Friday surprise: Brighter Light and Summer Prompt

As many of our readers know, in the winter Andrea blogged a month-long poetry challenge for adult-and-kid teams called Brighter Light. Now, with the advent of the light we were longing for in the depths of winter, I thought we ought to have a follow up.

BrighterLightBadge2First: for our original challenge participants. Thank you so much to all the participants in the challenge.We still don’t have the “results” of the challenge judging, since for both health and technical reasons Andrea has had almost no internet access for months, but the TRUE results are an amazing collection of collaborative poems. I was just reading through the poems on the Notice Board and am so amazed by the breadth of approaches to the prompt and the quality of the poems. It’s a real privilege to know so many amazing writers (big and small!). In honor of your participation, I have posted, in the side bar, a code that you can put into your own blog or website which will display the Brighter Light Poet badge for this year! If you can’t use that code directly, you can also just copy at paste a copy of the badge to the left (it’s slightly lower quality but it’ll work fine). In addition, I’m asking that all challenge participants contact me with an address to which I can send Brighter Light stickers for the “kid” participants in the challenge. You can reach me through the “Contact Us” page on this blog. I really want to make sure that kids get a chance to show their pride in having a great thing (and in the cases of the really little ones, to have stickers to play with :-0 )

Maurice Prendergast - Revere Beach No. 2 - Google Art Project

Maurice Prendergast – Revere Beach No. 2 [PD-US]

Second: for all our writer friends, one last prompt! I thought we’d close out the challenge with one final prompt. I love this Prendergast painting (to the right)  because it shows so many people enjoying a summer day in so many different ways. Summer is experienced by each of us in different ways ~ by the difference in color and light, or scents, or heat, or location.

The prompt: Your summer day is like no one else’s; what is your summer day (or night)?

 Please post your poem or flash fiction response in the comments below, on your own blog or website, or (if you, like me, don’t post pieces publicly because that excludes later publication elsewhere) through our Contact Us form before July 4th (11:59 p.m. July 3rd U.S. Pacific Time). I’d especially appreciate young writers joining in. I’ll have a special badge available for all participants AND I’ll be picking 3 authors for a mini-interview and/or highlight on InOurBooks.com.

Thank you again to all the prior participants, and I look forward to reading all the Brighter Light Summer entries!

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A directory of our teams

ChildAdultSunWe’re having a lovely time here with Andrea’s Brighter Light challenge. For those of you on a team or who have been following along, we’ve created a directory of all the teams (I’ve added links that teams have suggested that show something about where they’re from; if you’ve given me a link to your team’s blog, I’ve posted that as well). You can search this directory at any time to remind yourself about who is on a given team and where they hail from.

Oh, and challenge participants: if there’s a link I missed or you’d like to add, just let me know. Also, there’s a copy pinned to the Notice Board so you can remind yourself about any of the teams at any time ~ ina

Brighter Light teams

1. The Seasons
Ina and son Kash
San Francisco Area, California, US
http://baytrail.abag.ca.gov/vtour/map3/access/Btpalto/Btpalto.htm

2. Sunshine Elves
Amanda and daughter
Queensland, Australia
http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/

3. The Yellow Ninjas
Mariya and daughter Silviya
Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria

http://bulgariatravel.org/en/official_tourism_portal/

4. The Brothers Dragonosaurus
Sharon and her two grandsons (J-JAR 1.5 and J-JAR 3.5)
Alberta, Canada
http://dragonsareus.blogspot.ca/

5. The Awesome Earworms.
Linda H and her daughter
the Rems-Murr-Kreis in Germany
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rems-Murr-Kreis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swabia

6. The Erie Dearies
Marie Elena and her granddaughter Sophie
Lake Erie area, Toledo, OH

7. Icicles
Guðríður and her son Þorlákur
From Akureyri in northern Iceland
http://www.iceland.is/
http://www.livefromiceland.is/webcams/akureyri/

8. The Sparkly Snowflakes
Pearl and her grand girls (!) Halle Lynn and Rori Cate
Lido Beach, New York and Newton, Massachusetts, US

http://sparklysnowflakes.blogspot.com/

9. The Chain Letters
JLynn, her son and many other helper-elves!
Chain O’Lakes area, Illinois, US
http://www.pbase.com/gerdakettner/chain_olakes_state_park

