September 30, 2016

Poetry Friday--2nd NH Poetry Festival Review

Last Saturday, in Manchester, the 2nd Annual NH Poetry Festival took place at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. I was delighted to see that poetry is thriving in the Granite State!

I attended a workshop, several panel discussions, a small press reading, and the headliner reading by Ellen Bryant Voigt.

First I'll tell you about the workshop. It was run by January Gill O'Neil, a Massachusetts poet who also is responsible for the annual MA Poetry Festival held in Salem, MA every May. Here's the workshop details:
Note to Self

Think of the self as source material, an all-access backstage pass into a world of our own making and unmaking: a door to enter and exit however we please. In this workshop, we will look to the self as center for language, experience, image, and inspiration. Much of this class will be generative, as we write to broaden our sense of how and where we might find poetry in our private and public domains.

Not one to pay attention to descriptions, I missed picking up on "Much of this class will be generative, as we write..." I generally hate writing in groups where people "share" their work. I also didn't realize how much the "much of this class will be generative" referred to. Here's a hint--the whole class (except for the sharing). Actually, January gave us such interesting prompts and challenges, that I ended up enjoying the whole experience! In the hour and a half, we worked on three poems!

The first assignment was to write a poem using our non-dominant hand. In my case, that's the right. Our prompt was, "The last time I saw..." It's incredible how difficult it was to come up with words and to have to remember how letters are formed so I could write them with my right hand. After we were told to stop we were all asked to hold up our papers. Most everyone wrote with big strokes and used up the whole sheet of 8 1/2 X 11" paper. Being a control freak, I only filled up the top third of my page and tried to make it look like a poem. Here's what I wrote (and you probably won't be able to read it, so I'll translate it below):

The last time I saw him
I knew it was the last
for his face was one I no longer recognized
so diminished had he become
old so old
and all those years between the time
he was last my dad and
the moment we said goodbye
unknown.

We also were given the task of drawing a map of a neighborhood. I went back to the home I lived in between the time I was three and the age at which I began sixth grade (12 maybe?). This wasn't an easy task because there was so much I had forgotten (like the neighbors who lived right next door). Interestingly, the first thing I drew was a small woods on the next block (Cue: Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs.) After drawing, we were to write a poem. That one I won't share because of some the bizarre memories it brought up! But it definitely could be considered an "all-access backstage pass" to my suburban youth!

I will show you the third set of prompts as they were written on the board:


I hope you can see the second one, it said, "Things you would or would not buy in a grocery store." At first glance I read the "buy" as "hug" and it set me off on a riff about cashiers and bag boys and peaches! It was no way readable by time I was done scribbling and crossing out, but it was fun to write.


I hope I'm the only one who wasn't familiar with the poetry of Ellen Bryant Voigt. I didn't recall ever having heard her name, so I considered leaving prior to her reading. I'm so glad I stayed! She is a wonderful poet! Although she wasn't born in New England, she has lived in Vermont for a number of years and can be considered a New England poet in the same vein, subject-wise, as Robert Frost. She also stuck me as humble, yet secure in the knowledge that she knows what she is doing with words and their sounds. Here's a poem from Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006 by Ellen Bryant Voigt (W. W. Norton, 2008).


This wasn't one of the poems she read, but I neglected to write down the titles of the ones she did read, with the exception of "Dancing With Poets," which is worth looking for!

I'm looking forward to the 3rd NH Poetry Festival! But in meantime, I'm heading over to Karen Edmisten's blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

September 27, 2016

September 25, 2016

Haiga Day

This is in memory of my dear little fur friend, Mary Murphy. She will be missed.


Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

September 22, 2016

Poetry Friday--"A World of Poetry"

Jane Yolen issued a challenge, as a guest at Michelle Barnes' Today's Little Ditty, to write a poem in a form of her own creation, the "septercet." Three lines of 7 syllables each. The number of septercets in a poem is up to the writer. The assigned topic is "reading or writing."

I generally take part in the TLD challenge as it gives me an opportunity to think outside of my short-form box of haiku. Those who know me, know I only write a haiku in 5-7-5 syllables if that is what the poem demands. If the poem demands 3-4-5 syllables, or 5-6-2 syllables, then that's how I write it. Only as much as is needed. Nothing more. So, the 7-7-7 septercet was a real challenge for me!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Catherine at Reading to the Core is this week's Round-Up hostess!

