lizcommotion: white handspun yarn next to various seashells (yarn white handspun)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
(Note: posting this a couple hours early so I don't forget in my state of brain fugue.)

I had a bit of trouble getting into gear for this poem, as I've mostly switched to attempting to use, if not Simple English, then closer-to-Simple-English purely for accessibility reasons for most of my blog posts, etc. (Note: I do not always succeed). So while I sat staring at the screen and wrote a couple stanzas of a poem that was just not me, I changed everything up and decided to pick a topic that is near and dear to my heart: yarn. I spin, and knit, and all manner of fiber things. It's a Thing.

Here, for your enjoyment, is the poem that flowed from the simple choice changing topics made.

To Dye Today
by [personal profile] lizcommotion 

When I delicately dip the handspun yarn

(made with a loving twist and flick of my fingers

by ancient art honed by women of yore)

into the swirling bath of dye

(a sunburst of turmeric, pokeberry vermilion,

Nature’s dyes of every hue, none trumped by King Indigo)

the wool blossoms in the water and

(small fiber scales teased open with vinegar,

the sheepish dragon’s guard relaxed for dyeing)

the yarn transforms: a butterfly in chrysalis.

(I the Alchemist with my quest for God and gold,

or perhaps a hedge witch with my call for healing)
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (kitty)
[personal profile] alee_grrl
This post is a collaborative effort between [personal profile] alee_grrl and [personal profile] lizcommotion. We each wrote a little introduction/meta piece to explain a little bit more. Read more... )
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Society members by code numbers: 9 – [personal profile] lexigent; 16 – [personal profile] fyreharper; 24 – J.J. the Pointed Verse of Reasoned Debate; 28 – [personal profile] firecat; 29 – [personal profile] lizcommotion; 34 – [personal profile] okrablossom; 35 – Pau Amma; 40 – [personal profile] bookblather; and 41 – [personal profile] primeideal.

"There's something intimate about secrecy. When someone glances about and lowers their voice, you instinctively lean in. Whatever it is that the two of you discuss, your soft-voiced conversation creates a illusion of a private space, one set apart from the crowded world outside.

"Let's create such a space here [...]" Thus begins the Covert Collaboration Challenge, "a little experiment in secrecy as a recipe for intimacy". Over the course of a week, myself and my eight fellow Society members wrote two original sonnets; the majority of the lines in each were written with only one to two preceding lines for reference, and in the case of the second sonnet, the prompt ("spontaneous musicals, or What if life was more like theater?'").



full text of the 'Shakespearean' sonnet behind the cut )



full text of the 'loose Petrarchean' sonnet behind the cut )

All are welcome to comment and discuss. Society members, was this experiment successful in fostering intimacy? Do you have any favorite exchanges or quotes you'd like to share from our Top Secret discussion threads?
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
For myself, the pleasure and the difficulty of collaborative poetry are both rooted in the same place: the loss of control. In the following poem, the first that [personal profile] lizcommotion wrote with me for our LizJJ Jam, I think that learning curve is most readily apparent. The haikai format lends itself to alternating authorship by stanza; I wrote the initial seed and all the subsequent 5-7-5 stanzas, while Liz took the 7-7 stanzas. Please take a moment to read the poem itself, and then see below for further commentary.

pacific kitchen

peel your clementines
like compass stars, and your trash
will bloom orange suns

silver and gold diadems
abandoned, tarnish and fade

while plastic wrappers
float on distant seas, tawdry

amidst glass lures, forgotten
in the ocean's lulling waves

the global local
the distant piscine choking
on our convenience


Further commentary behind the cut )


Some starting places for discussion:

If this poem was written by three writers instead of two, and you were the third writer, what alternative third stanza might you write in place of 'while plastic wrappers...', etc.? Where do you think the new poem might go from there?

Does this feel like a cohesive poem, or a collection of disparate images? Are there particular key words or concepts that link two or more stanzas together?

Have you ever participated in writing haikai or other collaborative poetry yourself? How is it different from writing poetry on your own?


Leave kudos behind the cut )
lizcommotion: typewriter on a table, faded (writing)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
Apologies for the service delay! Those of you who guessed that I started the last poem, sacrificia, were correct!

This next poem was started from the last line first, switching off lines. I *may* have added two lines here and there as I got overwhelmed by the creative impulse, but it sorted itself out. If you've never written a poem backwards, I highly recommend it as a format. If you've never written a poem backwards with another person, I recommend that as well.

You are welcome to steal our first/last line: "and all that for a ha'penny" - or come up with something of your own. We'd love to see the output of your creative endeavors sometime, particularly at the Sunday Picnic! I dare you...


that time you nicked my penny for your plots

at first the day ballooned with sharp words, but
I couldn't win against your mock solemnity

we laughed through the ferris wheel
circling around each others' hands,
until the sun's last cheerful hurrah saw us

finished at the fair, exhausted and spent
fingers sticky with cotton candy --
and all that for a ha'penny.


Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 9

I would like to leave kudos for this poem

View Answers

7 (100.0%)

0 (0.0%)

I'm thinking of writing a backwards poem for the Sunday Picnic!

View Answers

1 (11.1%)

Maybe So
5 (55.6%)

0 (0.0%)

Some other time perhaps
3 (33.3%)

Every poll needs a duck!
4 (44.4%)

lizcommotion: typewriter on a table, faded (writing)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
Can I just say that I think my new favorite thing is collaborative poetry writing? I am so glad [personal profile] jjhunter  invited me to co-host this week with her, because it meant we had three heady days of dashing forth lines of poetry. 

This poem evolved almost exactly a 24 hour period from start to title. As we were nearing our deadline, each poet contributed a larger chunk of lines than in previous poems (3-5ish), sometimes stopping mid-line to let the other poet finish the thought. The theme was "artistic creation", the form free-form.

One of the things I really enjoyed about writing this particular pell-mell poem was the way we played with melding words. For example, in one exchange jjhunter ended with the word "quick", to which I added "-ening" thus changing the direction of the poem. I love that jjhunter just ran with it, and the synergy created there gave the poem a greater depth to its central theme and ultimately (I'm guessing, since jjhunter chose the title) helped lead to the choice in title.

Without further ado, here's the poem...


Room thunderswept, mind electrocuted,
the ideas swell-and-fade in currents and eddies,
elusive and overpowering. Sometimes
soulwrenchingly lost in the pell-mell tang
of creative synergy when one thread drops
and the others race on, electric in their mania
quickening, a first stirring of creation
or is it triplets quintuplets septuplets
surely one or two will be sacrificed in the birth
of a novel, a love poem, an heirloom quilt
kill your darlings stitched into institutional
whizzing, into the seasons and the harvest king
myth and mistaken and mapping nature
onto humanity as if a muse could be caught
tamped down, distilled into an essence
displayed on a dignified gallery wall
when all all is pursuit, the wild hunt
and beware those who get swept up in it
for there is no perfect art

Poll #12614 sacrificia poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6

I would like to leave kudos on this poem

View Answers

6 (100.0%)

0 (0.0%)

Who do you think started this poem? Answer revealed tomorrow!

View Answers

jjhunter started it!
0 (0.0%)

lizcommotion started it!
3 (100.0%)

jjhunter: closeup of library dragon balancing book on its head (library dragon 2)
[personal profile] jjhunter
This week returning Poetry Hosts [personal profile] lizcommotion and myself ([personal profile] jjhunter) will be co-Hosting a week on poetry we wrote together during our recent 'LizJJ Jam'. Each poem is the fruit of a distinct email chain where the first email establishes format (if any), opening line(s), and loose 'standards' for swapping our digital pen back and forth as the poem evolves. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them!

ragdoll poetry

stitched from each poet's muse, handsewn smile recites ragdoll poetry
this arm drawn from a faded childhood dress worn
sepia with adventure, that one from summer skin
burnished smooth with coaxing snails out their front door holes
memories ragged around the edges, smudged by fingers
mucky from ink pens and filching chocolate chip cookies
the way you say hello in my voice, my diction echoed in yours
wordshop duality into one poem, one ragged edge joined to ragged heart

Poll #12598 Kudos?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6

I would like to leave kudos on this post

View Answers

6 (100.0%)

lizcommotion: A black-and-white photo of a Victorian woman (victorian lady)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
Hello! I'm [personal profile] lizcommotion , I comment here a lot apparently, and today I'll be writing about historical context for Julia Stein's poem Downtown Women. For background, I have a degree in history and a love-hate relationship with the Progressive Era (see below).

I set out to try to write a history post about "Downtown Women," and realized there was so much historical context that I didn't know whether to go broad or specific. I've gone broad in the hopes that if any of this interests you, you can search out the specifics from the poem yourself. Perhaps someone will also follow up with a more in-depth post about Bessie Abramowitz Hillman and the labor movement.

The poem is set in the early 1900s, an era known as the Progressive Era. "Progress" was seen as a steady march from "barbarism" and "savagery" to the "civilization" of the WASP upper-class society. A whole set of problems emerged from this, such as Eugenics (the forced sterilization of those who were deemed to have poor genes that would set the race back); Questionable Anthropology with Unfortunate Results; not to mention being used as a justification for the horrors of colonialism (i.e. "we are uplifting these poor backward savages and civilizing them").

The Progressive Era was not all bad. There were a number of much-needed reforms in what was called the "Progressive Movement". For example, as a result of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle the US government developed the Food and Drug Administration to regulate what goes into sausages and medications &c. (Never mind that Sinclair was also trying to write about the dehumanizing working conditions of the "downtown" workers in the meat-packing industry, which was largely ignored by the "uptown" people who read his book.) People with mental illnesses were actually beginning to receive treatment; prison reforms began; efforts were made to fight graft and voter fraud; poverty was a large concern.