10. Alabama Tarheels
Nancy and Alyssea
Hickory, North Carolina and Florence, Alabama; USA

11. The Vikings
Søs and Ingrid
From Denmark

http://bronshojbasket.dk/cms/ShowContentPage.aspx?ContentPageID=25

12. Pragon
Claudette and Sidse
Northern Rocky Mountains, US and Sejer Island, Denmark

http://trailinginspirations.wordpress.com/

http://www.sejeroeskole.skoleintra.dk/Infoweb/Designskabelon7/Rammeside.asp?Action=&Side=&Klasse=&Id=&Startside=&ForumID=

13. The Northstar Wolves
Michele and her daughters Mikayla and Samantha
Minnesota, US
http://www.exploreminnesota.com/index.aspx

14. Queen Flower and the Princesses Sugar
Jacqueline and her two daughters
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

http://maccandace.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/enchanted-by-encanto/

http://www.go-arizona.com/Phoenix/Photos-Videos/
http://www.phxtaco.com/

15. The Poetry Writers

Barbara and her student Raybert

Stamford, CT, US

Beautiful Stamford (Google Image Search)

Parent and child of elephas namadicus

A little “tech info” for Brighter Light teams!

Hi Everyone,

If you’re in one of Brighter Light January challenge teams, I thought I’d pass a little info on to you about how our Notice Board works, so those of us (and I include myself here – I’m totally winging this) who are less tech-savvy can navigate the board easily.

1) I’ve started a thread for each team. A “thread” is just a fancy way of saying that it’s a discussion or set of posts with a particular theme. In this case, your thread is the place where you can post your finalized poems and where others can go to read your poems and cheer you on!

2) To post a poem, just reply to the first post in the thread (the one I put up; its subject is “Brighter Light: [your team name] “. You can leave the subject as is, or you can change it to the title of your poem, or what prompt you’re referring to; please make sure though that it’s in reply to your team’s first post so that Andrea can know whose team wrote it!

3) To post a comment on someone else’s poem (we all like to cheer one another on, I know!), you can hit the reply button on the posted poem so it will indicate which poem you’re commenting on.

4) If you’re joining us late (I know some people are and we can’t wait to have you come on in!), just drop me an email or comment with your team title and so on, so we can get you started!

If you have a technical issue while we’re going through all this please just drop me a comment or a note through the Contact Us page. I should mention that I’m actually typing this while “under medical care” (read: don’t even ask) – I’m FINE but I’m moving a bit slowly and getting interrupted a lot, so it might take me a bit to get back to you; I apologize for any delays
Have fun, everyone! And VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday Twinings Tea

Sitting somewhere and enjoying a proper cup of tea? Coffee? Well, whatever you have and wherever you are, we’re here, and just now, I’m here, Andrea speaking.

William paxton2
No New York here, no cafés, no places to hang out, no corner for me to sit building up audiences of casual guests looking at me and thinking that I am something special. But oh, I’d love it – sitting somewhere being special – I could drink lots of coffees, I’m sure, but as it is, I like to admit that I also drink tea.

I sit in my kitchen, looking straight into my microwave oven, that is if I look up, and cafés: there is the grocer’s which is DagliBrugsen where I live. And just now, it’s tea and you out there. How I love to be connected.

So here I sit in my quiet kitchen and see Ina got something published somewhere. My fellow blogger or to be honest, the head blogger here, made it through!

Poem at Right Hand Pointing

Ina writes about breast cancer and this wonderful medical development that makes it so true to use a metaphor with koi and a frog.

But I sit a little quiet, thinking about my friend, Neser, who didn’t make it. And thinking about Neser, I always end up laughing, though now it is so many years ago. I also know that she likely would have loved Ina’s poem.

I put in another lump of sugar in my tea. It’s cold outside – please see Sidse’s picture from today:

SidsesColdWorld

I feel so lucky that the internet is working today which means Amanda down in Brisbane can announce her recipes for me and for the citizens of Sejer Island.

Amanda, we’re ready. We can’t wait for the lamingtons because they look so good on the pictures. I hope I can squeeze in some more details here though I know that these details might not be in our books – only this blog kind of taught me that maybe they should.

