{welcome, poetry peeps! the roundup is here!}

Poetry Peeps! You’re invited to our challenge in the month of September! Here’s the scoop: We’re drawing a form from within our community and doing a Definito. Created by poet Heidi Mordhorst, the definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which itself always ends the poem. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on September 30th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

Welcome, Poets, to the liminal season, where we are on the threshold of seasons, standing between the last gasp of summer, and the first breath of autumn. The Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month was a good one for a moment of transition, as it was a new-to-us form called the Bop. Created by poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of poetic argument, with the first stanza setting up a complaint, the second expanding on it, and the third either providing resolution or a narrative of a failed resolution. You can read Laura‘s poem, Mary Lee’s, Tricia and Liz’s poems here. Michelle K. joins us here. A few more Bops might pop up throughout the weekend, so stay tuned.

For more Poetry Friday offerings, and to share your own click here. Thanks for stopping by.

With my affection for the villanelle and the sestina, you’d think I’d be at ease working with a refrain, but perhaps it was something about a group-sourced refrain (hat tip to Poetry Sister Sara) that tripped me up. For whatever reason, the refrain in the Bop seems wholly separate from the stanzas… so much so, that I ended up hitting a wall at the end of my first stanza. Suddenly the fourteen-syllable lines seemed clunky, and the beats fell oddly. I started over, trimming my lines, but then the rhyme felt forced. Another draft, now completely unrhymed, but the internal rhythm and more polished language of my lines felt off when faced with that casually worded refrain. Isn’t that just the way it goes when you have a poetic form you’re certain will be simple? Eventually I got it to where I was …just done messing with it. I left the rhyme imperfect, with an off-meter step near the end of each stanza to signal that repeated refrain coming to pause the discussion again. Reminding myself these poems are meant to be exercise and not perfection, I stumbled and limped into my imperfectly perfect topic… housekeeping.

Click to enlarge

(Ashes to Ashes, and) Nuts to Dust

Disorder settles like the dust
Drifts into velvet piles
In quiet corners. Laundry Lurks,
disheveled. All the while
Freedom peers in through glass panes
Begrimed by birds. It waves hello….

Let’s kick that can down the road.

“Filthy” is not the kind of word
That tells the tale. There’s no mildew.
The difference between “clean” and “neat”
is miles apart. The follow-through,
Is that perfection never lasts:
A moment’s lapse, and things explode.
Chaos comes roaring, moving fast,
disrupts, dismays, and discommodes…

Let’s kick that can down the road.

Through window streaks you’ll see sunrise
And sunbeams dancing on the air.
A wrinkle will not scandalize
A meadow when you’re walking there.
That cabbage moth’s not judging you,
So, take today, get out and go.

…And kick that can down the road.

Just now, we all have so much to do – classes to start, books to buy, odd socks and lunch dishes to find, dust bunnies to rout, and water bills to pay. I hope we can find a moment to take stock and figure out which cans can be kicked down the road indefinitely – and which cans are absolutely only for right now, and must be cracked open immediately to let the full fizz of life bubble out. Carpe diem, poets. Don’t let that just be a catch phrase, life is way too short. Grab all the joy that you can – and splash it out. Happy Weekend.

(Commenting snafus: Commenting issues are an artifact of a sometimes aggressive spam filter. If your comment seems to vanish, it likely got caught. No worries, I’ll fish it out shortly!)

37 Replies to “{welcome, poetry peeps! the roundup is here!}”

  1. Tanita, love the poem, especially the first verse about freedom waving hello from the begrimed window! Also loved learning about the new to me poem forms.

  2. ~~Tanita S. Davis:
    “A wrinkle will not scandalize
    a meadow when you’re walking there.”

    This stops by heart beat & restarts it immediately.

    And appreciations for hosting & for inviting us to the Sept. Heidi M.-created challenge form.

  3. Tanita, I came back to your post to reread your poem and that was surprised that my comment that I know I made yesterday was not here. I think your Bop poem was developed so well. The last stanza is a such an inspirational one.
    Such truth in these lines: Chaos/comes roaring, moving fast, disrupts…
    The image behind your poem adds to the message. Thanks for hosting this week.

  4. There’s so much I love about this post. A wonderful combination of process, poetry and prose! This line feels like it could be true about oh-so-many things: “Reminding myself these ____ are meant to be exercise and not perfection…” Also, we clearly share a similar attitude toward cleaning. I blogged about it this spring in response to an Inklings challenge (https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2022/06/02/pf-spring-cleaning/). I especially love your third stanza! Thanks for hosting!

