Poetry and Nonsense

I was talking to my parents recently about some of the poetry I’ve written in the past few years. I mentioned how I’d developed a fascination with ways to integrate technology into poetic experimentation. I explained how much I enjoy Google search poems. I told them how I created a method of generating something akin to found poetry, using my smartphone’s auto-suggestion typing feature.

My mom said she’d like to read my tech-based poems, so I sent her links to my first auto-suggestion poem and a Google search poem I built (both written for National Poetry Writing Month in 2016).

My mom responded to these poems with this: “Is playing with words poetry in and of itself?”

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The Day I Left Home, Got in the Car, and Drove (NaPoWriMo 2016)

The day I left home, got in the car, and drove,
I swore I would never look back.
I broke this vow less than 10 miles down the road.
But my view out the rearview mirror
Was blocked by all my stuff, boxes and backpacks,
Piled in the back seat. My world shoved into my car,
Every nook and cranny filled. It wasn’t as much
As it looked like, filling up my little hatchback.
My world uprooted, taken on the road,
To find a new home, new soil in which to plant myself
And bloom. They say home is where the heart is.
They say you can’t appreciate home unless you leave it.
That you need to wander for a time, to see the world,
To learn who you are in a new place,
Before you can truly understand your roots.

I Sang (NaPoWriMo 2016)

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to “write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem … but then goes elsewhere with it.”

The challenge states that the line doesn’t need to be the first line of the poem you borrow from, but my line is. It’s the beginning of perhaps my favorite poem of all time:

I Sang by Carl Sandburg.

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Kenning Poem (NaPoWriMo 2016)

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a “kenning” poem:

[T]hink of a single thing or person … and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person.

(Provided examples can be seen here and here.)

I love kennings! I love how playful they can be, and how they challenge you to conceptualize the world in a different, more essential, way.

There’s a sense from the way today’s challenge is described that a kenning poem should aspire to function as a riddle. I suck at riddles, though, so I’m confident the object I chose to describe is perfectly obvious to all. That’s OK—I’m proud of my description.

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The Void (NaPoWriMo 2016)

I’m losing steam. More accurately—I’m losing motivation and inspiration. I seem to be maxing out my capacity for writing poetry.

I’ve never tried to write this much in such a short period of time. My desire to write comes and goes. I’ve always thought I should be a writer but I’ve never been able to maintain the habit of writing for more than brief periods.

Nothing wrong with that, I don’t have to be a writer. But I committed to participating in NaPoWriMo and I’m unwilling to throw in the towel halfway through.

The prompts from the NaPoWriMo site for the first half of the month worked well for me. But these most recent few… Just not clicking. They’re not generating anything usable in my mind.

I need to write something if I want to keep going with this challenge. So, I turn to my usual strategy when I’m having difficulty making myself write—I write about not being able to write.

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Auto-Suggestion Poem #1 (NaPoWriMo 2016)

One of my favorite poetic exercises has always been found poetry, where you take a piece of prose text and attempt to transform it into poetry by adding line breaks and playing with spacing, etc. I love how this exercise highlights the importance of rhythm, scansion, and the layout of text in creating a poetic work.

(For arguably the best example of found poetry ever, check out Hart Seely’s collection, Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld.)

Lately, I’ve had it in my head to try a modern technology equivalent of found poetry:

Auto-suggestion poetry.

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