But what is our blog post for today?

Ina and I are running a blog about writing. And we want to introduce a poetry challenge for you:

An Adult-Kid poeming month in January 2013.

  1. You must have an agreement with someone on writing 16 poems for January 2013. You, being the poet, and this other someone, a kid, must create a poem according to the prompts that Ina and I will put here on the blog during January.
  2. You must enter a name – “the rocking tigers” or something like it. You must come up with a name for your team and you must submit this to us along with a short description of who you are.
  3. And I’m sorry but the poems must be in English.
  4. Ina and I will be ready with awards.

Tea tins in kitchen, mostly TwiningsThe prompts will be about describing the world. So we’ll just say, for instance, “England.” Then you will have to come up with a poem about England and then we might say “Bulgaria” and so on.

So here with my Monday tea, I hope I have inspired you all to set off
for yet another challenge.

Please tell us what you think.

Connections: a little time with Daniel Ari

Please welcome the co-winner of our first  Poetry Prompt Contest, Daniel Ari. We first encountered Daniel’s vivid and unique poetry on (surprise, surprise) Robert Brewer’s blog, Poetic Asides. I couldn’t wait to get my little paws on Daniel’s chapbook, Monster Poems, and was so glad when I finally did. The stunning black-and-white, evocative illustrations (by Daniel’s talented spouse Lauren) and Daniel’s poetry have created a household favorite – something I read with my six-year-old time and time again, not because it’s a book for children, but because it’s a book that appeals to the Grimm imagination that lurks in all of us. So was I surprised his poem “this glamorous profession” was one of the stand-outs in the contest? No. Was I delighted to get to interview him –  oh, yes! And I know you, as readers, will enjoy his words, as well ![IOB]

IOB [ina]: What was the hardest thing about writing the poem you submitted?

DA: It’s funny because I wrote this in response to a call for submissions of poetry found in the prose of Patrick Sokas, M.D. His daughter decided to create a poetry anthology of found poems, and she posted several essays of his as the finding field for poets. I had never heard of Dr. Sokas before, but it seems that he published articles in The Oakland Tribune, a local paper for me, though his articles were printed long before I moved to the area.

Anyway, that was the score. The hardest thing was staying open to moments of poetry within his prose. I read several essays without sensing the spark. Then I caught a haiku, which was accepted for the anthology. I like “this glamorous profession” more than the haiku, but it may have still been too prosaic for the doctor’s daughter.

Once I found the piece—which also resonated with a poetry prompt at the “Poetic Asides” blog at Writersdigest.com—I had to give myself permission to glean the poem with finer tools than cut and paste. I excised some words from the middle and split some of the dialogue so that the speakers changed. In sum, I took time to tinker this into a poem I enjoyed. That’s not hard for me, though. I like to write poems slowly.

IOB: Who is a poet you admire a great deal, and why?

DA: There are many. On the top of my mind right now is Marna Hauk. She deeply engages her experience of being human on earth. What she writes is astonishingly transcendent, but human—not disengaged at all. She has the insight to write to the heart of experience without getting bogged down in her own emotions. And beyond that, her life’s work is about getting to the healing medicine found in poetry. She is an educator who collaborates in pioneering this kind of poetry-as-world-medicine field.

And that makes me think of Natalie Goldberg, whose poems I have actually never read, but I think of her as one of the writers who has influenced me most. In the same field as Marna, Natalie Goldberg’s take on writing—poetry or prose—or making art of any kind—is about healing and revealing on the larger scale. I think her book “Writing Down the Bones” is required reading for any writer.[note from ina: me, too!]

IOB: Where can people find more of your work?

Monster Poems poster; rights reserved by poster artists

DA: I post poems weekly at IMUNURI. I post other creative things sporadically at Fights With Poems. I’m also placing poems hither and yon. For recent online publications, you can search for me at Poetic Asides, Defenestration Magazine, ShufPoetry, and (I’m very proud of this 2007 publication) McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. In print, Issue 3 of 42 Magazine, issue one of The Wayfarer, and several recent issues of Conscious Dancer include my work.