    1. @Molly Hogan: Ah, that poem of yours from this past spring is pure gold! Especially once it’s gone blue again after weeks of gray, it’s well nigh impossible to force oneself to do anything much indoors, not even ” in the shower stall/where grout is grim and greening.” That was flat hilarious. Thanks for the giggle.

  5. Wow! This is a marvelous poem, Tanita. And you must have read my mind, for I was just thinking about
    The difference between “clean” and “neat”
    And I was especially struck by the lines:
    A wrinkle will not scandalize
    A meadow when you’re walking there.
    Thanks for introducing me to the Bop form.

  6. Thanks for hosting, Tanita! Oh, how I love this poem. Especially:
    A wrinkle will not scandalize
    A meadow when you’re walking there.
    But also the miles between neat and clean–yes! And the sense of rushing chaos. You ended up on something really lovely here!

  7. Love this, Tanita! The Bop is a new form to me. I love the rhythm you created and your topic definitely spoke to me. I’ll trade housework for nature any day. Thanks for hosting and rounding is up this week.

  8. I love your poem. The second stanza rings so true, but the third is the one that speaks to me. Yes, get out and go!
    Thanks for hosting us today.

  9. Oh, my goodness, what goodness here! I *love* your Bop. Love what you did with that refrain and I adored these lines:

    A wrinkle will not scandalize
    A meadow when you’re walking there.

    And I can relate to seeing beauty through the window streaks. So good.

    Thanks for hosting. My posting has been spotty this summer, but I hope to get back to it regularly. It should be easier now that Atticus (my cook, my partner in dishes, housework, and kicking that can down the road) is retired! 🙂

    1. @Karen Edmisten: WOW, the great man is no longer teaching (formally, that is; I suspect with his love of literature he’ll always be teaching). That’s going to make such a huge difference in your days (and in your cooking schedule ☺). Congratulations, and joy (and poetry) to you!

  10. Wow! You covered the whole housekeeping gamut in your poem! Plus syllables, meter, rhyme…oof! I took COMPLETE liberties with line length and rhyme…and wound up surprising myself with how much fun it was! Thanks for hosting!

    1. @MaryLee: Part of the fun was deciding which bits of housekeeping I could legitimately say I was done with… I still feel like I don’t really know the Bop and I think I’d struggle again trying to write one simply because I don’t yet know the rules well enough to break them… but this was a good exercise in trying anyway.

  11. Did I make it? I always have trouble commenting on this blog. But, I’m delighted to see that you are hosting this week with an amazing new book to promote too–Wowee! Writing a successful Bop still evades me. But, if I use your incredible poem as a mentor text…I know I can do it. Wonderful word work, lady!

    I’m in this week with some writing from Ethical ELA’s prompts. Busy getting into the groove of school, too. I’ll bet my students would love your new book. I’ll have to check it out asap.



  12. I like that cabbage moth in there too! And this line is priceless,
    “A moment’s lapse, and things explode.” No kidding… Well I tried the bop, although I didn’t see notes on rhyme or syllable count, so mine perhaps is an experimental bop–maybe a new form. Thanks for hosting!
    BTW are we supposed to link our posts here, or perhaps you will be rounding us up…

  13. Whatever your trials, writing the poem and in the poem, it feels like a true song to me, Tanita. The Bop seems a little daunting to me yet you managed some important parts of life we need to remember, especially choosing what can to kick down the road! And then, forget it! I loved “A moment’s lapse, and things explode.” and then “A wrinkle will not scandalize/A meadow when you’re walking there.” Thanks for hosting!

  14. I’ve never heard of the Bop, but it certainly seems like you tackled the challenge admirably! This sounds like our house – as many others have said. Well done – and thanks for hosting!

  15. Good one, Tanita! That first stanza sounds like my house. Thank you for rounding up. It’s crazy that Laura, above, has some Bukowski! So do I, kind of.

  16. Thanks for hosting, Tanita. I’m a big fan of Heidi’s Definito poem form and the Bop is new to me. I love your line “That cabbage moth’s not judging you” (because I’ve definitely been judging the cabbage moth worms trying to eat my plants).

    My post is a dog update: We adopted a second beagle this spring. In Abbi’s honor, I’m sharing Charles Bukowski’s beautiful portrait poem “beagle.”

    1. @Laura Shovan: Hah! I was going to include some rare, lovely butterfly, but the greater reality most of us regularly see are cabbage moths and other things eating the garden… Yet another can to kick down the road; we’ll be grateful for being outside instead.

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