And a little bit of news, this week the 2016 Cybils Awards judges were announced and I'm one of the people who gets to be a Round 2 judge in poetry!

September 19, 2016

September 18, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!

On Friday, I posted a haiku sequence titled "Back to School." One of the haiku in that sequence I rewrote as a tanka and illustrated it for today:


Backpack photo courtesy Andrea Murphy. Haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

September 15, 2016

Poetry Friday--"Back to School"

I know that in some regions, the kids have been back in school for a month and a half, but in others, kids went back after Labor Day. By now, though, I believe everyone has started the new school year. I hope it's a good one, but please be aware that for some children, it is not always an easy transition.

For today, I have a haiku/senryu sequence with the theme "back to school." Don't you love the photo? It's from a book titled, American Birds, Studied and Photographed from Life by William L. Finley (C. Scribner's Sons, 1907).


Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Rounding up the poetry links for today is Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

September 13, 2016

Haiku Sticky #375

Sunday dawned grey and stayed that way until several hours after the time that the planes struck. I was glad for the grey, it always upsets me when the sky is the same September blue it was 15 years ago. Irrationally, I think, the skies should never be blue on the anniversary of 9/11.


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I've used "grey" rather than "gray" here. With an "a" I get a warm feeling, an "e" strikes me as cold and hard. Do you use spelling to underpin a feeling or idea? I sometimes hyphenate a word that isn't normally hyphenated to give it additional meaning. Is this common among writers? What say you writers?

September 11, 2016

Unhappy Haiga Day

The following is reflective of my state of mind on this 15th anniversary of September 11. The 2016 election season has only exacerbated my negativity.


Poem © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The image is a small portion of a larger photo by Don Halasy. All I wanted was the dust.

To counteract the despair expressed above, I suggest you listen to this NPR segment that was broadcast yesterday:

September 9, 2016

Poetry Friday--At the Hopkinton Fair


Last weekend saw the 101st Hopkinton State Fair take place in, where else, Hopkinton, NH. For reasons unknown, in the 40 years I've lived in the state I've never attended the Hopkinton Fair, but 2016 changed all that. My daughter, grandson, and I headed there bright and early Sunday morning so we could avoid the crowds and the afternoon sun. By time we left four hours later, there was plenty of both sun and crowds!

Fellow New Hampshire-ite and Poetry Friday regular, Matt Forrest, is the "voice" of the fair. That is, he does the announcing of activities and events taking place. I tracked him down as he wandered the fairgrounds (he does his announcing, not in a booth, but from wherever he is). We made quick introductions and talked a little about the children's book biz before Matt was on his way again. My daughter took this photo of us:



If you've never been to a fair, here's what you can expect:

Farm animals. Real.



And not-so-real!



Prize-winners in just about every category including canned goods.



And vegetables.



Food and drink.


I kept telling myself a baked potato was the healthier choice, however, there's very little about this loaded potato that is healthy! (I enjoyed every bit of it!)






The midway.



And a bit of the unexpected! In this case, diving dogs!



This little guy enjoyed his first visit to the fair:



Our fair excursion was a success, so, that means, in another few weeks, we head down to Springfield, MA for The Big E!

I'm sure there will be a blue-ribbon harvest of poetry at The Poem Farm--head over for this week's Round-Up!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

September 6, 2016

September 4, 2016

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Illustration courtesy the British Library.

September 2, 2016

Poetry Friday--"September"

Last week I posted my last two haiga using the line, "endless summer heat." I needed to move on, however I had no idea of where to head next, so, I enlisted the help of my readers and asked for suggestions to be left in the comments.

Robyn Hood Black left this, "Maybe conjure up a poem about the very first hints of fall you start to notice, such as the slight decline in the mercury?" Fair enough, not particularly challenging since, despite the warmer summer we've been experiencing this year, there are definite signs we are moving into another season. The two things that jumped out at me, 1. geese are already migrating, 2. wild grapes growing amongst the weeds at the edge of a stone wall have ripened, and although I haven't seen them, their grape-y fragrance occasionally sets my scent memories aflutter! So, here you go, Robyn!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A Penny and Her Jots is hosting this week's Round-Up. Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!