Saturday, April 27, 2013

Making My Mark

Vegan eating aside for the moment,  do you know we're in National Poetry Month?  Have you found a poem in your pocket, discovered a new poet, or been to a poetry slam this month?  If not, get busy!  You have four more days!

Here in Peachtree City, the poetry revelry continues with my illustrious writers group, which gathers in the library each month, or in between for various Atlanta poetry events.  Or our own.  

This morning, it was a poetry workshop facilitated by Alexa Selph, freelance editor and creative writing instructor at Emory University.  Alexa went over the elements of poetry and its forms, and launched us into an exercise while munching on decidely un-vegan sandwiches and chips from the local sandwich shop.  She also introduced us to a number of new (to me) poems--my favorite of the day: Under the Vulture-Tree.  I will never view vultures in the same way.

The exercise was on musicality; Alexa gave us each a word, from which we were to develop a list of words, from which we were to write a poem.  In about 10 min.  Or at least that's how it felt.

My word was 'extricate,' from which I extricated a page of words, from which I extricated "The Text"--which I offer you here raw because I am secure :)

The Text

Though we lived next door in the multiplex,
our preferred method of communication was text.

The first perplexed--the next even more--
a proliferation of expletives I could not ignore.

So I flexed my fingers and finalized thought--
one can't be gregarious after all--the reflex

is more like a trilogy to say
DUH or HUH or LOL.

I trimmed even more--
no extras, no bait, just a question, a shape,

I made my mark without a mate:

Brilliance aside, it was really astonishing to hear what folks came up with so quickly.

From there, many of us migrated over to city hall, one short stairwell to the next building.  The Friends of the PTC Library association, sponsored not only this workshop, but an annual poetry competition.  Today was awards day, with readings by the winners.  This year, I scored first place, earning me the highest paycheck I have ever received for poetry, and an honorable mention. I was also delighted to discover that the association had produced a new chapbook, Peachtree Poets 2013, which included four of my poems.  (Available on Amazon for $10.)

I still can't quit the day job, nor would I want to, but it is fun to have a respectable check in hand to contemplate spending.  And meet some new poets.  And find some of the usual suspects here in the Southern Arc, chipping away at this quirkiest of art forms, pushing words around a page.  Congratulations, winners, and thanks to the PTC patrons of poetry!

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