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Friday, July 18, 2014

Napowrimo Day 29--What a challenge!

From the Napowrimo website:  "And now our prompt (optional, as always). This may remind you a bit of the “New York School” recipe, but this prompt has been around for a long time. I remember using it in a college poetry class, and loving the result. It really forces you into details, and to work on “conducting” the poem as it grows, instead of trying to force the poem to be one thing or another in particular. The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:"
1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

What does this mean?

I've subtitled  my blog "poetry, music, and travelogue which, as Pooh would put it, all turn out to be about the same thing."  Let's see how we're doing, shall we? (Poor word choice:  what it you should decide to respond with a no? Or wonder who in the heck "we" are.)  Anyway.  A quick review:  National Poetry Writing Month is over.  I'm done with that, unless an unexpected poem wanders in between now and next April.  There may or may not be thirty poems here, from  this year's challenge.  When I saved some as drafts to work on at later dates...well into May...I lost track.  Sorry about that.

Music.  Hmm, well, I could muse in words, which I occasionally do.  But unless I learn that and how there is a way to include audio here, those musings will be relatively unmusical.  I would love to be able to share a video of playable music developed from an image of birds sitting on a wire (You can find it at, which left me speechless.  What order and symmetry is yet to be discovered, all around and within us?!

Which is a nice segue into another emphasis of "The Last Page...", that of travelogue.  But that will wait until I travel again...Lordwilling in the fall and/or winter.

When and where are you going?

Here we go again!

Pooh is about to take up a new challenge.  Starting August first, I will join a 30 day challenge of responding to daily prompts for journalling.  Oh, I already keep a random journal of 'a number of things' (thank you Robert), but this will be a concerted effort to make, share, and celebrate journal writing with other journalers around the world.

Please see the description of the challenge at:
and consider joining us!

In defense of The Last Page's recent hiatus, friends and readers (and I hope you are both), physical therapy can be a full time job.  After the April poetry challenge, The Last Page took a break while I ramped up physical therapy for both shoulder (broken at the end of February) and knee (replaced last September). Renewed activity periodically provokes bursitis, requiring its own stretching and resting, on the opposite side. I can't imagine how enervating it can be to rebuild strength and mobility after more serious injuries/surgeries. Rest (read: naps) took priority over writing since May, but, lordwilling, and with the encouragement of writing peers, I'm baaaackkk...

Meanwhile, my writing goal will be editing poems to submit to the League of Minnesota Poets'
annual contest,  and begin work on a new chapbook, as well as attend writing practice, critique sessions, and readings with other poets and writers.  We give each other new energy to go back and sit alone at our desks...and WRITE!.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Napowrimo Day Twenty Three: Children's Poem

Napowrimo 2014 Day twenty two,and we are challenged to write a poem for a child...nursery rhyme or whatever.  Having a one year old granddaughter at the writing, I think of writing one involving an early learning concept: colors, letters, everyday science, and/or self concept.

Counting My family

I fall asleep counting my family:
One is Mommy, two is Daddy,
three and four are
Grampa and Grammy,
five and six are brother and me,
number seven is my kitty,
nearest and dearest of all to me.
Oh, my cousins are eight, nine, ten.
I yawn as I start all over again,
counting my family as I fall aslee....

                   --Shirley Smith Franklin

Friday, May 9, 2014

Farewell--at last, mid-May, THE POEM: "Crazy, About Love"

The last Napowimo 2014 prompt its to write a farewell.  The ideas that spring to mind are ones I want to write about as anecdotes or essays, and I don't want to pre-empt those thoughts before their time.  So my mind wanders over farwell songs I know, and I decide to have some fun, weaving a good night or farewell song with familiar phrasess and lines from well known, popular farewell/good night songs. Let me start with:
Good Night Sweetheart
Irene, Good Night
Abraham, Martin, and John
I'm Leavin', on a Jet Plane
I'll be seeing you
Sleep, my child, and Peace Attend Thee
So long, fare well, auf wiedersehn, good night,
Sentimental Journey
Me and my shadow
                                 -- and see where they get me...
                                 Weeks later: This proves to be the hardest task yet,
                                 but in a way the most satisfying...selecting workable
                                 lines of songs I've loved, and weaving them into something
                                 personal and new.                    
No, that was not the poem.  Now, on May 23, the poem forms, based on words/lines from those songs:

Crazy, About Love

Good night, sweetheart.
I, my midnight watch still keeping,
vigil chasing dreams of sleep,
never felt such sorrows deep.
Good sorrow, sweet sorrow,
sweet good, night sorrow,
beside me/you.  Tomorrow,
sweet sorrow, sweetheart..

I live in dreams--
dreams will enfold you'
enfold me in your dreams
sweet sorrow apart..
Just look around, try to find some good.
Beside me/you
tomorrow, sweet dreams.
Oh, night sorrow burns bright
there by your fireside light.
Every song I sing is just for you.

So kiss me one more time
in all the old familiar places.
Look at everything bright
Tonight I'll be looking at the moon,
Tomorrow will come as soon
as we fly away tonight.
                    --Shirley Smith Franklin

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Napowrimo Day 28, Retrospective

Dear Reader,

I appreciate every one of you who has visited my blog this month. I promise to 'catch up' on the last several days, where I've only entered the prompt-for-the-day so far, as we go on into please keep coming back.  After  completing the Napowrimo month challenge, my blog goal will be to share the throes of revising and reorganizing both my study and my writing.

Meanwhile, today's challenge: "And now our (optional) prompt. Today I challenge you to find a news article, and to write a poem using (mostly, if not only) words from the article! You can repeat them, splice them, and rearrange them however you like. Although the vocabulary may be “just the facts,” your poem doesn’t have to be — it doesn’t even have to be about the subject of the news article itself. Happy writing!" 

(Hmmm...Does anyone know how to control the line spacing in the blog? Please comment!)

An author comments on Facebook (re the frequency counter at <>) that the most frequent words in her latest book werewhite, lake, light, hands, small, house, home, blue, red, mother, school, and plastic, which I shall attempt to work into a poem today:


How often in the white light 
of a full moon winter's night
my thoughts return to my 
small Fininish grandmother.
I imagine her 
examining her small hands
from her chair near the window 
overlooking the frozen lake
near the small house
which was her last home.
What now are her thoughts 
as she sits alone, her years
as a wife and mother complete.
Once accustomed to weaving
endless rag rugs shot through 
with strips of red and blue,
while hearty dishes of meat,
potatoes, and bulging roots
put forth a welcoming aroma
to greet their snow frosted 
nine children, his, hers, and ours,
when they returned from school,
does she remember those days 
as, come dinnertime, she rises
to thaw this evening's meal
from its container of plastic?                                      ---Shirley Smith Franklin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27 Napowrimo Twenty Seven - Princess

Although it's the twenty seventh, Napowrimo's day twenty six prompt was to write an ekphrastic (i.e. written to accompany a work of art) poem, describing one of four given photographs, none of which inspired me, or a photograph of one's own, which I did.


You were princess for a day, once.
Your mother had planned out a princess-themed birthday party,
an elaborate treasure hunt which you and your little friends
owned with the lightness and surety of five year olds,
dashing from point to point to find pieces of costumes
only little girls expect to wear as their right,
ballet tutus, improbable gauzy wings, tiaras, at the end,
mardi gras garlands of gaudy beads and a wand
with a star for each princess guest, your majesty
waving yours over all with gladness and joy.
There were giant cupcakes to be conquered,
fitting largesse for reward.
No need for games, for princesses are content
to bask in the company of other princesses.
If only for the day.
                                  -- Shirley Smith Franklin