It is February!
And the 6th Annual February Daily Poem Project has begun.
About the middle of February last year, I joined this community of poetry writers. I wrote a few poems and I read a lot more. And most of all, I fell in love with the support they gave.
As February 2018 approached, I read our notices with interest and wondered: Could I? Would I? Should I? The theme was announced: ekphrastic poetry. I immediately did some research, some reading:
“An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.”
By January 26th, I’d decided I would just hang around the group and read when Lauren Shovan reminded us, “This project isn’t quantity over quality. It’s about practice over perfection.”
I could ignore quantity. No one would mind if I missed a day, and February has only 28 days.
I would ignore quality, because it isn’t about polishing for publication.
I should embrace practice. Who doesn’t need practice? Especially with such a supportive community.
And with that, I dove in.
The “prompts” are works of art. And I’m responding to them, but I’m not sure if what I write will qualify as ekphrastic poetry.
The important thing: I am practicing.
I am writing, and it’s poetry.
Artwork: Unfinished Self-Portrait by Jay Shovan
Artwork: Sketches by Nick Ruth
Behind the scenes:
M.D., a member of our writing community, commented on my poem: “ I like the line breaks that make it ambiguous. We planned all day and thought. We planned all day. And thought we knew the way. Love it.“
I responded: “Thank you! To punctuate or not to punctuate … I did wrestle with it and as I did I fell in love with the universality created by the ambiguity of none.“
Read more about the history of the February Daily Poem Project on Lauren Shovan’s blog.
Donna at Mainely Write is hosting
the Poetry Friday Round-Up,
be sure to stop by!
Poetry Friday Schedule
January – June 2018
Laura is amazing. I don’t know how she finds time for it all. And I like where you’re taking the prompts. Practice is so important, as any musician can tell you. 🙂
I love Laura’s emphasis on practice–and it is such an encouraging community. I’m finding it hard to keep up. I try to read all the poems but haven’t been able to comment on them. I appreciate the opportunity to read them again. Your poem in response to the unfinished self portrait really struck me. We think we know someone when we see them, but we miss so much.
Thank you, Kay. It is hard to keep up, especially since I want to read everyone’s poem, share a comment, and read comments of others.
To be honest, I think my fear of not being able to keep up is what keeps me from participating in writing challenges, which is ridiculous, it’s better to participate part of the time and reap those benefits, than not do anything at all! Perhaps one of these days I’ll take my own advice. 😉
You really should! I’ll be watching for you, Jane.
We are a community of learners as we write and learn from others. Thanks, Alice for sharing your poems. I may have missed them among the many that have been shown. The boy in the drawing emerges from childhood into young adulthood. Well said.
Thank you, Carol; so glad you came by! And yes, it is great to learn together.
I’m happy that you’ve joined the group, Alice, and loved both the poems you’ve shared. It’s an interesting question about that definition. Now I wonder too if we are “illuminating” are just creating personal response? I’ll come back to re-read before the next one!
Let me know what you think. I found this description “… modern ekphrastic poems have generally shrugged off antiquity’s obsession with elaborate description, and instead have tried to interpret, inhabit, confront, and speak to their subjects.” And so, I “conversed” with the stone wall in the painting today (Feb 3). I like the idea of “inhabit.” I think a number of today’s poems fit that.
Thanks for more! I like it!
Love these! I’m having a hard time keeping up with all the comments on the facebook group. So, I especially appreciate seeing these poems here where I can take a breath and close read. In just a few words you captured the essence of Jay Shovan’s portrait….that the artist himself is unfinished. That is beautiful. And, the idea of “thought we knew” is a great center to the second poem. Beautifully written.
Thank you, Linda. I so appreciate your insights. I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone’s work in our FB group the past two days. But I hear you about keeping up with the comments… and the email notices. I want to read everything but I know I miss stuff, and there just isn’t enough time.
Great to connect, Alice. It’s neat how our poems of Jay’s self portrait have similar approaches. I appreciate the simplicity of both poems. As a new poet, I learn so much from reading everyone’s pieces.
Yes! We are all learning and that happens in the reading and the playing with words to see what they might give you. I like that we all know we are posting drafts. No pressure to polish for publication. Right?!
Thanks for blogging about the project. Sometimes, February is the only time of year when I’m writing poems regularly. It’s good for all of us to engage in this practice together.
Yes it is. And thank you for making it possible!
Isn’t it a great experience? I’m loving the time spent writing. So glad you decided to give it a go!
Yes it is, Donna. Thank you.