Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rattling Things Up

If you write poetry then you've certainly heard of Rattle. (If not, rush over to the website and learn more about them by CLICKING HERE.)

Did you know that Rattle has started a new feature? It is called Poets Respond. Every Sunday they publish one poem online that has been written about a current event that took place the previous week. "This is an effort to show how poets react and interact to the world in real time, and to enter into the broader public discourse."  I think that is an excellent idea.

Several have been posted so far and I simply love After the Memorial by Megan Collins. You don't want to miss this one. READ IT NOW

Today I came across this article about a man being fired for writing a post about homophones. I was horrified. Having taught EFL, I know the importance of clarifying the different meanings and spellings of homophones. Teaching them is a must. Even more shocking is the fact that the owner of the language school had to look up the meaning of homophone. Really?!!!!! I am not sure where he was educated, but I do remember learning about them in my the third grade!

No. Homophones have nothing to do with sexual orientation, and saying that posting about them on a language learning site is "inappropriate" is like telling a swim instructor that he cannot call the breast stroke the breast stroke because it uses the bumpy B word and people might think you advocate topless sun bathing. It's like not allowing a teuthologist to talk about the tentacles of an octopus, because some moron might confuse it with testicles.   

The breast stroke is the breast stroke and can't be called anything else. The tentacles of an octopus are tentacles and aren't called anything else. And guess what? Homophones are homophones and nothing else.
 Thinking about this gave me a great idea for a haibun (you know how I love haibun), and I decided to sit down and write it for Rattle. However, you know how that funny bone sort of does a sneak attack on me from time to time? Well, my beautiful and clever haibun never saw the light of day, and this silly little rhyme in the form of a epistle came shooting out of my finger tips and onto the screen. Rattle features awesome work, and this silly rhyme (which is written on a 4th grade level...oh, my mentality at times) will certainly not be qualified enough to grace their pages (or screen), but since one of my readers might need a laugh, I am sharing it with you.

An Epistle for Clark Woodger

 Deer Mr. Woodger,

Eye am a cereal misspeller
and I don't no what two due;
my school didn't teach hire skills
so I just don't have a clue.

Eye wood like to get a job
so I won't always bee pour
but know matter how eye try
I can't get my foot in the door.

Now Ide like to brake into righting
since I can due that from home
and take my work with me
wear ever I may Rome.

But sum tell me it's a waist
of thyme when eye cannot spell,
They say isle never make a prophet
'cause the books will never cell.

No one wants to reed a tale
when the words are knot spelled write,
but spelling isn't like won plus won;
spelling isn't all black and white.

You sea, even though eye worked hard
and this letter hear is spell-checked,
my deer friend, Mr. Torkildson, claims
properly-spelled words aren't always correct.

He said he understand my dilemma,
because English doesn't always make cents.
“Homophones can be confusing,”
he kindly said in my defense.

He posted about them on the web sight
to help people every wear.
Because he did it yew fired him.
This dismissal simply is knot fare.

Know instructor introducing homophones
should ever lose his position
just because the owner of the language
school doesn't no the definition

and worries the word will be misinterpreted
and make the school sound pro-gay.
Would you rather have your language learners
end up spelling this weigh?

No. It is not literary genius, but I hope you got a laugh out of it (even though homophones are some very serious stuff.)   :-)
The deadline for submitting to Rattle's "Poets Respond" is midnight PST every Friday so you still have time to pen something and send it in. If not, there's always next week.

Haiga, Golden Shovel, Billy Collins and Plath

In case you missed it, the winners of the June haiga contest were announced. To read that post CLICK HERE. Congrats to Patricia and Nurit.


Writer's Digest editor and writer of the Poetic Asides blog, Robert Lee Brewer, announced the winners in his latest poetry form challenge. This time writers were asked to write golden shovel poems. I'd never written one before and had never even heard of the poetic form until Robert posted the challenge. How do you write a golden shovel? Simply take a line or lines from a poem and use each word as the end words of your poem, keeping the words in order. Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line(s). The new poem doesn't need to be on the same subject or the same style of the old poem. For more information, you can read a bit more and see an example at Robert's earlier post HERE. I wrote six to post. My favorite of them was about trees and youth and love.

As usually, the competition was fierce. Robert had to pick the top ten from over 700 and from the ones I read there was some excellent work. I was lucky enough to make the top ten list again. This time I placed fourth with my poem, Not Everybody Appreciates My Lit Humor, which used lines from Billy Collin's poem Aristotle. Yay, me! Unfortunately, only the first (and sometimes second) place poems are published in Writer's Digest. Darn! So close but yet so far. Maybe next time. (or maybe not. Winning one of these poetic form challenges is like winning the lottery. Yet, I still keep trying.)

The winning poem by Margie Fuston is lovely. If you'd like, you can READ IT HERE. Congrats to Margie.
When she posted her poem I knew it was a winner. The wording is excellent, good imagery, thought-provoking lines. A deserving win.

My fourth place golden shovel was the last one I wrote and the one Ispent the least amount of time on writing. I almost didn't post it, because to me it was more of a funny thing than a poem I would send out anywhere. Boy, am I glad I did post it. Here it is:

Not Everyone Appreciates my Lit Humor
      after Billy Collins
Setting on the counter, the boom box reverberates verses as it
plays back poems recorded for class. The new theme is
compare and contrast women poets past and present. Sylvia
begins as I am chopping onions, and I joke I’m a Psycho-Plath,
stopping to hold the meaty, long-bladed knife up in the air in
Norman Bates' style. Hubby just shakes his head before leaving the
room. Alone, Sylvia and I shed our tears in the kitchen.

(using the line “It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen” taken from Billy Collin’s poem Aristotle)

The poem is complete fiction but I'm a joker and my husband doesn't get all my literary jokes so it is something that definitely could have happened. I am hoping that Collins might appreciate my humor (if he ever comes across post). A friend told me, "Plath would dig this poem...if she were alive."  I'm not certain of that but I know that I dig Plath (even if some of her work makes me sad.). However, whenever I need a little cheering up this video of Billy Collin's reciting The Lanyard always makes me smile. Enjoy!