16 August 2013

the our lost jungle poetry form challenge: challenge #2 results

OLJ Poetry Form Challenge #2 Results
Today ends the second challenge of the 2013 Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge! This week's challenge was to write an anaphora poem. I hope folks who are joining in are easing their way into the waters we're wading together ... remember, this challenge is all about thinking outside the box, playing rather than working, sixth-sensing rather than sense-seeking. It's all about discovering something new.

On a personal note, I must admit that anaphora tends to be one of my least favorite "forms" of poetry writing. It probably has something to do with my less than lengthy attention span, but I find that halfway through some poems that engage this literary devise I start to feel like I know what's coming. That's part of how this prompt developed the way it did; rather than letting folks choose words where they can easily figure out where to go next, we always do this prompt with the "gotcha" at the beginning. It's one thing to wind up with a word that you can easily do a lot with. It's quite another to wind up with words like the ones you all chose. It's fantastic when someone's favorite word is "mastication" ... where are you going to go with that? (Yes, that happened to a student once.) And it's amazing to see where people's brains will take them when they have to shut off the Familiar Zone.

This is also a prompt that I never gave without forcing myself to do it, too. The challenge was always picking a word when I, obviously, knew what was coming. One summer I did this with a group of teenagers, and one of them scoffed that I had an unfair advantage unless they got to choose my word for me. So I let them each give me a word, and the next day came back with over a dozen poems written using words like "butt," "gravy," "encyclopedia," and, *ahem*, "bullshit." Most of them were horrendous, but it was worth it to prove a point: you can work with anything. (It was also a lesson to maybe not let a group of people come up with any word they want to make you work with ...)

That said, this time around I opened the floor on Facebook for friends and followers to give me a word to write a poem with. I'll share my favorite after I share the winner!

This week's winning poem comes from Debi Swim, who, simply put, blew me away with an anaphora that is both haunting and ... just lovely. Debi posted the poem on her own site, and I always hesitate to snag a poem from an outside page without permission, so here's a snippet of the poem:

If You Could

You said, if you could,
you'd come back, you would,
just long enough to say
everything's OK.
Couldn't you?
I keep waiting for some sign...
thundering or meek,
maybe, on my cheek [...]

You can read the rest of Debi's poem here. Congratulations, Debi, and congratulations to all who participated ... you all did some fun and amazing things in the landscape of ... a word.

Stay tuned for the third challenge next Monday, and thank you all for sharing! Happy Writing, and Go Boldy!

(PS: You can see my anaphora attempt, based on the word "platypus," on my Facebook page and in the comments below!)


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Join in the 2013 Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge!


  1. The "platypus" poem:


    Platypus, you enigma of water and
    flat-footed horror to the men who
    first found you. you creature of platus
    et pous
    , of flats and feet, you musical siren—
    plat y pus.

    Plat: you plant your feet and plot the world,
    its rise, its fall, the destruction of sense
    enraptured by your otterped, your avespuss,
    your castorposterior.

    Platypus, you creature of and,
    and and, and all—you who wrap
    all and all in one and
    baffle the brain.

    And pus: what matter of the mystic universe
    secreted you to the shallow pools you roam,

    You plant, you pose, you plata,
    you pursuer, you platypus.

  2. I agree, Khara! Love Debi's poem and your Platypus poem!! So fun! Thanks again for the challenge!

  3. Thank you Khara for you kind words about my poem. I feel very honored.


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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