Paint Chip Poetry: Colorful Wordplay

For the last decade I’ve attended an annual writer’s retreat by the ocean in Northern California where I gather with friends for inspiration, laughs, and writing. Each year, a friend, author, and artist I admire hosts a Paint Chip Poetry session. We dig into a pile of paint chips (you know those paper strips of paint colors from the hardware store) and write a poem in ten minutes based on a given prompt and the names of the chosen colors (unseen until timer starts).

Continue reading

Free Verse: The Birth of a Poem

There seems to be an influx of newborn babies right now, at least in my little corner of the world. I’ve enjoyed seeing the sweet little bundles of joy and their happy parents and grandparents on social media. So, I had the idea to write a poem about babies for this week’s post. Oh, the pressure of a poem! After many attempts, my focus shifted to the process of getting my thoughts down on paper. Giving birth to words is not nearly as exciting to celebrate, but the labor pains are real!

Continue reading

Poetry Pop Shop: The Crafty Poet

On Poetry Pop, you will periodically get posts titled, Poetry Pop Shop, where I introduce some fun writerly or readerly gadgets I think you might enjoy. Today, I want to share one of my favorite books on the craft with you. The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop by Diane Lockward is my go-to book when I need a little inspiration or poetry exercise.

Continue reading

Visual Poetry Prompt: Naked (a winter poem)

We’ve all been there, sitting with pen in hand, waiting for a poem to arrive. Poetry prompts are a great way to get the juices flowing on those inevitable days when a poem doesn’t show up.

When I saw this picture, it reminded me of growing up in Utah. Watching the Wasatch mountains turn a brilliant shade of autumn, leaving naked trees to be blanketed by snow. We always had the most beautiful snowstorms! I now live in Northern California’s wine country and although I’m a summer girl, sometimes I like to take a drive up to the Sierra mountains and say hello to that old friend, snow. (Photo, with thanks, by Tim Gouw),

Continue reading

The Shortest Poem in History

Photo, with thanks, by Georgio Travato

When I came across Strickland Gillilan’s 1927 poem, “Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes,” I had a good laugh. Not only because it’s a concise, funny poem but because the long, complicated title is comically in contrast. Apparently, someone else thought the same thing (as far as I can tell, nobody has fessed up yet) and later shortened the title to “fleas.” So here it is, the shortest poem in history:

Continue reading