sunset in a Spider Web: Sijo Poetry of Ancient Korean’ by Virginia Olsen Baron. Here is another sijo adapted to yangjang sijo form:

My house is so deep in the woods
That the cuckoo sings in the daytime.

Even the dog, who has forgotten how to bark,
Naps while flowers fall.

The sijo form in general does not restrict the poet as to the subject. It can be about love, nature, politics, industrial espionage, your appliances plotting against you…. anything. You don’t have to make Korean culture and history a part of it. Use your culture, the history of your land, your life.