Friday, March 6, 2015

"Poem for Oprah Winfrey" + 2015 Progressive Poem Sign up!

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Please visit Robyn Campbell for Roundup.

So it's March. Still winter, doggone it. Though I must say, I am enjoying this School Lite schedule -- each week we've had late starts and a Snow Day or Ice Day or No-Snow Day. Like the rest of the country, I am really, really, really longing for sunshine and warm breezes. Bring it!

This week I discovered a post on Oprah Winfrey's website called "How to Write a Poem. Basically it's a list of 12 prompts, and then a shorter list of instructions about how to turn the raw list into a poem. Kind of like Paint-by-Numbers or Dot-to-Dot -- except with more opportunity for inspired splashes and U-turns.

Sample from my notebook:
1. 5 things you did today, in order: 
Answered the phone
put on fuzzy socks
turned up heat
put dog out
morning pages
poured cereal in bowl

2. name 3 colors real quick

You get the idea! So, I made my list, and below is the poem that emerged. I don't know what it means, if anything... but kind of a fun no-snow-day exercise. Try it and see!

Poem for Oprah Winfrey

Was it worth it?
You put on your fuzzy socks,
feed the swans as silver raindrops
pelt the once-cheery daffodils.
As you sing, so shall you shriek.
You're a fish thrashing a salt-slick
boat deck, hook sinking sinking
sunk. You'll feel better in the morning.
Slip out of your hyacinth slicker.
Kiss the pain. Whatever you do,

don't pick up the phone.

- Irene Latham

And now: It's that time again! National Poetry Month (April) will soon be upon us, which means it is time again to sign up for our annual KIDLITOSPHERE PROGRESSIVE POEM, I invite you to choose your day and add your information to this Google Spreadsheet!

ETA: ***Thank you, Beautiful Poets! Our 2015 is now FULL!***

Here's how it works:

Poetry Friday Friends and other poetry lovers are invited to join in a community writing experience during National Poetry Month (April).

What is it? a poem that travels daily from blog to blog, with each host adding a line, beginning April 1. Anyone who wants to join in the fun can sign up on the Google Spreadsheet!

Once we have a schedule, I will be send via email the HTML code to include in your post and/or sidebar so that readers might follow along/look back/look forward. And feel free to snag the above graphic!

Can't wait to see where our poem will take us this year! (To view poems from previous years, click on the Progressive Poem tab above.)
Happy Poetry Friday, everyone!


  1. I have the 'coming' daffodils covered with snow, connect with those "once-cheery daffodils" Irene. What a winter everyone is having! I like the idea of taking parts of the day for a poem. Excited to see the progressive poem show up again! Doesn't that mean spring is on its way?

  2. Like how you turned those lists into a fun poem!

    Nice to see the Progressive Poem is returning. I'll add it to my Poetry Month Roundup :).

  3. I am looking forward to trying the Oprah exercise, and think yours is a swimming success! (Pun intended!)

  4. The Oprah Winfrey tricks transformed your list into poetry (with a bit o' help from YOU.)

  5. This exercise sounds like a step up from a poetry MadLib – how fun! I'll have to check it out. And speaking of fun, wouldn't miss the progressive poem for the world, Irene. It's one of the things I look forward to most during National Poetry Month.

  6. That is a fun writing exercise. Thanks for sharing your poem. It made me smile. Yay for the progressive poem!

  7. Love that writing exercise, and "As you sing, so shall you shriek." How menacing... Can't wait for this year's progressive poem! Thanks for organizing, Irene.

  8. All signed up for another go-round! Looking forward to it. (I hope I'm not appearing greedy by which day I picked!)

  9. Love what you conjured up! Confession - I was at risk of rolling my eyes at poetry-making à la an Oprah website dot-to-dot, but then I had to unroll them as I read on.

    And thanks for hosting the Progressive Poem again - always such fun. I couldn't decide between first part or last part, so I picked the 15th. ;0)

  10. This was fun to read - you poets can make beautiful poetry our of just about anything. Thanks for the invitation to the Progressive Poem... it's the only poetry I write!

  11. Nice transformation of lists into a poem! I loved it.

  12. Really good poem. I love the last line.

  13. That is an awesome poem, what a great idea!

  14. Wow, Irene--I really love that! I feel you may have exercised more imagination and craft than the prompt expects--but I'll go check it out. And THANKS for figuring out that Google spreadsheet to make our sign-ups easy-peasy.

    Here's an idea...what about letting us add a stanza rather than a line, USING OPRAH'S PROMPT? I think you'd probably have to limit the length, but it could be like a renga:
    noun: renga; plural noun: renga; plural noun: rengas

    Japanese linked poetry in the form of a tanka (or series of tanka), with the first three lines composed by one person and the second two by another. A typical renga sequence is comprised of 100 stanzas composed by about three poets in a single sitting.

    I'm imagining Oprah taking notice and all us children's writers getting all famous in O Magazine...

  15. Heidi is such a dreamer, isn't she?!?!

    Glad the Progressive Poem is back, and looking forward to watching it unfold! (Great use of technology for the sign-up -- I think I'll take a page from your playbook for PF Roundup hosts!)

  16. Hooray for the Progressive Poem! I made it onto the list this year!

  17. Thankful to participate and super impressed by your Oprah poem. Love me some Winfrey!


Your thoughts?