29 September 2013

the our lost jungle poetry form challenge: challenge #8 results

OLJ Poetry Form Challenge: Challenge #8 Results
Note: Thank you to the couple of folks who wrote to let me know this hadn't posted! Apologies for the delay in getting this post out!

Today marks the end of challenge 8 of the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge. This week's challenge was to work with word gardens: collections of word "seeds" you plucked from books, magazines, emails, conversations, and so forth, and later drew upon to craft poems. In case I didn't mention it before, word gardens are how I craft many of my poems: I love the self-imposed semi-limitations of plucking from the garden, and the freedom it allows to stop worrying about picking "the perfect word" and instead focus on working with what you've been given! I love how so many of you found yourselves working with what could be called "weeded gardens": not gardens from which all the weeds were pulled, but rather gardens from which single or bunches of weeds were plucked along with the bouquet of desirable words. It's always when those surprising word choices come into play that magic is really allowed to happen!

This week's challenge winner is Barbara Young. What I love about Barbara's poem is that it's hard to pick out which words were seeded from her garden and which were added as flourishes to the bouquet. There are so many surprise words and equally surprise phrasings that work their way into this poem. Enjoy:

This isn't life and death, just real estate

For Sale. But I'm only transportation today.
While they mock the old coal bin, ascend,
count closets, I and my opinions become 
scarce into the tan and taupe southeastern damp
and follow a path of flagstones down.
The sandstone, grainy gold with juice-stain birthmarks, 
skirts some clumps of dormant panic, swirls
a tight rotation at a splice of wall and seat, 
and finds a level garden. Or a garden's bones.

With all the garden manifest: bench, arbor,
a cheesy gnome, beds laid out for the sun;
the place has been ignorant of care for too long.
Mums are clotted, yarrow sticks broken. Rose
litter invites disease. And red mud from the hill
has spread the flagged terrace with delta. Near
its center, like a gazing ball, a toddler's left
white sandal has caught some maple leaves.
Unplanned accessory cemented to the flag, 
the shoe's long shadow marks time across stone
circumference, part indictment, but part 
the pinwheel beat of light on us all:
the whole of the disintegrating world.
Congratulations to all, and have a great weekend as we get ready to take on the final poetic form task of this challenge next week!Get ready ... it's going to be a challenge unlike any we've done so far!


This week I was honored to have been featured in an interview with Media Shower (MediaShower.com) as part of their "10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes" series! I would love for you to stop by and check it out! You can read the interview here: "10,000 Hours in 10 Minutes: Khara House and the Power of Her Poetic License"


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  1. the whole of the disintegrating world - I've been feeling that a little lately
    This has a very thoughtful feel to it. The people considering the house and their comments but underneath the age old perceptions of time passing and remnants and decay... it leaves me feeling nostalgic and a little sad. I can certainly see why Khara chose this. N
    ice work Barbara.

  2. WONDERFUL, barbara! A well-deserved win, indeed. :)


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