So, I’ve been talking a lot about visual arts in these posts. That’s clearly a huge part of my life these days, but at times I like to remind myself of my writing roots.
My friend Tamera tagged me in a 7-day art challenge recently. The rules are simple: post 7 pieces of art and talk about them. So far with my posts, we’ve visited the darkroom, the newsroom, and the magazine startup world. For Day 4, I want to tell you about PoetryAssignment.com.
Back in the day when Twitter was still a baby and online friends were just starting to become a thing in my world, there was a group of us who really formed some bonds over 140 characters and blog posts. Some of them I have since met in person (such as Todd, Stephanie and Heather), and others simply remain close via Facebook, texts and the plan to meet up the day one of us is in the other’s city (I’m looking at you, Mikey!). Other than talking on Twitter pretty much 24/7, we all followed and supported each others’ blogs. Writing was a common interest in our group; we had nonfiction, fiction, journalism and poetry writers all represented.
I really missed my poetry and fiction classes in college. I felt like the classes forced me to just write, write, write, and keep writing even when the writing sucked because writing bad stuff is sometimes how you get to the good stuff. I loved how the assignments in poetry class could sound so simple, and yet everyone in class would come back with their own unique interpretation of what the teacher wanted.
We already had a fiction-writing group going with National Novel Writing Month (many of us “Twitter met” over participation in that), and so a poetry group seemed the next logical step. Jeff hooked us up with a web site (no longer active, sadly), and Heather, Phil and I (the three of us came up with the idea/concept together, if I remember correctly) acted as the lead assigners.
The concept was so simple, yet it worked so well: Throw out a word or concept of the day. Write a poem using that word or concept. Scream like Pee-Wee Herman when you see the word (ok, don’t do that, that’s annoying). People could publish on the site or on their blogs or both.
We wrote some really bad poetry and we wrote some really good poetry. And that’s exactly as it should have been!
So, for today’s art, I’ll show you an example. Unfortunately, many of the blogs have been shut down, but Phil and I didn’t get the memo that the blog is now dead. The assignment for this day was to use the word Cathedral.
Here’s my poem:
And here’s Phil’s poem:
If you want more where that came from, just check out the poetry hashtag on my site and visit Phil’s site here. I miss the PoetryAssignment.com days something fierce sometimes. Just to have support and encouragement to work on regular writing meant the world. I have bragged about it to Kim before (I met her long after these days), and her response was: “So I think you should start it again.” I won’t lie – I’ve thought about it. But I almost wonder if we’re all too busy anymore to sit down and write good, bad or lukewarm poetry. I wish life didn’t feel so fast these days.
Regardless, Phil and Heather – we created this magical thing once upon a time and I know you’re still writing and creating in your ways, even if it’s not writing poetry at the moment … so tag, you’re it!