This was also the heyday of so-called First Wave Feminism. (As distinct from Second-Wave Feminism in the 1960s/70s and Third Wave Feminism of the 90s and today.) First-wave feminists - a prominent one of whom was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, referenced in the poem - were largely concerned with obtaining the right to vote for women, which mattered a lot to "uptown women." They were less receptive to calls from "downtown women" to focus on workers' rights (as most "uptown women" did not face the reality of sweatshop labor), thus creating a rift between "uptown" and "downtown" women. (Don't even get me started on how little First Wave Feminists cared about listening to what women of color wanted to do.) 

Meanwhile, many "uptown women" attempted to "uplift" some of the "downtown women" from their situation of poverty by bringing them baskets of food and clothing rather than by addressing underlying inequalities or forming coalitions with the "downtown women." Thus, Stein's reference in the poem to:
and when the uptown ladies came downtown
with their charity baskets
I told them, "Go to Hell"

Read more... )


Oct. 29th, 2011 08:14 am
lizcommotion: A leather journal (well-used) (journal)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
I had to get permission from my partner to post the following poem. I wrote it in the first month or so of our relationship, and it seems to have done the job that love poems are supposed to do. I hope you enjoy! It is not too mushy in my opinion.

by [personal profile] lizcommotion 

I can still remember
learning that the stars are all fire and gas.
Far into the eternal night, they are the days
for worlds beyond me, you,
my father told me one cold night.
I stood with him, shivering,
comfortable next to one that I trusted,
as he named them for me:
Sirius, Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper.
They are there, recognizable, solid,
so steadfast that ships and pilgrims and
beings on some distant planet can steer by them.
I read books about how the Big Dipper helped free people,
so great was its power.

I can still remember
the sense of awe I felt, amazement changing my world,
when I learned that
I might have missed them
by a few billion years.
There was no way of my knowing
if they had sputtered out long
before my world came into creation.

I might have missed you, too
busy trying to find more of Orion than his belt.
Who would know if our orbits would cross again?
With you I feel awe
at this comfort in myself, solid.
And this is so much more
than dead light that brushes past my face then rushes on.
There is mischief and laughter and yes,
I know there will be tears.
But life is risk, not just fire and gas,
not just standing on a cold deck, staring upward.
lizcommotion: A photo looking up at an autumn tree canopy (autumn trees)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
This is a poem I unearthed from a creative writing class I took ages ago. I parsed out unnecessary language and images and added a new twist. I hope you like it.

A cricket's tale
by [personal profile] lizcommotion

I do not understand people
who lavish money on decadent diadems,
monuments to transience:
quick cars, stiletto shoes, diamond rings,
a two hundred dollar haircut;
with the clatter of credit cards they trade
plastic debt for plastic rubbish bags.

I do not understand people
who abstain from any hint of pleasure,
for their world is full of sin;
people who seek a life everlasting miss
the passing beauty of this world:
one cricket’s chirp on a warm summer’s night,
a nearby train making a melody on its tracks.

For those who are curious, here is the much longer (and much weaker, because I overexplain, IMO) previous version: )
lizcommotion: Someone with an umbrella standing in a forest of fall trees (Autumn)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
Hello folks! I'll be your [community profile] poetree  host for the week, and this is my intro/meta post.

In Shakespeare's time, people threw poems into the graves of their friends. It seems like such a lovely custom - to send someone off with such an intimate farewell. When people ask me why I haven't published more of my poems, I often struggle with how to express that many are deeply personal. I write to cope with mental illness, chronic pain, grief. I write to celebrate a wonderful day, my love for my parter, family.

The poems I'm going to share with you this week are probably going to be my own, and they were written during or about times of intense emotion in my life. I haven't shared several of them with many people, because they are near and dear to my heart. However, I want to share them with this community because I feel that others might relate to them also.

(Am I supposed to share one in the meta post? Well, I'll just share a short one.) First up is one that I have posted on my own Dreamwidth journal, but I think it bears sharing. I wrote it as a response to how I felt when people asked me how I was doing at a point when each moment felt like I was being pulled deeper into an abyss. However, people generally don't want that level of detail. They want to hear that you are "fine."

by [personal profile] lizcommotion 

they call these days fine
in England the land of erupting
thrashing rain pours forth
into drizzle
rivulets running down sodden green fields-
the green dazzles emeralds
on fine sun-splashed summer days

I call myself fine
in parties to passersby the polite
thing to do is mask the deluge
threatening to erupt amidst the fog
mist abyss with no landmarks
so easy to lose oneself on the moor-

then at last a mooring, latch onto safety
wait as the howls of lashing lost winds pass
deep breaths soften tear-laced throats
releasing unrestrained voices of a thousand sparrows
chortling chirping welcoming
weary travelers to a fine cup of tea

staring at barometers is pointless
no storm endless
brilliant days cycle into night


poetree: Paper sculpture of bulbuous tree made from strips of book pages (Default)

February 2017



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 20th, 2017 11:33 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios