Monday, April 20, 2015

PoMoSco Part 3!

My favorite poems I've posted from the third week of PoMoSco. I got a bit behind in posting and completing but managed to catch up over the weekend!

  • Jude Corrupted--a remix of a passage from the Bible.
  • Double Jeopardy-- For this prompt we had to watch/listen to a video/podcast/etc. that was at least an hour long, writing down everything we heard that we could, and craft our poem from that. I love Nikki Giovanni and she'd done some great speeches so I chose one I'd never heard before, the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at The College at Brockport. I didn't know what to expect but definitely did not expect the resulting poem to be so painfully relevant to present-day events.
  • Coming Home--short and sweet.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

PoMoSco Part 2!

Following on from last week's post, here are my favorite poems I've completed for PoMoSco this week!

  • To Every Woman-- let me just stroke my own ego a bit on this one and say how much I love the phrase "a quilt of turmoil and design". Also, the source text for this was something I found by mistake when doing some quilting research, and I fell in love with it!
  • Blackberry Crumbs--after spending about two hours working on this one with my source haikus, I found myself thinking in haiku!
  • Carefully at War-- I used this prompt (taking a walk and using text off signs for a poem) as an excuse to finally wander up to the dilapidated ruins of Hen Eglwys, which I've wanted to see for a while, and also explored the woodlands.
I'm really enjoying participating in the project, not only because of how much more time I've spent committed to writing than I normally would and how many great ideas for future pieces have come out of it, but also of course for the vast amount of poetry I've had the chance to read and other writers I've gotten to interact with.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


If you have spoken to me in the past few months, or if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably seen/heard me mention PoMoSco--short for Poetry Month Scout, a project I'm participating in to celebrate National Poetry Month, which is April (at least in the US). PoMoSco is a month-long poetry project being sponsored by the Found Poetry Review. Over 200 participants from around the world are participating, with the goal being to create 30 new found poems each throughout the month of April.

If you're feeling confused and wondering what found poetry is, that's okay. I discovered the concept late in my time in the University of Iowa Creative Writing program and immediately fell in love. Found poetry is a broad term that encompasses many different forms and techniques, but it's basically any form of language re-creation in which the poet takes an existing text and turns it into a new written work. My experience with found poetry, prior to this project, has been limited to erasure, which is when you literally erase or black out lines in an existing text, and what's left behind is your new poem. My favorite erasure/found poem I've ever completed was a combination of two erasures. I first "erasured" the texts from the information boards at an exhibit at the Natural History museum, then combined this with an erasure created from a National Geographic article about Christopher Columbus. What I love about erasure, and found poetry in general, is the many different ways that you can reimagine a text. Sometimes I'll choose to keep the existing theme but try to interpret it in a new way, but what I find even more fascinating is the chance to subvert the existing messages in a text and turn the whole thing on its head (as I did with my Natural History/Columbus text). I have a lot of project ideas floating in my head about ways I'd like to use erasure, so when I heard about the PoMoSco project, I jumped on the opportunity to expand my knowledge of different types of found poetry, and challenge my creativity.

I really encourage you to head over to the PoMoSco website and check out some of the poems--there are SO many talented individuals and so much great work has gone up already! I'll try and do a few posts this month with links to my favorite poems I've completed, so here are my favorites that I've done from the first week:

  • Star Stuff: This was the first badge, "Pick and Mix". This poem was created by reading through my source text and picking out words and phrases I liked and creating a new poem from that, so I could only use words already found in the source text.
  • Wickedness: Back to basics (and my comfort zone), a simple erasure using white-out.
  • You, Remembered: For this badge, "First in Line", I had to compose a poem using only the first lines of poems from an existing poet's book of poems. Punctuation and line breaks could be changed and not all the lines had to be used, but no words could be added or eliminated from the lines used.
I would love to know what you think of them!

NB: The PoMoSco website will only be open to the public April 1st, 2015-April 30th, 2015. If you are reading this post beyond this date, the links above won't work! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Visit to Bath

After my Margam Park post a few weeks ago I promised a post on my trip to Bath and I'd planned to get it up within the next few days, but that clearly didn't happen. Other than keeping busy with work I've started tentatively (but excitedly) work on the article I'd like to publish based on some of my dissertation findings, so I've been spending a lot of my free time reading research and drinking lots of coffee, two things which I love to do! But having done that all morning I figured it was about time I get this Bath post finished!

It was just over a year ago that I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting up with Emily while she was in London. I promise you, if any friend of mine is ever in the UK I will make a very determined effort to make it to see them, however brief the visit--because why not take advantage of being on the same landmass?! So I was very excited when my friend and former roommate Kate texted me in November to let me know she'd be in London for New Year's! After doing some research she suggested that we meet in Bath, because it looked like a good halfway point between London and Wales, and because it looked like a great place to explore! It was a fantastic choice.

Roman Baths!
Bath has a fantastic architectural history, including the ruins of Roman baths and more modern baths and spas built to draw in to the hot springs that run below the city. It has loads of really cool buildings and we spent the afternoon on a free walking tour that basically takes you to all the main architectural highlights!

 This is Bath Abbey Cathedral--see the funny neck on the statue of St. Peter to the right? King Henry VIII had the statue beheaded, so when the head was restored they didn't bother to build up his neck properly again! This was my favorite fact from the tour.

One of the things that the tour guide really emphasize was that Bath's cultural and architectural history has really placed a lot of emphasis on outward appearance and on the superficial. Bath was historically a place to go out and socialize solely for the purpose of "seeing and being seen". In a similar vein, two of the city's biggest architectural highlights, the Royal Crescent (above) and the Circus, have a really interesting design history. The facades were planned and designed by one architect, but each house (there's 30 in the Crescent) within the facade was then bought by a private owner who hired their own architect to design the rear. This means the rears are a hodgepodge of designs and styles! I found this aerial photo of the back to demonstrate: 

Yes, that is the same building, from the rear! We took this photo on the grass that would be just off the right edge of the photo above. I love the symbolism of this stylistic/architectural choice of the town's cultural focus on outward appearances! Similarly, there's now a legislation stating that all new buildings constructed within a certain radius of Bath town centre must use Bath yellow stone (from local quarries) as the facade, to give an appearance of uniformity. And to be honest, it makes for a really pretty-looking city when everything matches like that! Unfortunately my camera was out of commission the day of this trip so I didn't get to take many pictures myself. But Josh and I definitely hope to go back to Bath in the future, now that we've discovered how close it is to us (an easy day trip) and how much there is to do/see in the surrounding area!

It was really great to see Kate, explore a new place together, and have a chance to catch up! I'm so glad our visit worked out.