IOB: Daniel, thank you so much for sharing your poetry and your time with us. We look forward  to hearing about the new places where your poems appear and can be seen, read, heard, and experienced!

Connections: chatting with Jay Sizemore

Jay Sizemore’s poem, “The value of things,” was one of the two winners of our first In Our Books prompt-based poetry contest. IOB took a few moments to chat with Jay about, well, poetry.

IOB: What was the hardest thing about writing the poem you submitted?

JS: I would say it is always a difficult task to write something about a topic larger than one’s self, and yet try and retain the feeling that the poem is coming from that place of genuine emotion. I try to do that with all my work. After I write it, I ask myself, “Is this real, or am I trying too hard to make something work?” Most of the time, I think it is a challenge hard to live up to, because when writers tackle difficult themes, sometimes you have to write outside the scope of your own experiences, and that tends to muddy the waters of the real. Often it is best to, as cliche as it is, “stick to what you know,” and let others attribute themes to your work. But it is fun to try large themes anyway, and as if you couldn’t tell by my piece, I have strong feelings about what the concept of ownership does to society.

IOB: Who is a poet you admire a great deal, and why?

JS: My favorite poet for a long time now has been Bob Hicok. When I was in college, a professor of mine, Dr. Tom Hunley, let me borrow Plus Shipping, because we were writing papers on poets from one of our text books, and I had loved his poem “Absence” so much, I wanted to read more. The paper also had to involve an interview with the poet, and surprisingly he answered my emails, and we actually talked back and forth for a while, when I was going through my borderline-stalker-obsessed-fan phase. Anyway, Hicok’s work has an uncanny sense of realism about it, which I was immediately drawn to. He has a powerful command of language, and image, almost every poem driving that sense of awe into your guts, or twisting words into a kind of hypnosis. It’s the kind of talent you just can’t fake. One can always aspire to reach that level of greatness, but it’s like singing in the shower and thinking you can win American Idol. It’s rare.

[ina notes: just read through Hicok’s Animal Soul on Jay’s recommendation. Really remarkable collection – vivid and vital imagery as well as the rhythm and flow of each work. Great stuff.]

IOB: Where can people find more of your work?

JS: There is very little of my work online anymore, as I have discovered most journals don’t like publishing things that have appeared on even a blog, so I took most of it down. There are several pieces left up on my old blog, The Ghosts of Silence, and I do plan on posting things there that have already been accepted elsewhere. Other than that, what little I have had published you can find at the respective journals, like Red River Review, Wild Goose Poetry, Emerge, Siren, and a few others. I also have gotten some things in a couple poetry anthologies put together from a fairly tight-knit group of poets who met online at Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog: Beyond the Dark Room [disclosure: ina is one of the poets whose work appears in this anthology. All proceeds from this volume will go to Medicines Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders] and Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry. I have also had some short fiction accepted here and there, online in Schlock, and Scholars and Rogues, and in the anthologies No Rest for the Wicked and Fantastic Horror Vol. 4. Most of my fiction is genre-based, I feel I must warn you, but it is fun to write that stuff.

IOB: Jay, thanks so much for talking with us, and for entering our contest. We’ll be watching your future writing progress with considerable interest!

IOB will post our interview with our other winner, Daniel Ari, within a week. Stay tuned!

Monday coffee: So, remember that horse?

Remember how, last Monday, we were chatting over a cuppa about places that could help you get your work Out CoffeeFruitsShowThere ? You know, to readers? Well, if you were feeling inspired by that, one of my favorite poetic voices (the lovely Khara House) is running

The October Submit-O-Rama!

What, you ask, is a Submit-O-Rama? It’s a chance to choose a pace at which to submit your work through the course of the month. There are options from the Basic challenge (submitting  three times a week) to the Uber (30 times in the month!), with a lot of options in between.

By Zz1y (gustavo alegrias) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a great opportunity for people who need either company or healthy competition to get back on the “submission horse.” Nice group support, and you can let other people’s success motivate you, if you’re so inclined.

If you’re the type (and many of us are, for reasons of life style, emotional security, or schedule) who prefers engaging in the publication process within a private space , this may not be the event for you. Otherwise, consider heading over to Khara’s blog to check out the options! You may even see one of us there 🙂