Looking Forward

It’s time to go back to work tomorrow and see my seventh graders. It’s also time to decide where to go next with my Saturday posts here on Put Words Together – Make Meaning.

A whole year of complex prompts with the Poetry Tow Truck is archived from 2011, and a whole year of the Mixtape, sharing poems with simple writing prompts, is archived from 2012. So what will 2013 bring?

Coming up with prompts is wearying. Sometimes it feels like I am lesson planning, something I already do quite a bit of during my work week. I want to have more flexibility in what I post on Saturdays, especially since it is often the only day I post when I am busy with life. So, if I feel like I have a good idea for a prompt, I will post one, but I no longer want to have the pressure of coming up with prompts once a week. So what does that mean for future posts? (Don’t panic, Margo Roby!)

I have enjoyed reading recent posts by Hannah Stephenson that have deviated from her poem a day format into discussions of process, interviews, and random process notes, and Joseph Harker has started a new feature called The Refinery where he critiques poem drafts sent in by fellow poets. My current plan is to post more often than once a week and to follow my own thought process instead of forcing my posts into a specific format.

There, I feel better already.

I can start by telling you that my two-week winter break was very fruitful in both the rest and the writing departments. (I also renewed my love for slippers and yoga pants.) There are now seventeen drafts in the Battle Hymn series, and the Pioneer Wife has sixteen poems in her life story. I sent out seven new submissions, but didn’t push too hard to do so.

I spent time with my family and my friends, and I saw a lot of movies. (Recommended: Les Miserables and The Impossible. Not recommended: The Hobbit and Zero Dark Thirty -good acting in Zero Dark Thirty, but the last 45 minutes were a re-enactment of what anyone who has watched 60 Minutes has already seen, and the torture scenes were troublesome to me.)

I read A LOT, including books I should have read a year ago (like Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars and Eduardo Coral’s Slow Lightning) and new books that I received for Christmas (Carol Berg’s Ophelia Unraveling, Letitia Trent’s One Perfect Bird, and Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Necropolis). I completed initial reads of all of these, and, as I thought they were all special in their own ways, I will be going back to read them again with an eye toward learning how the poems work.

Phew. Long post. And now I will go to bed early and prepare for my first day back at work tomorrow, a New Year’s poem by Naomi Shihab Nye and some writing in the lesson plans.

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8 thoughts on “Looking Forward

  1. Laughing, I am. How did you know? Right at the exact spot that I started hyperventilating.
    Your plan sounds good. I know I’ll come to this day myself. It’s good to have you and Joseph showing the way. Have a wonderful year. I look forward, as always, to following.

  2. No way I could manage what you’ve been doing. Well, maybe if I spent a month doing nothing but writing prompts in advance, which seems just way too much like work. I need to go back to your Tow Truck exercises

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