Thursday, August 25, 2011


Dear Fellow Word Lovers,

Happy last Friday of August!

I guess I've had "roundup" on my mind this week... I've been working a horse-inspired quilt. And while I've been working, I've been thinking about poetry.

More specifically, I've been asking: What is the poem's object? What is it supposed to do?

This week, to the hum of the sewing machine, I came to this conclusion:

The poem's object is to BURST.

As Walt Whitman said in his poem "Beat, Drums! Beat!"

"Through the windows--through doors--burst like a ruthless force"

complete poem found here

This bursting is really just a variation on something I've written here before, about the poem "exploding the moment."

And it's sort of the same thing my friend Joan Broerman reported that Laurie Halse Anderson said in her keynote at SCBWI LA earlier this summer.

So: Burst. Explode. Disturb.

Anyone else noticing a theme here?? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic in comments. And don't forget to add your link below. Happy Poetry Friday, all!


  1. Thanks, and thanks for hosting, Irene! A couple of years ago I heard Paul Janeczko tell an audience of educators, "Good poetry explodes with possibilities." I'm in today with a tribute to Randolph Caldecott (- and a verse he illustrated, to count for Poetry Friday....)

  2. That is indeed such a beautiful message this Friday. An explosion of possibilities. How very inspiring. And so apt as the semester has just begun. Thank you for hosting this week.

  3. I LOVE the idea of the poem exploding the moment and bursting like a ruthless force. I don't even want it to be a metaphor- Here's to explosions! And thanks, Irene, for hosting.

  4. Hi Irene! I always enjoy visiting your blog. You have a great "voice" :-) Thanks for hosting.

  5. Thanks for hosting, Irene!

    I'm in today with an original poem about cartoonist and animation pioneer Winsor McCay:

  6. I love your idea about poems trying to "burst." It's so true---they want to reach from the page.

  7. so i looked at my poem for this week with an eye toward whether or not it bursted. i think it does, but maybe in more of an implosion sort of way.

    thanks for hosting, and asking the big questions!

  8. Bursting might be a way of describing how an abstract thought is born of words.

    Today I blogged about my visit to The Frost Place and am sharing his poem, "The Sound of Trees."

    Thanks for hosting today, Irene!

  9. Thanks for doing the roundup this week!

    I posted a memoir poem, "Summer Ritual," this week at Wild Rose Reader. The poem is about picking vegetables with my maternal grandfather in his garden when I was a child. It was around this time of year in 1984 when my grandfather was hospitalized with esophageal cancer. He passed away that September. My brain is "bursting with memories" about my Dzidzi--with whom I spent many memorable times.

  10. Thank you, Irene. Yesterday was my birthday and I wanted to share my "Present Light" featured by the Poetry Foundation at POETRY FOUNDATION

  11. Thanks, Irene, for hosting. I read your earlier post about exploding the moment and can identify with a tendency to not linger long enough with a metaphor! I loved reading your posted poems from your books! I'm glad to have "found you."

  12. Thanks for hosting.
    My selection is "Counting our way to the 100th day!: 100 poems by Betsy Franco with 100 pictures by Steven Salerno.

  13. The Write Sisters have a late post over at

    Hope you get over there to read a great poem by Wilmer Mills, whose father died on an oil rig during Hurricane Camille.


  14. The above post is wrong. Wilmer Mills' dad didn't die on an oil rig, but the Dowser's did . . .


Your thoughts?