March Desert


English: Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by ...

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March Desert
Form: American Sentences

Overnight, citrus trees explode in fragrant blossom, ravish our world.
Remnants of a nest lay empty in deep grass, spring promises: illusions.
March wind batters the garden; hummingbirds struggle to take in nectar.
Early morning birdsong. Crow caws—inviting silence. Hawk swoops in, kills.
Moon escapes behind a cloud, stars take center stage, the night holds her breath.
Sing of winter oranges, desert sun. Dance on mountains topped with snow.

This week I ordered a new book on poetry by Kim Addonizio: Ordinary Genius. In an early chapter, I encountered a form and prompt invented by poet Allen Ginsberg known as American Sentence. Inspired by the Japanese Haiku, three lines of 5-7-5 syllables, Ginsberg build this poetic form on the foundation of the sentence, but a sentence comprised of seventeen syllables.

For this week’s Write2Day, I’d like to throw out the American Sentence as a prompt that can reach out to either prose or poetry writers (or those who write both). For my poem, I’ve strung together six sentences on a single theme, all things I’ve experienced here in the desert in the last few days as the changing season defies all expectations.

Because I’m currently working under deadlines, I need to continue to budget my time spent blogging, so I’m also linking this to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets’ Pub where poets from all over our wonderful world meet to share a poem, friendship and cheer. Our talented host this week is Joseph Hesch. Come on in; you will not be disappointed.

If you would like to link to Write2Day:

• Post your poem or prose sentence, based on the prompt, on your own blog or website.
• Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
• Share your name and the direct URL to your post.
• Take time to visit and comment on other participant.

The link for dVerse is here. I hope you’ll join both prompts.

Photo: GNU Free Documentation License

Wordsmith Wednesday–Poetry and Prose

2006 National Poetry Month poster, designed by...

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Since April is National Poetry Month, I think it’s important to pay homage to this sometimes undervalued art. Many prose writers, especially those who write literary fiction, dabble in poetry–either as readers or poets–and find that doing so enriches their own work. Here are a few things to consider:


  • Engages the senses
  • Pays attention to details
  • Uses symbolic language
  • Expresses thoughts succinctly
  • Respects the rhythm and sound of words
  • Makes use of metaphor and simile
  • Uses description to express feelings
  • Breaks the rules!

I invite you to treat yourself to a book of poetry, brew a cup of tea or coffee. Now, hunker down in your favorite chair and read. My personal preference is for poets who are not so obscure that you need a lit professor to help interpret their work. Here are just a few of my favorites, most of them contemporary: Ted Kooser, Kim Addonizio, Jane Hirschfiled, Jane Kenyon, Ellen Bass, William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, Dorianne Laux. Stanley Kunitz. Consider browsing poetry blogs and websites and sample some of the excellent poetry that is there for the taking.

Happy writing. Enjoy the process…and try writing a poem of your own. If you’d like to post it in comments, I’d love to share it.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Writing the Erotic

Cover of "The Poet's Companion: A Guide t...

Cover via Amazon

One of my favorite books about the art of writing poetry is “The Poet’s Companion–A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry” by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, both inspiring poets who, I believe, are from the San Francisco Bay Area.

In one of the chapters they discuss the art of writing eroticism. For those who find this challenging, they provide several suggestions that include using non-erotic imagery, metaphor and simile to suggest the erotic and they provide examples using the natural world, including landscape, to create sexual images.

For today’s exercise, I would like to challenge you to write an erotic poem or flash fiction about the landscape or any non-sexual activity such as cleaning house, driving a car…whatever. Please consider sharing it by posting a link in comments.

Here is a poem I wrote a number of years ago. It was published in the Tahoe Writers’ Association Literary Journal: Edge.

Today Should Be Autumn

Today should be autumn with its
skies like cornflowers or my lover’s eyes.
Angels toss pillows and
romp in mounds of feathers.

Wind sends leaves scurrying,
hurled about like stars at the moment of creation.
Woodstoves waft incense,
delight spirits who dance in naked branches.

Stagnant rainwater stands in a rusty bucket;
the layer of slime floats on its surface, smells rank.
A slug inches its way across bricks
spattered with specks of moss.

Underneath a pile of mulch
bulbs shoot out nipples of willow green leaves
aroused by a lick of sunshine.
Earth, wet and waiting, opens to receive spring.