The Progressive Poem was conceived of by Irene Latham, instituted during last year's National Poetry Month, and now can be officially called "an annual event." This year's poem began on April 1 at The Poem Farm.
Today, I'm contributing my line to the 2013 Progressive Poem, and the pressure is on! My job is to write the first line of the concluding stanza. What direction should it go? Perhaps it's time to bring in the other member of the poetry team--the reader?
When you listen to your footstepsI hope I've left it ambiguous enough for our next poet, Robyn Hood Black. Take it away, Robyn!
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through.
Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme.
Ignore the trepidation while you jitterbug and jive.
Arm in arm, toe to toe, words begin to wiggle and flow
as your heart starts singing let your mind keep swinging
from life’s trapeze, like a clown on the breeze.
Swinging upside down, throw and catch new sounds–
Take a risk, try a trick; break a sweat: safety net?
Don’t check! You’re soaring and exploring,
dangle high, blood rush; spiral down, crowd hush–
limb-by-line-by-limb envision, pyramidic penned precision.
And if you should topple, if you should flop
if your meter takes a beating; your rhyme runs out of steam—
know this tumbling and fumbling is all part of the act,
so get up with a flourish. Your pencil’s still intact.
Snap those synapses! Feel the pulsing through your pen
Commit, measure by measure, to the coda’s cadence.
You've got them now--in the palm of your hand!
Here's the complete list of participants:
1 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
2 Joy Acey
3 Matt Forrest Esenwine
4 Jone MacCulloch
5 Doraine Bennett
6 Gayle Krause
7 Janet Fagal
8 Julie Larios
9 Carrie Finison
10 Linda Baie
11 Margaret Simon
12 Linda Kulp
13 Catherine Johnson
14 Heidi Mordhorst
15 Mary Lee Hahn
16 Liz Steinglass
17 Renee LaTulippe
18 Penny Klostermann
19 Irene Latham
20 Buffy Silverman
21 Tabatha Yeatts
22 Laura Shovan
23 Joanna Marple
24 Katya Czaja
25 Diane Mayr--you are HERE!
26 Robyn Hood Black
27 Ruth Hersey
28 Laura Purdie Salas
29 Denise Mortensen
30 April Halprin Wayland
If you'd like to read last year's Progressive Poem, click here.
1875 circus poster courtesy Library of Congress.